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Students for liberty Ireland

By Joe Gahan (ESFL Local Coordinator, Maynooth University)

“I have learned with great sadness of the death of Fidel Castro, founder of modern Cuba, and its Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, as well as its President from 1976 to 2008.” So began an t-Uachtarán’s (President of Ireland) statement upon the recent death of Fidel Castro. It was to my own great disappointment to learn that my 75-year-old head of state had not outgrown his Che shirt phase.

Glossing over the many murderous achievements of the late, great Comandante, my president chose instead to focus on his “political and social change to his country”, Cuba’s “Unique development path”, and how remarkable it was that an undemocratic dictator for life “became one of the longest serving Heads of State in the world”. In a field with such competition, one must marvel at the feat.

Despite promises of a democratic government after the Cuban revolution, Castro declared his Cuba a Marxist-Leninist state in 1961. His own sister, Juana, had the following to say about her brother’s regime:

The communist regime has forced on the Cuban people the lowest standard of living ever observed in Cuba. Fidel never tired of lying to the Cuban peasants, to the Cuban workers, by making false promises to them. He promised the moon to everyone and he did not keep any of the promises he had made.”

Perhaps the “unique development path” Cuba took was into an economic, civil and social gutter?

The harsh reality of the state of Cuba’s health care and economy

Higgins goes on to praise the “Health system that is one the most admired in the world”. Certain paraded figures would seem to support this, with Cuba having 6 deaths under age 5 per 1,000 live births compared to 8 in the USA, according to the World health organisation. Quite unsurprising in a country where it is common practice for doctors to pressure women with foetal abnormalities into abortion. Being ranked 31st in the world for least child mortality is certainly commendable, but not so much in the context of being 13th in 1954.

Higgins comes from a party that prides itself on being pro-choice.

His belief at face-value that “Cuba achieved 100% literacy many years ago”, while much paraded by sympathizers of the Cuban Revolution, are similarly dubious.

Figures coming from the World Bank indicate that Cuba, with a GDP Per Capita of 6,790 USD, beats 14 Caribbean and South American countries and is beaten by 19 others of those who report data. Regarding GDP Growth since 1961, Cuba clocks in at an average 3.187% per year, beating 13 nations and being beaten by 20 others.

Compared to Chile, which was victim of a similarly violent and undemocratic coup under the free-market leaning General Pinochet in 1973, claims of Cuba’s growth pale, with Chile having a GDP Per Capita of 15,765 USD, and an average economic growth rate per year of 4.257%. An T-uachtarain’s comments on Cuba’s “similar” growth rates are simply wrong, and his words on inequality and poverty are laughable in a country with an economy so badly functioning that a taxi driver earns over 30 times more than a doctor, the state-mandated wages are inadequate to live on and the dictator’s funeral car breaks down during the procession.

Progressive sympathy for a late dictator

Higgins mentions in a brief sentence that some of the social, political and economic reforms of Cuba came “At the price of a restriction of civil society” which is a grave understatement. The “Price” he mentions includes detaining LGBT Cubans in Labour Camps where prisoners underwent beating, dietary experiments, and were forced to survive in unsanitary conditions. All non-state media is banned and the rest heavily censored, with outside media remaining illegal. Most ironically, non state-mandated trade unions are banned, and Castro still, without fail, receives the highest praises of those who champion the trade union movement. The Cuba Archive Project estimates that around 100,000 people have died as a direct result of Castro’s regime, including forced labour and extrajudicial killings. It’s little wonder that over a million Cubans have fled since Castro came to power.

Higgins comments come in a wave of sympathy for the late dictator from progressive leaders around the world. It’s a telling sign of the state of politics that praising brutality is statesmanship, and most of all, it indicates a need for the western world to elect leaders who focus less on protecting their dying posterchild and more on taking human life and freedom seriously.


Joe Gahan is an ESFL Local Coordinator from Wexford, Ireland. He studies Economics and Business at Maynooth University. 

Original Source – http://esfliberty.org/blog/2016/12/18/president-higgins-castro-statement-democratic-lefts-adoration-dictator/

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ESFL Regional Conference November 26th

On November 26th, Trinity College will host Ireland and United Kingdom’s European Students For Liberty Regional Conference. It is the first event of it’s kind in Ireland and we are very excited.

