Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« What does Randy Hillier stand for? | Main | Burton S. Blumert, 1929-2009 »

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hillier vs. Harper on freedom

During Harper's speech at the Manning Centre a few weeks ago, many libertarians and fiscal conservatives were upset over his three F's: Freedom, family, and faith. The basic point being that family and faith, as government policy, seem to be contradictory to freedom.

Now if we contrast that to what Randy Hillier has as his three planks to his Ontario PC leadership run: Freedom, Justice & Democracy. So what does Hillier say about freedom? He says during his speech, "Freedom strengthens commerce, creativity, industry, education, and the most important element of our society – the family." Randy Hillier says that families are strengthened by freedom, which I completely agree with. This is exactly the type of campaign that libertarians, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives alike can get behind.

Posted by William Joseph on March 30, 2009 | Permalink


Brilliant comment by Hillier on the family. I couldn't agree more. Finally a real conservative!

Thanks for the post, William -- and welcome to the Western Standard. Be sure to tell us more about yourself in future blogs.

This post has made my day. Freedom and family are back to together again.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-30 10:45:05 AM

Are you kidding, MJ? Did you step out when I gave my speech on the family to the Libertarian convention last summer?...

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2009-03-30 11:15:42 AM

I'm never surprised, and always delighted, to hear a defense of family rooted in liberty from you, Grant.

But we're talking about a politician here. They don't normally show such insight and judgment.

I'm also happy to see a new blogger on the WS site who doesn't regard the pro-family agenda as inherently hostile to liberty.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-30 11:33:55 AM

Hillier is spot on in understanding the meaning of freedom and how it applies to government and society. Perhaps there is a ray of hope.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-03-30 11:52:16 AM

Hey, don't forget my speech to the same convention on the importance of families, churches, and other social institutions to a society which values liberty and property. I'm needy for recognition too! (I only kid, Dr. Brown)

With me, Grant, and Michael Wagner all presenting at the LP convention, and with individuals like Randy Hillier making their case-- perhaps (with Alain) there is indeed hope for a liberty movement in Canada with an understanding of the social institutions necessary to upholding a free society.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-03-30 12:21:11 PM

Did you step out when I gave my speech on the family to the Libertarian convention last summer?...
Posted by: Grant Brown | 2009-03-30 11:15:42 AM

I couldn't find it on youtube? Though you do have a lovely singing voice.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-30 12:22:55 PM

"...a liberty movement in Canada with an understanding of the social institutions necessary to upholding a free society."


Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-30 12:56:58 PM

Can somebody explain to me what "strengthening the family" entails, or even what "family values" are?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-03-30 2:25:02 PM

Strengthening the family might entail lowing taxes, for example, Mike. This would allow families more financial flexibility to chose to have one parent to stay at home with the kids, for instance, if they think that is important.

School choice might be another policy...education reforms that allow more freedom for private schools and homeschoolers. Maybe scrapping the mandatory curriculum altogether to accommodate a diversity of values.

"Family values" is just popular rhetoric for conservative values. Those values might include a preference for stability and order over risk in economic and social affairs, hence an appreciation for free markets and tradition among conservatives. (Some conservatives wrongly see the free market as unstable and are therefore sceptical of capitalism.)

These values might include thrift (low time preference, long term thinking and planning), especially if children are involved.

This concept of family values often includes faith and a respect to the church as a central part of social life in providing private charity and spiritual direction.

Most of all -- and this is circular -- family values includes a respect for the institution of family itself as the primary non-state mechanism in which children are raised, values are inculcated and financial and emotional support are provided.

Family values can be code for the kind of statist interventionism you and I both hate, Mike, but it doesn't have to be. Hillier falls largely into the camp that says the pro-family agenda does not have to be a statist agenda...that, in fact, the state undermines the family.

Charles Murray in "What It Means to be a Libertarian" made this case very well. In short, he wrote that institutions like the families are vibrant only when they are called upon to perform essential functions. When these essential functions are performed by the state, the family weakens.

Family families (conservative values) should not be forced on society through the political process, of course -- but they should be allowed to be expressed without interference.

Hillier will no doubt disappoint libertarian in this process, but he is saying many good things so far and is reconciling the pro-freedom and pro-family movements.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-30 3:00:07 PM


I guess I just think that's all superfluous babble. No offence.

