July 08, 2011

Libertarianism and Somalia

One of the more annoying arguments against Libertarianism, or any reduction in government, is that somehow it is a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to no government at all which would mean a lawless society where might is right. So not just the slippery slope fallacy you’ve got the slippery slope and a strawman.

Government is in no danger of withering away, if anything it has a continuous tendency to expand gobbling up more and more of civil society as it does. When fighting as hard as she could all Margret Thatcher could do was hold the state’s size the same. Even back in the victorian period Mikhail Bakunin pointed that out to Marx when he insisted that after the dictatorship of the Proletariat the state would whither away. Marx might not have lived to see it but he got his communist revolution and the state certainly did not whither away, it just got bigger as it tried to continue itself; just as was predicted.

Then there is the strawman that libertarians and those that want a small state actually want no state. Fine, point out the problems with having no state at all and the danger that without the state with its monopoly on violence you will get lots of competing violent factions seeking to tax everybody else. I don’t think that many Libertarians would have a problem with that. This is why they do not want to completely get rid of the state, but want it reduced so that all it does is stop the rise of competing warlords.

Though perhaps it would be good to look at one of the few places in the world that is completely without a government and is always brought up as if it was a model for Libertarians, Somalia. Somalia is a poverty-stricken, war torn, shit hole, but then it was still a poverty-stricken, war torn shit hole when it had a government. However despite having no government they do have the rule of law, they do have property rights, and by many measures life has actually improved for most people since the descent into anarchy when compared to how things were when there was a government. Hardly a slam dunk for the statists, even if it was not an enormous straw man.


Blogger Lord Blagger said...

The simple argument is Belgium

9:27 am  

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