It’s About Structure, Not Volume

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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9 Responses

  1. sam says:

    “This is critical – free market advocates, particularly in recent months, have tended to adopt pretty straightforward anarcho-capitalist rhetoric even though precious few of those advocates are actually anarcho-capitalists.”

    First thing that came to mind was this from Hume:

    “Whether your scepticism be as absolute and sincere as you pretend, we shall learn by and by, when the company breaks up: We shall then see, whether you go out at the door or the window…”Report

  2. E.D. Kain says:

    Excellent, Mark. I’ve actually been pondering the dangers of absolutism lately myself. It’s certainly much easier to take an absolutist position because it allows one to stop thinking deeply about complex issues. Often absolutism confuses itself with “purity” or principle, etc. And it’s sneaky because it often stems from very principled, sensible positions, which stop being strong arguments when they transform into panaceas.Report

  3. greginak says:

    Great stuff. I think one of ways our system gets gamed is by the “logic” that the gov should just stay out and let the free market sort things out. This is a recipe for perverse incentives or powerful groups to get things arranged for their benefit. The gov is always part of the situation even if the best thing for it to do is little or nothing.

    One of twisted incentives in health care is in the private market, where insurance companies know they are incredibly unlikely to care for people for their entire lives. so there is little incentive for preventative medicine.Report

  4. mike farmer says:

    You can just as easily say that the constant capitulation and justifications for government intervention means a person isn’t really a libertarian, but a liberal who believes in the efficacy of the state intervening in matters beyond defense of basic rights, which is okay, if that is what they believe — However, there is a line beyond which minarchists say the government is over-reaching — it’s mainly when coercion is used to institute positive rights which benefit some at the expense of others. Coercion to prevent anyone, or group, from violating individual rights, is a fair use of coercion because it applies to every violator equally and protects every individual equally. This is the line, so if a person is not a libertarian, then they will disagree and admit that it is okay to violate the rights of some for the good of others.

    I’m not sure I know very many libertarians who hold that libertarian principles are absolute and that consideration will not be given to other views no matter how valid they are.Report

  5. Michael Drew says:

    If one is not an absolutist, is there any sense in which she is anything other than just another observer with a view about the right approach to one or more of a variety of economic/market regulation policy questions? In other words, once a person admits it’s a matter of where you and up on particular matters, who’s to say a person doesn’t end up coming down closer to the middle than the libertarian end when all his views are averaged out? Is any non-“anarcho-capitalist”s’ claim to membership in special category “libertarian” meaningful?Report

    • Well, but most (or at least many) libertarians aren’t anarcho-capitalists or even minarchists, but are instead classical liberals. I’d also say that the point of this post is in some ways that although a more limited government is properly the goal of libertarianism, the boundaries of what make a government “limited” can be debated. The truly important point, though, is that it makes no sense to rely upon anarcho-capitalist rhetoric unless one is in fact an anarcho-capitalist (and minarchism, as far as I’m concerned, does not qualify as anarcho-capitalism).Report