Soliciting opinions on Brexit

In the run up to the referendum I planned a fairly soft approach to backing the leave option. I took seriously that I should not appear to misrepresent the libertarian grass-roots but I felt personally that leave was the best option. I saw that there was minimal dissent from that view amongst the Libertarian Home members, and polled the core team for their opinions. One reluctant Remainer was identified and a somewhat more passionate anarchist Remainer appeared sometime later – a former speaker – with an argument that did not attain traction.

I made a judgement that the bulk of Libertarian Home members were in the Leave camp and was content for Tim Evans, Chris Mounsey and Mark Littlewood to speak on the topic and to put out all the blogging and videos I could handle.

As we approached the referendum date and Brexit The Movie galvanised members to step up and get involved in the debate in a deeper way. I was deluged with articles from authors new and old, and my help was wanted for a pair of very significant projects. Given what I knew at the time, and given that Libertarian Home exists to do so, I decided to back those members. I knew that by doing so I was potentially offending some unknown and invisible faction of members who backed Remain – for all I knew no larger than 2 people – but also that I was working hard in support of the vast majority who backed Leave.

As it turns out the faction that backed Remain included one member who I did know, and whose outstanding contribution I valued greatly. As a very passionate Remainer, I do not now expect to hear from him again. The fault for this lies with that person, a person who had my ear and favour but who kept his opinion strangely guarded. Libertarian Home will succeed by respecting the wishes of those who turn up and work, and who choose to express their opinion. Achieving influence requires being in both categories, not just one.

However, asking merely once or twice for opinions to be put forward is clearly not enough. I need to be humble about my ability to reach people who are in need of expressing themselves, while continuing to filter those that would express an opinion without the desire to implement it, and those who are not a natural fit with this pro-property socially-liberal project.
The first manifestation of this new desire to consult members was a pair of Twitter polls on the direction to be taken post-Brexit. They were, looking at the retweets, obvious very popular with conservative UKIP members who fall firmly in the third category. Regardless, here are the results:

The second manifestation of this desire will be me, very shortly, bending the ear of as many attendees at the monthly drinks as I possibly can. If you have an opinion to express, please do come and share it, or leave a comment below.


  1. I personally don’t want to be associated with pro-brexit libertarians, I don’t want to talk to them, purely not to say something very rude to them. You won, you’ve taken your country back, good luck with it. I don’t want to stand anywhere near brexiteers. I’m happy to admit, I’m not a real libertarian with pitchforks and guns and gold, I’m a liberal, that wants to live in the 21st century and not in some paleolibertarian paradise. I want a socially liberal world and at the same time as many elements of society to be managed by a market economy and not plan economy. I don’t want to go back into the 15th century with the generation of uneducated babyboomers, who haven’t seen many immigrants – but want to take their country back.
    I’m glad that I live in my favourite city London, which in it’s majority voted for remain (except of some boroughs in zones 5-6, but do they really belong to London?).
    I feel it wrong that I spent a bit too much time with the libertarian movement, but thinking as an economist I’m happy to write off sunk costs. In my opinion libertarians have caused more damage than benefits, but oh well – it is your country, you got it back and feel free to take control, even if in the past 2 weeks so many brexiteers have resigned. Feel free to consider myself a traitor, foreigner, whatever. You can deploy your multicultural children to agitate for Brexit until one day they hear “We voted you out” from those, who have taken control of your country back. Good luck with it, you won. You can carry on building spherical horses in vacuum until you bring our society back into the dark ages (but the income tax was very low at the time, oh well!).



    1. Dear Pavel
      I too hold liberal views and had to weigh the balance of liberty and democracy in the Brexit debate but eventually voted Brexit despite the Leave campaign, not because of it.
      The importance of democracy is to adapt to what is coming down the road, not necessarily to optimise things for our current economic and social circumstances. An undemocratic Europe, in my view, poses a higher risk of social intolerance and violence than a loose collection of more locally accountable trading partners.
      There is an urgent task, articulated in LibertarianHome posts and elsewhere, to promote such a view which also requires support for freedom of movement. I suspect there are many more people who would agree with such a vision than oppose it, including Brexit voters.
      Emotions are running high but a reasoned approach is needed!



  2. It’s not my place, of course. But I think that many, perhaps most, people, including libertarians and Brexiters and libertarian Brexiters, have made the great mistake of thinking that Brexit is ultimately about economics.

    It is not. It is about whether one lives in a society where the political order is shaped first of all by the recognition that each person’s life is his own to live, as he sees fit, as long he recognizes that others are persons just like himself, and each of their lives is their own to live.

    It is not merely a “happy coincidence” that this philosophy, when put into practice, has results that are good for the society as a whole. Because the condition of “society as a whole” has no meaning except as a sort of umbrella term which really means all or almost all of the individual members of the society. So it’s a tautology to say that (ordered) liberty is good for a society.

    Even though reality is such that what works best does not necessarily work perfectly. Just as much when we’re talking about societies as when we’re talking about knitting techniques. So sure, at times a person feels downright abused by circumstances which might have been different if the persons he thinks responsible for his unhappiness had been forbidden to do whatever they did. Such as manufacturers who took jobs away from people in Ohio by taking their plants to Texas.

    But if people were prohibited from opening up shop wherever they otherwise could, then those people who felt abused would likewise be under somebody else’s rule, and thus unfree, in important ways. And most likely they would sooner or later be bitten by the loss of their own freedom.



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