20 September 2007
To the Filing Cabinet #05

Well, there’s been a bit of a delay in getting this latest instalment up.  Can’t for the life of me remember why but it must have been something Very Important.

Anyway, I’ve been continuing my trawl through LA pamphlets that I know and like - the results of which can be seen below.  One thing that surprised me was how few pamphlets concentrated on the fact that libertarian economics works and why it works.  Maybe, that’s because libertarian writers assume that everyone has read von Mises and Hayek.  Or maybe it’s difficult.

So, a request, do you know of any good and short explanations of why free markets work?  Or partial explanations, for that matter?  If you do then please let me know.

Come to think of it, that rather puts me in mind of this:

How hockey sticks explain the relative attractions of statism and of free markets, Brian Micklethwait, Samizdata, 1 October 2004.  Why state enterprises decay and why free markets (eventually) work.

On with the show:


Liberty versus Democracy, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance, 1983 (not 1981 as advertised) (pdf).  Democracy is worse than Liberty but better than civil war.

Gun control doesn’t work. Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun? Richard Munday, The Times, 8 September 2007.

Britain’s Soviet Planning System, Don Riley, Libertarian Alliance, 2000 (pdf).  How planning, stuffs up the building profession, lowers quality and leads to hoarding of building and land.

In Praise of Ticket Touting, Charles Earl, Libertarian Alliance, 1996 (pdf).  Touting - known as scalping in the US.

Why We Should Concentrate on Free Trade and Stop Worrying About the Balance of Payments, Adam Chacksfield, Libertarian Alliance, 1993.  Or dumping for that matter.

The Disaster of the Welfare State, Simon McIlwaine, Libertarian Alliance 1989 (pdf).

State Intervention and Nineteenth Century Education, Max More, Libertarian Alliance, 1986.  It was just fine before the state started getting involved.

How to Win the Libertarian Argument, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance, 1990.  You start by having it.

The Tyranny of The Facts, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance, 1990. Facts matter a lot less than people tend to think.

Purpose and Strategy of the Libertarian Alliance, Libertarian Alliance, 1979.  Keep it intellectual and be patient.

How Gun Control ‘Worked’ in Jamaica, Tina Terry, Libertarian Alliance, 1998.  Guns were outlawed and only the outlaws had guns.

Lies, damn lies, and bloody idiots, Squander Two, 20 September 2007.  Statistics - especially the ones that get published - are rarely that much of a guide.


Patients ‘have been failed by NHS reforms’, Daily Telegraph, 10 September 2007.  So say the patients’ “tsar”.

BBC staff face sack in cheat inquiry, Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2007.  They even rigged a phone-in vote to name the Blue Peter cat.

07 September 2007
To the Filing Cabinet #04

I have been continuing to trawl the LA archives for those pamphlets that I remember enjoying the first time round.  For the most part I haven’t re-read them so I can only hope that the say what I think they say.


Abolish the Welfare State and restore some Respect, Brian Micklethwait, Samizdata, 17 January 2006.  The Welfare State causes crime.

I Am A Libertarian Because…, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance, 2002.

A Neither Profound Nor Original Article on Why the Sale and Use of Recreational Drugs Ought Not to Be Illegal, Sean Gabb, Libertarian Alliance, 1998.  Good, precisely because it is neither profound nor original.

Arguing About the Welfare State: A Radio Confrontation With Professor Peter Townsend,  July 17 1996, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance 1996.  Only tangentally about welfare or even tactics, but fun anyway.

The Success of the Industrial Revolution and the Failure of Political Revolutions: How Britain Got Lucky, Findlay Dunachie, Libertarian Alliance, 1996.  The Channel meant we didn’t need an army.  The lack of an army made it difficult to oppress us.  So, we were free.  So, we started the Industrial Revolution.

Why Guns Should Not Be Illegal, Brian Micklethwait, Libertarian Alliance, 1995.  Another article on guns.  Interesting because of the Jamaican example.

The Inevitability of Prejudice, Axel Davies, Libertarian Alliance, 1995.  This is one of my all-time favourite pamphlets. 

Culture, Virtue and Freedom: How Civil Society in Britain Has Been Undermined and How to Rebuild It, Simon McIlwaine, Libertarian Alliance, 1995.  After a slightly dull start the author takes few prisoners as he lays into the welfare state.

Education still in a mess despite cash injection, Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph, 7 September 2007.  In the UK, that is.  More money, less discipline, easier exams.


JR East to lift speed limit of Shinkansen to 320 kph, Asahi 27 July 2007

Hospital food fails safety inspection, Burning our money, 13 August 2007.

31 August 2007
To the Filing Cabinet #03

A few more bits and bobs to add to the filing cabinet.  I’ve started to look through some of my old stuff as well as the Libertarian Alliance web site.  There’s quite a lot of good deep stuff there - well, maybe not Croziervision so much but certanly the LA - which is the sort of stuff that’s worth bringing up again and again.