Among those lined up to speak at the event are:

  • Professor Gerard Casey (Professor/Philosopher)
  • Sam Bowman (Adam Smith Institute)
  • Stephen Davies (Institute of Economic Affairs)
  • Eamon Delaney (Hibernia Forum)
  • Christian Michel (Economist)
  • Brian Ó Caithnia (Austrian Economist)
  • Julio Alejandro (ESFL & Humanitarian Blockchain)
  • John Lalor (Hibernia Forum)
  • Kevin Flanagan (ESFL & Brehon Law Academy)
  • Jaspreet Singh (Fintech Industry)

European Students For Liberty invite you to participate in this first Regional Conference ever held in Dublin, Ireland!

“Ireland 2016: A New Era for Liberty?”

The conference is a great opportunity to meet like-minded students and hear interesting speakers from all around the world. Attendees will not only listen but explore and participate in various discussions.

Register here: http://www.esflconferences.org/dublin

Your conference registration includes lunch and snacks, an evening social, and lots of free books and goodies. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with pro-liberty students and advocates from all over Europe!

Registration is free but necessary to secure your place.

The conference will be co-hosted by local group of Students For Liberty Ireland

We hope to see many of you there!


Automate Our Way to Small Government


Automate Our Way to Small Government

By Idiocraties

There has been a public awareness in recent years about the coming arrival of driverless vehicles. This awareness was quickly inserted into the  Luas strike, with calls for automation there. A local politician received heat for suggesting that plans should be made to make  all trams driverless. Most people can accept that automation is coming, and transport unions are balancing on a thin beam  as more demands only hastens the inevitable disruption.  I suspect the unions themselves are aware of this.

sdc installed base

Driverless Car Adoption. source

The obvious outfall of this is that when driverless cars become normal, and can be summoned via your smartphone under an “Uber” type service, suddenly every man woman and child in the country has access to transport , essentially being chauffeured around by a robot at a low cost, and since most of the technology involved in driverless cars follows a Moore’s law type trend, we can expect that these costs will rapidly decrease.

What happens then to the need for the government to provide the social good of public transport?  Well, at first nothing . Bureaucracies respond slowly or not at all to change, so business will continue as usual. The same density of buses trains and trams will ply the the nations roads and tracks . However the inevitable decline in passenger numbers as more and more enjoy the convenience of of a self driving car will force the closure of some bus routes, consolidation of others and mothballing of all but the most travelled. The budgetary savings in these closures will be attractive to politicians to buy votes elsewhere.  Additionally, the remaining profitable routes along densely populated commuting corridors will themselves be automated, removing the driver and his associated costs and risks  from the public purse.

Slowly but surely the need for public transport will atrophy, yet (privately supplied) transport will be more abundant and affordable for all. This is the essence of technology, more output for less input.  Although bad for those employed in the transport sector, it will be a great benefit to the entire population who will be able to transport themselves at minimal cost, without the capital outlay of a car or the stress of learning to drive.  Within 20 years the government can nearly entirely exit the transportation business,leaving the business of mass transit to the private sector and the non profitable routes to be served by driverless cars.  Talk of increasing subvention or making “public transport pay” will become a thing of the past.

This will be unpopular with transport workers unions, with anyone employed in the Department of transport, in the Road Safety Authority and several other areas. Expect to see obstructionism from any of these quarters citing public safety, environmental concerns , social justice (even though autonomous cars are much more democratic in their utility than public transport) and job protection. This will delay the saturation of autonomous vehicles in the economy by several years, but the result is inevitable.

A secondary benefit of driverless cars will be their increased safety, thereby reducing accident and emergency bills in hospitals, police time involved in traffic control and crash investigation and making issues such as driver awareness and sobriety irrelevant. The entire apparatus of road safety can be drastically reduced in a linear trend with driverless car adoption in society. No doubt, incumbent disruptees will manufacture issues which will retain their services for a while longer, however the disruption is unavoidable and their departments will eventually be downsized into irrelevancy

The state will be no longer be needed to provide transport, and what little it does will be seen as inefficient and backward. Seeing as the taxpayer gives a subvention to the CIE group in general of about €230m a year, and this only for a bus service, the removal of the State from the transport system can only be a good thing for the pockets of its citizens. It will be a bad thing for drivers who have the means to hold a city to ransom with demands for more pay, for unproductive public sector employees and protection seeking industries (such as taxis) who have not innovated.

