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November 11, 2009

Limits to Libertarianism

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I tend to agree with a concept encountered years ago while reading Crane Brinton's account of the French Revolution. It has to do with tipping points of ideology-driven political movements. In particular, the point where a drive to ideological purity forces out real-world practicality. Where movement members judged not pure enough are ejected or otherwise eliminated. And the movement spirals away to irrelevance or even self-destruction.

I admit not having intimate knowledge of libertarianism (and Libertarianism in the political party sense). I never made time to read any of the works of Ayn Rand. Nor have I paid much attention to Libertarian Party platforms and candidates. My interest and knowledge levels can best be described as casual.

Libertarianism appeals to me in its quest for limited government. But it seems less persuasive otherwise because its doctrine (as I understand it) of radical individualism has within it the seeds of the situation described by Brinton. In other words, doctrinal purity can be the enemy of attaining and exercising political power. This is a risk for any party that is strongly idea-based.

There are plenty of "libertarians" and "Libertarians" (capital "L" for those who identify with the party) here in the 2Blowhards neighborhood, so I figure this is an opportunity to find out a few things. For instance:

  • The quest for individual liberty/freedom, taken to its extreme, seems to lead to anarchism. Are there differences between libertarianism and anarchism that prevent libertarianism from drifting into anarchism?

  • Can there be such a thing as "big-tent Libertarianism?"

  • Or is there a need for ideological purity that severely constrains Libertarian expansion to major party status?

  • To what degree do libertarianism and isolationism overlap?

I would think that the questions just posed are fairly common and that there are standard answers to them. Nevertheless, I (and perhaps some readers) remain ignorant and need to be set straight regarding these and similar matters. Libertarian (and non- or anti-libertarian) comments are appreciated. However, flame-wars are not; please try to stick to ideas and issues.



posted by Donald at November 11, 2009


For some reason I can't understand, even after reading two books about her, Ayn Rand hated libertarians.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 11, 2009 4:31 PM

This current TV series is probably the place to start if you want to be educated on the pros and cons of libertarianism and its alternatives:

Posted by: Ken Arneson on November 11, 2009 5:06 PM

# The quest for individual liberty/freedom, taken to its extreme, seems to lead to anarchism. Are there differences between libertarianism and anarchism that prevent libertarianism from drifting into anarchism?

The anarchist form of libertarianism is called anarcho-capitalism, and its chief proponent is David Friedman (PhD, physics, son of Milton). More moderate libertarians find anarcho-capitalists cute in exactly the same way that modern liberals find socialists cute. So, in a word, no.

# Can there be such a thing as "big-tent Libertarianism?"

# Or is there a need for ideological purity that severely constrains Libertarian expansion to major party status?

What does that even mean? Libertarian candidates for president have run the gamut from committed ideologues to shameless self-promoters to convicted criminals. So, about as big tent as any political party, I'd say.

# To what degree do libertarianism and isolationism overlap?

What does "isolationism" mean to you? Libertarians are typically anti-war, and it was a pretty big scandal in L circles that the Cato Institute and Reason Foundation did not come out clearly against the Iraq War. On the other hand, Libertarians are also robustly free trade, free exchange of culture/ideas, and free immigration. So if you have a non-idiotic definition of "isolationism," then, no, there is no overlap. On the other hand, if you pretty much agree with Bill Kristol about what the word "isolationism" means, then, yes, there is very strong overlap.

Posted by: Bill on November 11, 2009 5:41 PM

I consider myself a small "l" libertarian, and am a registered independent. I like liberty and do not like coercion, especially at the end of a weapon. So I don't like criminal or government coercion.

Small "l" libertarianism, if it is an "-ism", which I doubt, is a big tent.

At least it is big enough for this orthodox Roman Catholic who believes that smaller government is better than bigger government, who doesn't like mortgage subsidies and mortgage interest tax breaks, believes a flat tax would be much more fair to all, believes abortion is intrinsically evil, and believes that the "drug war," prohibition, and the resulting jailing of way too many adults for merely using mind altering substances is merely immoral. And supremely stupid.

And I like the separation of church and state and do not like the involvement of the government in "faith-based" organizations of any kind. Like ACORN. And I do not want my Church involved in the government or getting government money. Like Catholic Charities.

And please spare me any flames about Catholicism. No one forces you, or me, to be a practicing or a believing Catholic. Nominal or otherwise.

