Merv Bendle and the paranoid style

As thousands of Norwegians poured into Oslo’s streets singing, hugging and waving flowers, Queensland academic Merv Bendle sat at his computer fixated on how leftists and Islamists would try to exploit this latest act of mass murder. Maybe the attacks in Oslo an on the island of Utoeya were part of "a covert, ‘false-flag’ operation," he wondered. Maybe the attack was "carried out to give just this impression that it was conducted by anti-Muslim, right-wing extremists, but actually conceived and directed by other forces".

Nothing is ever as it seems, says Bendle. In an opinion piece for the Drum he wrote that Anders Behring Breivik "may be a very effective pawn in a much bigger and far more sinister game, in which there are still many more moves to be made." Not surprisingly, more than a few commenters accused him of peddling unsupported conspiracy theories (and some were less than polite).

For Bendle, this criticism is yet more evidence of a vast left wing conspiracy. In Quadrant he wrote:

… the government has already put in place a system to utilize online forums to carry out concerted and brutal campaigns of intimidation and victimization of anyone who dares to have or express dissenting opinions, i.e., they hold views different from those espoused by the Greens, the left of the ALP, other resurgent Stalinists, and their truly fanatical supporters in the community.

A lead agency in this system of intimidation is The Drum, the ABC organ of ‘online opinion’, about which I wrote in a recent Quadrant Online article. It had been given permission to republish an earlier article of mine on the Oslo atrocities, in a gesture of belief in the value of reasoned debate in the media, and obviously as an act of faith that it wasn’t just a set-up.

Well, it was a set-up, and one that allowed over a hundred cyber-bullies to attack me personally and professionally for daring to express opinions that differed from theirs.

Maybe it’s time to re-read this 1964 essay by Richard Hofstadter: The paranoid style in American politics.

***

Hat tip to commenter Paul Bamford.

This entry was posted in Media. Bookmark the permalink.
190 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sancho
Sancho
10 years ago

Have you noticed that when conservatives go looking for a terrorist comparable to Breivik, they inevitably arrive at Timothy McVeigh? Bendle also picks the Unabomber out, but Jared Loughner is usually the second choice.

It’s convenient, because those attackers were clearly mentally ill. Loughner’s choice of target was seemingly influenced by right-wing rhetoric, but his insanity is obvious.

The one they never choose, or even mention, is Joseph stack. It’s odd that he’s fallen down the memory hole, because it was only eighteen months ago that he wrote a suicide note full of Tea Party talking points before calmly flying his light plane into a tax office.

Or maybe it’s not so odd that those who don’t want to recognise a pattern of right-wing terrorism conveniently forget the most glaring example prior to Breivik.

hc
hc
10 years ago

This guy is also a pal of Bob Carter and a conspiracy theorist in climate change debate. The Greens are Eco-fascists according to Bendle.

http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/07/eco-fascism-the-greens

Who has changed? Is it me or Quadrant? I use to subscribe to this publication – even once wrote for it – and found it a sensible source of conservative political opinion. It has become a vehicle for supporting ratbaggery and weary, tiresome culture wars stuff.

wizofaus
wizofaus
10 years ago

hc, trust me, it’s them…you’re one of the few conservative voices in Australia worth paying attention to these days.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago

No, no, Merv is right. My pieces on the Drum are always filled with comments of praise and agreement, and no-one ever says a bad word about me. He is the only person ever who has been bagged in comments. Leave Merv alooone!

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
10 years ago

Is it an eyeball play?

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

What appalling tosh from Bendle. At this rate they might as well let Graeme Bird write for the Quadrant website.

steve from brisbane
10 years ago

I suppose people have noticed the rave reviews that Brendan O’Neill (Spiked online editor) got for his performance on Q&A on Monday over at Catallaxy? I have never noticed him much before, but Googling around I see that he has been running the same “environmentalist as eco fascists” arguments that infects most of the libertarian take on climate change, and now is getting a continual run on the likes of Bolt’s blog.

The funny thing is, I think Libertarians are much like radical environmentalists in that they are big on ideology, but bad at the practical details of how to achieve anything. For Greens, it’s renewables can agreed energy problems within a ridiculously short time. For libertarians, firstly, you have the problem of their ideology preventing most of them making an honest appraisal of the science, but even if they do accept it, their faith based line is often that nuclear power will solve everything in a thrice, if only nasty government regulation would be loosened.

