14 NOVEMBER 1970, Page 18

The politics of intervention

Sir: We were interested to read 'The Politics of Intervention' (7 November) and were particularly • Pleased to see the libertarian senti- ments expressed by the author.

However, contrary to his asser- tion, the argument is (or ought to be) about whether the 'government' or the 'state' should intervene in any sphere of human activity. For, as Morris Tannehill has shown in The Market for Liberty, the free market can supply those services whose provision has been tradi- tionally usurped by government (i.e. defence, arbitration and res- titution). An increasing number of economists (e.g. Professor Murray Rothbard in his latest book, Power and Market) have demonstrated how the free market, unshackled by governmental coercion, can solve our most pressing problems.

We write as ex-members of the Conservative party and Monday Club respectively, who have be- come increasingly disillusioned with the empty rhetoric of Conser- vatives who profess their belief in 'free enterprise' and individual freedom. More often than not this rhetoric serves only to mask their inability and unwillingness to re- duce statist interference with eco- nomic and civil liberties. Indeed. it would seem that the struggle be- tween the Conservatives and the Labour party is primarily con- cerned with which groups shall re- ceive the largesse dispensed by the hand of the corporate state.

We can but hope that the en- cumbered Atlas—creative entre- preneur or productive worker—will shrug off the claims of the unde- serving which serve as the sanction for the coercive state.