So yes, liking liberty is a big tent.

Posted by: anon on November 11, 2009 7:46 PM

I think Friedrich Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom" is a less dogmatic, more humane and realistic take on libertarian ideas as applied in our fallen world. I would recommend it over Rand's ubermensch-building essays.

Posted by: mutecypher on November 11, 2009 9:34 PM

Coercion isn't just stopping people doing what they want, it sometimes is stopping people from doing something stupid.

Perfect liberty will not lead to anarchy, it will lead to tyranny. The stupid will give away their liberties to the smart. In the end it will be rulers and slaves, just like it was in the ancient world.

Sometime rules are made and enforced to protect people from themselves

Posted by: slumlord on November 12, 2009 5:02 AM

I've never met, nor read, any Briton who has read Ayn Rand. I assume that she must appeal to the creedal requirement of so many Americans.

Posted by: dearieme on November 12, 2009 9:25 AM

This post, and the earlier posts about third parties, miss the clear historical precedent: Reagan Republicanism.

Reagan Republicanism succeeded. We have an example from our history as a two party system of how to lower taxes, reduce the size of government, defeat tyranny on a global scale and increase freedom on a national scale.

So, why look elsewhere?

The Republican Party can't even seem to absorb this lesson. Although Reagan Republicanism was enormously successful, Republicans leaders have been running from it ever since Reagan left office. The nadir of this stupidity was nominating John McCain.

The overwhelming issues of the day are:

1. Open borders immigration
2. Racial and sexual quota systems
3. Limiting the size and scope of government
4. Defeating the international Jihad
5. Defending U.S. interests in the global economy

Reagan Republicanism, not third parties nor libertarianism, is the answer.

Why look elsewhere when the answer is right in front of your face?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on November 12, 2009 10:04 AM

I've asked Donald's permission to respond at length, so I'll hold off on substantial comments until I hear back from him.

For now though, I'll just point out that I strongly disagree with slumlord's post above, and I think our disagreement is at the core of what separates Libertarians from non-Libertarians - whether or not people should be free to make their own poor decisions, and live with the consequences.

The cool thing, from a rhetorical perspective anyways, is that there is nothing we could say change each others' minds. Humean oughts and all that.



Posted by: Zdeno on November 12, 2009 11:13 AM

Jerry Kirkpatrick's "In Defense of Advertising" (download at applies Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism to arguments for Laissez-fare capitalism. The first 80 or so pages is an explanation of Rand's philosophy contrasted with Emmanuel Kant. Whatever your opinion, he offers a very good, clear, and thorough presentation of Objectivism (and scathing criticism of Kant).

My take--to use the tired old maxim--is that the truth usually lies somewhere in between. And I think this gets to the point in general. Ideological purity is another term for extremism.

Posted by: Steve-O on November 12, 2009 3:17 PM

I'm an Englishman who has read Ayn Rand. There are quite a lot of us. In 2006 I attended a celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth. It took place at the Adam Smith Institute in central London. It was very well attended.

I admire her writings more than almost anyone else in the field, and have done since the early 70s, when I discovered her. A good time to discover Ayn Rand, given the state of Britain.

That doesn't mean I am part of the Ayn Rand cult, or that I admire every aspect of her personality. Today I would describe myself as a libertarian, humanist, capitalist, supporter of freedom generally, and a rationalist, but not an objectivist.

To me, Ayn Rand is one of the people who said no, and went on saying no, in a loud voice, when everyone else was saying yes, or admitting impotence, in the face of increased state control, communist take-overs of one country after another, and horrors like 'people's Kampuchea', which was supported by many of my fellow students at university.

Posted by: Graham Asher on November 12, 2009 3:53 PM

Shouting Thomas... I'm sorry, did you just say that Reagan Republicanism succeeded? It may have succeeded in whatever it's goals actually were, but on the stated goals of lowered debt and reduced size of government it failed abysmally. The facts of what actually happened are so spectacularly contrary to these stated goals that one suspects that they were never the actual goals in the first place. See here for a brief summary

Posted by: Eneasz on November 12, 2009 4:41 PM

The cool thing, from a rhetorical perspective anyways, is that there is nothing we could say change each others' minds. Humean oughts and all that.

Ummmm.........wrong. Provide me with a convincing argument and I'll change my mind.

