Saturday, July 15, 2006

Perigo -- Libertarianz: A ten year party

"What can I say that I haven't already said?" So it begins. "No speech," says Perigo, "I'm all speechified out" after speaking in the States "to do justice to Ayn Rand" after the publication of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. [On that, more in the latest Free Radical.]

Big highlight of LP's trip to the US was watching the World Cup. And the headbutt. Jay Leno's comment on the headbutt: "The first time the French saw combat in sixty years!"

The sheer exultation on show at Italy's World Cup victory: an explosion of ecstacy. Mankind at his best. An unabashed celebration of achievement. We too will celebrate like this one day.

It's often asked how a party of individuals can function? Collectively? A collective of individuals? Individuals with a common goal can achieve near-miracles. The Founding Fathers did.

As you've now realised, it's a long haul. A marathon not a sprint. Ten years of Libertarianz. First membership list looked like a Korean phone-book.

Libz was first called 'The A-Team': formed by Ian Fraser on Radio Liberty. Two electorate candidates in 1996: LP in Epsom and Nik Haden in Wgtn Central: LP got 600 votes, Nik 15. Too many public servants in Wellington. In 1999 we got 6000 votes, which at the time seemed low.

We are making progress in ways that cannot be measured by members of Parliament. Thomas Jefferson said the natural order of things is for liberty t0 yield and for government to gain ground. But the natural requirement for man is to be free. An objective fact that cannot be denied.

But we have a Government hell-bent on the destruction of those liberties. Meanwhile, the National Party (surprisingly) is more libertarian than it has ever been. Don Brash is happy to call Lindsay a friend, and an enthusiastic reader of The Free Radical. Rodney Hide is as libertarian as an MP can be -- at least in private, and when not dropping people on the floor. Sue Kedgley -- boo, hiss, said we should never underestimate the extent to which libertarianism has seeped into their consciousness through our press releases, magazine articles, talkback calls. Little alarm bells do go off in their heads when they consider their most rampant violations of freedom: What would the Libz say about this?

This is where we are making progress.

The foundations have been laid.

We must look to ourselves to make things happen. We each have to be on fire for freedom. Not like the dilettantes. The useless inert nothings. The jerk-off merchants. Be on fire, for about us their are mountains of ice to melt! Support The Free Radical: the best libertarian magazine in the world, as judged by libertarians around the world. Support libertarian radio. Support your heroes. To many to single out, but LP mentions three names: Ken and Shirley Riddle. Staunch and wonderful supporters. And myself (bows).

To conclude, LP quotes William Lloyd Garrison, who, like Ayn Rand, upset everyone on all sides of the divide. He was a radical abolitionist, demanding the immediate repeal of slavery, unlike the gradualists of his time, but not advocating the shipping of freed slaves back to Africa, unlike some other abolitionists. For 35 years he fulminated fulsomely in his weekly newspaper, The Liberator. He stopped only after the signing of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. In his first issue, he wrote about it:

On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard.

He was heard, all right! So ardently did he attack the defenders of slavery that he was jailed once for libel, almost lynched twice and had a bounty on his head of $5000 from the legislature of Georgia who wanted to try him for sedition. The Liberator was outlawed in many states, with jail for anyone subscribing.

Samuel May, a friend and fellow-abolitionist, once entreated him to be more temperate. "O, my friend, do try to moderate your indignations, and keep more cool; why, you are all on fire." Looking him straight in the eye, Garrison replied: "Brother May, I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt."

So do we. Be on fire. And happy birthday!

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