Sunday, May 27, 2018

Maybe it's time for libertarian countries

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 25, 2018)

Why have there been no libertarian countries? It's a popular question from those skeptical of libertarianism.

On the face of it, it seems a reasonable question. Until you understand what they're asking; then it makes less sense.

How can there be geographic, forced collectives based on voluntary associations and unanimous consent? Coercively voluntary? Enslaved freedom? Where one exists, the other can't. It's like asking why there are no frozen fires.

While libertarianism is essentially personal, there is a political version of libertarianism which would allow government to exist, as long as it is vastly less intrusive. In this case, some historians would dispute the claim of there never having been libertarian countries.

The more individuals respecting life, liberty, and property in an area, the more libertarian the country, regardless of government. Early America, as one example, was pretty libertarian, but inconsistent. Too few residents sufficiently respected the equal and identical rights of all people. The Declaration of Independence is a reflection of better intentions, but just over a decade later they messed up a good thing by writing a constitution; imposing an anti-libertarian government on America. There went the potential.

Libertarians are responsible and don't try to govern, or otherwise violate, their neighbors. When enough people are this responsible a tipping point is reached where the country is largely libertarian. The more libertarian a country is, the more resilient it becomes. Fewer things can go wrong enough to damage it. Alternatively, the less libertarian a country, the more brittle. A foreign or domestic bad guy only needs to seize and use the institutions of governance already in place to defeat the entire country. When none exist to be taken over, every individual must be defeated. It's not worth it.

Contrary to the fears of the skeptics, a libertarian country could provide anything people want. There could be roads, parks, and libraries. The poor could be cared for and people kept safe. Everything provided voluntarily instead of at the barrel of government guns. If you want to make sure only those who paid for a service use it, charge user fees or sell memberships. It would be more ethical, and probably cheaper, than the current system.

Why have there been no libertarian countries? Why have there been no cities on Mars? The time wasn't right. The technology didn't exist. Times change. Whether or not they've existed before, maybe it's time for libertarian countries to happen. I don't know about you, but I'm ready.

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  1. Great idea. But it is highly problematic.

    Government won't like it. You'll have to kill for it. Those are the terms.

    If you call it a country, you already screwed it up. It has to be a territory or something. You have to be VERY careful about how you organize that. "Kind of" libertarian won't work. You'll just end up with a police state in a few hundred years.

    To be honest, I am not sure libertarianism is meant for an area. It has to be global and decentralized. Otherwise it will eventually be gobbled up, assimilated or heavily influenced and tainted by the nations in one form or another.

    Start WW3 and kill almost everyone. Viola'; 'Instant' Libertarianism.

    1. Government would not only dislike it, but would prevent it... if it can.

      So the fix is to so educate everyone that nobody will work for it. No need for any deaths; just a large-scale change of minds.

      For example, study and spread that URL around.

    2. Ideally, that is the way to go, just keep pressing on until it happens, until everyone in the world is Libertarian. I think we should also elect Vermin Supreme as leader so we can get free unicorns and fairy dust.

      Anarchist/Libertarians have been preaching for a couple of hundred years(or more)and it still has not manifested into anything close to freedom, but quite the opposite. We are basically living in Idiocracy Meets Nineteen Eighty Four.

      I don't think it can be corrected by popular demand. People are too stupid and/or selfish and/or complacent.

  2. A country is by its inherent nature a collective and this is contrary to the inherent nature of libertarianisim which is individual in essence (even if a lot of those espousing the philosophy have not successfully aligned all their beliefs and actions with its tenets).

    1. Agreed. However, this is a case where I used words tied to concepts that would be familiar to the general public. And I'm limited to 400 words, so I had to edit out a lot of information. Maybe this one was simply doomed to be a fail due to the constraints, and I should have scrapped it.

  3. It wasn't a country, but a large area where there was a lot of libertarianism was the Old West. Most people were armed, trials were rare and talked about quite a bit because of that, there was something of a live and let live attitude. It wasn't perfect, obviously, but it worked while it lasted. True, it wasn't really a country though and I see and agree with your point.

  4. A bunch of well-off libertarians should offer some small poor country (like Fiji, or Cambodia?) a large amount of money to come and live in a confined zone, under THEIR own laws and rules and borders. All interchange between the original govt. and the new zone would be up to the Libertarian elected leaders.

    1. Something like this?

    2. Very possibly something like that.