Rise of the ‘glibertarians’

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times
Originally published in The Canberra Times on September 30, 2011

Nobody gets an easier run in Australian political debate than the modern “libertarian”. You know, the politicians and commentators who are the first to cry “freedom of speech” in the face of what they see as political correctness and the first to say “individual responsibility” when someone proposes regulation such as those designed to make problem gamblers state in advance how much they are willing to lose. What makes this version of libertarianism so easy is that many of those concerned are the first to call to silence religious preaching they believe is dangerous or for tougher laws to protect society from those who they deem to be personally irresponsible. If you listen closely you will see that they don’t have a consistent philosophical position, and nor are they consistent in their approach to pragmatism. The things they believe are black and white but the things that their rivals believe need to be examined for the workability of the smallest details. I think it’s time we renamed these folk the “glibertarians”.

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