Liberty 101 - David Leyonhjelm

Liberty 101

 Can’t work out why you like what I say 50% of the time, but don’t like what I say the other 50% of the time? 

After reading this, I hope you’ll agree with me 100%.


From my speech to the National Press Club:

"If I talk about letting people decide for themselves whether to smoke tobacco, people think I am a right wing nutter. But if I say the same about marijuana, I am a left wing loony. If I suggest we let gay and lesbian people do what they want, I am a leftie, but if I support 4WDers, fishers and hunters, I am a conservative.

When you understand that issues like these are not of the left or right, but about the relationship between individuals and the state, you will understand us.”


From the Australian Financial Review:

“How can you support both marriage equality and firearm ownership?” they ask.

Or, "How can you be in favour of both drug decriminalisation and lower taxes, or assisted suicide and welfare cuts?"

Or, "How can you support removing feral pests from our national parks and yet say nothing about climate change?"

Or even, "How come you’re opposed to data retention and national security overreach, and yet support the repeal of 18C (of the Racial Discrimination Act)?"

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had to explain that classical liberalism is a philosophy concerned with the individual’s relationship to the state. This is distilled in John Stuart Mills remarkable observation: “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”.

Yet even when keeping this sentence from Mill’s On Liberty front and foremost, it’s important to remind people that it’s not possible to make the world perfectly safe. Attempts to do so often result in gross denial of personal freedom and responsibility".

After six months in the job I’ve come to realise that I am effectively starting from zero when it comes to getting people to join these dots. People intuitively support “liberty for me but not for thee”. Some go so far as to argue that anything they like should be paid for by the taxpayer, while anything they dislike should be banned or regulated to oblivion".