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Quora Answer : What do the Libertarians and the Pirate Party members think of each other?

May 18, 2015

I'm a left-libertarian, so one of my concerns with the UK Pirate Party was that it might have become a vehicle for American style right-Libertarianism in the UK.

There's obviously a lot of overlap and shared concerns between Pirates and Libertarians : both are generally drawn from a youngish, educated, technically minded constituency. Both are fully aware of, and opposed to, government surveillance programs. Both tend towards social liberalism etc.

But right-Libertarianism ultimately descends into bald "propertarianism" : the belief that property is the only "right" or justified moral constraint that society really needs.

The great thing about Pirates, with their roots in the Free Software movement and copyright and patent resistance is that they challenge the unthinking appeal to property and attempts to enclose more of the world in terms of it. Pirates have a sophisticated and sceptical approach to property. They aren't against property rights but they are wise enough to recognize them as a pragmatic tool that needs designing rather than claiming them as some kind of unquestionable law of nature.

One of the deciding factors for me in joining the UK Pirates was when I saw some members tweeting from the London Occupy camps and found that (at least some members) had a strong sense of social justice as well as their commitment to freedom.

So, personally I think that Pirates and Libertarians have many areas of agreement and potential collaboration but they have fundamental differences. Piracy is a distinct intellectually coherent political position.

Disclaimer : I've let my membership slip so I'm no longer a member of the UK Pirate Party, though I continue to be a supporter and may get around to renewing my membership. I am not, however, actively involved in the party or its policy-making. (Mainly because I'm not currently in the UK.) So these are my own views and opinions and don't necessarily reflect the current party thinking or manifesto.

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