Speaker Profile Gintas Vilkelis 

Dr Gintas Vilkelis has had an interesting career spanning physics, silicon design, psychology and politics. He now sits on the research council of Parliament Street, a think tank affiliated to the Conservative  Party which enjoys a similar online profile to Libertarian Home. He was also on the Board of Advisors of Young Britons for Liberty.

I struggled to think what might be added to his detailed and thought provoking profile from Parliament Street:

Dr. Gintas Vilkelis was born in Lithuania. In 1987, at age 18, he was named one of the top five Physics students in the Soviet Union, and selected as a member of the Soviet team at the International Physics Olympiad. In 1989, he was the first Soviet undergraduate student to be invited by an American university to study with a full scholarship.

In the mid-1990’s – mid 2000’s Dr Vilkelis was the top expert in the world on Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) technology and its application within PET and CT scanners, medical and industrial X-ray imagers, as well as Nuclear and High Energy Physics experiments. He has a number of SDD and High-Z detector patents under his name.
During his 20 years career in Physics, Dr. Vilkelis has developed a reputation for being able to find workable solutions to problems that other people considered to be unsolvable. He created devices that even his colleagues had considered impossible, started several R&D trends in the semiconductor radiation detector industry and even managed to cause changes in the laws of two countries.

I strongly recommend you read the whole thing.

Gintas will introduce his Localism agenda to the Libertarian Home Meetup at the Two Chairmen, on Wednesday 1st March.

 

 

Image via Young Britons for Liberty (East Anglia)

Flabbergasted

Guess who said this:

“I’ve watched all my life, irrespective of which government… ministers trying to run hospitals from Whitehall. It’s just too big, too complicated”

KEN LIVINGSTONE

Am slightly worried to find myself agreeing with something Red Ken said for the first time ever!

Sadly he doesn’t take this to its logical conclusion that the state should get out of running hospitals all together.  Livingstone was only arguing for more devolution, ie giving him control of this and other areas should he win the election in May.

As I’m not eligible to vote for the Mayor of London (despite spending most of my waking hours there) I haven’t been paying too much to the guff spewing out of the mouths of him and Boris so far, but this certainly got my attention. I doubt that the coalition would be willing to devolve power if Ken did win, and the response for the Johnson team seems to be focused mainly of whether Ken could be trusted with these powers.

However given the government’s devolution bill and the Lib-dems commitment to localism it is hard to say why London couldn’t have a similar degree of autonomy to Scotland or Wales. I’m generally in favour of this sort of devolution as a stepping board to transferring more power back to the individual, and also to as a source of allies for Libertarian groups.

Perhaps it is time to for a successor to One London?

Putting theory into practice

Image via Wikipedia (cc by-sa)

Although libertarians are instinctively distrustful of any organisation seeking to make decisions that will affect their lives, it is obvious to most that all kinds of communal decisions do need to be made and the authority to make them has to be invested in someone. What is important is that decision making should happen at the lowest possible level and most of the worst decisions occur because they are made in the wrong place.

A decision at EU level as to what shape of bananas my be sold is clearly ridiculous as is a Parish Council voting to free the citizens of Gaza. But how do we determine the correct place for each type of decision?

Well, this is currently decided by the Government of each nation state. They may delegate some of these decision making powers upwards, to supra-national institutions, or downwards, to local government, but the authority as to where decisions are made ultimately rests with them. The national government has control of the means of violence within its borders.

I have argued elsewhere that we can never hope to have a UK government that is libertarian but one of the ways in which I believe libertarianism can progress is to understand that fact and work for change from below. It is much easier, for example, to influence a local council and it’s policies than it is to effect national change. And in the UK there have recently been examples of Local Authorities who have proposed the complete dismantlement of the local Council bureaucracy and the outsourcing of all services.

Highly libertarian.

Of course the impact of such on our individual freedom can only ever be limited- the real power remains with Westminster who can tax and threaten us with impunity.

Except that……

their mandate to govern is notionally based on democracy- they have the right to oppress us because we voted for them to do so.

And this apparent strength may also be their weakness. Because, when the recent SNP successes suggested the possibility that the majority of Scots might wish to govern themselves, the UK government had to agree that, if that happened, they would be allowed to do so.

So what would happen if the majority of citizens in another location demanded to be able to govern themselves? Would the stated belief in the infallibility of democracy not dictate that they should be also be allowed to do so?

But how could this ever happen? Why would people ever vote to leave the relative safety of the UK state? There are, after all, many more statists than libertarians.

There is a simple answer to the above. It could happen if the voters in a region could be shown, clearly and unequivocally, that to vote to secede from the UK was indisputably and massively in their personal economic interest.

And it would be.

The rest of the story is at wirralfirst.org