Posted by: slumlord on November 12, 2009 6:21 PM

Are those libertarians over at Taki's Magazine? Non-neocon, Aryan, gene-sifting conservatives? True conservatives? Buchananite cons? I can never tell.

I just made the mistake of reading Taki's call for compassion for a man who drugged and anally raped a child. All I could make of it was that at least ONE of Taki's best friends is a Jew...and that's Polanski. (The rest of the article is wildly tangential with the usual Hemingwayesque chest-beating. Gawd, I hate insecure bores who posture like Hemingway even more than I hate that commie bore Hemingway.)


I'm with you, ST. If I was a Yank, I'd be Reagan Conservative. He spent, but he had a Cold War to win. (Yeah, I know, you can never say a war is truly won until and unless etc etc...)

From a purist point of view, maybe I'd like a bit more Coolidge in the mix.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on November 12, 2009 7:13 PM

Libertarianism, if consistenly taken to its logical conclusion is anarchism, which is why I am an anarchist.

Beside David Freidman, there was the economist Murray Rothbard, whose works are published online by the Ludwig von Mises institute (Mises was Rothbard and Hayek's teacher and once famously called Milton Friedman in a face to face argument).

Libertarian Anarchism, or free market anarchism and its close cousin Agorism are not superficial philosophies that embrace a utopian ideal to insane extremes but rather are the product of a deep body of work of both thought and research.

I strongly encourage curious people to check out For a New Liberty his political manifesto,

The Ethics of LibertyA philosophical tract,

and Man Economy and State his primer on economics.

Posted by: tarran on November 12, 2009 9:56 PM

Sorry, Donald and Libertarians (and Hemingway lovers), if I flamed. That Polanski matter always seems to send me into a fit. Didn't mean to lump libertarians with Polanski apologists. I'll leave the fiend to the Swiss police or US justice. And I'll read no more of Taki's dreary magazine. Problem solved.

Above all, I don't want to discourage Zdeno from continuing to stick his neck out as a deputy blowhard. A tough gig, and I'm glad he's willing to have a go.

I shall read the rest of this thread attentively (though I might skip the Ayn Rand bits).

Posted by: Robert Townshend on November 12, 2009 9:57 PM

Libertarianism definitely has a Romantic strain that is clearly Liberal in origin — classically liberal — steeped in the Truth of universal human Rights.

In this sense, it should go hand in hand with Rand's Objectivism, but Rand despised the modern Left and the "nihilistic" hippie subculture that was also drawn to libertarian ideals.

There's another much less liberal strain of libertarianism in American conservatism, which says that our Founding Fathers established a largely libertarian set of ground rules that worked, and we're fixing something that ain't broke as we slouch towards socialism.

Related to this conservative strain is an economically informed strain that emphasizes allocating property rights to maximize social welfare. Where costs and benefits are internalized, the decision-maker should be the (one, clear) owner of the resource — but the real world is full of externalities, and we aren't all atomistic individuals who interact purely through efficient markets. So we need avoid the pitfalls of political decision making, but we still sometimes need to make group decisions — and we've inherited a decent, if imperfect, system for that, but there are ways to improve it.

Posted by: Isegoria on November 13, 2009 9:51 AM

Libertarianism cannot be a big tent philosophy. Alan Greenspan has been described as a libertarian (of the Randian persuasion), but he could not be a libertarian and take the job of Federal Reserve Chairman. Insofar as the Fed Chairman makes decisions that affect the money supply, by setting interest rates, by expanding M2, etc, he is by definition exerting state control. There is no "libertarian" interest rate, and therefore there is no "libertarian" decision that Greenspan could have made as Fed Chairman in that regard.

Libertarianism cannot survive any engagement with the political process. You cannot get anything done without abandoning, almost if not quite wholesale, libertarianism as an ideology.

I was a libertarian when I was young. Great age to be a libertarian. But when I ceased to be a teenager, I put away teenage things. And that meant my libertarianism as well as my acne-removal cream.

Posted by: PatrickH on November 13, 2009 11:30 AM

@ slumlord:

OK, here's my argument: I believe it is self-evidently immoral for a state to coerce a human being of sound mind into action "for their own best interest." I believe there is no duty upon those of us who make good decisions to impose our good judgment on those who do not.

