Monday, May 30, 2011

Privatization boosts free market

Privatization boosts free market
(Originally published 4-28-2011. As written, not as published.)

It is strange to see how many people object to the idea of ending the government monopoly for anything- any service or product- that is even marginally now provided by The State.

Some people seem to really believe some things can be done best by The State, using coercive wealth confiscation known euphemistically as "taxation", and by not allowing anyone to opt out and choose a free market alternative. That is an odd belief that goes against millennia of observations and experience.

In my last column where I wrote about privatizing the firefighting profession, some people seemed to believe it was wrong to monetarily reward firefighters for doing a good job. They also seemed to think I was implying that firefighters need more incentives to do what they do. I have no doubt that most firefighters would choose to keep doing what they do with or without financial reward, but let's face the facts: it takes money to survive in the world today and there is no more practical way to say "thank you" than to pay for a job well-done. Who could be reasonably opposed to that?

The same goes for schools, security/police, firefighting, roads, libraries, zoos, or anything else that is currently provided by a tax-imposing entity. There are privately financed alternatives to the government institutions in all these categories already, even though currently the private options are only permitted at The State's whim. Let the market take it further by allowing people to economically support only the option of their choice, without any government interference, and see where it leads.

This isn't to say that those who choose to continue operating on a similar basis to what we have now would be prevented; they wouldn't. It is just that there would be a way for people to opt out and choose a service that better fits their specific needs. This means if you choose to subscribe to a private service you can no longer be taxed to support the government option.

If you allow people to opt out and pay for their own alternative services, then you have fewer people who will be covered by the government service. Then, even though government would have less money, they will also have fewer "customers" to be responsible for. That's just the way it works in the real world.

If the government institution is truly that much better, after the market has tried and failed you should be able to re-impose a universal tax and re-establish a State monopoly with no trouble at all. Of course, if as I suspect, the private options crush the coercively financed option, both in cost and in service, it would be really hard to justify taxation any longer. All the rest of The State might soon come under the same scrutiny and be held to the same standards. Which just might be the reason for the resistance to this liberty-enhancing change.

"Fighting for our freedom..."

Hmmm. OK, if you say so.

However, I seem to remember that the US government's military lost the war in Vietnam, yet it wasn't the Vietnamese who then destroyed freedom and decimated American liberties. No, it was the US government (and its little state and local branches) that turned out the be the greatest threat America has ever faced. And we are still facing that threat.

Yes, I'll honor heroes, both living and dead, but my list is slightly different.

I honor, in no particular order, Bradley Manning, Claire Wolfe, L. Neil Smith, Bernard von NotHaus, Jose Guerena, John T. Williams, John Moses Browning, William Grigg, and many, many more who either sacrifice on behalf of liberty, or have been victimized by the enemies of liberty.