It’s the middle ground that should show the way, but Labor will have trouble throwing the Green reflexive anti-nuclear stance (especially in light of Fukushima), and the Coalition is infected with members (double meaning intended) who have been conned against the science by non scientists like Bolt & Monckton, as well as drawing inspiration from the poisoned Right of American politics.

This is a very sad state of affairs.

jtfsoon
jtfsoon
10 years ago

Nice hysterical attempt to draw equivalences, steve but I’ve yet to see anywhere where Brendan O’Neill has actually come out on the sceptic side of the debate. His wiki entry says:

O’Neill has criticised the notion of tackling global warming by solely reducing carbon emissions, and instead advocates technological progress as a method of overcoming any side-effects of climate change

In other words, he doesn’t deny AGW but uis a techno-optimist who believes in adaptation rather than mitigation. I would prefer if there were a workable multilateral agreement on mitigation that would get up and running in time to actually mitigate but as I don’t believe there will and I think Australia’s attempt to be a first mover won’t get it doing I am effectively not pinning all my hopes on mitigation either.

steve from brisbane
10 years ago

Seems to me, Jason, that he is probably more of a game playing fence sitter like Sinclair (well, Sinclair’s free to correct me if I am wrong.)

In other words, they feign a “well, even if there is some thing to climate warming…” line, but devote all their time to publicising and critiquing practical action against climate change in a way that seems purely designed to encourage skepticism about all aspects of the issue, including the science.

But tell me where I am wrong by quoting O’Neill sounding somewhat convinced of the science, and I’m happy to stand corrected.

.
.
10 years ago

Damn right Jason. Steve is like a really poor version of a muckraking outfit.

Well Steve, Clive Hamilton has called for the suspension of democracy.

Are the Greens eco-fascists? Yes.

Libertarians on the other hand think unlimited democracy is dangerous.

The funny thing is, I think Libertarians are much like radical environmentalists in that they are big on ideology, but bad at the practical details of how to achieve anything.

Oh that’s a load of crap. The CIS and LDP have detailed policy. The LDP’s budget assumptions are costed too.

For libertarians, firstly, you have the problem of their ideology preventing most of them making an honest appraisal of the science

An honest appraisal of the science is that AGW is real, we don’t cause much of total GW, the models need a lot of work (little consideration of cointegration, poor backtesting) and it will be a trivial problem. 58 cm sea level rise? Who cares?

that nuclear power will solve everything in a thrice, if only nasty government regulation would be loosened

What is wrong with that? Compare France and Denmark with the same honesty you expect in the science.

Don’t think you can bang us up with an identity. We don’t buy into hero worship of politicians. Not even the good ones.

.
.
10 years ago

In other words, they feign a “well, even if there is some thing to climate warming…” line, but devote all their time to publicising and critiquing practical action against climate change in a way that seems purely designed to encourage skepticism about all aspects of the issue, including the science.

Skepticism is healthy, you dolt.

steve from brisbane
10 years ago

An honest appraisal of the science is that AGW is real, we don’t cause much of total GW, the models need a lot of work (little consideration of cointegration, poor backtesting) and it will be a trivial problem. 58 cm sea level rise? Who cares?

No, that’s just the dot appraisal, supplied as it is by a blowhard who has to walk sideways through doors to so his head will fit.

Am I making this too Catallaxian in tone??

.
.
10 years ago

Shut up Steve, I am not a scientist but I can read the metrics competently.

The IPCC’s confidence level is below what is generally accepted in research these days. When cointegration is considered, the forcing halves. The models do not backtest well and this is well known. Infra red absorption declines as CO2 concentration increases.

This is all standard stuff.

No, give me a non-blowhard rejoinder, Mr Majored in Macrame. It’s not my fault if you can’t keep up with the conversation and retaliate with envy.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

No Steve it isn’t devoting time to scepticism but denialism at Catallaxy.

