To those that expect a debate, the below will come across as a certain “Gish Gallup.” I am sorry for that, I just had to get some pent up political aggression off my chest.
I’m trying really hard to understand the practical side of Libertarianism. Recently, a staunch Libertarian told me I did not understand Libertarianism SO HARD that he could not even explain it to me, which seems to me to constitute a failing on both sides, but I digress. I was looking for writing not on libertarian ideals (as useless to me in the practical world as Marx’s works) but on how Libertarianism would even work in the practical realm.
The problem is there is so much out there, and most of it of such low quality that I can barely stomach it.
Take, for example, this:
He uses phrases like “So obvious I shouldn’t have to explain,” and “the body of law could be removed at a stroke with ‘Do no harm.'” That is not practical, that is ideal; I understand what you want, I do not understand how it will *work*.
How about in the case of highways, as per another recent conversation I had. I will skip the path to “how highways go from government upkeep to private ownership, and where that money comes from,” because that is too complicate to even comprehend (though it is often boiled down to “It would just happen once the government is gone!” when speaking with most people). RoadCo A and RoadCo B both own several highways. RoadCo A owns the QEII from Edmonton to Calgary, and then decides to skip on the upkeep. The road is undriveable.
RoadCo B diligently keeps their roads in pristine condition… But getting from Edmonton to Calgary (Or Calgary to Edmonton) is now an additional 150km both ways. Is that the competition that makes the free market work?
Again to reference the above, the author wants “Peace Keepers” in place of current “Police.” And then, of course, assumes these Peace Keepers will all follow the ideal and never abuse their position? I fail to see the practical difference between the ideal police officer (To protect and to serve) and the ideal peace keeper (To keep the peace). Would someone explain to me how Peace Keepers could be trusted, *in the practical realm* in a way that does not describe *the ideal*? Because an ideal police officer is there to do just that; abuses of power be damned, law be damned, but if you change the law what reason do I have to believe that the change will translate wholesale into the practical realm?
The other issue of practicality is that, in this perfect system, the Peace Keepers are ideally required to keep their hands off of the situation until *harm has already been done*? Am I understanding that correctly?
I would like a practical, point by point answer, some day, from some individual, on the progression of a situation like this:
A man is drunk and belligerent. He is angry. He hasn’t thrown any punches, but seems about to.
The people around him can’t stop him; that would constitute harm to this person, and they become the agressor? Is that how this system works?
And the Peace Keepers watch, until a moment where something violent happens? Can they stop him when he breaks a bottle and now wields a weapon? He hasn’t harmed anyone yet.
And even if they try to stop him now, he has a weapon. He could cause serious harm, and the situation has escalated. Are the Peace Keepers supposed to still watch? At what point is *intent* factored in? If he intends to stab someone, he has still done no harm.
This is why so many Libertarians are called naive; the situation above is so many shades of gray that “Do no harm,” becomes either meaningless or left open to the wildly emotional humans making the decision. If you say “The Peace Keepers should step in before people are hurt,” then how are they different from Police?
If the Peace Keepers can’t step in until after someone is hurt, how do you justify the outcome to your own conscience? My own thoughts would say something to the effect of “This was completely preventable.”
The real world is far too complicated to boil down to “Do no harm.”
If “the ideal” were ever possible, we would certainly live in a libertarian communism… But the ideal is bullshit at the first wiff of practicality.