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  • Peter Francis Fenwick

Seminar on Libertarian Philosophy

I have developed a seminar to explain libertarian philosophy to a lay audience. The course draws on the work of Locke, Smith, Mises, Hayek, Nozick, Rothbard, et al. and themes from my book The Fragility of Freedom.

Our wonderful, free and prosperous society is being threatened by ideologies, from within and without, that compromise the reasons for its success.

If we are to succeed in our battle with competing ideologies, then we need to acquire an appreciation of the legacy of our Western Civilization and be determined to live up to its ideals.

Libertarian philosophy is based on the concept of self-ownership and the rights and responsibilities that flow from that.

Its essential elements are:

  • the rule of law;

  • the principle of private property,

  • a free enterprise economy, and

  • a culture that accepts a wide range of human rights.

In practice, this leads to

  • a society of co-operation, tolerance and mutual respect;

  • a preference for voluntary organisations; and

  • a minimal role for the state.

Wherever this ideology has been tried, mankind has flourished:

  • per capita incomes have risen multiple times;

  • longevity has increased by many years;

  • education has become universally available;

  • women have been treated equally;

  • there has been more time devoted to culture and the arts; and

  • there has been a noticeable increase in civility.

Elsewhere, throughout history, only small ruling elites led the good life; the majority led a precarious and unpleasant existence. “Nasty, brutish and short” as Hobbes famously described it.

We shall explore the impact of the welfare state and jihadist Islamism on our society and contemplate the reasons for Brexit and the Trump victory.

Each Tuesday for five weeks, commencing on 24th October, (but skipping Cup Day), I shall be presenting a seminar on Libertarian philosophy at U3A Stonnington, 578 Orrong Road, Armadale VIC 3143.

Sessions run from 10:00am until noon. If you would like to attend, call Stonnington U3A on 9500 1288.

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