Written by Harley Dalton
The beginning of a new year is supposed to be a time to feel refreshed, to set your mind to improvements and to seek out new opportunities; yet, for those who believe in liberty, there has seldom been a bleaker set of circumstances than those in which we find ourselves. Our nation and society are moving rapidly away from the sensible principles of liberty which have engendered tremendous progress since their adoption post-Enlightenment.
It is no exaggeration to say that authoritarianism is now the dominant political tendency here in the UK. Under the auspices of disease control and with that most primitive emotion, fear as both carrot and stick to influence a compliant population, our government has created a terrifying concoction of anti-liberty social and political norms; we now live in a society of open discrimination against dissent, ruthlessly reinforced by news media lockstep, social media censorship, undisguised government propaganda and, perhaps the worst of it, the curtain-twitching of our very own friends and family.
This, in the face of what ought to be the universally recognised fact that it goes against everything that makes our modern civilization possible. The record of history demonstrates the power of liberty – in morality, to make better people and a more tolerant society; in economics, to kindle prosperity, wellbeing, and the spirit of innovation. Meanwhile, the sorts of policies which are antithetical to individual human freedom – the exact sorts of policies which are being adopted (with literally violent zeal) throughout state and cultural institutions – have caused almost nothing but misery, hardship, and destitution in every area of human endeavour.
If there was ever a moment in modern times that needed credible libertarian voices, it is now. Liberty requires people to defend it, so who are they? If Wikipedia is to be believed, Britain’s most famous libertarian is Andrew Marr. Is the best libertarians have to show for our efforts really to have as our leading voice a former Maoist whose opinions are almost exclusively those of the statist left?
We need to do better, and that starts by finding and elevating those among us who wish to speak out. It’s no secret that libertarians the world over, but especially here in the UK have been lousy in our political activism. To be fair to us, we’re up against a system of managed opposition that excludes libertarian voices and elevates… let’s say ‘questionable’ intellects to fight important issues on our behalf. But let’s not shy away from the fact that we have misused the channels that are available to us. Libertarian in-fighting is literally a meme.
Independents for Liberty seeks to encourage individuals to come forward forthrightly, to be the voices so sorely lacking and so desperately needed in our communities. We are a support network for independent political candidates, but the most important thing we can do right now is to network – to bring more libertarians out from the cold of the COVID snow, to show them that they’re not alone in thinking that all of this is madness, and to give them the confidence to speak out and find kinship.
Being a libertarian is a lonely hobby in a world that condones the violent detainment of old ladies enjoy a spot of afternoon tea, just one of many ludicrous examples of misused power we’ve all seen during the last two years. This is a world of managed opposition to the statist quo, which excludes libertarian voices and isolates us in society. So, if you do nothing else to advance the cause of liberty, just do this: reach out to that libertarian friend you added on Facebook and never spoke to, the one who lives local to you. Invite them for a beer or a coffee some time. Ask them how they’re doing. Let them know they’re not alone.