Welcome to the Brian Micklethwait Archive. We are slowly adding writings to this site. For progress on this see the news section.
The Vital Importance of Supplying Completely Accurate FOOTNOTES
The LA is going for the commanding heights of intellectual debate. When these are captured, the lush pastures and river valleys wherein reside ordinary people will be conquered for liberty with little further fuss.
Against Art Subsidies
If a Philistine is someone who despises a square of canvas painted to look like the bottom of a rubbish skip, then I glory in the title.
Nuclear catastrophe and ecological disaster are brooded upon with pathological intensity. Is it fanciful to suggest that some of them actually want the end of the world to be nigh, so that nobody else can have any future either?
Against Charity: Charity, Favours, Trade and the Welfare State
Helping others does not necessarily involve harming yourself. Wealth is creatable.
Publishing Without Perishing
Are you humble enough to spend your entire life telling all of your acquaintances only those exact things that they each wish to hear and none of those things that you need them not to hear, and clever enough never to get your acquaintances confused with one another?
On the last Friday in November 2021, an event was held at Brian’s flat in which his friends were invited to help themselves to his enormous collection of books. The books are being catalogued. So far it is mostly the books that were taken on that night that have been added to the catalogue but the plan is to add them all. The catalogue so far can be viewed on libib.
Meanwhile, we continue to add Libertarian Alliance pamphlets written by Brian. The latest one very much brings to mind Brian at his grumpiest, which is to say with a slight twinkle in his eye. You knew he meant very seriously what he was saying, when he was like this, but there was no deep hostility in it.
In Tactical Note 11, Brian very much wants people writing for the Libertarian Alliance to include footnotes.
A standard response to libertarian criticisms of collectivist viewpoints is the claim that “no one says that”. If you quote directly from someone who does, and state in crushing detail exactly what and where it came from, then that argument at least is unavailable to your critics. Someone does say it. Here he is saying it. Here’s where you can find him saying it, and saying more in a similar vein. You don’t win intellectual wars by appealing to the opposition’s sense of fair play. You win by shoving the truth under their noses in a way they can’t ignore without at least some ignominy.
And we are becoming utterly contemptuous of people who, when all of the above has been explained to them with searing eloquence, then argue about it. We are also acquiring a hearty contempt for the universities, most of whom no longer bother routinely to inculcate into their inmates this elementary scholarly procedure, upon which all other scholarly procedures depend. (Many of those who object to our footnotes complaints actually have university degrees!)
“Late 1970s”. What the fuck use is that? That’s six unnecessary hours in some damn library. That’s twenty well referenced articles about environmental scaremongering in the media that won’t even be written. Would it really have been such an effort for anti-footnote cretins to have had to drag their weary eyes past International Wildlife, “No. 189, November 1977, p. 27”, or whatever? Or to have had a little clutch of numbered small print at the end of Anderson’s piece to ignore?
The piece also includes a footnote arguing against what would now be called clickbait.
In this video, Steve Baker MP recounts how Brian introduced him to books about freedom.
Here is a collection of other places on the internet where you may find writings by Brian.
- Brian Micklethwait’s New Blog
- Contributions to Samizdata
- Podcasts with Patrick Crozier
- Old blog
- Culture blog
- Education blog
- Libertarian Alliance pamphlets
- Normblog profile