So what's been happening?
1. The right concerns but the completely wrong answer. While Nicolas Sarkozy proves there is nothing a French politician likes doing more than regulating the lives of others, Old Holborn makes the point quite succinctly here. After all, plenty would be offended by the scene of a man walking around with a woman on a collar and lead, but why should it be banned? Meanwhile, is one of the key reasons for this issue being raised because the
2. The Con-Dem British government is off in several directions, primarily focused on cutting spending it has decided to slash spending on its core responsibility - law and order. Whilst there are undoubtedly efficiencies to be gained in the sector, and undoubtedly many people shouldn't be imprisoned for a whole raft of offences that are more civil (e.g. not meeting child support payments) than criminal, is the question being asked as to whether there should be less criminal offences at all? In other words, if there is no victim, why should it be a criminal matter? Prison is effective at its core role - protecting the public from criminals. One report suggests that replacing prison time with community sentences will increase crime.
3. The Obama Administration is showing how empty headed and vapid it really is, by its continued embrace of xenophobic anti-capitalist rhetoric against BP. Now it is accusing BP of lobbying to release Libyan terrorists from British custody, when Exxon-Mobil and Shell did exactly the same thing. It is accusing the British government of being a party to providing succour to terrorists, when it happened over a year ago under the Gordon Brown regime, and was in fact the devolved Scottish government (albeit with Downing St tacit approval). Quite what the Obama Administration thought would be gained by hassling the newly elected Prime Minister about something he had nothing to do with, is rather curious.
4. Australia is having a Federal election. A choice between a feral unionist and a feral evangelist. Neither are deserving of a vote from a libertarian. Whilst it is tempting to back the "mad monk" Abbott, because of climate change alone, the Liberal Party remains liberal in name only.
A better choice, given the preference/AV based voting system is the Liberal Democratic Party which lists Ayn Rand as one of the great classical liberals of history. It seeks to abolish victimless crimes, significantly cut taxes (income tax would have the first $30,000 tax free then a flat tax of 30%), engage in a major privatisation programme, replace welfare with negative income tax and promote free trade. Think of it as ACT with balls AND a belief in personal individual liberty.
It has more to it than the Secular Party which seems more a reaction to the Christian politics of Abbott and the now defunct Rudd. It is broader based than the Shooters Party, which is essentially just about the freedom of peaceful people to own firearms. It also doesn't have the obsessive believe in anti-discrimination laws of the Australia Sex Party, as tempting as that party may be to some.
4. A city councillor in Wales is suspended for Tweeting "I didn't know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off." Apparently this is against the local authority code of conduct according to the Public Services Ombudsman. If ever there was a reason to abolish this body or to make those on it undertake training in fundamental individual freedoms, this is it. Britain is a country where expressing your opinion about a religion is restricted, because it might upset the precious little flowers who believe in ghosts.
5. New Zealand's government continues to disappoint. The weak will surrounding mining in national parks, the continued evasion of reality over climate change and the inability to lay down an agenda that directly confronts the anti-human anti-science statism of the Greens, and by default the Labour Party, should cause many more National and ACT voters to weep. Now you're going to vote for an Auckland Mayor who will be more of the same.
UPDATE: Well it would appear the Australian Liberal Democratic Party is more disappointing than it may seem. I have been informed privately that it is largely marketing driven, and that the presence of Ayn Rand on the front page was for marketing purposes. I'd be curious if any Australian libertarians and especially objectivists would interrogate Liberal Democrat politicians as to what they REALLY believe in. A laudable goal would be to return the Liberal Party to its core principles, but the chances of that may be as much as there is in getting the (New Zealand) National Party to do so as well.