A cartoon from the era; by Mitchell.
A facebook posting by Benjamin Marks gave the alert that there were columns from some of the historical figures of the libertarian movement here from way back when. References to John Singleton were the big draw as he was probably one of the greatest original thinkers we had.
Of real interest though was a policy speech by Dr John Whiting for the Workers Party. The WP was the original libertarian party in Australia until owing to an internal dispute most members left and formed the Progress Party, which achieved fairly good results, with voting percentages in the double figures on many occasions.
Those who read Atlas Shrugged are often struck by the fact that the dystopian world described has remarkable similarities to today. Probably back when it was written, few really thought that it could happen.
The irony is that few people today seem to understand the situation described by Whiting over thirty years ago, is still happening today in government. People still see the political spectrum as Labor – socialist, Liberal – something different. The fact is that they are pretty much the same as Whiting described here:
As far as the majority of Australians were concerned the only way of stopping and reversing the actions of these dangerous men and women was to throw them out of office at the first opportunity and replace them by other men and women who claimed to be diametrically opposed to the bankrupt socialist philosophy of the A.L.P.
However, what most people did not know is that the hierarchies of the Liberal Party and the National Country Party had gone to considerable lengths, over the years, to cultivate the myth that their respective Parties were violently opposed to socialism and were the great champions of free enterprise and individual liberty. This myth was so deeply ingrained into people’s minds that nine out of ten Liberal and National Country Party voters were convinced that their Parties were philosophically about as far away from socialism as one could possibly get.
Early in 1975, however, the founders of the Workers Party together with the first members and supporters of the Party saw through this myth. As a group they were the only people in Australia who possessed the clarity of thought and intellectual honesty to recognise that the Liberal and National Country Parties were not an opposition to socialism at all. In fact, rather than oppose socialism, they actually accepted most of the premises upon which socialist ideology was built.
These Parties accepted the altruist philosophy. They accepted the Welfare State ideology. They accepted the concept that governments should be our masters and not our servants. They accepted — in fact, they actively promoted — the idea of an all-powerful central bank — the Reserve Bank of Australia. They accepted inflation as an economic weapon. They accepted crippling progressive taxation. They accepted the iniquitous death duties and gift duties. They showed a profound disregard for the sanctity of private property. In fact, believe it or not, they actively supported in toto or in part six out of ten proposal put forward by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto.
These were the men and women of the Liberal and National Country Parties who had the effrontery to set themselves up before the gullible public as the arch-opponents of socialism and the champions of free-enterprise and individual liberty.