They even laud Monkton for heaven’s sake

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

Hey Merv….been following your writting for a while now…..Whats going on? We all remember the manufacture of news and media…..The americans are after the oil…..ha ha no, its the gold. they were not quick enough to get it though. the news does a good job of protraying what large powers pay them to say. we live in a world where anyone can get anything and basically any information. Its just hidden under more information…but it is still there. the real threat is home grown terrorism that uses international references. This bloke is to norway what mark chapman was to john lennon. he was set up to believe he was the one. lets leave it at that. by the way nice hat and u havent aged a bit mate……..

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
10 years ago

I’ve been on about this for a while, and see it of a piece with a post of mine in 2006. It’s always a shock to find out how many people’s motivations in politics and ideology are essentially tribal or instinctive. If I was a right leaning subscriber to Quadrant and read Bendle’s rant being marketed as a serious contribution, I’d cancel my subscription right there.

Nice to see Harry feels the same way. Pity it’s so rare.

Sally
Sally
10 years ago

Right “libertarians” are just right-wing fascist leaning turds who like to cocksuck the Man, capital, big business, the banks, the military and the pigs and most forms of authority.

Sancho
Sancho
10 years ago

I’ve yet to hear a coherent libertarian vision for society. If you implement libertarian ideals you end up with either an armed anarchist fail-state like Somalia, or a Dickensian nightmare like industrial revolution England.

Point this out, however, and you wind up in an interminable round of “no true Scotsman” with self-styled libertarians who are sure their ideology will work, but just can’t explain how.

As for “skepticism is healthy, you dolt”, well of course it is. That’s why skepticism is integral to the scientific method. What we see in the climate debate, however, isn’t healthy skepticism, but reheated creationist denialism in which any discrepancy in the huge quantity of data indicating AGW is held up as falsifying all other evidence.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

I also feel that way, Nick, in this case – I’m sure it is not so rare!

Paul Bamford
Paul Bamford
10 years ago

The paranoia continues here.

.
.
10 years ago

Sally, if you are another one of jimaro/phil/freddie/isher’s sockpuppets, bugger off back to Graeme Bird’s blog go back and discuss imaginary culinary tours of Italy or back to trolling Menzies House as the hilarious yet tragic “Pip”.

I’ve yet to hear a coherent libertarian vision for society. If you implement libertarian ideals you end up with either an armed anarchist fail-state like Somalia, or a Dickensian nightmare like industrial revolution England.

I don’t know if you’re obtuse or block headed. Neither of those were libertarian.

Point this out, however, and you wind up in an interminable round of “no true Scotsman” with self-styled libertarians who are sure their ideology will work, but just can’t explain how.

This is a lie. Australia post Federation would have been libertarian if we had sexual and racial equality before the law. Switzerland is more or less libertarian save for high ag. tariffs and they’ve slid towards socialism a bit over the last two decades. Their democracy is a little too strong and not republican enough. Hong Kong pre handover was libertarian but unfortunately not democratic. Post industrial revolution America and Britain were libertarian and saw one of the greatest expansions of prosperity and cancellation of poverty human history has seen. Slavery was an obvious error. The CIS position papers and LDP policy are both real world plans. You’re pretending they don’t exist. Are you ignorant or dishonest?

So if Australia had equal rights for women and all races around Federation, the Swiss were a little less socialist and got rid of ag subsidies, Hing Kong became independent instead of given back to China, and America and England got universal suffrage and got rid of slavery earlier, all would have ended up as “anarchist failed states or Dickensian nightmares”?

LOL

Now I don’t know if you’re a wicked arch-conservative who is against equality before the law and the like or simply illucid.

.
.
10 years ago

As for “skepticism is healthy, you dolt”, well of course it is. That’s why skepticism is integral to the scientific method. What we see in the climate debate, however, isn’t healthy skepticism, but reheated creationist denialism in which any discrepancy in the huge quantity of data indicating AGW is held up as falsifying all other evidence.

This is a slick but damaging lie.

Discussing cointegration, CO2 thermal absorption, back-testing and the like does not constitute “creationism” or anything like it.

Paul Bamford
Paul Bamford
10 years ago

I guess it’s appropriate to a post on the paranoid style in politics that the most prolific commenter should be so obviously paranoid.

.
.
10 years ago

What a sub sewer sub level of argument you have Paul. That makes me self satisfied.

rog
rog
10 years ago

Dotty by name dotty by nature; his scientific arguments are somewhat diminished by his admission “I am not a scientist”

Not that it was ever a well kept secret.

