Representing Members

Libertarian Home seeks to help Libertarians get stuff done. It allows people to float policy ideas, discuss strategy, hold our institutions and our elite to account, meet and get to know each other, rehearse arguments and have fun. These are the things that help a movement grow.

Does it also seek to represent libertarians? That is, to transmit a view on behalf of it’s members?

Well, perhaps it should. It could, certainly, and it may have appeared do have done so recently in letters responding to the Paris attacks and one on freelancing. However, I am not convinced representing members is a sensible plan. Libertarians are too varied for any institution to transmit a view on everyone’s behalf. That is why there were so many names on our recent letters: writing “Libertarian Home members”, as appeared in some drafts of the Paris letter, would have misrepresented the majority of you who didn’t sign it.  I know that the silent majority included some who actively disagreed. It probably includes many who would support it too, if they had been paying attention to our Twitter on that particular day.

So what I did was put a letter together, add the names of those that did agree and carried a selection of interesting points from a range of libertarian voices. That collection included some who signed the Paris letter, others who didn’t sign and a few that disagreed with the words in the letter.

Incidentally, at 150 odd words and edited down to 100, the Telegraph letter did not represent my own view either, and I wrote it. I imagine it did not fully represent the people who poured over the draft and helped edit it, either. What it did do is on the letters page of a national newspaper show that the anti-surveillance folk outnumbered the pro-surveillance folk by 37:1, although the letters editor gave the 1 pro-surveillance guy top billing. The point is that this seems like something useful that most members would regard as a positive. I hope so.

No one has come to me and said that my approach pissed them off. I consider this way of representing specific members (who have an opinion in common) was a success worth repeating.

Discuss.

Simon Gibbs

Simon is a London based IT contractor and the proprietor of Libertarian Home. Working with logic and cause-and-effect each day he was naturally attracted to nerdy libertarianism and later to the benevolent logic of Objectivism. Find him on Google+ 

  5 comments for “Representing Members

  1. Tim Carpenter
    Dec 2, 2015 at 7:09 am

    “we are all individuals!”

    I agree, Simon.

    A long list of names, some in LH, others outside, to me, speaks louder than an anon term.

  2. Zach Cope
    Dec 2, 2015 at 9:30 am

    The power of today’s social media and technology is that is does allow unbundling of data, such that granularity of opinions held by individuals can be represented on specific issues.
    Thus individuals don’t have to sign up to a whole package, as represented by a spokesman repeating the ‘party line’, but can show their support on single issues.
    This might lead to interesting dynamics at times where those from opposing political camps support the same causes (something I think you or others have mentioned in previous posts here).

    With regards to your recent letters – I agree with your approach Simon.

  3. Dec 2, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I certainly had no objection to the policy position of the letter you sent – how can one be a libertarian if one supports 1984 style statism?

    I would have worded the letter differently – but it was your letter, how your word it is your business (besides – I am the worst stylist in the known universe, I actively despise style).

    In the United States even Ted Cruz (hardly a soft man when it comes to fighting Islamist attacks) is being denounced (for example by Marco Rubio) for insisting that the Bill of Rights be respected, that the government can not just spy on everyone without specific legal authority.

    We live in dangerous times – but it is not true that the only threat is the Islamists, the state itself can be a threat.. John Grey (in the “New Statesman”) is wrong – the state is not “too weak” (a Hobbesian argument – indeed he admits his argument is from Thomas Hobbes). In fact the state already has vast powers. The Islamist threat (which is real – very real) must not be used as a excuse for the destruction of basic liberties.

  4. David Warwicker
    Dec 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I trust your expertise and judgement so I trusted that the letter was well judged and wise.

    • Dec 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Blimey! That’s such a responsibility!

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