From the lower taxes, to education reform (increased choice), to free associations with religious institutions, all of these things are desirable within the model of the individual alone.

I do not understand why libertarians feel the need to throw "family" into the mix. For me, it sets off alarm bells.

I have a family. I have a beautiful baby girl, and a beautiful woman I am sharing my life with. But when I advocate for more individual freedom the benefit to my family is self-evident.

So the insertion of family rhetoric into an argument for libertarianism is superfluous at best, and a sign of social agenda at worst. Hence, the reason I react so strongly to it whenever it comes up.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-03-30 3:30:42 PM

"Can somebody explain to me what "strengthening the family" entails, or even what "family values" are?"

Well, family values include busting your boot up your twelve year old daughter's ass when she posts nude photos of herself on an adult dating site, and "strengthening the family" means not allowing society to collapse to the point where this happens:

"A 12-year-old Quebec girl who was grounded by her father appealed her punishment to the Quebec Superior Court, according to the AFP.

The girl was grounded for disobeying her father’s orders to stay off the Internet after she was caught chatting on websites he had blocked. She was also apparently posting “inappropriate pictures” of herself online. The punishment: she would not be allowed to go on an upcoming school trip.

Justice Suzanne Tessier today agreed with the girl’s position that the punishment meted out by her father was too harsh. The court overturned the grounding.

Kim Beaudoin, the father’s lawyer, is appealing the decision.

“She’s a child,” Beaudoin told AFP. “At her age, children test their limits and it’s up to their parents to set boundaries.”

“I started an appeal of the decision today to reestablish parental authority, and to ensure that this case doesn’t set a precedent,” she said. Otherwise, said Beaudoin, “parents are going to be walking on egg shells from now on.”


This is not to be confused with "libertarian values", which involve completely ignoring outrageous violations of liberty pertaining to the family such as the one noted above, those are different values.

Posted by: Proud Small C Conservative | 2009-03-30 3:48:39 PM

I don't blame you for reacting this way, Mike. Conservatives who want to see their values and preferences enforced by the state often couch their agenda in "family values" rhetoric. And, to be honest, the number of social conservative libertarians in Canada can probably counted on two hands and a foot.

But I would argue that it is not superfluous to discuss how civil society can and should replace the state in providing the "social institutions necessary to upholding a free society," to quote Kalim.

Libertarians are not hostile to social order -- we are not chaos junkies, as our critics would suggest; we simply believe in the Hayekian notion of spontaneous order and in the concept of non-aggression, hence our respect for civil society.

Even radical individualist libertarians who find these civil institutions suffocating and too culturally conservative for their tastes, should recognize that they are designed along libertarian principles and do offer a valuable public service in areas like education, charity, security, etc.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-30 3:50:35 PM

To a libertarian, family values mean all primary decisions regarding the conduct and lifestyle of the family is made by the father & mother of dependent children. That is, what philosophy the children are raised in, the type and philosophy of schooling is first the parents decision, only in abdication, should the state exercise any authority.

A Conservative that believed that would be refreshing. It follows that family values are open-trade values, choosing where to buy goods from without interference from the state. Many essential family commodities, clothing and textiles, have prohibitive taxes and regulation on them (especially from Africa or South America) and effectively funnel Canadians to Chinese imported textiles.

A libertarian believes that all wars are contrary to family values. Drug Wars (drug prohibition) and wars of occupation, conquest or "liberation" break families up. Soldiers being sent far away from their own families and children, and families destroyed or broken up or psychically scarred in the occupied land.

Yet Conservatives have an appetite for war generally, and do not balk at incarcerating many fathers and mothers and teenagers over drugs. Conservatives of all stripes like war.Iranian conservative, Pakistani conservatives, Israeli conservative, US conservatives, Canadian conservatives, they are all fundamentalists about using force to advance conservative interpretations of their dogma. Its been a while since any prominent socialist or communist nation invaded another sovereign nation.

So I welcome a conservative with authentic family values, ones that protect autonomy, life, and keeps families together.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2009-03-31 8:20:31 AM

What a sight: Marc Emery & Randy Hillier. Who was it that said that for the libertarian movement to be successful, the pot people would need to get along with the gun people and the gun people with the pot people?

