Monday, January 12, 2015
My Libertarian Nightmare
What would a world of "true freedom" really look like? And would people really be free?
I had a dream last night that I woke up 50 years from now, into a Libertarian nightmare. Libertarians had taken over the government 25 years earlier and President Rand Paul (and his first lady, Ru Paul) set about dismantling most of our government.
I was getting up to start my day, strapping on the number of sidearms and other weapons necessary to live in the "polite society" of 2065. It was market day, and I needed to refill my larder. I cranked up my armored Camaro. It is equipped with run-flat tires and has steel plates welded to the sides and a battering ram on the front. You can never be too careful, since there are no Police anymore.
The nice thing about our new free world is no speed limits. I was doing about 90 shortly after leaving my gated home. I had set all the alarms and booby-traps when I left, but I was sure that I would find an ambush waiting for me when I got home. Oh, well, that's why you carry extra ammo.
I made it to the market without too many incidents. Had to run one attempted carjacker off the road. Others left me alone, as they saw the gang colors on my car, and knew not to mess with me. You really have to be part of a gang these days, for protection. Loners don't live very long. That and people without any weapons skills. Or the elderly. Yea, we solved the elderly problem a long time ago. Not many people live much past 60 these days. They get taken down like a sickly deer by a pack of dogs.
The market was booming. You can buy anything you want here - any kind of drug, weapon, or poison. Human trafficking? Whether you want a personal slave or just sex, it's all there - free from government interference.
I was looking for food, and since they abolished the FDA, this was kind of a dodgy quest. Adulterating food is the norm, unless you seek out the Kosher or Halal markets. I guess that is what people relied upon, before the FDA was established. I guess the Kosher market works OK - the Rabbi certifies the food is healthy. But I really miss bacon - and I'm not about to risk my life by buying it on the open market.
I made my selections and haggled over the purchase price. Everybody only takes gold coins now, unless you can barter for something useful, like ammunition or gasoline. The seller was getting a little antsy, and we both had our hands on our holsters during the entire transaction. I carefully backed away with my purchases. While it isn't considered good form to kill your customers in the market, it wasn't unheard of, either.
I made it back home, dodging a fiery roadblock that had been set up to ambush unsuspecting travelers. I spotted it in time and took a back road - at speed - to evade them. I made it back to my compound, and after carefully staking out the place, found that for once, no kidnappers were waiting in ambush.
Now, to enjoy some lunch!
* * *
OK, so maybe my nightmare was a bit extreme. But it illustrates how silly this "Libertarian" philosophy really is. Some folks think that Libertarianism is actually a workable philosophy. Some folks think that Communism would actually work "if given a real chance". Of course, neither is right.
The problem with true Libertarianism, is that we would not evolve, but devolve into a clan-like city-state society, much like that in present-day Afghanistan. When a strong central government and police force are absent, people have to rely on each other for survival - and thus have to form into clans or groups. Those who are the most powerful, dominate. Those who are not, die.
It all sounds like a lot of fun until you realize that, odds are, you will end up as not part of a powerful clan, and end up being wiped out.
Or, even assuming you can get "in" with the right clan or tribe, you will likely have to serve as a peon in that tribe, as there are very few at the top, and an awful lot at the bottom.
This seems like a lot to go through, just to not have to pay to register you car.
But my nightmare didn't go far enough. In such a scenario, there would be little in the way of modern manufactured goods available. In order to make things like computers, cars, or cell phones, you need the cooperation and collusion of thousands and thousands of people. In a Libertarian society, it would be impossible to maintain things like cell towers or the Internet, as without government regulation and standards, such things would simply not exist, or no standards would exist to regulate them.
A cell company could put its competitors out of business simply by jamming their signals. Why try to compete on price? The marketplace would devolve into a nightmare. Commerce would grind to a halt.
Sadly, today, many folks think that such a society would be an improvement over the way things are today. They believe that our current economic situation is so awful that we need to chuck the very foundations of our Democracy for some hypothetical "freedom" from government interference.
Of course, this is all ludicrous claptrap. We have more "freedom" today than at any time in the recent past. In case you haven't notice, marijuana is now legal in two States and gay marriage in 31. Regulations of the airline and trucking industries, among others, have largely been wiped out. It was not long ago that if you wanted to run an airline or trucking company, you had to ask the government for permission - and they would tell you what routes you could use.
Today, we are free to gamble ourselves to death. We can sign loan agreements that are guaranteed to bankrupt ourselves. We are free to take on all sorts of bad bargains that would have been illegal in 1965.
In a way, we already are a Libertarian society - armed to the teeth and gunning each other down in the street. We've already programmed an entire generation to believe that the Police are the enemy - or just irrelevant.
We are traveling down a slippery slope.
The problem is, people don't realize what a good thing they have, until it is gone. In the name of some vague and undefined political theories, people are willing to throw away, without a second thought, a pretty darn good society that we have today.
And people have done it before, throughout history. I just hope that I am not around to see it happen.