Am I stupid for being a Libertarian?

John K Clark (
Sat, 8 Mar 1997 21:05:19 -0800 (PST)


On Fri, 07 Mar 1997 Erik Moeller <> Wrote:

>If government works correctly, you don't work for the state but the
>state works for you.

If I'm the boss and the state works for me then I should be able to fire the
state whenever I want to. Unfortunately I can not, because I am not the boss
and the state won't let me quit.

>I *do* agree that this is often not the case today.

On of the great understatements of all time.

>The problem is that government is too corrupt and influenced >(usually even set up) by economy.

True, but that's not because we were just unlucky and elected the wrong
politicians, it's inherent in the system. Suppose I want to make $10,000,
there are two ways to go about it. I can work to repeal hundreds of special
interest laws, each one costing me a few dollars, or I can lobby for the
passage of one more special interest law that will give me and my friends
$10,000 and cost everybody else a dollar or two. The second method makes much
more sense, it's far easier to pass one law than to repeal hundreds .

This sort of lobbying won't work in the free market. If I want an executive
at GM to be promoted to a position of greater power there is only one thing
I can do to help that come about, purchase the product that the executive has
been advocating. Bribery will help the executive's bank account but it will
not help his chances for advancement, it will hurt it because his boss will
note that his decisions have been poor and do not made economic sense.
The stockholders will note the same thing.

All this causes a lot of problems for government, the main trouble with
theft is that it's mostly a net loss, not just a transfer of funds.
For the victim it is of course a total loss, but what about the thief?
A thief has a job and like all jobs it involves labor and expenses, in this
case legal costs and loss of his livelihood when he's in jail. The net
benefit in the interaction between thief and victim is only a small part of
his income. He will likely expend 9$ worth of labor, labor he could have used
to make money in other ways, in order to receive 10$ worth of stolen property.

This situation in no way changes when government is the thief. Individuals
pay an enormous cost to try to protect themselves from this thief,
accountants, tax lawyers, and most important of all, the organization of
resources to minimize taxes rather that to maximize the generation of real
wealth. The results is that the net loss is close to or equal to the amount
stolen by government.

>For government does not have a general interest in acting "evil",
>but big biz has, in order to
> - sell more

What on Earth is evil about selling something to somebody who wants to buy it?

>- pay fewer taxes

What on Earth is evil about protecting you possessions from theft?

>- get rid of competitors

There are two ways a company could get rid of competitors.

1) It could become more efficient than the competition. This would mean that
the company would be producing a product that individuals chose because
they liked it better than the alternative. In the name of human freedom
this horrible state of affairs can not be allowed, the government sees to

2) The proper way to deal with a competitor who makes a product that is
better and cheaper than yours is to use your "clout" to lobby the
government to regulate your industry. I can't emphasize enough that
purpose of this regulation is only to increase individual freedom, and of
course the best way to do that is to have government agents use force or
the threat of force to stop anyone from making a product superior to mine.
What better way is there to promote free competition?

>- get state subventions

OK, you got 1 out of 4 right, that IS evil.

>anarchies are not workable

Who runs the Internet? Does the internet work? Who decided on what the rules
of English should be, and what government agency enforces it? Does English

>There is no free market or real competition, just a search for the
>highes profit rates.

I fail to see the distinction. If you're making a ton of money then yours
must be a great business to be in. I'm going to get in too, and I'm going to
do my best to make an even higher profit rate than you do.

>those who do the hardest physical work (workers in factories,
>farmers etc.) usually get the fewest money in capitalist systems

Yes, brute strength is the very easiest thing to automate. If a surgeon was
going to cut me open and then put me back together again, I would hope he
could demand more money for his services than somebody whose only skill was
the ability to dig a ditch.

>If companies invest, they do not invest in employees but in what
>promises the highest profit.

In other words they pay their employees what they're worth not what they want,
just what you'd expect from an organization that is not a charity. If I can
find somebody who can do your job better than you can and is willing to work
for less, what is wrong with that? Look at it from the other side, suppose
you found somebody who would pay you twice what you make now for fewer hours
of work, would there be anything immoral in you quitting your present job?

>Lots of people pay and few get the money. In the end, there's mass
>poverty, hunger and a few very, very rich (but usually not very
>clever) guys.

Let me see if I have this straight: The problem with the world is that there
are too many greedy people and you want more money. Most are too materialist
and you want more material things. The poor want a more affluent lifestyle,
the rich have figured out a way to obtain it, but the poor are more
intelligent. Is that about it? Have I missed anything?

>Capitalism is the true pyramid system.

If that's the way you feel about it then the solution is obvious, don't be a
capitalist. I really don't see what your problem is.

>I only see one motivation that drives all Libertarians. It's not
>the desire for freedom or the desire for justice. It's pure greed.
>Oh yeah, and in some cases it's stupidity.

Oh, now I see. You think you're morally superior to us and are far more
intelligent. You think we're too stupid to make decisions for ourselves and
for our own good you must do it for us. You'll make us become socialists
whether we want to or not. Erik, can you see why such a policy might cause
some resentment in your subjects?

As for your other insults, I am not ashamed of my opinions, if I didn't think
freedom and justice were good things I would not lie about it, I would just
say so. You will note that I have not said so. If what you say about "all"
Libertarians is true then almost everybody on this list is an unjust freedom
hating greedy moron who lies about their motivation. Why do you even talk to

John K Clark

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