Tuesday, 31 July 2007

My Speech at the Libz Conference '07

For those of you unable to have made it to the Libertarianz Conference in Wellington a few days, ago, the following is the speech I made to the party on Saturday:

Speech for Libz Conference

Winston Churchill, the great WWII leader, once said “a man who isn’t a liberal under 30 has no heart and a man who isn’t a conservative over 30 has no brains”. Lets just leave it as a good thing he didn’t say anything about Libertarianism. Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you don't know me already, I am Callum McPetrie, New Zealand’s Youngest Libertarian.

My introduction to Libertarianism is a wee bit of a story; I’d been interested in politics for a long time, since about the 2002 election. Much of that was lost on me afterwards, but went through a renaissance in 2004. Absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary until one event in 2005 that changed my outlook on the world permanently: I was introduced to the Libertarianz.

I read the opening on the Libertarianz website, and it was okay; the ideas were some of the better ones I’d heard. Then, I took the ever-popular World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which announced my Libertarian leanings to me. So I got more and more into Libertarianism. I explored the concepts and philosophy. I learnt about Objectivism, Ayn Rand, Capitalism, the works. The rest is history.

Chairman Mao, the worst of the worst in dictators of the 20th Century, said the political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. While in semi-free New Zealand we have been able to avoid that, I am concerned that we are heading towards the statism which has proven so fatal in other parts of the world and treats human beings as mere scum, instead of giving them the freedoms that have improved quality of life everywhere.

A main attraction of Libertarianism to young people, and certainly to me, is that the movement presents itself as a viable and rational alternative to current politics. It’s not like the “ban everything but marijuana, dude” Greens or the “holier than thou” United Future. Libertarians present a perspective on issues that is unique, and not usually displayed in the media for fears of offending the Left (despite the unsurprising fact that this is done everything else). Youths are also attracted to Libertarianism by the fact that it encourages free thinking and free exchange of ideas, while of course not going overboard, and treats people as responsible.

Anyway, back onto the events that eventually got me onto this stage. I contacted the Libertarianz, first with questions, as Susan Ryder and Julian Pistorius would remember. A few months went, and I got more and more involved. I started to go to Wellington Libertarianz meetings, and in December of last year I started up my “Libertarian Front” blog. Although it hasn’t been having the viewership numbers I’d like, hopefully the winds will soon change.

A more intellectual attraction of Libertarian, more so here in New Zealand than elsewhere, is the “rational revolution” philosophy that can be seen throughout Ayn Rand’s books. As Lindsay Perigo said, “if there is to be a revolution, it has to be inside people’s heads”. Indeed, the “Libertarian Revolution will not be as much a real revolution as it will be a revolution in thinking and philosophy in general towards rational individualist ideals as opposed to irrational collectivist ones.

The last few months have been going well for me in the Libertarian world. I recently joined SOLO, I am the new SOLO Youth Coordinator, and am working on a Podcast with Rick Giles in Canada (or America Junior, as Homer Simpson knows it). I submitted an essay on taxes to the ACT on Campus High School Essay Competition, and won a copy of Richard Prebble’s book, “I’ve Been Thinking”. It doesn’t compare to the great Libertarian and Objectivist literature, but at least it’s better than winning the Communist Manifesto. I plan to enter the Essay Competition next year.

I’ve also read increasingly more about history and other philosophies. I’ve known a good deal of history for a long time, but most of that was 20th Century history, and now I know a lot more about a much wider range of history.

In the future, I plan to continue my work on SOLO and with the Libertarianz and expand into new areas, like perhaps writing for the Free Radical. [PC was shaking his head when I said that].

The future of Libertarianism depends on how well it is marketed towards the next generation and the “movers and shakers” of tomorrow, and that’s why it is important to appeal to people now, before their minds are permanently made up. As I’ve stressed here, the best way to go about this is to present the philosophy as a proper, rational alternative to the status quo. As history shows, philosophies that do do this can be incredibly successful, especially in the statist hellhole New Zealand is heading towards. Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks for listening to my speech today, and I hope you enjoyed it!


Rick said...

When you think about it, all political power really does come from a gun. I think Ayn Rand said so too.

Great going CMc.
I reckon we can take bits of that and put them right into our podcast.

Watch your back, Cresswell!

Callum said...

Thanks Rick. :-) Hopefully, we shall see that speech appear in the next TFR, coming out in September.

Sus said...

Callum, well done. You continue to impress me and I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it last wknd.

Would love to meet you and your parents sometime .. and in the meantime, keep writing! :)

Sus said...

And following on from Rick's comment (from Rand) is this, from HL Mencken:

'All government, of course, is against liberty.'

DenMT said...

I personally sit very far away from most libertarian viewpoints (being an avowed Greens voter) but it is pretty clear from your speech and a lot of what you have on your blog that you are an articulate smart cookie, Callum.

Very impressive for someone of such a young age, and I'm sure you'll go far.


Callum said...

Thanks for the compliment, DenMT.

So, how did you become a Greens voter? (I won't criticize you for it)