.
.
10 years ago

Dotty by name dotty by nature; his scientific arguments are somewhat diminished by his admission “I am not a scientist”

This isn’t an argument either rog, but it is as good as you get. Like I said – I can handle the metrics, but the level of debate here is to hush it up. Everyone of those issues is relevant and important.

Nonetheless, you give Garnaut a pass. I’ll give you a hint, pal, he’s only an economist as well.

You haven’t made one single positive contribution to any climate thread where a libertarian chimed in.

Why are you afraid of real debate?

.
.
10 years ago

Not that it was ever a well kept secret.

Why are left wingers so dishonest? I never made that presumption nor did I try to “hide” it.

Sancho
Sancho
10 years ago

My point precisely, Period. You haven’t cited any sort of libertarian state, simply states that you claim could be libertarian if they weren’t conspicuously not libertarian. You may as well describe a liberal democracy as being like North Korea, except not a communist dictatorship.

And don’t be mistaken: your brand of “skepticism” is taken directly from the Intelligent Design movement, and many of the PR men for the creationists swapped seamlessly into denialist think tanks after the Dover trial. Maybe some of this sounds familiar:

* “[Evolution][climate change] is a hoax being perpetrated by communists who want to enslave us!”

* [Biologists][climatologists] are driven by greed and have no regard for scientific evidence! We know this because representatives of an enormously wealthy lobby group said so”.

* “Any uncertainties in the data of [evolution][climate change] undermine the entire field and negate any amount of confirmed evidence in its favour!”.

* “Teach the controversy!”, as though the opinions of a handful of ideologues opposed to a scientific theory deserve respect equal to the independent findings of thousands of scientists.

* The opinion of any denialist/creationist with a PhD is equal to the opinion of an actual climatologist/biologist (see The Oregon Petition).

* Generously citing relevant scientists as being opposed to the theory when they actually believe the opposite, and hoping they won’t notice (see The Oregon Petition again).

* Rampant quote-mining and misrepresentation of scientific research.

Climate change “skepticism” is simply creationism with the serial numbers filed off.

Tim Lambert
10 years ago

Brendan O’Neill featured in episode 20 of The Australian’s War on Science.

.
.
10 years ago

You haven’t cited any sort of libertarian state, simply states that you claim could be libertarian if they weren’t conspicuously not libertarian.

They are or were close enough. Hong Kong was a libertarian society, but it was a British crown dependency and the Chinese were never going to let it be truly autonomous.

You may as well describe a liberal democracy as being like North Korea, except not a communist dictatorship.

This is an absurd analogy and takes my argument if facile for any particular example to ludicrous, clearly irrelevant extremes.

You haven’t actually argued that if say Hong Kong became an independent democracy etc why they’d become a “failed anarchist State or Dickensian….”. It is such a bizzare and predetermined conclusion with no reasoning at all. If America got rid of drug laws, repealed Obamacare, repealed the “Patriot” Act, repealed the Federal income tax twinned with cutting wasteful US spending and got rid of Gitmo…they’d come a long way to being a libertarian country.

Now why would they fall in a heap if they were either independent and democratic or repealed massively wasteful or intrusive Government power?

And don’t be mistaken: your brand of “skepticism” is taken directly from the Intelligent Design movement,

The gall of you, you know very little about me and given your above non argument, you either are hoist by own petard or have a hide thicker than a woolly mammoth on steroids.

Climate change “skepticism” is simply creationism with the serial numbers filed off.

Bizzare, ridiculous and wholly unscientific. I am sceptical of global warming as a problem. I think AGW is real but trivial & overstated and as a lapsed Catholic, wouldn’t entertain creationism or ID for a second.

Keep on making bizzare assumptions about your opposition or political economy if you’re afraid of real debate.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“Hong Kong was a libertarian society, but it was a British crown dependency and the Chinese were never going to let it be truly autonomous.”

