Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not every problem needs a solution

Not every problem needs a solution

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 16, 2011)

Everyone knows there are problems in the world. There is theft. There is child abuse. There is poverty. And many more. The question becomes "How do you fix it?"

While it seems most people think a new law or tougher enforcement is the answer, libertarians see those "solutions" as only exacerbating the problems. We also see the current infatuation with statutory law as a reason that so many of the problems surrounding us now seem to have no effective solution.

Not every problem can be fixed, or even should be fixed. The biggest flaw in the "Serenity Prayer" is the line "...Courage to change the things I can..." because not everything that can be changed should be changed. Real wisdom accepts that.

Another fact of reality is that any solved problem creates new problems. The trick is to make sure the problems created by your solution are more minor- easier to solve or live with- than the problem you started with. If a solution seems likely to have consequences worse than the problem, it is best to do nothing until a better solution presents itself. Always be prepared to quickly reject your solution if its unintended consequences are worse than the original problem. Laws never fair well when judged against this benchmark.

A common statutory solution for crime is to ban self defense, or at least regulate it to the point that victims of an attack who fight back will then be at risk of being attacked by the legal system. This emboldens those who care nothing about right and wrong, much less laws, which creates unnecessary hardship and fear for the people who were not doing anything wrong to begin with.

The libertarian solution for crime is, first of all, to recognize that without a specific individual who was attacked or robbed there was no crime, and then remove the barriers to effective self defense, which includes defense of property. The benefit of a doubt must be given to the person who was just going about his business; not to the one who was looking for trouble.

The same goes for other problems. Most of them can be solved, but solutions that harm the innocent are not worth pursuing. You can't be generous and caring by giving away other people's money. You can't protect the innocent by legalizing the violation of eternal human rights.



  1. Sorry for the high-jack, Kent...but I thought you might find this interesting...you may already know of it as it is close to you.

    "Off The Grid - Life On The Mesa"


  2. I watched that a year or so back. Fascinating, for sure.

    But the really strange thing is that I hadn't thought about that film since then- until last night when I was discussing it with a new acquaintance. Now I'm scratching my head and wondering if the universe is trying to tell me something. LOL.

  3. How did you like the way the "anarchists" went around stealing stuff and the way the Mesans dealt with it?

  4. Hmmm. You know, I don't remember that part so it must not have made much of an impression with me.

    I knew almost immediately when watching it that their little community wasn't for me. Not that I would want to stop them from living there however they see fit, but just not for me. Too self-important or serious or something. I'm not sure. It just didn't radiate "welcome" to me. I guess that's why I didn't really think about it too much after I watched it, and why I don't remember the thieves right now.

    I did think it was very interesting what some people were able to do in police state USA.

  5. Among other things(like the way they handled crime), what I liked is that it is proof positive that anarchy works, even under the most unlikely of circumstances.

    A bunch of oddballs in the middle of nowhere in the harshest of environments(the desert), with a bunch of junk and no water source for miles...and it works...in spite of state raids.


    For many years, I've been contemplating the whole off the grid homestead thing.

    Lately, I've been gearing up as I may have found a way to finance a small piece of Appalachia.

    This all has me thinking of getting a bunch of people together and all chip in to buy some land...actually start "Libertopia".

    ...just a thought.

  6. Look what I found


  7. Very interesting!

    Several years ago I was led to believe I would be buying a house and I found an off-grid one in Colorado I really wanted. The only real problem with it- and it was a significant one- was that the only way to get water was to haul it in. I was planning to construct some type of rain collection system (in spite of the government delusion that they own the run-off).