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Article posted Jun 05 2013, 10:16 AM Category: Commentary Source: Tom Woods Print

'The Question Libertarians Just Can't Answer'

Tom Woods

For some reason, the finger-waggers at Salon think they’ve got us stumped with this one: “If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country in the world ever tried it?”

So this is the unanswerable question? What’s supposed to be so hard about it? Ninety percent of what libertarians write about answers it at least implicitly.

Let’s reword the question slightly, in order to draw out the answer. You’ll note that when stated correctly, the question contains an implicit non sequitur.

(1) “If your approach is so great, why doesn’t local law enforcement want to give up the money, supplies, and authority that come from the drug war?”

(2) “If your approach is so great, why don’t big financial firms prefer to stand or fall on their merits, and prefer bailouts instead?”

(3) “If your approach is so great, why do people prefer to earn a living by means of special privilege instead of by honest production?”

(4) “If your approach is so great, why does the military-industrial complex prefer its revolving-door arrangement and its present strategy of fleecing the taxpayers via its dual strategy of front-loading and political engineering?”

(5) “If your approach is so great, why do businessmen often prefer subsidies and special privileges?”

(6) “If your approach is so great, why do some people prefer to achieve their ends through war instead?”

(7) “If your approach is so great, why does the political class prefer to live off the labor of others, and exercise vast power over everyone else?”

(8) “Special interests win special benefits for themselves because those benefits are concentrated and significant. The costs, dispersed among the general public, are so insignificant to any particular person, that the general public has no vested interest in organizing against it. An extra 25 cents per gallon of orange juice is hardly worth devoting one’s life to opposing, but an extra $100 million per year in profits for the companies involved sure is worth the time to lobby for.

“If your approach is so great, why does this happen?”

(9) “If your approach is so great, why don’t people want to try it out, after having been propagandized against it nonstop for 17 years?” (K-12, then four years of college.)





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Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Peter w

Posted: Jun 17 2013, 4:06 PM

Link
64134 Yes if they were just a bit more specific, the question fails completely for them and would actually further the libertarian position. The original question would be: "if your approach is so great [for productive honest folks], why has no country's unproductive ruling parties [who traditionally make immoral gains in their current systems] never tried it?" Same idea as the esteemed author's examples, but I wanted to try adding some needed flesh to the original question. I love finding the flaws in such arguments but my "opponents" always bail out early and of course others who are present very much disapprove like I'm bullying for ego satisfaction. I have all the time in the world for defending basic human rights. Thanks to Tom for his excellent work.
Anonymous

Posted: Jun 17 2013, 5:58 PM

Link
65110 "Why are there no libertarian countries?", says that article...

Tyrants keep people enslaved by brute force of arms, I say. Otherwise people would be able to create a real free market, satisfying everyone's needs...

And where would governments be if others satisfy people's needs? That's right... Governments would be so much smaller or even unneeded.

If I were a tyrant, I wouldn't want a free market.


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