No it wasn’t and isn’t. There are and always have been large numbers of restrictions in HK as well as big government welfare in one form or another. For example, I think about 40% of the population lives in public housing (it’s actually gone down in the last decade or two but this is due to population increase), most of the school system is public, and there is a public hospital system quite like Aus. There are many other examples, but since we’ve been through housing, health and education, that pretty much disproves your claim.

wizofaus
wizofaus
10 years ago

“.”, presumably you’re aware even the Heritage foundation rates Australia as having a higher level of economic freedom than Switzerland. For one thing, I’m pretty sure they subsidize their farmers a good deal more than we do. And I thought the general Libertarian ideal for government spending as % of GDP was something close to 15% – half of what Switzerland’s is.

wizofaus
wizofaus
10 years ago

Heh, actually “A 15% tax to GDP ratio can be considered social democratic. 10% is conservativism. 5% is libertarian.”

Guess who said that…

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

These days we talk about annual public interest expense to GDP ratio, it is much more fashionable ;)

Sancho
Sancho
10 years ago

You’re right, Period, I’m making assumptions about you. I assumed that what you call “libertarianism” is a half-baked fantasy of an ideological magic bullet that will deliver a prosperous and peaceful society if only we try, and yet, despite the many forms of governance and social structure tried over the past 5000 years, you’d be unable to identify any that qualify as libertarian. So far my assumption has been correct.

Try this instead: in which ways does Somalia NOT qualify as a libertarian state? The people there have limited government and regulation, freedom to arms and self-defence, the right to establish small business and compete in the marketplace, and nominal police and military forces.

I’m making more assumptions about your climate change views. It’s nice that you accept the existence of science, but I’m assuming that only occurred a few years ago, when the entire “skeptics” movement reversed its decades-long commitment to total denial of climate change and began pretending it had only ever argued the extent of human influence – since revised to acceptance of human influence but complaining about the cost of addressing carbon emissions.

I’m also assuming that your “skepticism” rests entirely on the belief that climate scientists are fraudulently manipulating their data.

Am I correct that you completely reversed your attitudes to climate change around 2008 and accepted that humans are influencing the climate, after roughly two decades of branding it an elaborate socialist hoax? How about the integrity of climate scientists?

And you know perfectly well that I never labelled you a creationist. That’s the point: when applied to climate science, denialists eagerly embrace creationist arguments and ideas that they would find laughable in their original context.

Nabakov
Nabakov
10 years ago

Always amused by how libertarians think they’ll actually move up the food chain in their preferred society.

Alphonse
Alphonse
10 years ago

“.” by name, dotty by nature.

You rightly noted the paranoid style, Don. I’d also note the projectile style: e.g. “their truly fanatical supporters in the community”.

Nabakov
Nabakov
10 years ago

Re @31

Another inconvienent fact about Hong Kong for libbers is that all its land has always been owned by the State (first the Crown and then the PRC) which then leases or grants land – often for non-market driven reasons.

paul walter
paul walter
10 years ago

Well said Steve from Brisbane. What a cement headed and hearted cretin Bendle must be, to follow this line on this issue.
Suppresses sense of nausea..

.
.
10 years ago

Heh, actually “A 15% tax to GDP ratio can be considered social democratic. 10% is conservativism. 5% is libertarian.”

Guess who said that…

Look at the data. Stop duking the stats.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s we spent 17% of GDP and we had welfare, socialised medicine, a large defence force and Commonwealth supported university places.

Recently this ratio has gone up by 135% to 38%. Controlling for economic growth, are then 135% better off or not?

Do you guys even care about value for money or do you just assume that since you’re socialists, if we get ripped off it actually enriches us.

There is no reason why we ought to spend more than 15% of GDP in the public sector. If outcomes were dependent on funding there would be a different story, but there isn’t.

conrad – I never knew that. More or less they had free markets, tolerable taxation and civil rights. You don’t call it libertarian but I say it’s close enough. More hysterical commenters on this thread believe that if those services were privatised there would be “ungovernable anarchy or Dickensian…something…”. Not a real argument at all. Plenty of countries have privatised public services with positive net outcomes.

Try this instead: in which ways does Somalia NOT qualify as a libertarian state?

You are not even up to date on current affairs. What have you proven? We ought to have rule of law? What makes you think this justifies an anti libertarian agenda of socialism and the suspension of civil liberties?

The people there have limited government and regulation, freedom to arms and self-defence, the right to establish small business and compete in the marketplace, and nominal police and military forces.

Now they do, after the Muslim theocracy wrongly called an anarchist State was swept aside.