This is one of many ways by which near future technology will allow for smaller government by producing abundance in the economy.


Published with authors approval from https://idiocraties.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/automate-our-way-to-small-government/



Confused Priorities

irish army

By Idiocraties

It seems the Irish Army are not too happy with the current situation. Members are leaving in droves with the low pay and high commuting cost. I don’t have huge sympathy on that point, as presumably they did, or should have, known the basic finances of taking any job before they signed the contract.

But its also a level of economic ignorance by the state to think it is possible to pay a low wage for the modestly-hard-to-hard job of soldiering, and not  have your employees poached away by more lucrative offers in the economy. When your soldiers are lured away by wages available in Spar, Centra or, god forbid, the equally low payed and seat of the pants job of being a recently attested Guard, you can bet pounds to pennies that the bean counters in the whatever howling wilderness of a sub-sub -subsection of that department that calculates army wages and allowances has been asleep at the wheel.

The real tragedy of this of course is even for hardened Libertarians, and all breeds of conservative – this is the thing the State is supposed to do, and generally can do well. Being the monopoly on force, protecting the realm, being an aid the the civil power, these things are all encompassed within the bailiwick of the Libertarian view, yet, for some reason the State cant even do that right.

In a way we have the best and worst of the Libertarian ideal State tied up in this one issue  – a State that really is not too interested in developing an overweening forceful apparatus of oppression or interference, but on the other hand still loves taxing the population until they squeak,  and loves meddling in the things the State should stay out of.

This is modern day Ireland. A State that is deeply worried about how to fix Irish obesity (answer: another tax) and dribbles on about equality, the proportions of women in (X sector),  or which ever shibboleth is en vogue in this [current year][current month]  and throws money to the tune of 19 billion a year at social protection, a sum that everyone not in power  can agree is far too low, but isn’t interested in doing its core duties.

The job of the state is not to make us healthier, thinner, happier, more or less equal in the politically correct proportions or to alter the human condition via the lovingly applied incentives of taxation or welfare. It does not do these things well, and in the long run, will make us worse off.  What galls me is that is does not even seem to be on the table for the  national debate as to what the State should be doing or not doing.  It’s simple GIMMEDAT politics or #FEELS policies all the way down

Never mind about building  the roads, who will fight the zombie apocalpyse?


Published with permission by the author from https://idiocraties.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/26/



By John Lalor (Hibernia Forum)

Last year, Michele Hanson wrote in the Guardian of her disdain for how the Zuckerbergs dared give away 99% of their Facebook shares.  How they wrote a “sloppy” letter to their daughter.  “Wasn’t that a bit show-offy?” Hanson sneered.  “Isn’t $45bn rather too much for one family to have in the first place?”

I was reminded of this spiteful scribbler when I heard a columnist from the New York Times being interviewed the other day on The Last Word about billionaires and charity.  She discussed “The Giving Pledge,” a project to get rich people to give the vast majority of their money away.

OK, let’s leave aside the rather Marxist undercurrent in redistributive moral crusades like this.  And, let’s leave aside ugly news stories about corrupt charities – like World Vision money falling into the hands of Hamas, and the appallingly cynical behaviour of Clinton Foundation ancillaries in Haiti.  Let’s assume charity, by and large, does good.

The New York Times columnist lamented the likes of Dale Carnegie, putting his name on all sorts of philanthropic projects.  Imagine – the avarice and arrogance of deciding gigantic sums of money for the use of libraries for the public (he built over 2,500 of them) and academic funds for the poor, and wanting your name above the door.  She then piled on to the “Robber Barons” – those people, again, who just made too much money.  (I strongly recommend Burton Folsom’s The Myth of the Robber Barons for an accurate history of these great industrialists.)

The Left has always had an uncomfortable relationship with charity.  Indeed, researchers such as Charles Murray show that conservatives are more giving than liberals, and the religious are more giving than the secular.  (How this is even news is beyond me.)

