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Freedom Forum

I spoke at two sessions of the Liberty league’s Freedom Forum in Newcastle at the beginning on the month.  It was a hugely successful weekend, with 120 students from all over the UK attending sessions with a libertarian and free market theme to them.

I spoke first on how to put across the central ideas of Austrian Economics to make them seem like simple common sense, drawing heavily on my “Economics is Fun” series of videos.  In my other session I explored two different routes of libertarian ideas.  One is the deductive school which derives the principles of liberty from what are claimed to be undeniable premises.  This is the school of von Mises, Rothbard and Ayn Rand, and draws on a style of reasoning used by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.  The other is the empirical school which finds that societies which have stressed individual liberty and property rights have been better in practice at securing the general benefit of their members.  This school includes J S Mill and Friedrich Hayek, and uses a style of reasoning employed by David Hume and perhaps John Locke.

There was much discussion afterwards of the relative merits of liberty, which I favour, versus equality, which I rate less worthwhile than liberty and opportunity.  It is interesting to see how libertarian ideas are becoming ever more widespread among young people.  It is a phenomenon so pronounced that it is bound to attract national attention fairly soon.

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