You stupid git, what has any of that got to do with the CIS or LDP?

It’s nice that you accept the existence of science, but I’m assuming that only occurred a few years ago

Shut up you presumptuous arsehole.

Now back on topic. The Greens are fascists and Clive Hamilton ran for Parliament as a Green and has also called for the suspension of democracy.

This is undeniable. Stop duking the stats.

Fyodor
10 years ago

That’s the point: when applied to climate science, denialists eagerly embrace creationist arguments and ideas that they would find laughable in their original context.

Hi Sancho, I’m impressed by your determination to double-down on this line of argument. It shows real stoushing potential, and I applaud you for it.

*golf clap*

Please elaborate on the creationist arguments that have been alleged, by you, to have been embraced by Teh “Denialist” [boo! hiss!] rascals.

Peter Whiteford
Peter Whiteford
10 years ago

“In the late 1950s and early 1960s we spent 17% of GDP and we had welfare, socialised medicine, a large defence force and Commonwealth supported university places. ”

I don’t believe we had socialised medicine in this period (depends on your definition of socialised of course); we had a lot lower share of young people in University (or upper secondary school for that matter) than now, and we had age pensions that were about half the real level they are now and a lot fewer people of age pension age of course.

Paul Bamford
Paul Bamford
10 years ago

On second thoughts it’s not really paranoia – it’s Korsakoff’s syndrome.

Peter
Peter
10 years ago

“Now back on topic. The Greens are fascists and Clive Hamilton ran for Parliament as a Green and has also called for the suspension of democracy.

This is undeniable. Stop duking the stats.”

What is clear is this commenter is an hysteric wedded to baseless, hyperbolic and ridiculous assertions, not to mention adolescent-level personal smears.

Likely prognosis?

Spontaneous combustion.

‘Twill be a Gaian self-cleansing.

.
.
10 years ago

Peter you are lying.

“suspension of democratic processes”

Is what Hamilton proposed to deal with dissent.

This is a direct quote, and a plain fact laid bare.

.
.
10 years ago

we had a lot lower share of young people in University

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

we had age pensions that were about half the real level they are now

I also said, “control for GDP”

But really, we need to spend 21% of GDP more for those costs? It’s much more likely we are not getting value for money.

Bipedial stick-wielding gangster dinosaur
Bipedial stick-wielding gangster dinosaur
10 years ago

No, you’re all lying!

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“conrad – I never knew that. More or less they had free markets, tolerable taxation and civil rights. You don’t call it libertarian but I say it’s close enough.”

I think you’re your deluded or have an entirely different definition of libertarian to me. Personally, I was quite happy they had socialized medicine when SARS turned up (it kept sick people away from me!), my girlfriend lived in public housing, and I worked at a publically subsidized university that was more “public” than the one I work in in Australia. Thinking about things, I would think that all three of these categories are more socialized than Australia. There are also very small direct payments for people that really need it that are vastly less than Australia — but a lot of that problem is soaked up by cultural differences (i.e., Chinese people look after their families in a way that Western people don’t). As for other social things, well, I don’t know the laws, but Chinese people tend to be more conservatives that Australians, so I’ll assume that’s another category of things which are less liberal than here. So that basically leaves freer workplace employment laws and less tax. But that certainly doesn’t equate to libertarian.

Peter Whiteford
Peter Whiteford
10 years ago

Dot

According to my copy of Australian Economic Statistics (online at the Reserve Bank)general government outlays have been above 25% of GDP since the 1960s. Even Commonwealth outlays were above 22% of GDP in 1955.

So we are probably spending about 10% of GDP more than in the 1950s and 1960s, not 21%. Now of that increase about 3% of GDP is higher public health care spending, and there is also about 2% in public education spending.

Now you can argue that we are not getting value for money, but it would be preferable if you could present some evidence for this assertion- given that we do have much higher educational attainment, higher productivity and higher real wages plus improvements in health outcomes (and reductions in poverty among the aged.)

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
10 years ago

Just want to agree with Conrad’s posts.
The idea that libertarian thought was influencial may date from the policies of John Cowperthwaite after WWII.
He adopted the laissez faire approach to business regulation.
However that was just one part of the social organisation the people of HK arranged.