Guest post by David Seymour
In response to Peter’s conjecture I am a libertarian but not as we know them, and that I may be part of a dangerous strain of compromising libertarians, a few thoughts.
I believe in human flourishing, that people should be free to flourish in self-chosen ways. I believe this is most likely to happen in an environment where the role of government is limited in a principled way. I believe the role of government in New Zealand today is too large, and that the government should own, spend, and regulate less than it currently does.
The next question is how to achieve a freer society. I don’t claim to have a monopoly on wisdom in regard to this question. There is probably no one answer, different people apply different talents to different facets of the problem. We should respect a diversity of approaches.
My approach is this. I want to take the 150,000-200,000 New Zealanders who are most in favour of a freer society and represent them in parliament. The rationale for this number is that it is the smallest group that can support a viable political party under New Zealand’s electoral system, year in, year out.
Of course not everybody in such a group will be a died-in-the-wool libertarian purist. The party they vote for will not be a pure libertarian party. This is where an important principle in public policy and in life applies: choose between realistic alternatives. The realistic alternative in this case is not some magical party that is at once pure libertarian and politically viable, it is the National Party as the parliamentary defender of freedom.
Given that that 150,000-200,000 are a disorganised minority, so far as parliament is concerned, would those of us be better or worse off if my approach succeeds? If you believe it is worthwhile then you have to decide what you’re prepared to give up in order to help. Some ways of supporting are practically costless, others do come at a cost that you must weigh up for yourself.
Joining ACT would help. If you are not a member, it is $20 for three years. Membership lists are secret but your number adds moral weight to the party.
Politics costs money, especially rebuilding a party. Remember, political parties are the most proximal restraint on government by civil society. If you are prepared to support ACT you can donate here.
Or, if you’d just like to take a look, come to our conference at Alan Gibbs’ farm this weekend, Saturday 21st.
David Seymour is the MP for Epsom, Leader of ACT New Zealand, and a master of party promotion.