Thoughts on 2012 and 2013

Given that time is a continuous variable, there is a certain arbitrariness to the way in which it is measured. For a long time, society has agreed a system composed of multiple units and one of those units, you may have noticed, just went up by one. Welcome to 2013.

Just as there is no observable difference between 2012 and 2013 there is no sudden change to announce in the activities of this blog. It will continue in the same direction.

Fortunately, I have been rather pleased with how things have been gowing. We said thank you and au revoir to Andrew Janes in June but by September after the announcement of the Pro Liberty Party, the latest new libertarian institution, we had gotten used to regular contributions from their treasurer Richard Carey. Rob Waller, and Tim Carpenter have also made use of post rights and Michael Freeman started an occasional column on Technology. Thanks to these contributions, traffic is now regularly triple what the site achieved a year ago and looks set to increase.

What did well?

Back in January Rob Waller got us going with an encouraging post noting that “The Left are waking up to the Libertarian threat“. I was also very encouraged to find that my article “A new libertarian party must hit the ground running” was the fourth most popular on the site; I’m less encouraged to observe that neither the ILN nor PLP took up my advice but we should wait to see what happens with these institutions this year. Getting a push from Samizdata my video and article on the “The Reality of UK Uncut” is a late entrant from December. I was rather pleased with the way that video went; interviewing activists from the left seems to be an interesting and sustainable activity. I have made an effort to include more coverage of the UKIP and Harry Aldridge’s talk from June is no surprise in second place, although that was actually just the announcement. Guys! The video of that talk is over here.

Towards the end of the year though, the winter gloom seemed to take it’s toll on people and the tragedies we heard about in the news were a source of great concern. England got away with just flooding, and although very serious it does not have the same character as two other stories. A gang rape in Delhi is the latest international event the blog has covered and the knee jerk reaction of the Indian Home Secretary is a recipe for disaster. The Newtown shooting however is the grim source of this years number one story. Receiving a push from Guido the story earned 10% of the sites total traffic in the last few days of the year. It’s an interesting kind of success story for a blog that starts with the death of 26 people, but it’s a success story that makes me proud.

Something like 2000 people saw that graph on this website, a graph that rubbished the idea that the UK’s “gun free” society is automatically safer than the United States as a whole. The real picture being far more complicated. It is a small contribution to a very important and intense debate but it is the kind of detailed analysis that can change the minds of many rational readers. The graph has also been widely copied and linked to and I like to think that this blog, and Richard’s number crunching will make it a little bit harder for the Obama administration to succeed in a further clamp down on gun ownership. If you believe, as I do, that gun ownership prevents violent crime then this blog’s success story is one that might make the world a little bit safer and a little bit better and that’s why we do this.


My real-real-life is – for the happiest of possible reasons – as busy as ever, and so the year is likely to start slower, politically, than I would like, but the real-life meetings are another big success story of 2012 that will grow in 2013. I currently have three talks and a social event ready for you to choose from on I have in my head and on varied scraps of paper the names of several possible speakers (none of whom have been forgotten) which I will slowly make some sense of, firm up, and announce by email in chronological order. The current plan is, where possible, to cycle between a theoretical talk, a practical talk and a social throughout the year, but I’m sure it won’t be as easy as that.

Blogging is a trend that was new in the early part of the millennium, and user-generated content the big commercial technology development of the previous decade. Now that we are three years into the twenty-teens I really want to get up to date with the times and do something inventive with the space. In the meantime though, the site still needs more contributors, the meetup still needs more speakers and new issues will still come up to amuse, worry and confound us. I predict the biggest development of 2013 is what libertarians will do help one another, and I want to build a platform that makes it easier for you to make your contribution and for others to find out about it.


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