Comments: Grabbing A Tgirsch By The Tale

Excellent post; I don't agree 100%, but few people agree entirely with one another. I've always considered myself as somewhat libertarian, and a tend to agree with most of the major points you have made. I will probably have to spend some time reading the references and links you have provided to see where you have gotten the basis for some of the conclusions/statements.

Posted by BobG at January 16, 2007 10:52 AM

I like your prose. But I think you glossed over the Feudal argument a bit. You don't have to look too far back in the history of this country to see a parallel. The robber-barons of the early 20th century basically resulted from a quasi libertarian environment.

It took Theodore Roosevelt to to break them up with anti trust laws to level the playing field a bit. In a truly libertarian environment might (through force, money, or influence) makes right. While that is largely true now it is true in spite of laws against it.

In a libertarian society there could be no such laws prohibiting pollution, enforcing contracts, stopping crushing monopolies. Because no one would have the power to enforce such laws.

A Bill Gates strength business person could be ruthless refusing to pay employees for overtime, making them buy at company stores, hire a private army to enforce his will and intimidate his potential competition. All this the robber barons did in this country at one time. It was only by virtue of a government that could bring MORE force to bear that such practices were controled.

In the end a libertarian society would function well if the most powerful in the society have good motives (Plato's philosopher king). If they don't them there is no higher power to which the weak could appeal.

Posted by 1894C at January 17, 2007 10:24 AM

13 pages & you wanted it to be longer? lol

Without getting too deep into it I would point out that a few decades before the 20th century rolled around we had something much worse - slavery. A government backed institution. It was a legal & government backed institution & therefore much harder to shake off than any controls a robber-baron type might exert.

Given an either/or I'd much rather deal with the robber barons than a government bent in such a way.

But it does come back to the same thing - most systems rely on people with decent intent, whether it be Plato's philosopher-king or a multitude of benevolent wpould-be dictators (i.e. voters). No system is perfect nor would any system totally escape that. But I think in a loibertarian society there'd be a better mechanism to deal with things when they go bad.

Again would you rather take on a robber-baron or a government who enforced slavery?

Posted by Publicola at January 17, 2007 03:50 PM