Introduction to Libertarianism (Part 2)

Ronald Reagan once said that libertarianism was the “heart and soul of conservatism.”  In the first part of this article, I suggested that anarchism was the heart and soul of libertarianism.  But is that true?  Is liberty incompatible with any formal governmental structure?  Or is a stateless society merely one of a number of libertarian possibilities?

 None of us truly know the answer to that question.  One of the two biggest objection to anarchism is that some of the most important tasks in society simply will not get done.  Whether the objection is that hungry people will not get fed or that roads will not get built, the underlying assumption is that government is necessary for the provision of certain services.

But does “government” actually grow the food that feeds the hungry?  Well, no.  Does “government” actually buy the food?  No, the money they collect from taxpayers does that.  They simply take their cut.  Does “government” distribute the food?  No, the food is normally distributed through the market.   

And so it goes.  “Government” doesn’t actually do anything.  People employed by the government do things, but they could do the same thing in the absence of government.  Good people who want to help others are the ones who feed the hungry.  Engineers and construction crews build and maintain roads.  Brave men with access to the proper equipment fight fires.  And so it goes, one “indispensable government service” after another.

No, the only thing that the “government” does is use force to achieve their objectives.  Normally that sort of behavior is considered criminal and gets one locked away for some time.  But not for our supreme rulers.  They are nice enough to exempt themselves from the rules they purport to enforce.  

Not only that.  The “government” (and yes, I am going to put the word in quotes every time I use it) is the biggest busy body neighbor you have ever had.  They have the audacity to believe that they have a right to tell you how to live your life.  They say that the substances you put in your body are their business.  No, they aren’t.  They say they have the right to regulate who you can love, marry, employ or exclude.  No, they don’t.  They say they are smarter than you and that you need their great wisdom to survive.  No, we don’t.

The genius of human civilization is that we have learned how to work together to achieve great things.  Just because, traditionally, a gang of thugs has been intimately connected with many of those achievements is no reason to give them the credit or regard them as indispensable to that process.  They are not.

In Part One of this article, I mentioned a “failure of imagination” and now I am mentioning it again.  It will continue to be a theme of this blog for as long as it exists.  As long as we think within the officially sanctioned box of American politics, we will always fall prey to their arguments.  Allow the establishment to define the parameters of the discussion and, not surprisingly, they will always come out on top.  I will continue to challenge them.

Of course, freedom has consequences and some people don’t like them.  Next week I will do my best to offend you.  I will do my best to horrify you.  And I will do my best to convince you that only a voluntary society can be the best society.  Until then, Happy Father’s day, have a great weekend and thanks for following along.

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