The Limits of Libertarianism

There are three major limits with libertarianism, all of which revolve around people (or situations) that are uninterested in governing themselves, but are interested in ignoring the needs of others.

Protecting the rights of the weak and the poor: It is reasonably possible for some kind of insurance or mutual support network to work as the basis of restricting theft and murder. But the poor may not be able to afford access to a protective layer of armed force – for either their (limited about of) property, or for their life or liberty.

To some extent, in some way, justice must be provided for the weak and the poor… even though they can’t afford it. God pounds the table about this, and so we Christians must do it.

In addition, you can’t have justice simply be provided to the highest bidder: the poor and the weak cannot afford to pay for proper legal representation. This is true under a strict market-based system, just as it is true in communist & socialist systems.

Moreover, simply putting justice up for bid starts the ball rolling to open corruption. God insists that there be equality under the law, for the poor and for the rich: this is non-negotiable, so far as He is concerned.

(Atheists are free to leave, as I discuss such mystical, non-materialist absurdities as “justice”, “the rule of law” and the “will of God”.

After all, our Educated Betters know there is only Power and the Will of the Right Sort of Man. “The rest is culturally conditioned babble, the bleating of those without Power and Position.”)

Warfare: there are quite a number of charismatic men out there who are eager to conduct an exercise of organized exercise of theft, murder, and enslavement, led by skilled, experienced professionals of violence. I distrust standing armies, but some kind of army, even a temporary one, will be necessary to successfully defy such a threat. There must be a recognized, strict chain of command, and there must be a single leader of any such defensive force.

Now, there may still be plenty of room for decentralization in resistance — ask any of today’s modern insurgencies — but at least when it comes to overall goals, doctrine and tactics, there must be a single commander of an army.

(And, depending on the kind of war, there may be not a lot of room for decentralization. Warfare, revolutions and violence are naturally centralizing activities, that gather more and more power in fewer and fewer hands.)

Disease: Plagues are similar to warfare, except the enemy is invisible, and the main threat are collective activities that are usually profitable and healthy… but, in this special situation, harmful and dangerous. The need for quarantines, social distancing and ostracization — enforced by violence, if the protection of the community demands it — is simply inescapable.

See: Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” for a useful mathematical model.

(Hat tip here: Gary North)


And yet… and yet…

The Washington Post reported the following about the Centers for Disease Control:

The problems started in early February, at a CDC laboratory in Atlanta.

A technical manufacturing problem, along with an initial decision to test only a narrow set of people and delays in expanding testing to other labs, gave the virus a head start to spread undetected — and helped perpetuate a false sense of security that leaves the United States dangerously behind.

Tests begin with the CDC to insure quality, which is exactly the wrong approach. It assumes the government can outperform the best medical industry in the world. Even at this hour the CDC has failed, shipping test kits that are defective.

The CDC does not have a solution, but it also becomes the classic blocker to progress. Labs cannot act without a lengthy approval process from CDC and the FDA. These government controls violate the principle of subsidiarity (problems should be solved at the lowest level possible). Ultimately care is provided by local hospitals, care facilities, and labs.

South Korea’s rapid testing allowed for early treatment and containment of the virus. These test kits were created in three weeks. Many labs in the U.S. could have solved the test kit problem but were restrained by the FDA and CDC. The South Koreans offered to help us, but was the CDC listening? Evidently not.

At the president’s request on Friday, America’s robust private sector, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Roche Laboratories, and LabCorp, came up with a solution for mass testing. Roche has received fast-track FDA approval for its COVID-19 diagnostic test. This testing will be done on a drive-thru basis in parking lots. This minimizes contact and allows for mass testing of thousands across the country. The more Americans are tested, resulting in a lower death rate percentage, the more the testing will have a calming effect on our citizens.

Americans consider regulators and government to be sacrosanct, but in fact government agencies are slow and often fail us. Think of the FAA, which allowed Boeing engineers to bypass basic engineering standards, resulting in the crash of two Boeing 737 Max airliners and the grounding of 900 planes around the world.

We all know that anytime we expect service from the government, it will be slow and painful vs. the private sector, which is mostly fast and courteous. In spite of some minor shortages, due to hoarding, the private sector is supplying us with gas, food, prepared meals, medical supplies, and health care.

[…]

In spite of enormous federal deficits, every protected class of workers and business expects the government to bail it out during a crisis, from airlines and cruise ships to government workers. We will now witness a litany of spending beginning with $8 billion for the Coronavirus, moving to a $50 billion pork-laden House bill, and a third spending bill coming from Treasury.

This system is grossly unfair, as working class individuals and small businesses do not get paid when businesses shut down.

Government Is No Match for the Coronavirus by Bob Luddy

Quite a lot of people specialize in theft, murder, and oppression of the weak — or even just those without political connections.

Especially in regard to crime, warfare, and pandemics.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

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