These are opinions that I haven't been reasoned into, and thus cannot be reasoned out of. They are Humean oughts, and thus beyond the realm of factual, reasoned arguments.

If I were to attempt to make you come around to my own point of you, I'd first ask why you feel such a strong duty to help those whose decision-making faculties you feel are inferior to yours.

Second, I'd ask you how you'd feel if someone with a better decision-making track record than you declared that they are commanding you to give up (insert vice). I consider myself to be damn good at making decisions in my personal life. But many would agree that I would be better off if I ate less bacon, drank less, and finally settled down with a nice girl. Thankfully, no one at present has the legal authority to enforce their "good decisions" on me, and I don't see how I can simultaneously endorse my own lifestyle, and condemn anyone who (say) smokes cigarettes as an irresponsible cretin, in desperate need of the iron fist of the state to coerce them into good health.

So while I respect your moral position that occasionally, the smart must impose laws on the stupid for their own good, I don't share it. What vices do you give in to? Why am I not justified in ordering you, at gunpoint, to forgo them?

@ The Reagan discussion:

Success for any 20th-century right-wing politician can be defined as slowing, pausing, or (joy of joys) mildly turning back the creeping tide of Leftism. By this measure, Reagan was a roaring success, and my own sovereign liege Stephen Harper is performing quite well. True, government spending had been creeping up at 3-5% annually since he's been in power, but that's better than 10%.

@ Tarran:

I presume you're an anarcho-capitalist, as opposed to a full-out anti-propertarian anarchist. For the sake of clarity, you should make the distinction, since the majority of self-describing Anarchists these days... well, they haven't been reading their Rothbard.



Posted by: Zdeno on November 13, 2009 12:13 PM

"I believe there is no duty upon those of us who make good decisions to impose our good judgment on those who do not."


My issue with libertarianism is that it contradicts itself.

Why don't libertarians just say that since America's founding, rational people have been able to exercise free will. Today we live in a system of MNCs, big government, and religion. This must be what the people want if they have had free will to choose it.

Libertarians readily admit America was founded on their principles, yet here we are today. We live in a society and system that they despise, but has evolved based on their own ideology. In they eyes of a libertarian, how can America today not be proof that libertarianism doesn't work they way they think it would?

Posted by: Steve-O on November 13, 2009 3:45 PM

Donald asks four questions about libertarianism, both big "L" and small: does it lead to anarchy; can it accommodate the range of nuances that make it a "big tent" politically; does it require "purity" to such a degree as to preclude major party status; to what degree does it overlap isolationism.

There are enough similarities between libertarian and anarchist principals that they can overlap quite significantly. Each maintains the primacy of the individual and rejects the claim of the state to act as an agent of the collective citizenry in any way that interferes with an individual's exercise of free will. Libertarians seem to recognize the utility of a state acting as arbiter to facilitate the adherence of all parties to contractual obligations, whereas anarchists seem more willing to forgo the protection of the state in settling disputes.

It seems to me there is, in the extreme, Fundamentalist versions of both, a willed disregard for the communal nature of humans. At times an evocation of Darwinian "survival of the fittest" rationale gets injected into discussions on this point, too often with the simplistic notion that "the fittest" is essentially determined by mano a mano combat, either figuratively or literally. This ignores the wealth of data that says humans, like most other successful species, are social organisms and our ability to form and maintain large social structures that pass along our intellectual and cultural DNA, as well as our actual biological genes, to future generations is what makes us "the fittest."

As others have noted, almost any political philosophy taken to too high a degree of Fundamentalist purity will fail to be a "big tent" and would be extremely unlikely to achieve major party status. Libertarianism can however, if somewhat more moderate, be attractive to wide range of the populace. It can appeal to certain strains of "liberal" or "left" as well as "conservative" or "right" leaning individuals who may disagree on various specific items, but agree on the primacy or high importance of the rights of the individual.

As with anarchy, the relationship of libertarianism with isolationism is definitely overlapping. Where the impulse is to severely limit the primary role of the state to the enforcement of contracts, and an underlying philosophy that views larger group entities with skeptical caution, the will to engage in collective action is weak, let alone collective action beyond national borders.

Sidebar to Eneasz – Good luck. The presentation of charts showing the inverse relationship between the rhetoric of the GOP relative to reduction of national debt and shrinking government with actual reality during all GOP administrations beginning with Reagan seems to be a hopelessly naive tactic here at 2BH. Expect to be personally vilified &/or made fun of for linking to a site that fails to accept the Gospel of Ronald as a Truth above the ability of mere facts to disprove.

