After a period of inactivity, the Irish Liberty Forum is soon to return better than ever with a new and improved site this Sunday 18th April 2010.
Please sign up and join us at http://irishlibertyforum.org/
Subscribe to our weekly article that we’ll e-mail to your account, keep a keen eye on the blog and watch as we update the various features of this site as we will try to give you the best source of libertarian analysis in Ireland.
Our first article is entitled “Libertarianism: An Introduction” by Prof. Gerard Casey of University College Dublin.
If you are interested in writing for the blog you are free to submit articles as a user which will be reviewed before publishing.
In peace and liberty,
I’ve just published an article on Mises.org entitled:
The Death of the Celtic Tiger
Ever taken a statistics course? Most stats lecturers devote a special moment to highlight how statistics can be misused. For instance my tutor once showed us a graph like this:
We can clearly see that there’s a correlation between ice-cream consumption and deaths by drowning. But what can we infer from this? It’s possible that eating ice-cream causes drowning (due to stomach cramps while swimming). It’s also vaguely possible that drowning deaths cause increased ice-cream consumption (mourning relatives might go for an ice-cream to cheer themselves up). However the most sensible explanation is that both ice-cream consumption and drowning deaths increase is due to another factor: the weather. People eat more ice-cream and go swimming more often in summer.
However, such a straightforward explanation is hardly ever seen in economics. The empirical approach often remains unquestioned. Consider this syllogism: in the past, taxes were low. Today, taxes are high. We were poor in the past but now we are rich. Therefore, increasing taxes causes prosperity. Such a view is completely ridiculous, yet almost completely unquestioned.
Or take the suggestion in the graph below. Income inequality sharply increased before two major recessions. Therefore it’s fair to assume that one causes the other.
Anyone who wants a free copy of Robert Nozick’s philosophical work can get a pdf copy here.
Don’t forget the comma before the “and” in the title!
Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose was one of the first books on libertarian political philosophy and market economics that I ever read. It’s an excellent chronicling of the economic and social decline of the United States (which has unsurprisingly run parallel to its embracing of ever more socialist policies). Here are two videos doing the rounds at the moment that go into some basic Friedmanite concepts.
There are a number of ways to make blog traffic statistics more impressive. On a slow day I often logout of my WordPress account, access the Liberty Forum homepage and click “refresh” over and over again to beef up the numbers.
I didn’t have to do that today. My post Trolling For Statism: How Not To Argue With Libertarians was featured on strike-the-root.com. Also featured on that excellent website were the posts Which Party Causes All The Wars? and False and True Connections Between Libertarianism and Conservatism.
I’m also happy to announce that the Irish Liberty Forum passed 20,000 blog views today. Keep it up guys!
I can’t be everywhere at once. This means I can’t refute every fallacious argument out there in cyberspace. But once in a while, one person manages to collate several spurious arguments and create a video out of them. Consider amhemsley‘s “Don’t want to pay taxes? Then stop stealing from those who do”.
The video is little more than a tissue of trite arguments; tax resisters are thieves, the government provides us with services, if you don’t love it you can leave it, and so on. Here’s a brief discussion of why the guy in the video is wrong.
State = Society?
One common tool used by the anti-capitalists is the equivocation of fairly distinct and unambiguous terms. State, society, law, order, protection and peace are all mixed together. In amhemsley’s mind, anyone who is against the State is against society, and subsequetly for lawlessness, poverty and chaos.
It is important to challenge this simpleminded view. Stateless socities have existed in the past, even for centuries. Parallel to the history of State-made legislation runs the history of private law provision. Society is nothing more than the lose web of interaction among people who share a common heritage. The State is a territorial monopolist of lawmaking and taxation. Society typically uses ostracism and exclusion to punish those who engage in unlawful or distasteful activities. But society will find it difficult to legitimately use force against you, which is precisely the point of the State.