Why Scottish Libertarians Matter

Why Scottish Libertarians Matter

Ain’t it great to have a choice?

So who will it be at the ballot box this year? One of the big-government liberals on the left, or one of the big-government conservatives on the right? The liberals want to be your mammy. The Conservatives what to be your daddy. Is there anyone who wants to treat you like an adult?

Enter The Scottish Libertarian Party who will be standing 4 candidates in The Scottish Elections this year.

We are against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and adventurism in Syria. We don’t want to regulate your personal habits. We don’t care what you smoke, how you worship, if you worship, if you marry, or what gender the person you want to marry is. We don’t want to snoop on you or read you emails, force you to carry an ID Card, or detain you for up to 42 days without trial. We don’t believe in bailing out bankers and we want to abolish corporate welfare. We are sick to death of the government being in the pocket of big business and extending special privileges to the rich and powerful at the expense of the tax-payer and independent businesses.

There are others parties that agree with us on those issues – that is true – but unlike our friends on the left, we are not trying to turn Scotland into a communist country.

We believe in commerce because commerce is what has made us prosperous.

Whenever two people trade both leave better off for it. For example, if I trade my pen for your tie then clearly I value your tie more than my pen and vice versa. We have just created wealth. We both have more of what we want and less of what we don’t want. Everybody wins so long as the exchange is voluntary.

Commerce is about providing value for value. When we trade we get to choose what we want and whom we get it from. If you don’t like a café or a shop, or a restaurant – you don’t have to vote, or campaign; lobby or write to your MP; form a pressure group or convince half the electorate to divest from them – you can just go somewhere else.

That is the freedom of personal choice.

When the government provides any service you can love it or leave it – because that’s all you’re getting. The best you can do is hope someone better will get into government in 4 or 5 years – but even unsuccessful government programs are notoriously hard to get rid of once they have been introduced. What’s more you are forced to part with your hard earned cash in opposition to your values; Pacifists are forced to pay for the war in Iraq, vegans are forced to pay subsidies to livestock farmers, Christians are forced to be for abortions, environmentalists are forced to pay funding to the nuclear energy industry, and so it goes on…

An entire apparatus has been built around this coercion; where lobbyists, bureaucrats, administrators, career politicians, pressure groups, think tanks, and political campaigners draw a portion of the wealth that is redistributed, while the majority of them are not creating any wealth but simply taking without making. If they do succeed in achieving their stated aims they will effectively be putting themselves out of work, so there is an institutional bias towards treating the symptoms of social problems indefinitely rather than tackling them at their root once and for all. This violent mess has been so broadly accepted that most people haven’t even noticed they are being denied their basic right to choose what causes they support and how they support them; the right to vote with their conscience. That is – with their pound.

The government has not only proven poor at solving problems, but it uses the law to forbid other organisations from solving those problems. Would the question of poverty, homelessness, poor health, drug use, and the social causes of crime still seem intractable if the departments responsible for solving our social ills had to demonstrate success in exchange for our pocket money? Not while The People could direct their contributions to whichever charities, non-profits, and benevolent foundations delivered the best results.

Of course, we don’t have to completely abolish the government’s roles in social care to allow market work alongside it. We would soon see favourable results and the need for government would diminish. Effective civil servants would soon find more meaningful work in the third sector and social enerprise. Taxes would go down and social problems would be tackled at their root causes once and for all. Poverty would diminish and prosperity would ensue.

The Right believe they can defend your personal liberty by taking it away and holding it in trust for you; The Left believe they can guard your welfare by placing decision-making power over your welfare in the hands of the capable intellectuals in government.

We believe in your right to choose for yourself.

The Scottish Libertarians matter because we offer the only real alternative to the big-government parties of left and right.



Antony Sammeroff

Is a writer and Life Coach from Glasgow now living in Edinburgh. He is on The Scottish Libertarian Party’s constitutional committee.

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