The invisible classical liberals

I’m no fan of identity politics, but it can get a little frustrating when people won’t recognise my political position. Even when a newspaper gives a generally uncritical summary of something I have written (my big government conservatism Policy article), they can open by saying:

IT’S a turn up for the books when a right-wing think-tank launches an attack on the Howard Government.

But as it turns out, hell hath no fury like a conservative scorned. (emphasis added)

So even in an article expressly criticising conservatism I still get classed as a ‘conservative’.

Bryan Palmer’s Australian Politics Quiz caused similar dissatisfaction this week among my fellow classical liberals, who were classed as ‘left’ on ‘traditional’ values (as I was when I took the test), though few of us would ever regard ourselves as ‘left’ in any way. At Club Troppo, Mark Bahnisch explained the situation this way:

The thing is though that libertarians traditionally are a very small current in what is a very statist political culture on both sides of the aisle in Australia.

Having said that, certainly social liberalism is more in evidence now and can be found in all political parties, as can social conservatism (at least in the majors).

I still think consistent economic/social liberals are pretty rare in Australian politics, and getting rarer. As I