Spot the difference, Guy Herbert, Samizdata, 12 August 2007.  Similar stories, completely different slant.

Progressives against progress. An Investment in Failure, Thomas Sowell, Real Clear Politics, 21 August 2007.  The left would prefer to keep people poor.

Zimbabwe’s horrors, Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, 12 August 2007.  Archbishop calls on Britain to invade.

Isolated incident? UK Commentators, 25 August 2007.  It’s just, as Laban Tall points out, that there seem to be an awful lot of them.

Gun control’s twisted outcome, Joyce Lee Malcolm, Reason, November 2002.  Britain’s handgun ban hasn’t worked.

Gun Control in Britain, Sean Gabb, Libertarian Alliance, 1988.  More gun laws, more gun crime.

Why the right to armed self-defence against criminals and against tyrants should not have been suppressed…, David Botsford, Libertarian Alliance, 1997.  More gun laws, more gun crime


Junior doctors forced to stay in unsuitable jobs, The Telegraph, 28 August 2007.  They continue to be messed around by the government’s new computer system.

New doubts raised over mobile phone safety, Telegraph, 30 August 2007.  They cause cells to split, apparently.


The reason welfare is bad is not because it costs too much, nor because it “undermines the work ethic,” but because it is intrinsically at odds with the way human beings come to live satisfying lives. Charles Murray.  Quoted by Samizdata on 29 August 2007.

22 August 2007
To the filing cabinet

A few more bits and bobs that might prove useful at some future date:

92% were literate before state education, A N Wilson, Evening Standard, 1 July 2002.  Wonder what it is now?

“Why are we so worried about terrorism when so many more people are dying on our highways?” asks Gregg Easterbrook (Road Kill, Gregg Easterbrook, Los Angeles Times, 5 August 2007 (via Jay Jardine).  You could just as well make the comparison with MRSA or cancer and people - especially people who would rather the war just went away - frequently do.  I think they are wrong to.  It seems to me that there is a fundamental difference between these types of lethal danger but I don’t know what it is and I haven’t heard anyone else explain the difference either.

Chopper Coppers, Burning our Money, 16 August 2007.  Crime used to be much lower because police were on the beat.

Going to the Well Once Too Often, Confederate Yankee, 15 August 2007.  A press photo claiming to show bullets fired into a house in Iraq appear to have been faked.  Badly. (Via Instapundit)

A New Home for DDT, Donald Roberts, New York Times, 20 August 2007.  Argues that DDT isn’t half as bad as was claimed back in the 1970s when it was banned. (Via Instapundit who adds: “The debate over DDT is over. There’s scientific consensus. Anyone who disagrees is a DDT denialist and a mouthpiece for Big Mosquito.”

Hitler’s Handouts, Michael Moynihan, Reason, August 2007.  Review of Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, by Götz Aly.  Doesn’t think much of it despite the idea that Nazi conquests having an economic motive being one of my favourite theories. (Via Instapundit).

16 August 2007
To the filing cabinet

I have added a rating system.  I thought I ought to do this as some pages are very short and in future some are going to have nothing at all - serving as placeholders just in case.  Ratings are also colour-coded, so readers will be able to tell straight away which pages are worth reading and which are not.  The eagle-eyed will notice that as yet no page merits even a “Good” rating let alone an “Excellent”. Oh well, early days, early days…

Anyway, here are a few more items for filing:

17,000 scientists deny that pollution will cause catastrophic global warming.  17,000?  Jeez.  OK, it’s been carrying on for a while and the whole Kyoto thing has been lumped into the wording but still…

Confessions of a BBC liberal, Antony Jay, August 12, 2007, The Sunday Times.  Describes the media mindset. (via Instapundit)

To reduce crime, get the lead out, Mark Thoma, Economist’s View, 8 July 2007. Lead in petrol causes crime.

The Big Lie or Many Smaller Lies: The Career and Impact of Communist Propagandist Willi Muenzenberg, Dr Helen Szamuely, Libertarian Alliance, 2007.  Note: this is how the commies did it.  That doesn’t mean that you should do the same.

Reuters Busted by a 13-Year Old, Little Green Footballs, 10 August 2007.  Footage claimed to be of a recent event turned out to have come from a Hollywood feature film. (via Pajamas Media)

“Abject poverty” to be wiped out in India, James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We’re In, 12 August 2007.  Because they adopted free markets?

“This August I’m sorry not to be in Edinburgh. Not because I’ll miss the Fringe. If I want left-wing propaganda masquerading as comedy I can always tune into Radio 4… “Michael Gove, The Times, August 14, 2007. (Via Biased BBC)

A Heated Debate, David Copperfield, The Policeman’s Blog, 16 August 2007.  Do drugs really cause crime?  Mind you this is a long way from saying that drug bans make things better.

Smoking ban hits charities, Chillicothe Gazette, 15 August 2007.