Friday, September 20, 2013


I will admit that, despite my political science background, the following is an oversimplification.

But I finally realized what I don't like about libertarians.

Most of their ideas I can get behind. I like limiting the power of government. I prefer to allow markets resolve themselves, individuals to govern themselves. In the small scale.

But taken to the extreme--which is how you have to test every idea, in the end--libertarianism falls apart.

When confronted with the fact that there will always be poor that need a social safety net, always be children who are abused or neglected,* the libertarian points to the inherent goodness of people to prove that private charities will step into the void that government leaves behind. Yet the problem libertarians have with government is that people in government are corrupt. They simultaneously express boundless hope in the human condition, and no hope.

Libertarians fear those who are in power. Yet their solution is to spread the power to everyone.

The rallying cry of anti-statists is "government for the people."

They all conveniently forget that government is also "by the people."

Government is not a computer program, nor is it run by robots. Government is, from its smallest component up to its largest, just people. Some of those people should not be involved in it.

But most of those people are just trying to do their best.

* The issues critics of libertarianism point to are usually child welfare and social safety nets for the poor. But the issues are bigger than that. How does a limited government have the resources to prosecute conspiracy? White collar crimes? Mass fraud?

How does a libertarian deal with environmental problems? When 7 states and Mexico rely on water from the Colorado River, how do small governments of limited power prevent upstream users from completely decimating those downstream? (Realistic proposals only, please.) When water or air pollution effect everyone, globally, how does a limited government address that problem? 

(End rant.

This is what happens on a Friday night after two weeks of hell at work.)

1 comment:

  1. Amen.

    Also did you ever notice how a Libertarian argument only sounds good for the first 20 minutes?

    I listen to Ron Paul go on for 20 minutes and I'm saying 'Yeah, this sounds reasonable. I can get behind that." Then at the 20 minute mark, as if it were timed, Paul says something to the effect of "And let's talk about the Jews and banking."

    At which point you're left with no choice but to do a double take and rethink the previous 20 minutes of reasonable thought.