Dr Madsen Pirie is President of the Adam Smith Institute. He subscribes to a broadly empirical and libertarian philosophy and values the insights of the Austrian School of Economics. He has written books on logic, philosophy, economics, and children's science fiction. His own website is at www.madsen-pirie.com
6. The ASI supports the decriminalization of narcotics. The Left should be pleased that the ASI has many times called for the decriminalization of drugs and for drug-addiction to be treated as a medical rather than a criminal problem.
The left-wing commentariat seems to be using the argumentum ad nauseam against the Thatcher record. This consists of repeating an allegation, no matter how much evidence is produced against it, or how many times it has been shown to be false. In City AM Allister Heath dealt with some of these assertions, but that has not stopped the anti-Thatcher brigade from repeating them. Here are ten claims they make which are not supported by the facts.
On Tuesday, Madsen took part in an Intelligence Squared debate at the Royal Geographical Society on the motion that "Karl Marx was right: capitalism post-2008 is falling apart under the weight of it own contradictions." Speaking in favour of the motion were Tristram Hunt MP, Robin Blackburn and Frank Furedi, while against it were George Magnus, Madsen Pirie and Judith Shapiro. The vote taken before the start of the debate saw the audience roughly equally divided between those in favour, those against, and those undecided. The vote after the debate saw a huge majority
As part of our continuing series, Madsen Pirie discusses some common ground between libertarians and the left.
4. The ASI backs the cause of personal liberties. The Left should welcome the fact that the ASI is firmly libertarian in its outlook, taking the side of those who express a right of dissent, or who choose to follow alternative or minority lifestyles.
If anyone had inspected the economic statistics for the UK in 1979 with the name of the country concealed, looking at growth rate, annual rate of inflation, output per head, days lost through strikes, and so on, they would have supposed they were looking at a third world country. Britain was "the sick man of Europe," left behind since World War II and destined, it seemed, to fall further behind.
Every child learns at some stage that a good way to divert blame is to point the finger at someone else. Now the politicians on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards have discovered the trick. They hope that as the lynch mob pursues the HBOS trio of Sir James Crosby, Lord Stevenson and Andy Hornby, the role played by politicians in the financial crisis will be quietly overlooked.
3. The ASI enthusiastically supports giving goods from developing countries unrestricted access to developed world markets. The Left should appreciate our stance in firmly and publicly supporting the one thing that can make people in poorer countries wealthier.