Multiple Governments and Roads, But It’s Not the Main Issue

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People usually want to know how multiple governments would handle the question of public roads and similar facilities. If person A drops out of government B and B won’t let person A use B’s roads, what happens?

In the U.S., there are already multiple governments that oversee roads. California doesn’t turn away people from other states. Buffalo doesn’t turn away people from Rochester. Erie County doesn’t turn people away from Niagara County. There are reasons for this, mainly, it’s not good for business, people won’t tolerate being turned away, and the governments have cooked up financing arrangements behind the scenes that satisfy them.

There is some exclusion going on at the local level, but the price system ameliorates it. If I try to use the parks and swimming pools of the town to my east, I have to pay a fee. If I try to use the barbecue facility of a town to my north, I need a permit. If I try to use national parks, there’s usually a fee.

Where user fees can be assessed for public facilities, the fact that person A subscribes to social security and person B does not becomes irrelevant.

In looking for specific answers, one direction is to piggyback on the ancap work of Hoppe, Murphy, Block and others. There is also a panarchy web site.

Another direction is to understand that we’re not talking about a 100% solution, all at once, or all or none. Opting out can be done piecemeal by increasing optionality for some things and not others.

Whatever area one is concerned about, say roads, I’d like to mention that there is all sorts of technical and legal knowledge about financing. There is lots of expertise on the financing of roads, and governments can reach agreements on this. They already do this today, what with town, county, state and federal roads.

Each and every public sector activity has a financing scheme, whereby fees are assessed. Finance is sophisticated. There are often ways to devise schemes so that users of the service pay their way and do not free ride. Deals can be negotiated, if the government is willing. Everything that the government has built up can be altered or reworked. Search on anything, such as road financing, and you will come up with lots of law and sophistication, like this World Bank source. If there are very difficult areas where multiple governments can’t work, then leave them alone. Remember, panarchy is not a 100% thing. A piece of panarchy is better than no panarchy.

Obviously if the federal government wants to prevent personal secession, it has many ways to do it. It could simply freeze people out of using critical facilities in transportation and communication. It could stop them from using the nationwide payments systems.

The problem of getting to more libertarian and panarchy solutions is not technical. It is not how a more free system can work. There is no shortage of technical expertise. What’s needed is actually not technical solutions, which can be arrived at, but the WILL to allow them, the goodwill, I mean. Without willingness to allow greater freedom, agreements can’t be forged. The willingness doesn’t depend on the technical feasibility. It depends on the ideas people have about society and government and about their fears of losing out. It depends first and foremost on the elite’s attitudes and behavior. If the existing government won’t become or can’t be made to become willing to seek new ways of doing things and unwilling to negotiate new solutions that involve greater freedom, then this won’t happen until the decline becomes so great that the government fails or responds to the pressures.

How a system with greater freedom will work is really not the main issue. America is frozen into a government system that’s far from optimal or even satisfactory, as the tremendous waste, inefficiency, fraud, poor decisions, downward trajectory, huge debt, lies, hypocrisy and all the rest indicate. The elite who run the show offer no way out. They act as if this system is all there is and that it can’t be any other way. They want this system. The system moves glacially — but only in the direction of getting more and more frozen and more and more controlling.

The commentaries of the intellectual apologists for the state who smear libertarianism aren’t worth two cents. All they do is blabber on and on and on about society needing aggressive government to function. They write thousands and thousands of words that fail ever squarely to confront the central libertarian analysis of government failures and the clear alternative of free markets. Instead, their ploy is to defend government failure by taking the offense. They attack libertarianism as favoring social disintegration, making money, license, debauchery, drugs, and immorality. They avoid the issue of government failure by accusing libertarianism of making freedom the sole ethical rule and then, adding insult to injury, by arguing that it’s only freedom used to undo and wreck society.

Libertarianism does not stress freedom and non-aggression so as to replace the typically beneficial morality and ethics taught at one’s mother’s knee and absorbed by one’s childhood experiences and upbringing. The context of non-aggression and its endorsement of freedom is government and its failures. The libertarian literature on government failures is huge and persuasive.

The statists cannot rebut the simple facts of large government failures, so they instead perversely insist that freedom is responsible. And since libertarianism is the foremost critic of government and exponent of freedom, it has become their target. Whoever proposes a policy that even palely reflects a libertarian solution is tagged as libertarian and then criticized.

The necessary willingness of the elite to negotiate new and freer solutions to the problems created by government is absent in America. This is the main obstacle to peaceful, constructive and progressive change in the libertarian direction.

4:47 pm on May 23, 2014