A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear

This looks like a good read; I've just downloaded it in Audible form. Apparently this civilization business is harder than it looks:
If the Libertarian vision of Freedom can take many shapes and sizes, one thing is bedrock: “Busybodies” and “statists” need to stay out of the way. And so the Free Towners spent years pursuing an aggressive program of governmental takeover and delegitimation, their appetite for litigation matched only by their enthusiasm for cutting public services. They slashed the town’s already tiny yearly budget of $1 million by 30 percent, obliged the town to fight legal test case after test case, and staged absurd, standoffish encounters with the sheriff to rack up YouTube hits. Grafton was a poor town to begin with, but with tax revenue dropping even as its population expanded, things got steadily worse. Potholes multiplied, domestic disputes proliferated, violent crime spiked, and town workers started going without heat. “Despite several promising efforts,” Hongoltz-Hetling dryly notes, “a robust Randian private sector failed to emerge to replace public services.” Instead, Grafton, “a haven for miserable people,” became a town gone “feral.” Enter the bears, stage right.
That's not to say I've changed my attitude toward my local governmemt. Much of what they do is a silly waste of time. I just sat through an Economic Development Corporation meeting in which I received the breathless good news that these people have yet again developed a new logo. Honestly, they come up with new logos and new color schemes constantly, along with sending out endless surveys to discover "what the local businesses need to sustain and grow their businesses." I don't know, maybe a business plan, a product, customers, financing, lower taxes, relief from the heavy hand of the local Heritage District?


Grim said...

I think we could shift to a radically different sort of government, with much less power and much less of it in general. But there are problems that do have to get solved if people are going to live together, and if they're not solved by force they have to be solved some other way. Getting people to do their fair share voluntarily seems not to work very well either in communes or in libertarian communities.

This is a problem with human nature that Plato and Aristotle try to solve by making the development of virtue so important: if you were virtuous, you would do the right thing because you wanted to and not because someone made you. But then the state ends up in the virtue-producing business, and a state that wants to make you virtuous is going to end up being much more involved in your life than is coherent with anything like American-style liberty.

E Hines said...

John Adams and Benjamin Franklin said much the same thing.

Humans aren't naturally virtuous, but we can be made better than we start out, if we're given decent educations that include decent civics--and more so than a whole semester buried in the middle of the junior high years.

That puts a premium on Conservatives reclaiming our education system, not just K-12, but well pre-K-16 or -18. And emphasizing more the community colleges and trade schools. Of course, the pre-K years belong to the parents, and the rest of the years belong to the parents' strong input and influence--but that takes better educated parents.

This is a generational struggle, but a necessary one: no nation survives with and educational system that's more indoctrination than teaching thinking, STEM--and budgeting, finance, and economics--and civics.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

This came up for discussion in the family over the last year. I don't know if I posted on it. My impression is that they called themselves libertarian but are more like anarchists.

Texan99 said...

More like childish than anything else; they thought they could eliminate government without picking up the slack themselves. They couldn't quite get over the belief that someone else was going to make things safe and provide for them. They also didn't try very hard to think through what could and should be done by voluntary associations.