Adding to the Libertarian tent in Scott Lazarowitz’s excellent LRC piece and “… because the “libertarianism” argument seems to be such a hot-button issue at this time, I instead want to add my two-cents worth on that issue.”….
I’ll see those two cents and raise ya two!
Among the many worthy statements made, this paragraph crystallizes the essential element missing from the “Me,Too”-ism currently buzzing around all around Libertarianism-ville.
There is no compromise, no middle ground between statism and libertarianism. “Limited government” is not libertarian and isn’t even possible. In my view, libertarianism has no role for the State, as the State is a territorial monopoly ruler over people who did not consent to its rule. The relationship between the rulers and the ruled is contract-less and not voluntary. In a libertarian society, all relationships, associations and contracts would be voluntary. No coercion. The essence of the State is that its relationship with the people is involuntary. The State is nothing but an apparatus of coercion and aggression.
All the pundits who identified themselves as “Staunch Conservative” before Libertarian was cool, are now rushing to get out in front of the Attitudinal Sea-Change Parade as one of the Leaders because clear, principled libertarianism is resonating everywhere, looking pretty darn good compared to the butt-ugly face of the Uniparty’s kudzu-like creeping fascism cum soft tyranny.
Being in agreement regarding “no role for the state” along with voluntary relationships and contracts, begs the follow-up question: why have a “State” at all? Indeed “limited government” is no different than “little bit pregnant”. Freedom, Liberty and Government have not, do not, and will not peacefully co-exist to the benefit of citizens for the simple reason: Government doesn’t work.
If “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”, why the notion of a “political party” and running candidates? Should we contradict Washington’s edict: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force…”? Government in any form is Force. At its essence, Force is War: War against countries, people, drugs, -isms; ultimately, against the Individual. Government fulfills its “mission” by perfecting efficient tactics of War, to eliminate Liberty and Freedom and deny individuals their inalienable rights, not preserve and protect them. That looked good on paper but it remains contrary to the nature of Government.
When has Government, a devastating wrecking ball of Freedom and blood-thirsty killing machine ever done otherwise? Or name a period in human history more than several decades when any government – Monarchy, Oligarchy, Dictatorship, Democracy or so-called Constitutionally Limited Republic – was not engaged in taxing, regulating, suppressing, enslaving, wars of mass murder and grinding Liberty to dust? Sure, there were a few brief sparking moments – usually after the dead were buried – when the light from the “Torch of Freedom” burned a little longer than an ADHD lightening bug, but you could count on one hand (with fingers left over) the generations which lived it. It only took 15 years from the end of the Revolutionary War and 10 years before the ratification of the Constitution for John Adams to sign the “Alien and Sedition Acts”, hardly panegyrics to the ideals of the new Republic!
Progressive liberals, establishment Republicans, tea party conservatives or newly-minted “Libertarians” cannot successfully debate, legislate or wet dream away the one word, the silver bullet, that kills dead any possibility of Freedom, Liberty, and the State living happily ever after in peaceful, productive coexistence. That word is Force, the polar opposite of Freedom.
As irrefutable as Washington’s pronouncement is Lord Acton’s postulation: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power and Force are the conjoined twin spawn of Government. Add in Acton’s “active ingredient”, Corruption, and the sheer concept of Government as well as “governance” would bring any objective, logical reasoning Libertarian to realize he is, at heart, an anarchist. No form of government imposes itself via voluntary cooperation; government cannot function without oppression. Libertarianism is the half-way house, a way-point on the road to Anarchism.
Unfortunately, the enemies of Liberty have given Anarchy a bad name. In fact, it is the elimination of government that is the practical solution to tyranny and oppression because the State and Government are the parents of both.
Granted, the final chapter may not be paradisiac.
As Robert Higgs eloquently noted:
Although I admit that the outcome in a stateless society will be bad, because not only are people not angels, but many of them are irredeemably vicious in the extreme, I conjecture that the outcome in a society under a state will be worse, indeed much worse, because, first, the most vicious people in society will tend to gain control of the state and, second, by virtue of this control over the state’s powerful engines of death and destruction, they will wreak vastly more harm than they ever could have caused outside the state. It is unfortunate that some individuals commit crimes, but it is stunningly worse when such criminally inclined individuals wield state powers… Only states can pose truly massive threats, and sooner or later the horrors with which they menace mankind invariably come to pass…”
Echoing Washington’s analogy to Government and fire, Gibbs writes:
“The lesson of the precautionary principle is plain: Because people are vile and corruptible, the state, which holds by far the greatest potential for harm and tends to be captured by the worst of the worst, is much too risky for anyone to justify its continuation. To tolerate it is not simply to play with fire, but to chance the total destruction of the human race.”
Returning to Mr.Lazarowitz piece: “While there is room in the libertarian “big tent” for “humanitarians” and “brutalists,” there is no room in libertarianism for statism.” To which I would add: just as there is no room in Liberty for the State.