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September 01, 2007 04:21 AM UTC

Why don't Libertarians move to Somalia?

  • 11 Comments
  • by: DavidThi808

Note: I wrote this because of Foghorn’s posts in today’s open thread.

And by libertarians I include the Grover Norquist wing of the Republican party (which includes most of the Bush administration) that want to shrink the federal government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Ok, so what does this group want? They want the federal government out of just about everything. It will provide for national defense and protect property rights. And that’s it. No regulation and oversight. No healthcare or public schools. No social security.

The thing is, they can live under this system today. This nirvana, this perfect society exists today. All they have to do is move to…

Where is this Shangri-La? Because the libertarians so hungrily wish for such a society you know they would move there instantly.

It’s Somalia. By any measure Somalia is a libertarians dream. The national government does virtually nothing. It’s one main effort is just to function. There is no attempt to care for the people or regulate the economy. It barely keeps the roads repaired.

As to the right to bear arms, you can own a tank there if you want. When it comes to the right to defend yourself, you can have your own private militia.

When it comes to the economy, there are no licenses to get from the government, no regulations to follow, no inspectors to satisfy. You can start any business, run it any way you wish, and sell any product exactly as you wish.

So why aren’t libertarians streaming to Somalia?

Could it be because all of the government investment programs we have like public schools and interstate highways make this a more productive economy? Could it be because of all the support programs like welfare and socail security give most people a reason to support our society than to descend into anarchy? Could it be because our regulations, inspections, and financial transparency make the economy work more efficiently?

Libertarians at root are trying to use the investment we have all made in this country through the government without having to pay in their investment – but still reaping the benefits of our system.

In other words, libertarian is another word for leech

Update: Well this definitely struck a nerve. The impetus for this diary was a discussion I had with some friends who are true libertarians (or whatever term you use for those that want an absolutely minimal government). And I used Somalia not as a perfect example of that as no government in practice is ever a pure type of government but because it comes very close to what a true libertarian government would be.

As to those who subscribe to some tenants of libertariasm, we all subscribe to some of them. And the concept of minimal government intrusion in our lives is a fundamental precept of both liberal and conservative thought. The libertarians have claimed it as their own but it is central to many political philosophies.

As one comment below put it, I am not talking about “Democratic Libertarianism” or other cases where people subscribe to some of it’s tenents. This is about the true believers

Update 2: Another part of true libertarianism actually assumes an all powerful government. Why? Well first, it will enforce absolute property rights and that will take a large police force, especially with the large inequalities that would occur. Take Haiti as an example and think of how large a police force would be needed to make it as safe is the U.S. while leaving the inequalities and extreme poverty.

Second, libertariasm says you have property rights to the air as it goes across your land or the river by your land and others must pay for the right to polute it. That would require an incredibly intrusive government to determine if one person was violating another’s property.

Libertarianism falls down in the details of it’s implementation.

Also posted at Liberal and Loving It

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11 thoughts on “Why don’t Libertarians move to Somalia?

  1. As much as I like W, I would not cite his administration as one that has reduced the size of government.  On the contrary, his failure to do so has many Repulicans unable to accurately contrast their beliefs with Democrats.

      1. I honestly admire W for some very tough situations that he has had to deal w/ in his Presidency.

        Though like you said, his administration has said one thing and done another in terms of reducing the size and scope of our government.  Talk about trying to thread the eye of a needle when telling people to vote Repulican “because they will reduce the size of government” the next election when your standard bearer has done anything but.  I wont even get into my rant on Republican sex scandals ;O)

        1. you like him for being a liar. I can understand you sympathizing with him for what he has had to deal with during his tenure as president….but admiring him for being at a certain place and time?!! Makes no sense.

          Sex scandals are nothing compared to the crimes of this administration.

          1. You just said the following

            “I can understand you sympathizing with him for what he has had to deal with during his tenure as president”

            That is the reason why I admire him, I may be one of the few but do not presume that my reasons for doing so are because I see him as being unethical.  I assume that is not a trait you respect, so don’t assume that it is one that I do.

            1. Let me try again. Let’s say that X heads to work one day (not today cause it’s Labor Day…brought to us by Unions as David so well pointed out) and on the way notices that the Dunkin Donut shop he usually stops at is on fire. Now, by chance, he has an opportunity to help the starved policemen in the parking lot without their breakfast. It’s a tough situation. The heat is fierce and the donuts are exploding. He rushes to a nearby fire hydrant, already equipped with a hose and a wrench for turning it on. I sympathize with him because he has a tough job to do! So he grabs the hose, turns on the water, and drenches the Meineke Muffler shop next door until its soaking wet, thereby displacing 25 Meineke employees from their ability to earn a living that day. I don’t admire him at this point, because his actions are totally wrong.

              Sorry for the misunderstanding. I just don’t understand you admirinig someone for being at a certain place and time, and in a position to do something, when what he does is completely f***** up.

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