Posted by: Chris White on November 13, 2009 5:31 PM

Thing is, as with all ideologies, Libertarianism, big or small "L", requires the state to enforce it, because of course, not all people are nor ever will be, of the mind to espouse the libertarian viewpoint. Groups of people will always want to control behaviors they disagree with, and so laws are enacted to set the limits of that control, and those laws are enforced by the state.

Lack of laws would not ensure a libertarian society. So, as Steve-O points out, libertarianism seems a bit contradictory.

Posted by: JV on November 13, 2009 6:55 PM


Jerry Kirkpatrick's "In Defense of Advertising" (download at applies Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism to arguments for Laissez-fare capitalism. The first 80 or so pages is an explanation of Rand's philosophy contrasted with Emmanuel Kant. Whatever your opinion, he offers a very good, clear, and thorough presentation of Objectivism (and scathing criticism of Kant).

Would you care to kindly tell us -- how many pages of Immanuel Kant's works have you actually read? My guess would be zero, considering that you don't even know how to spell his name. And yet you feel competent to judge on the quality of someone's criticism of his ideas, even though you have no way of knowing whether what's being criticized are the actual thoughts of Kant or some ludicrous strawman.

Considering that Ayn Rand obsessively hated Kant and vituperated against him with apoplectic rage (she called him -- I quote her own words -- "the most evil man in mankind’s history"), it's pretty silly to look for a good introduction to his philosophy in the works of her followers. It would be like looking for an objective introduction to 19th century history and philosophy in Lenin's works.

Posted by: Vladimir on November 13, 2009 7:17 PM

Steve-O, what we have today is not proof that libertarianism doesn't work the way libertarians think it would, but rather a demonstration that democracy leads away from libertarianism and toward (a kind of) socialism.

Posted by: Isegoria on November 13, 2009 7:57 PM


I'm sorry. All I was saying is that in his case for Objectivism, he also happens to contrast it with a criticism of Kant. I didn't meant to imply that his criticism of Kant is what made his presentation of Objectivism very good, clear, and thorough.

I agree. I would never assume Rand's negative view of Kant is what defines Kant.

Isegoria, the point I'm making is that the rational being has chosen this current path on his own free will. Anything else would still require some sort of imposition.

In a libertarian society, how would you prevent a law-based system from forming/evolving if this is what people choose? Basically, how can you enforce lawlessness? That seems to be a contradictory concept.

Posted by: Steve-O on November 14, 2009 1:11 AM

These are opinions that I haven't been reasoned into, and thus cannot be reasoned out of.

Right, so they are a prejudice of yours.

Any political philosophy worth a damn, starts with an understanding of the human condition. How people behave when times are good, and how they behave when times are bad. Politics is how to manage human nature.

Now a libertarian philosophy would be fine if we lived a particulate existence, where each and every individual was immaculate, rational, consistent and had no impact on the other. The problem is that we are not elementary particles and original sin(the capacity to be wicked) lives in all of us.

Everyone's right is a reciprocal obligation on everyone else. It would be fine if you could screw up your life and it be of no consequence to everyone else, the problem is though, that in the real world, the world that I inhabit, when a man idiocy results in desperate circumstances he resorts to desperate measures. Including taking the liberties of those who are his betters.

Crime and Socialism are the solutions of the stupid to their to many of their own problems. Most men when put to the test fail. If you want to fill up of cigarettes and lard, that's fine by me. But when your wife starts to mourn your premature death, she lobbies the local congressman for me to pay for expensive care health plans to keep the rest of her prole clique alive. If I refuse, then she and her mates, either gang up upon me through the ballot box, or through the mob, compel me to do what they want. In order to compel them to respect my rights, I have to compel them to do what I want. (There goes you prejudice)

Of course the unjust rich capitalise upon the stupidity of the mob, using them to further disenfranchise the just rich, till the end the just are destroyed. Tyranny ensures.

You see the problem of libertarianism is that it leaves no room for stupidity, evil and human nature. It's premise is that while men are good government(composed of those same men) is wicked, it relies on the assumption that men are immaculate. Its view of human nature is flawed, and it is blind to the political cycle so often shown in human history. It is a system for men that don't exist on this planet.

