Anything private enterprise can do, government should be able to do too.

From Critiques Of Libertarianism
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Libertarians frequently condemn government for doing things that libertarians would permit to private enterprise. This is a simple hypocrisy or special pleading. Between property and private contract, there is hardly anything government could do that hasn't already been done by private enterprise.

Indeed, as proof we see libertarians frequently reinventing government badly as private institutions.

Lets look at some of the things libertarians object to that are common in private practice.

Contents

Owning Property

Both private parties and governments should be able to own property. Libertarians like to claim government can't own property, but give no reason. They like to claim that government property is invalid because of its origins, but that is based on a serious mistake.

All land is owned coercively. Property is not created by mixing of labor: it is created by mixing of coercion. It doesn't matter if the coercer is private or government. Libertarians like to pretend that private ownership had non-coercive origins, but that is ahistorical.

The absolute property in land that libertarians want is called allodial title. Allodial title refers to land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land, something common to all nations. That's what makes the government the ultimate owner, and why it has rights of taxation, expropriation, escheat and eminent domain. Allodial title is a fact that is required for any nation (or anarchist equivalent) to persist in the face of other competitors for the land. Libertarians may call this coercive, but it is a fact that all property and rights are coercive this same way. What is ordinarily thought of as real property in the US and other common law nations is held in "fee simple". Within this territorial property, government can make any sorts of rules it desires.

What libertarians really object to is that they are not the owners of the allodial title, and hence the government.

Enforcing Property Rights

Libertarians are in favor of private owners being able to enforce their rights. If they endorse the NAP, that includes retaliatory violence. Libertarians think they should be able to have their own military or police capabilites or hire a company to perform them. There are plenty of legal private enforcement agencies, from the Pinkertons to Xe Services, that enforce rights claims both domestically and between nations. So governments should be able to do the same.

Links

Nothing in this index yet.

Quotations

Those who forget history are doomed to become anarcho-capitalists.
Lurgi (pseudonym), "Anything private enterprise can do, government should be able to do too."