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On Boring Conformists and Right-Wing Recusants

On Boring Conformists and Right-Wing Recusants
The Backbencher (2nd November 2016)
By Keir Martland 

James Delingpole’s recent article in The Spectator about the Right’s minority-status at Cambridge is absolutely correct. Yet the Left’s worst trait is its tendency to see itself as an embattled minority when in fact leftists are the new Establishment. Since the Left is the Establishment, the Left “sets the culture” – a particularly authoritarian phrase used by the Women’s Officer at Clare (according to ‘The Tab’) when talking about compulsory sessions at the start of Fresher’s Week. Dissent from the leftist Groupthink is not punished by throwing people out of helicopters, but by ostracism and other forms of non-violent opprobrium whose aims are to shut down debate and narrow the Overton Window. (more…)

The Salisbury Review: Giving consent to compulsory thinking at Cambridge University

On Compulsory Consent Workshops at Cambridge 
By Keir Martland
The Salisbury Review

(9th October 2016)

A few days ago, I was sat down in my College’s Hall at the University of Cambridge with the rest of the first year undergraduates to be, since the Matriculation ceremony was yet to take place, being welcomed by the Master and the Senior Tutor. This was a wonderful moment. After receiving my A-Level results of 2A*s and an A, and another A* in EPQ, I had been accepted by Cambridge in August. Yet it was only then, nearly two months later, when sat in the Hall, that it finally sunk in. “Yes, I’m actually going to read History at the best university in the world,” I thought to myself. I remain grateful to the University and my College for this opportunity which I intend to grasp to the full.

I had already looked at my piece of paper detailing the sessions freshers were expected to attend. Of course, after years of state schooling, with all those letters demanding voluntary contributions, and stern teachers with their, “I would suggest you do this”, I was by now well aware what “expected to attend” meant. This was no problem at all, since, on inspection, there was nothing unreasonable about the titles of the sessions. There was a talk by the bursar, a fire safety presentation, and, among others, a “Good Relationships Workshop.” I thought nothing of this last, innocuously named session. (more…)

The Only Conference Worth Attending

The Only Conference Worth Attending: A Personal Account of the 11th Conference of the Property & Freedom Society
By Keir Martland
(10th September 2016)

In an age when most conference speeches are almost automatically uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube, why bother going to the conference in person? Surely, it is so much more enjoyable to watch the conference speeches in the comfort of your own living room from your laptop, one per night for about a week? Conferences are generally awful. The speakers can be dull. The room might be ugly. The chairs might be uncomfortable. The food – if there is any – might be inedible. There is never any entertainment. Why bother going?

This holds up pretty well for most conferences, but not for the annual conference of the Property & Freedom Society, hosted by Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Dr. Guelcin İmre Hoppe at the gorgeous Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum, Turkey. As Dr İmre Hoppe put it last year in her own speech, the PFS is the Club Med of conferences. (more…)

Take me back to the 1950s, maybe

Take me back to the 1950s, maybe 

Something myself and a friend were discussing on the afternoon of 19th July over a drink, barely surviving in the heat (which has since departed) is how we do not entirely agree either with an on-line acquaintance of ours from the Libertarian Alliance Blog or with Peter Hitchens. These two men represent two opposing sides on the debate over moral issues. Let me give you a couple of Straw Men representations of their opposing views. On the one hand, there is Ian, who believes that at the root of all our problems is a new wave of Puritanism. On the other, there is Peter Hitchens, who in many respects is a Puritan.

The debate over morality invariably leads to a further debate over reactionism versus progressivism, although, for the sake of honesty and clarity, Ian does not consider himself a progressive. But what many people do think about here is the 1950s. If you are morally conservative, then the 1950s were Good, and if you are a morally permissive “libertine”, then they were Bad. (more…)

The Club Med of Conferences

The Club Med of Libertarian Conferences
Keir Martland
14th October 2015

Earlier this year, Hans-Hermann Hoppe invited me to his annual Property and Freedom Society (PFS) conference in Bodrum, Turkey. Having never been to Turkey before, I decided I would ask a good friend and colleague from the Libertarian Alliance, Sean Gabb, if I could travel with him. He responded, “If you think you can put up with me, let’s do it.”

At the airport, Sean and I had a chat over a coffee at the Jamie Oliver café about the ageing leftists and the young and vibrant right, evidenced by – apart from my good self at the Libertarian Alliance – the new generation of writers and activists for all manner of organisations, be it Breitbart, Young Independence, or indeed the Adam Smith Institute. I wasn’t convinced, but after a rare moment of optimism from Sean, we went to the duty free to get some whisky for Professor Hoppe. (more…)