Friday, July 14, 2006

Cherniak blogs the Seminar

Popular Liberal Party blogger Jason Cherniak blogs about his attendance at this year's Liberty Summer Seminar.

Having pounded the pavement in Toronto with Cherniak trying to drum up petition signatures to keep Marc Emery from being deported to the U.S., I thought he would be just the right sort of person we should be encouraging to attend the Seminar. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and, probably due only to a lack of exposure, a non-libertarian. While I think events that reinforce the importance of liberty to those who already believe in liberty are a good idea, I'm glad that, each and every year, the Seminar manages to attract a not insignificant number of people who disagree with the libertarian political philosophy.

At best, these folks will come to agree with the philosophy. At the very least they'll get a better understanding of where people like me are coming from and why folks like me believe the things we do. Not to mention the fact that the late-night campfire chats (alcohol-enriched) are made all the more interesting. Spicy!

So I emailed Cherniak and asked him if he'd like to attend the Seminar. He said he would.

In his post he writes:
"...I think it will be a good time. I might not agree with the speakers, but I certainly think it will be important to listen to what they have to say and explain in words why I disagree with them. At other times, I will just drink and be merry.

In any case, I recommend that people consider attending the Liberty Summer Seminar. It should be a great time and a great debate."
I'm certain he will have a good time, even if he doesn't agree with the libertarian political philosophy. At least not entirely. He does say this, which surprised me, as well as a number of his readers in the comments:
"As I wrote last summer, I try to ground my Liberalism in libertarian philosophy. My basic argument is that we should all be free to do whatever we want as long as we do not harm others. I believe, however, that we need a strong government to stop the strong from taking advantage of the weak. Otherwise the lives of those who are not able to take advantage of others will be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"."

Cherniak grounding his Liberalism in libertarianism? I guess there is reason to believe this, given his stance on things like marijuana. I doubt that there exist better or stronger arguments for the legalization of marijuana than the arguments from individual liberty and self-direction. At any rate, I hope I can persuade him to stop thinking that we "need" a strong government to protect the weak. We need no such thing. Especially since "the strong" are the sorts of people who take advantage of the existence of institutions like governments precisely in order to take advantage of "the weak." But that's a conversation to be had over a pint or two of Liberty Ale, with a fire blazing, surrounded by trees and, as it turns out, a meteor shower.

Want in on the conversation? Register for the Seminar. Whether you're a libertarian, a Liberal, an NDP'er, a non-partisan lefty, righty, communitarian or Rawlsian liberal, the Liberty Summer Seminar is always a good time. Promise.

(Meanwhile, from a little while back now, Robyn posted an ad and blogged about the Seminar as well. Thanks to you, too, Robyn!)


Blogger Madame Checkit said...

I like the Hobbes quote, but what an odd choice of words to defend big government! I don't believe Hobbes advocated government for the sake of protecting the weak from the strong. I always considered it to be a function to keep everyone, "strong" or "weak" from trying to kill everyone else and grab their stuff.
A government with the primary goals of enforcing consensual agreements, settling disputes, ensuring individual rights...y'know, all that libertarian jazz.

12:26 p.m.  
Blogger David R. Amos said...

Perhaps somebody should call me sometime 506 434 1379

FEDERAL EXPRESS February 7, 2006

Senator Arlen Specter
United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Specter:

I have been asked to forward the enclosed tapes to you from a man named, David Amos, a Canadian citizen, in connection with the matters raised in the attached letter. Mr. Amos has represented to me that these are illegal FBI wire tap tapes. I believe Mr. Amos has been in contact with you about this previously.

Very truly yours,
Barry A. Bachrach
Direct telephone: (508) 926-3403
Direct facsimile: (508) 929-3003

3:51 p.m.  

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