In this pairing, we seem to have one half of the equation. Let's see about the other side...

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-03-31 8:54:25 AM

Your highness, The Prince of Pot - it's very convenient you can be relied on to be the non-elected authority commenting on the fine details concerning the belief system of an entire people- saves a lot of Googling - long live the libertarians !

Is it a fixed libertarian value that a family allows dependent children to share in the use of, partner up in the production of , and or assist in the distribution of potent mind altering drug strains of marijuana -- the seeds of which your organization openly and proudly vended internationally, until international authorities pulled your business down?

Did you, your highness, and learned man concerning all things intoxicating, forbidden and money making at any time, as senior executive of that marijuana seed business enquire if the mail order purchasers of your product were of legal age?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-03-31 10:06:13 AM

"Yet Conservatives have an appetite for war generally"

Not true, it is your side that wants "permanent revolution" and international socialism. In both WWI and WWII in Canada and the USA it was primarily conservatives who wanted to stay out, bolshevists like you were insistent we team up with Joseph Stalin to make half of Europe communist for 50 years.

Even today, leftists like Bruce Cockburn support the Afghanistan occupation because they want to impose radical feminism and gay sex on a people who do not want it, conservatives like me oppose that. Pat Buchanan is as anti-war as they get, most of his haters support the Afghanistan occupation, strange world eh?

Respectfully Mr. Emery I don't think you've ever debated a conservative, and it shows. You make too many historical and logical errors to address here.

I voted for the Marijuana party in 2000 by the way. I didn't and don't support criminalization. It's just that there are more important issues, far more important, which need my attention. I for one would like you to stay as far away from Mr. Hillier as possible, you are hazmat who brings little to the table other than stinky socialist hippies who are, like you, full of hate for conservatives. The family has been under attack for years and you've done little if anything to help, focusing on your selfish needs while Canadian families are attacked by the courts and governments. The Toronto Star would drool for the opportunity to link your indicted ass to Mr. Hillier and if you genuinely want to support the man, kindly stay away.

Posted by: Proud Small C Conservative | 2009-03-31 10:44:49 AM

so you voted for the Marijuana party in 2009---
by the way, will you bother voting for them again ?
It will be run by a 24 year drugged up pin up girl
battling depression in her spare time..

and you voted for the MP even knowing what you know about their leader, his majesty- the Prince of Pot ?

No wonder the agents of society
hunts Wipeheads down
like the Australians do cane toads

Posted by: 419 | 2009-03-31 12:42:38 PM

i would say that most conservatives voted conservative in the past election. it is the conservatives that are ok with the war. if the cons were not GENERALLY ok with the war then the cons wouldnt have gotten as many seats as they did. i think mr emery was correct in that distinction between the libertarians and the cons. i am a libertarian and mr emery put my thoughts about family values into words. 419, why do you hate cannabis? why do you passionatly despise mr emery and his family? and wtf is a wipehead? 419 there is no legal age for cannabis.
mr joseph has just writen an intreging article and as always before you do a great job of getting off topic to crucify marc emery, a great man who fights for freedom. 419, who did you vote for this past election?

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-03-31 1:28:26 PM

"i would say that most conservatives voted conservative in the past election. it is the conservatives that are ok with the war. if the cons were not GENERALLY ok with the war then the cons wouldnt have gotten as many seats as they did."

It was a Liberal war, started by the Liberals, and extended by the Liberals. They ran it for 4.5 years. The Liberals have never run on an anti-Afghanistan platform and the NDP only recently called for troops home.

And you are pinning it on the Cons.

I'm sorry, I have never seen a libertarian make an intelligent argument in my life. Everything - EVERYTHING - you believe in is false, screamingly and obviously false.

Posted by: Proud Small C Conservative | 2009-03-31 2:17:04 PM

why do wipeheads pretend they don't know what wipeheads are ?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-03-31 2:18:34 PM

mr conservative. everything we beleive in is false? for real? fiscal responsibility, peace, free markets, freedom, tax cuts, small government, personal responsibility, justice, etc etc......... are you sure you dont want to calm down and rethink what you have just said.

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-03-31 3:44:05 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.