Perhaps worse still, the giving of the Zuckerbergs and Co. reduces the power of the state.  Richard Boyd Barrett.  Brid Smith.  Paul Murphy.  These people do not create a penny.  They depend on private enterprise for their income – which they employ in overtly anti-capitalist ways.  (I hope the irony isn’t lost on you.)  What charity does is circumvent the state, and enable the donor to give directly to those causes she herself deems morally worthy.

The free market has always gone hand in hand with charity.  Not everyone can create net wealth; not everyone is physically or intellectually capable of sustaining themselves and their needs.  But, in the 21st Century, this is considered by many to be up there with sending children up chimneys.  Why?

A common refrain is, “what, and make them depend on charity?”  I always had a problem with that.  What’s wrong with charity?  What – is dependence on money gotten by force preferable?  What’s wrong with the recipient having a direct line of sight to the people who donate?  Again, a nauseating idea to the Left.

I wrote recently that the state squeezes low-skilled males out; it offers itself as a wealthy husband to mothers.  The same can be said for charity.  Charitable giving as a proportion of income in Britain, for example, is about 10% what it was in the late 19th Century.  That said, tax is vastly higher than it was back then.  In short, voluntary moral behaviour has been squeezed out by involuntary state mandate.  Feeling good about yourself?

In charity, it is the relationship between the donor and the recipient that is vital.  It offers responsibility, dignity and reciprocity.  It treats recipients like adults, not children receiving pocket money, suspended in perpetuity of cruel, disinterested dependence.  It empowers the donor, as – unlike through taxation – they choose to whom they give.  Further, unlike through taxation, it tends to give the donor a healthy dose of reality as to where the money goes, and to whom.  And charity if flexible: today’s recipients can be tomorrow’s donors.  I would argue that those in receipt of charity have a greater likelihood of giving to others in time, than those dependent on welfare have of creating wealth and contributing substantially to Revenue receipts.

So, we’re left with two options: either those in need receive it through force (taxation), or through volition (charity).  There is no significant middle-ground, as the state continues to gobble up more and more of our income.

We need to engage in the argument about both wealth creation and charity.  The two are inextricably linked.  Wealth is not zero-sum: you do not accumulate wealth at the expense of another.  Equally moral, you cannot give to charity that which you do not have.  While the state is robbing from your children and grandchildren to pay today’s welfare bills, charity comes from earned wealth – post-tax, at that.

I for one am glad the Dale Carnegies of this world placed his name above the doors of his libraries.  I’m envious of those whose names adorn hospital wings, and those who can afford Platinum chairs on charity boards.  Conversely, if the Left is not destroying wealth, it’s spitefully attacking the reputations of those who have accumulated it through the free market.  And, in a final insult, it lambasts those wealthy people who deign to give away the vast majority of their wealth, because they have the temerity to want people to know about it.  Oh – the Zuckerbergs are indeed evil creatures.


Join our Facebook group and give us your opinion on these matters and your views – https://www.facebook.com/groups/libertyireland



Every Law Passed Violates Somebody’s Rights


Government implements changes with the intention of doing good but it always results in harmful consequences for someone.

Take for example the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. Pubs, which are already struggling under the burden of exceptionally high taxes for alcohol, lose a valuable day of business for no good reason. Why should the religious preferences of the majority infringe on the ability of the minority to earn a living?

The smoking ban is another example of the government doing harm to a minority for “The Greater Good”. On face value the ban appears to be beneficial. However it is more menacing than it seems. This legislation prevents businesses from providing a service people want.

The government is sticking its nose in places it does not belong; it has no place telling you what time and what day you can buy alcohol, and it has no say in whether you can open a business you can smoke in. These are only two examples of the government meddling in people’s lives for no good reason, however there are thousands of more examples if you look hard enough.

Whenever you hear the government announce a new piece of legislation that is for the “benefit of everyone” think about who is definitely not benefiting from it. I guarantee there is at least one person who the government is infringing on every time.


Rob from Libertarian Ireland and Kev from Students for Liberty Ireland go into town to ask people what their opinions are about the drinking ban that’s on Good Friday.


What is Libertarianism?


A couple of members of the liberty community and European Students For Liberty have a round table about their thoughts on libertarianism and what it means to them.