Welcome to the Brian Micklethwait Archive. We have started to add writings to this site. For progress on this see the news section.

  • Do not bully the reader with nags to the effect that he is either a libertarian of exactly our type or a worm. Distinguish between telling him what libertarians think and telling him that he also should think that.

    Preaching to The Unconverted
    1982
  • No matter how “extreme” is the opinion I may read in a pamphlet or magazine, I am never, so to speak, at its mercy. I can stop reading it at any moment, and so in the meantime I need not feel threatened or even discomforted by it.

    How to Win the Libertarian Argument
    1990
  • It was the kind of situation that causes left of centre economists to call for state intervention to solve the problem of the “prisoner’s dilemma”, the dilemma being that whoever makes the first move will be on his own, hoping for the cooperation of others but overwhelmingly liable not to get it. Public opinion in the MacDonald’s agreed unanimously with the economists.

    Those Who Can Do
    1996
  • But suppose that The Arts really were “essential”. Suppose people really did shrivel up and die if forced to pass three entire days without once looking at an oil painting. This is no argument for government spending on oil paintings. Food really is rather important, but for that very reason the more completely the government keeps out of the food business the better for all concerned.

    Against Art Subsidies
    1983
  • The absolute best way to provide anything is for fat, rich, vulgar, Rolls-Royce flaunting (cigar smoking) capitalists all competing with each other like dancing dervishes to be in charge of the entire business, and for the government to get clean out of it.

    Why the Government Should Stop Harassing the Tobacco Trade
    1984

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Preaching to the Unconverted

We are adding more pamphlets. Political Notes 8: Preaching to the Unconverted attempts to recruit more writers for Political Notes.

It is perhaps mainly of interest as a historical insight into Libertarian Alliance publications in the early 1980s. It does also recomend learning about libertarianism by reading The Machinery Of Freedom: Guide To A Radical Capitalism, by David Friedman, which remains good advice, and contains other still-relevant advice:

However, do not bully the reader with nags to the effect that he is either a libertarian of exactly our type or a worm. Distinguish between telling him what libertarians think and telling him that he also should think that. The “libertarians believe” (“socialists reject”, “Christians proclaim” etc.) technique is a good one, because it lets the reader stand outside the debate, while still learning what it consists of. He can take sides if he wants to, but need not. Remember, ideas are often spread by those who profoundly disagree with them, but who understand what they are and describe them accurately to others.

Highlight

In this video, Steve Baker MP recounts how Brian introduced him to books about freedom.

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