Monday, November 01, 2004

Libertarian Folly

Connie du Toit has an excellent analysis on the problems with Libertarianism.

My problem with Libertarianism is that the capital "L" variants tend to have a problem with both reality and anarchy. Many are essentially neo-anarchists who want no government over the individual. Doesn't work well.

Anarchy is unstable from within, a determined attempt to seize power of unbalance the system by someone with greater than average resources results in downfall. Anarchy is unstable from without. A determined effort by a powerful outside force will overthrow the system. See the pattern? Anarchy is inherently fault intolerant. Just look at the factionalism in Libertarian community for more proof. Shatter. Fragment.

Similarly the hand-waving idea that everything will become stable in the long run is a damn lie. Folks the world is changing in small ways every day. We like it that way. It makes our lives interesting. Societies need to be able to quickly adapt to those changes without falling apart or completely reorganizing. Stability is dealing with a moving target. Anarchy doesn't do this well either because of what I mentioned above.

The Libs will respond with this: In anarcho-capitalism you have the capital owners providing the fault tolerance and stability. It is in their best interest to do so in order to encourage commerce, etc. Right, so if the capital owners are providing these things, says Connie du Toit, how are they not a de facto government?

Answer: Dammit! That's right, those capitalists are just feudal lords with some other (likely more democratic) title. Who knew large parts of the Third World were in practicing Libertarian economies? That's the problem with getting rid of government, you basically end up with something identical (and often inferior) to the state just with corporate titles. Anyone in a home-owners maintenance corporation realizes this. It can often be a very poor local government without any of that constitutional liberties business to check its power or intrusiveness. For that matter I can compare my big-government stories with most of my friends' big-corporate stories fairly easily because the names change but the song is the same.

Folks we have our current governmental system because of responses to problems. Some of the responses have been wrong (or are simply outdated) and improvements can be made, but by and large we got here for good reason. Remember the wise man that said traditions are solutions to problems we have forgotten. The same thing happens in bureaucracy.

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