I’m delighted and honored that my first guest blog comes courtesy of my hubby. Here is his take on whether gubment is necessary…
My wife asked me to guest-blog for her today on one of the following topics:
1. “Taxes aren’t actually theft” … yes, they really are. Think about it.
2. “The government is necessary” … kinda sorta not really.
3. “The free market leads to bigger wage gaps” … nope, central banks and governments to blame for that.
Anyway I rolled the dice and decided to explore option 2 in more detail – so … government … is it necessary or what?
Yes, it is … And no, not in the way we think of government today. What is necessary is a system of dealing with one another. A way to determine what’s mine and what’s yours. A consistent standard of justice. What is necessary is a sound system of property rights and a mechanism to defend them without compromising the principles they are built on. And that is what libertarianism really is.
The foundation of sound government is sound ideology and libertarianism is built on a rock. So how does the libertarian society (a.k.a. the free society) govern itself? Surprisingly, it’s not too far from the “constitutionally limited government” the American founding fathers envisioned, and no less revolutionary.
First, recognize that everything is better with competition. There’s a reason the government doesn’t make shoes. A world without Nike, Adidas, Timberland, Vans, and Sperry would suck … Probably not even worth living in … damn I love my Top-Siders! So I got a little carried away there, but the reason you have so many choices, and why new options like Crocs pop up out of the blue is that there aren’t a lot of laws telling people they have to do this, that, and the other thing before they crank out their first pair. The coolest part: you pick the pair you like. 100% voluntary and so it works for Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Next, recognize that if anyone can make shoes, why can’t they grow food, broker stocks, or practice medicine, all without government permission? Reality is that all of these trades preceded government, not the opposite.
So where is government necessary? The answer is to protect against violations of life, limb, and property. To punish fraud if it occurs and provide a mechanism to recompense victims of violent aggression. And that leaves us at the constitutional republic, “night watchman state,” and so-called limited government.
Only one problem … History shows constitutions to be empirically inept at limiting power. Think about this for a second … Does it make any sense to give someone who’s supposedly protecting your property the power to steal it? Of course not. Yet that is exactly the shaky foundation all states are built on. And over time they tend to grow, meaning more taxes and less protection until eventually they consume their host and the process repeats itself.
So if not a state then who? The answer of course, is the same as everything else – the market. If the market makes the best shoes, why would it not also make the best court system, the best police, and the best defense agency? The best way to limit power is to decentralize it and as we saw before, the market, devoid of state intervention, does this best.
New to this idea? A good place to start is Murray Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty.” A little more advanced? Try “Democracy, The God That Failed” by Hans Hoppe.
Something to think about: It’s not so much that power corrupts but that corrupt people seek power. You cannot limit this monster – it has got to go.