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August 25, 2017



I prefer the Gandhi approach. Unless and until you can love your enemies as much as you love yourself, you should stay away from politics and protest. You'll just create more chaos and hatred in the world. There's plenty of that to go round as it is.

Aaron Headly

Gandhi's approach was well suited to the anti-colonial struggle, but for inter-party politics I prefer Dillow.


Given that Nozick explicitly argued for both (voluntary) dictatorship and slavery, the differences are not that great. I've lost track of propertarians who find themselves happy to support fascism (starting with von Mises in the 1920s).

And let us not forget the likes of Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

"In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one's own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance towards democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They -- the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centred lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism -- will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order." (Democracy: the God that Failed, p. 218)

This would appeal to fascists -- the "freedom" to exclude those with whom they disagree and hate...

And Hoppe has the brass-neck to call himself an anarchist!

Simply put, they are not libertarians at all. They are authoritarians. Indeed, they stole the word from the left in the 1950s:


They simply seek to generalise the despotism associated with property to all aspects of society.

Dave Timoney

The criticism of Pidcock has predictably come from the political centre, not the right. Over and above the usual happy mean ideological guff, I suspect this reflects anxiety over the diminishing prospects of a cross-party compromise on Brexit.

Luis Enrique

if you happen to be correct about what's right and what's wrong, then *maybe* treating politics like a battle is the way to go, but only maybe, because maybe treating politics like a battle is not the way to defeat the enemy. Sometimes you need to win people over.

However, none of us can be sure our own beliefs are the right and good ones, and everybody we disagree with's wrong and bad. So it makes sense to treat others as having beliefs that are as potentially valid as your own, to be engaged with amicably, because you might be wrong and need to learn from them. But this does not mean one should cavort with Nazis - there are limits. So everybody draws a line, beyond which we may not care to be friendly with those we disagree with. Recently, with Brexit etc. I have felt like drawing that line closer to me, but that feels like a bad thing. imo people who draw that line too closely round their own views are likely fanatics (but this seems to be an increasingly unpopular view). Who's side are you on is not the only question to ask, because those who see themselves as on the side of the workers, for example, do not always make life better for the workers (reductio ab absurdum perhaps - Venezuela).

Presumably some of those who supported austerity thought even more people would be driven to suicide if we had a public finance crisis and even larger recession. I wholeheartedly believe that's nonsense, but I am not sure I'd need to de-friend somebody because of it. That said, I live in a metropolitan elite lefty bubble so haven't had to put that to the test.

John Barr

You may be interested in my analysis of libertarian critic of Abraham Lincoln. See my book here:



I've got right-wing friends - why wouldn't I? But if I were a professional politician - if working for political change were, literally, my job - I would not make friends among those professional politicians whose job it was to obstruct and reverse the changes I wanted to achieve. If I did it would suggest I wasn't taking the job very seriously.

Dave Timoney

@Luis, much of what you say is good and true, but it really applies to civvies like us, not MPs. Part of Pidcock's role is to represent attitudes as much as constituents: think of it as performative oppositionalism. I suspect she's more broad-minded that she's letting on, and I doubt she'll refuse all social contact with Tories.

MPs can't engage each other in the common manner (Eric Joyce's crime was to overstep this invisible line), so there is inevitably going to be a premium placed on gestures. The value of Pidcock's is that it shows she considers politics to be a serious matter. Compare and contrast with Dennis Skinner's sarcasm, which has merely earnt him a reputation as a lovable eccentric.

Interestingly, much of the negative commentary on Pidcock has seen her action in terms of school friendship groups, a la Mean Girls or Heathers. A less middle-class media might have referenced the long tradition of workplace ostracism as the corollary of solidarity.

Luis Enrique

Fate, gpwm


It's not Pete Seeger or Billy Bragg: it's Florence Reece (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Which_Side_Are_You_On%3F). And yes, picking sides is very clarifying.

gastro george

"... the fact that Brexit was supported by a bunch of cunts should have been a clue ..."

Loving it.

Albertus Dimbleby

I assume you are using the standard acronym for Brexiteers otherwise known as: Conservative. Usually Neo-Thatcherite. But yeah. Just yeah!


It's a long time since I studied history in school, but there was a quote in a school history book which I think was by Jean Jaures. The quote was "There is more in common between 2 Deputies,one of whom is a socialist, than between 2 socialists, one of whom is a Deputy."

derrida derider

Na, civilised people understand that honest disagreement between well informed people is not merely possible but common - partly because being well informed provides surprisingly little protection against error.

If you can't agree to differ with a friend on a political issue - even an important one you both feel strongly about - then one or both of you are barbarians.

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