the libertarian transition

Anton Sherwood (
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 18:36:15 -0700 (PDT)

Kristen Brennan writes
: I generally agree with Libertarianism in theory. But as far as I can
: tell, for it to globally replace other systems of interaction, one
: of two things would need to happen:
: 1. Everyone would need to voluntarily adhere to it. But as long as
: there's a profit to be made by coercion, I believe that some people
: will always attempt to do so.
: 2. Some group would need to impose Libertarianism on the world.
: Of course, this imposition would go against Libertarian values.
: This catch-22 makes me draw a parallel between communism and
: libertarianism: sounds great, if everyone adheres. But usually
: the only way to get everyone to adhere is with guns, which means
: fascism.
: Can anyone talk me out of this?

Start with "guns ... means fascism." I'll assume you don't literally
mean fascism as Mussolini meant it (state management of the economy
while retaining the form of private ownership) but rather dictatorship
in general, or perhaps even use of force in general. If you shoot
someone who tries to rape your sister, are you a fascist? I hope
you don't think that.

Weapons don't mean dictatorship. *Concentration* of weapons in
the hands of an elite means dictatorship over the disarmed masses.
Where weapons are widespread, dictatorship becomes far more difficult.
(I hear that Albania is quieter now that most households have
machine-guns looted from the army!)

I have no desire to "impose libertarianism" on people who enjoy
paying taxes, or enjoy having their choices arbitrarily restricted.
If you want to go to jail for smoking a joint, okay, I won't stop you.
If you want to have your business seized for hiring an undocumented
immigrant, okay, different strokes. If you want to pay higher prices
for goods and services provided by the state-certified cartel, fine,
go right ahead.

But I claim the right to defend myself against aggression, which
includes aggression by tax-collectors and narcs. I reserve the
right to "impose libertarianism" on *them* only insofar as they
attempt to impose socialism or puritanism on me or my friends.

In my favorite scenario (not necessarily the most likely) for a
libertarian transition, there's no upheaval; people just stop
cooperating with Big Brother, until it collapses of its own weight.
There will be an uneasy period, as everybody waits for the
"inevitable" crime wave - but I bet it won't happen. As the
drug trade comes from underground into daylight, violence should
decline; and as trades formerly made uneconomical by taxes or
regulations suddenly become profitable, many petty criminals
will find they've got better things to do.

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*