Sunday, May 27, 2018

Maybe it's time for libertarian countries

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 25, 2018)

Why have there been no libertarian countries? It's a popular question from those skeptical of libertarianism.

On the face of it, it seems a reasonable question. Until you understand what they're asking; then it makes less sense.

How can there be geographic, forced collectives based on voluntary associations and unanimous consent? Coercively voluntary? Enslaved freedom? Where one exists, the other can't. It's like asking why there are no frozen fires.

While libertarianism is essentially personal, there is a political version of libertarianism which would allow government to exist, as long as it is vastly less intrusive. In this case, some historians would dispute the claim of there never having been libertarian countries.

The more individuals respecting life, liberty, and property in an area, the more libertarian the country, regardless of government. Early America, as one example, was pretty libertarian, but inconsistent. Too few residents sufficiently respected the equal and identical rights of all people. The Declaration of Independence is a reflection of better intentions, but just over a decade later they messed up a good thing by writing a constitution; imposing an anti-libertarian government on America. There went the potential.

Libertarians are responsible and don't try to govern, or otherwise violate, their neighbors. When enough people are this responsible a tipping point is reached where the country is largely libertarian. The more libertarian a country is, the more resilient it becomes. Fewer things can go wrong enough to damage it. Alternatively, the less libertarian a country, the more brittle. A foreign or domestic bad guy only needs to seize and use the institutions of governance already in place to defeat the entire country. When none exist to be taken over, every individual must be defeated. It's not worth it.

Contrary to the fears of the skeptics, a libertarian country could provide anything people want. There could be roads, parks, and libraries. The poor could be cared for and people kept safe. Everything provided voluntarily instead of at the barrel of government guns. If you want to make sure only those who paid for a service use it, charge user fees or sell memberships. It would be more ethical, and probably cheaper, than the current system.

Why have there been no libertarian countries? Why have there been no cities on Mars? The time wasn't right. The technology didn't exist. Times change. Whether or not they've existed before, maybe it's time for libertarian countries to happen. I don't know about you, but I'm ready.

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Holy Pole Quilt or else!

A guy who lives across the street from my parents assumed I would be on his side.

A new convenience store/truck stop in the area apparently doesn't fly Holy Pole Quilt. This offends the man.

He told me he's going to go in, fill up a basket with expensive items, and when he gets to the register, ask why they aren't flying "The Flag". Then when the cashier says they "aren't allowed to", he's going to leave the full basket and say he can't spend money with them if they can't fly the flag of the country he "fought for".

Ugh. Seriously? Does he only spend money with businesses which prominently display Holy Pole Quilt? I don't remember one flying over most of the grocery stores in the area, Walmart being the exception.

This guy is a die-hard statist and militarist. He was sent to Vietnam as a youngster to murder (or support murderers) for the US government's interests. Unlike many others, this experience only deepened his worship of The State. He has a flagpole in the middle of his front yard, with Holy Pole Quilt illuminated by lights at night. He told me he's making soldier cut-outs to put in front of the pole, along with a big sign of statist propaganda about soldiers and "freedom". There's no doubt where his loyalties lie. And yet, he assumes I agree with him?

He reads my newspaper columns and often tells me how much he enjoys them. Is he reading into the columns what he wants to see, or am I really that bad at communicating?

Just so you know, I don't go around looking for fights. I didn't say a word to the guy about his misguided assumptions or horrifying religion. I may not have even rolled my eyes. I also didn't encourage him or agree with him in any way.

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