Bullying and Lawlessness

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In regards to Stephan bringing up bullying and libertarianism, I note that my first article for LRC, Lord of the Flies High, was about bullying, including my own experience.

Stephan’s comments remind me of something I’ve been thinking about in regards to popular misunderstandings of libertarianism. Many outside of the libertarian movement, and some left-libertarians in it seem to have a totally false picture of a libertarian society. They imagine a world without boundaries, where they gambol about wherever they will stoned on their favourite drugs and having sex with whomever they come upon.

This would decidedly NOT be the result of the Misesian/Rothbardian vision come to life. Instead, a libertarian society is a society with extremely strong, well-defined and well-enforced boundaries. The quirky rules of private property owners are respected or you are out on your ear. In many, perhaps most, cases these rules would reflect socially conservative and bourgeois morals… No rudeness, out of control behaviour and definitely no preying on their young women, (Mark Twain wrote a long time ago of the U.S. that “a lady may traverse our states all day, going and coming as she chooses and never be molested by any man.”). I would suspect this would be a less litigious society, but certainly a legalistic one.

The “fun” of such a society is not the juvenile one of getting away with murder and doing whatever you feel like, but the adult pleasure of having control of yourself and your property and benefitting from your investments in your work, your home and your family. It is also a society where regular acts of violence and theft by children would not be tolerated.

12:43 pm on September 30, 2003