by Benjamin Marks, editor-in-chief

It was great to see Neville Kennard’s comment on the lack of radicalism and success of think tanks featured in the latest IPA Review, complete with a distinguished response from Senator Cory Bernardi. Without wanting to appear too demanding or ungrateful, I found Bernardi’s response insincere and unconvincing.

Senator Bernardi offers the following vague criticism of Kennard’s anarchocapitalism: “[W]hile most of us want the maximum possible level of freedom, there must always be constraints on unfettered freedom as part of living in a civil society.” Does Bernardi honestly intend with that comment to convince Kennard he is wrong? What is the motive of such a trite I-will-not-engage-but-will-make-my-objection-known comment? Imagine if I were to respond to Bernardi’s sentence with my own: “In a civil society there must always be freedom to do whatever you want with what is justly yours, provided you don’t violate the right of others to do the same.” It is a debate where you don’t go past introducing yourself: a duel without a showdown, a nodding and shaking of heads, a whistling and muttering, a yak and a nay. Kennard’s attempt to debate remains unrequited and unconsummated. He has been left at the altar of government sacrifice. He has been stood up, left hanging and given the tax bill. How about defining terms like “unfettered”, “freedom”, “government”, “liberty” and “self-ownership”?

Bernardi’s comment implies that Kennard’s philosophy has failed to address whether people have the right to murder and to defend themselves from murder (what else could Bernardi’s use of “unfettered freedom” be meant to mean?). This shows lack of sincerity in dealing with Kennard’s criticism. At the end of the unabridged version of his essay (available here), Kennard provides recommended reading, which accessibly explain anarchocapitalism. Furthermore, I assume Bernardi was informed about Kennard’s association with, yet despite our ridiculously prominent statements of anarchocapitalist reasoning on the middle and right columns of every page, Bernardi fails to engage with it at all.

As for the fact that think tanks have had success in getting attention for free-market ideas and even acceptance for them. I concede the point, as I make clear here. But everyone will admit that the success the IPA has had is insufficient to make their strategies and the strength of their reasoning immune from debate and beyond reproach. And debate over strategy and free-market principles is precisely what Kennard’s article and itself is trying to bring about. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the IPA would respond to Kennard’s anarchocapitalism with one trite statement of disagreement rather than criticism, and respond to his criticism of their success with a single case study.

Given the fact that Kennard has for over 30 years contributed a bit more than most to free-market think tanks in Australia, perhaps an attempt to engage with his anarchocapitalism and his criticism of the lack of principles, lack of radicalism (even within classical liberalism) and lack of non-utilitarian reasoning in espousing free-markets is in order. You have successfully communicated that you disagree with Kennard’s criticism. We would now like you to explain why you disagree.

Lastly, please read my clear list of criticisms here, for a fuller explanation of where disagrees with the IPA.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Acquiescence
  2. Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians
  3. Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
  4. Government Schools Teach Fascism Perfectly
  5. Deport Government to Solve Immigration Problem
  6. The Drugs Problem Problem
  7. Self-Defeating Campaigning
  8. Gittinomics: Economics for Gits
  9. Exclusive Ross Gittins Interview on The Happy Economist
  10. Population Puzzle Solved
  11. An Open Letter to the CIS
  12. Principled Foreign Policy Options: Reinvade or Shut Up and Get Out
  13. WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Political Corruption Exposed!
  14. Feedback please: Is this worth doing?
  15. CIS and IPA Defend State Schooling
  16. A Thorough Review Without Spoilers of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  17. Dead Reckoning and Government: A Proposal for Electoral Reform
  18. Quadrant Defends State Schooling
  19. The MPS 2010 Consensus
  20. Slogans for Property Rights Funeral
  21. Government is Impossible: Introduction
  22. Government is Criminal: Part 1
  23. Exclusive John Howard Interview on Lazarus Rising
  24. Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
  25. Earn $$$$$ by Justifying Government Against Anarchocapitalism: Survey
  26. Statism is Secrecy: WikiLeaks vs
  27. One question the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Greens, the CIS, the IPA, Ross Gittins, Ross Garnaut, Ken Henry, Gerard Henderson, John Quiggin, Clive Hamilton, Tim Flannery, Catallaxy Files, Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Phillip Adams, Robert Manne, Michael Stutchbury, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Dick Smith are scared to answer
  28. Libertarian Philanthropists Should Exploit Tax Evasion Convictions
  29. Ronald Kitching Obituary
  30. The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
  31. Libertarianism in a 300-word rant
  32. in the news again
  33. Libertarianism In An Executive Summary
  34. The Banking Bubble Blow-by-Blow
  35. WARNING: Libertarianism Is NOT ...
  36. Would Anything Possibly Convince You that You Are Living Under a Protection Racket?
  37. An Open Letter to Dick Smith
  38. at 42
  39. "My boyfriend calls himself a Marxist and votes Labor, what should I do?"
  40. "He says if I leave him due to politics, I should leave the country too."
  41. No Booboisie at Gülçin’s Galt’s Gulch
  42. "Hey, Mr Anarchocapitalist, show me a society without government"
  43. The Three Epoch-Making Events of the Modern Libertarian Movement
  44. Government is Criminal: Part 2 - Methodological Individualism
  45. Government is Criminal: Part 3 - Subjective Utility
  46. Government is Criminal: Part 4 - Praxeological Synonyms
  47. Government is in a State of Anarchy
  48. Limited Government is Absolute Government
  49. Why the 2012 double Nobel laureate is coming to Sydney
  50. Exclusive Oliver Marc Hartwich Interview on Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  51. A Critique of the Opening Two Sentences of the "About CIS" Page on The Centre for Independent Studies' Website,
  52. An invitation for ANDEV members to the Mises Seminar
  53. Sell the ABC to Rupert Murdoch: Lid Blown on ABC Funding Disgrace!
  54., The Centre for Independent Studies new blog
  55. The Unconstitutionality of Government in Australia (demonstrated in under 300 words)
  56. The Best Libertarian Film Is ...
  57. Launch Southeast Asian Military Operations to Free Australian Drug Dealers and Consumers
  58. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  59. Hoppe's Inarticulate Australian Critics: The Hon Dr Peter Phelps, Dr Steven Kates and James Paterson
  60. Vice Magazine Westralian Secession Interview
  61. Sideshow to Dr Steven Kates' criticism of the Mises Seminar: Davidson vs Hoppe on Adam Smith
  62. The Best Australian Think Tank Is ...
  63. Announcing a new magazine to rival Time and The Economist
  64. The exciting new Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
  65. Neville Kennard Obituary
  66. Contrarian Conformism
  67. An invitation for Dick Smith, the IPA and other Walter Block fans to the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar
  68. Westralian mining legend Ron Manners of Mannkal belongs in The Property and Freedom Society
  69. What would Bert Kelly think of the Mises Seminar and Walter Block?
  70. Bad news about the Mises Seminar
  71. Gina Rinehart Fan Club gives big to Australian political education
  72. Sam Kennard wins North Sydney by-election by unanimous consent
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(in order of appearance on
  1. Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
  2. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
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