When times are tough, it takes an exceptional libertarian to take responsibility for their actions, the average libertarian is quite happy to take away another's rights to further his own.

Just take a look at the banking crisis. The U.S financial system was regulation lite and when times were good, the libertarian "free market" was all the rage, post crash everyone's a socialist now, all those free market theorists and irresponsible homeowners had no problem in taking money from the responsible taxpayer to pay the for the stupidity of themselves. In the real world people don't want to take responsibility for their actions. They need to be compelled.
Many people warned about the irresponsibility of lending to sub prime borrowers, but were drowned out by chorus of irresponsible yobs. The crowd chose to listen to the stupid instead of the smart yet in a free society, conspired against others to take the consequences of their actions.

Finally forcing men to take responsibility for the actions would require and armed state which was in proportion to the amount of stupidity in the populace. In the modern west our countries would have to become armed camps. People need to be protected from themselves.

Posted by: slumlord on November 14, 2009 4:51 AM

Steve-O, "the rational being" has not chosen the current path of his "own free will" for the simple reason that we (and our predecessors) are not one rational being of one mind. We're not even shareholders in one corporation, sharing the same single goal of profit-maximization.

We're disparate individuals in a democracy, with near-infinitely diffuse political power. The very same individuals will make very different decisions when, say, shopping at the grocery store, than if they are asked to vote for the "correct" shopping basket of goods for everyone in society. A democracy isn't a market.

Your other question, how can you enforce lawlessness?, does not apply to a libertarian state, which enforces contracts and property rights, but to anarchy, which is a different animal.

Posted by: Isegoria on November 14, 2009 1:23 PM

Slumlord, your critique of libertarianism seems to assume a kind of left-libertarian anarchism that does not enforce laws against criminal behavior — which is the polar opposite of the "night watchman" state that upholds Rule of Law and protects property rights, but does little else.

And upholding Rule of Law and protecting property rights is holding individuals responsible for their own actions, and it rarely requires massive amounts of armed force.

As you point out, politically powerful businessmen will use the rhetoric of free markets to avoid regulation. They'll also use the rhetoric of social responsibility to impose regulations that hurt their competitors. The problem is a political system that allows and rewards such corruption. I don't see how the problem is libertarianism.

Posted by: Isegoria on November 14, 2009 1:41 PM

Left libertarianism, Right libertarianism. The flavour of the libertarianism really depends on the nature of the libertarians.

Posted by: slumlord on November 14, 2009 3:00 PM

@Zdeno: Friedman the Younger and Rothbard, Mises et al would be considered by most as all falling into the anarcho-libertarian camp. Their intellectual disagreements are minute.

(This is based on the assumption that by "non-propertarian anarchists" you're referring to, say, anti-WTO rioters, who, as near as I can tell, are folks who don't find wearing Che t-shirts radical enough. If not, apologies.)


Posted by: Ned on November 14, 2009 9:56 PM


If not democracy, then what? How would a libertarian state not eventually evolve into what we have today?

I mean we have freedom of speech, the right to own property, and we elect our representatives/leaders. What other rights that don't exist in the current Constitution would you add?


Posted by: Steve-O on November 14, 2009 10:16 PM

If not democracy, then what? Then any number of alternatives.

I suppose the canonical libertarian government would be a republic like the one designed by the Founding Fathers, but designed "right" — that is, with more explicit limits on government power and politicians' capacity to pander to The People.

It's now clear that the US Constitution did not prevent the descent from Republic to Democracy, which the Founding Fathers feared. I have to think that a "better" Constitution could have slowed down the transformation if not prevented it entirely.

Less conventionally, we might consider what would have happened in the American colonies had the Revolution been averted. There would have been no swift ideological shift toward Universal Human Rights, etc., but Americans would have continued on with their extant governors operating under conditions of benign neglect from London. Ironically, this might have led to much more libertarian policies in North America, while retaining the trappings of Monarchy.

If we wanted to institute a libertarian government now, it's not clear that the so-called international community would allow such a thing, but it might resemble not anarchy — Utopian or Mad Max — but corporate governance of a patch of land, not terribly different from how a shopping mall management company "governs" a shared space by owning it and collecting rent from tenants who may come and go, not by taking votes and enacting policies in the name of The People.

Posted by: Isegoria on November 16, 2009 4:11 PM

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