Watch Redmond Weissenberger interviewed by Stefan Molyneux here.
I was speaking with some people from Carleton Students for Liberty on Thursday. During the discussion, someone mentioned that there are people in his class that support public education. He called them “socialists”. Now when I asked him about this he did say they were socialists for various other reasons, not just their support of public education so this post is not really about this incident.
I think this may be a problem for some people in the liberty movement: jumping too quick to pigeon-hole someone politically based off particular opinions they hold. I mean, because someone holds viewpoint x, we tend to assume, without any real evidence, that they also hold viewpoint y and z. After doing so that person is considered a “lost cause” as far as converting them to more libertarian beliefs goes.
It is just false that people that support public education are socialists. Take someone like Mitt Romney. Now, I have not done research into this, nor do I plan to, but I am certain that Romney is in favour of state funded schools. (Did I just disregard my own advice?) Does that make him a socialist? I think not. If we want we can expand the definition of “socialist” to include anyone who favours public education, but that would be, in my opinion, unpractical. It seems just as true that not all socialists favour public education. There is a long tradition of anarchist socialism, regardless of what you may think of it, that has a strong opposition to the state.
When libertarians do something like label an opponent in a discussion “socialist” I think they are severely harming there chances of getting people interested in their cause. Asides from being unaware of the finer points in economic theory, socialists, at least the good ones, are typically: anti-war, anti-corporatism, and pro-civil liberties. Knowing someone who is all three of these things is great! Really, I don’t think that most people know what corporatism means. Three out of four is not bad. Surely, they can be forgiven for not understanding economics. That is where we step in, right?
So yes, someone can favour public education, but they can also be a vigorous opponent of the wars abroad, the resulting evaporation of civil liberties, the war on drugs, and the bank bailouts. Is that your definition of a “socialist”? Maybe, maybe not. But I think people like that are already well set to be brought over to the libertarian side. Why discourage them with unnecessary rhetoric?
“By its own count, the company currently has 34 eminent domain actions against landowners in Texas and an additional 22 in South Dakota.”
A very quick though on this headline.
When someone says “mistakenly” I usually think of it in the context of, “Oh sorry, I mistakenly got some soup on your table-cloth.” or, “Whoops, sorry I mistakenly scratched your car while I was backing up.”
To say someone was “mistakenly deported to Colombia” strikes me as a bit stretched. Like, “Pardon me, I mistakenly broke into your home last night, kidnapped your children, smashed your TV, and soiled your rug.” or “Well, George, it looks like we’ve mistakenly invaded Iraq again!”
Unrelated to that, I have been rather busy lately, so I have not had much time to work on posts or articles. I hope to put a small piece together soon on feudalism and the transition to capitalism in Lower Canada, but I am still doing preliminary research on that, so it will be a bit longer.
In the meantime, here are some readings I can recommend.
“… the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime …. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or alien.” – Albert Jay Nock
“The State … is the ‘organization of the political means’, it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory ….. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society” – Murray Rothbard
I think Walter Block argued that healthcare is too important a service to be left to the government to provide. Rather, the private sector, the free market, should provide us with doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical drugs, hospital beds, etc. If we must settle with the state monopolizing a service, we should let it manufacture elastic bands, or shoe laces – things we can get along without relatively easily. Anarchists argue the same for defence and justice, services possibly even more important than healthcare.
Minarchists are great at disproving government intervention in virtually every area of economic and social life: money, education, healthcare, infrastructure, morality and private life, drug use, international affairs. Yet they seem to think that possibly the single most important aspect of our lives, our personal security, can be managed by the same people that can’t pave a street within budget or on schedule. Minarchists don’t trust the state with chalk and a chalk board but they trust it with M16s and tanks. What gives?
“But defence is too important to be left to the market” some may say. Well, I agree that defence is important. But let’s just use Walter Block’s argument. If defence is really that important than its production should be left to the free market. If the market were left to provide security I would not be so concerned about the roads or high tuition fees.
Minarchists will make great arguments about why we should take the state out of various aspects of our lives. They make these arguments to conservatives, liberals, and socialists. “Power corrupts; the state cannot calculate; by their very nature, governments go into debt; it’s a public goods problem; the market allocates resources more efficiently; it is immoral to use force against other individuals”. They have mastery of this rhetoric and yet when it comes to abolishing the state all together they freeze up. Lock down mode. They can’t take their arguments to their logical conclusion. “Well, we just can’t get rid of the state all together. We need it for some things.”
I understand how a layman sees government as necessary an institution as he does. After all, he is indoctrinated with state propaganda from birth. He is told he needs the state to keep crosswalks safe, or to be protected from UV rays. In some ways he is more justified than the minarchist for having the views he does. Libertarians, on the other hand, know the alternatives. They read Rothbard, Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Hoppe. They have access to resources that libertarians 25 years ago would have never been able to find without substantial effort. Yet despite all their exposure to libertarian ideas, they still see the state as either necessary or desirable.
What’s their excuse?