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Article posted Feb 16 2014, 3:16 PM Category: General Source: r/LibertarianMeme Print

Government Illegitimacy Explained [Pic]

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Nickel's 2bits

Posted: Feb 16 2014, 9:27 PM

7147 I see this not as a solution but as demonstrating what I think are the central insoluble problems of Libertarianism.

Scenario: There's you. There's you and your land. There's John and his land. John's land has a gold mine on his land. As a result John has a lot of gold and it makes him feel important and he can afford a lot of guns as a result. John employs ten workers, who all think John is important and support everything he says (since they like to be employed). John and the workers buy a lot of stuff from the twenty businesses in town. The proprietors all think John is great and hang on everything he says.

No government: Just a lot of people beholding to, and supporting, John.

Now you and John get into a dispute: You don't like the runoff from mine tailings flowing across your land.

The first problem: Libertarianism assumes as a precondition that you and John can negotiate on an EQUAL BASIS. But you can't, because John has more gold, workers, supporters and guns than you. You will be on an EQUAL BASIS only if John agrees...and it is to John's direct advantage to disagree.

Most likely, you will likely be oppressed. Because the precondition probably will fail: You and John are not equal; not in negotiating position and not in capability for violence.

(In this scenario, government is actually an advantage to you, because a government involving many people tends to dilute John's power. There's a lot of mileage made in this site about companies oppressing other companies and people by use of government, but that happens only because there is a government. With government, companies employ the government for their oppression; without, the companies employ direct means.)

Some might counter that Libertarianism would have a system of appeals, in that everyone is committed to the ideal of EQUAL BASIS. They will listen to you and to John and will tell John he's being unfair...and somehow that is binding on John. If you do manage to have an EQUAL BASIS, then someone still winds up oppressed. Suppose a "Citizen" judge (as described in "Freehold", Michael Z. Williamson) for example: The judge tells John he must not allow runoff from his tailings to cross your land. Is it not now John who is oppressed?

Which brings us to the second problem of Libertarianism: That it assumes as a precondition that there is a solution for every problem that is ACCEPTABLE TO BOTH PARTIES. This is rarely true: Where would you draw the line in this case? Consider again the scenario laid out above: Neither you nor John can have everything as you wish. Suppose a compromise: John must keep runoff from passing on the western half of your land; you must accept runoff ruining the east side of your land. Aren't you both oppressed?

At any rate, I understand the goal of Libertarianism, and it is laudable. I also see it as unworkable, where self-interested people are involved. It is unfortunate that this is so often true in society: That good ideas prove unworkable in reality.

Posted: Feb 17 2014, 1:12 PM

"legitimate or lawful right"

wish dave was still around, he'd tear that one all up.

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