What's Wrong With Home Visits?

Why home educators in England and Wales might want to choose some other method of providing evidence of education to their local education authority.

Who WOULDN'T be School Phobic?

I, as an adult and a psychologist, want to say to any children out there who hate school: you are not alone. Most people hate it too, but usually they don't feel entitled to say so, and many can't bear to think about it so they hardly even know how they feel. You are not mad – you don't have a Deep Psychological Problem (though you might develop one if you stay in school against your will!); and you are not bad for wanting to live your life the way you choose, doing what you think right – that is what everyone should be doing. You are not the problem: coercion is the problem. Being forced to go to school is the problem.

Meta-discussion: an explanation

You eagerly start reading a discussion supposedly about a subject of great interest to you, only to find that instead of being about the named subject, the discussion is full of posts arguing about how to discuss, what posts should be allowed on the forum, the attributes of a particular poster, complaints about others' posts and complaints about the discussion. Your heart sinks. You search in vain for any on-topic posts, then give up and never bother returning to that forum or discussion again. That is meta-discussion, and it ruins many a good discussion. For that reason, more and more discussion forum owners are asking posters to avoid meta-discussion. This article explains why.

Adventures In Quebec City

When a friend invited me to join a group of young people travelling to Quebec City to demonstrate at the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) summit, I accepted readily. If thousands of protectionists were going to be protesting against trade, someone should be there to make the case in favour of it. I began to have doubts when these young libertarians began earnestly explaining what I'd need to know about things like: Tear gas. The risk of getting beaten up by angry socialists. How to avoid being arrested. What to expect by way of police brutality. I consider myself a fun-loving person but I'd rather get my kicks metaphorically than literally.

Tips For Tyrants

It is worth finding out who you're talking to before you launch into your arguments for liberty. When you're in a dry county in Texas, talking to a man with a gun, who disapproves of drinking, caution is advised if you are thinking of making jokes about alcohol, prohibition and speakeasies.

Appearance, Reality and Education Law

Some home educators have recently become rather worked up about the landmark case of Phillips v Brown (20 June 1980, unreported, Divisional Court). They have even considered telephoning Lord Donaldson to complain about his “bad judgment”! What is all the fuss about?

Lying About Lying

Here is an editorial I wrote in the wake of the Bill Clinton impeachment trial: Lying About Lying, published in Taking Children Seriously. It is required reading on one philosophy course – but is that a good thing or a bad thing?!

Is that a burqa on the bedroom floor?

A provocative peek at authoritarianism lurking in Libertarian homes.

Statism In Libertarian Thinking

Many libertarians describe themselves as “isolationists” or “non-interventionists”. I find this illogical as well as appalling. It is also statist, as I argue in this Libertarian Professors' list post written on October 9th, 2001.

Some Comments on John Gray's Book, Liberalisms

John Gray's Liberalisms is, in my view, a brilliant but misconceived criticism of liberalism. The major flaw of John Gray's thinking, and of this book in particular, can be seen in the very first paragraph of the preface, as you will discover if you read this article.

Taking Children Seriously & the Future of Liberty

The TCS (Taking Children Seriously) project is the construction of institutions within the family which do for the growth of knowledge there what the public institutions of capitalism, common law and so on do for the growth of wealth, science and other knowledge that involves the cooperation of strangers. As you will see, TCS is the final, most difficult, but also the most valuable, stage of the Enlightenment.

The Semblance of Consent

In the long, sad history of rulers and the ruled, consent is not something that has been particularly prized by rulers. Nearly all rulers have been tyrants, overriding the will of the people they ruled. Everyone took that for granted. For most of human history, nobody could conceive of any different way, and even in most countries today, people barely aspire to anything better. And yet before his downfall, Saddam Hussein went to the enormous trouble of organizing all his minions to claim that his rule had the consent of the governed. It is important to modern tyrants to fudge the difference between voluntary and involuntary acts. To find out more, read the article.

European Union: Liberty or Leviathan?

What is wrong with the European Union, and what can we do about it?

War, Free Trade and Liberty – Strange Bedfellows?

The specific measures being taken in the current war against terrorism are no doubt sub-optimal in many respects, and no doubt many bad mistakes are being made. But it doesn't follow from the fact that war fought by governments is inefficient and error-prone that we shouldn't be fighting the war at all. That's just like saying that because the NHS is inefficient and makes bad mistakes including medical ones, we shouldn't have a medical system at all.

The Burqa Incident

How I was expelled from the Libertarian Party convention and (allegedly) narrowly escaped spending the night in jail being interrogated by the FBI.