Claimed Examples Of Libertarianism

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There has never been a libertarian nation or society anywhere, despite numerous attempts to found them as micro-nations, oceanic platforms, etc. But libertarians are armed with many "examples" to show that it could work. Examples such as the USA, Hong Kong, Chile and Singapore are uniformly misleading or false.


Belize (1 link)
A tiny nation full of the freedom libertarians should love: and entirely without the infrastructure that could raise it out of destitution.
Chile (2 links)
Enacted sweeping "liberal" reforms under dictator Augusto Pinochet (on the advice of Milton Friedman's students) which resulted in widespread economic failure and murder of innumerable opponents. Saved later by nationalization of the copper industry. Say, weren't libertarians supposed to be against government violence?
Hong Kong (2 links)
An entrepot that doesn't pay for its own defense, with government ownership of all land, and a host of government mandates.
Liberland (1 link)
A supposed micronation that has yet to actually be recognized as having any territory. So far a joke and possibly a future scam like Galt's Gulch. Recent news is that they are adopting a cryptocurrency: how could that possibly be a scam? (sarcasm)
Medieval Iceland (5 links)
Many libertarians, reading David Friedman's paper on medieval Icelandic institutions, consider them to be an example of how anarcho-capitalism could work. But Medieval Iceland is not an example of a private legal system. It's an example of government subcontracting out murder and slavery to private buyers.
Modern Iceland (1 link)
Iceland's Independence Party made radical reforms inspired by and praised by Milton Friedman. These ended with a spectacular banking crash in 2009.
Pre-Modern Ireland (2 links)
Some libertarians (Murray Rothbard) claim Irish anarchy was basically anarcho-capitalist and lasted more than a thousand years. This is a cherry-picked claim that ignores the history of kings, slaves, constant warfare and violence and much more. Family, not the individual was the basic unit.
Pre-Modern Scotland (1 link)
"The private profit-making rights-enforcement organizations were called "clan lords" and their henchmen. In the Highlands, everyone was seen as either a clan member to be helped, a clan enemy to be killed, or a stranger to be robbed."
Singapore (10 links)
Another entrepot with a dictatorship by the Lee family and their party, mandated health and retirement savings, public education, etc. But it has economic freedom, the freedom important to plutocrats and international corporations.
Somalia: The Libertarian Paradise (5 links)
Somalia was notorious for having no significant government. As a result, it was rife with piracy, violence and human rights violations. Why didn't libertarianism spontaneously arise? Instead, a federal government has arisen. Maybe the people of Somalia's experience with no government shows why government is desirable.
Switzerland (2 links)
An entrepot with easily defensible mountainous borders. Universal conscription and very strict immigration policies. Universal health care through required purchase of health insurance. A close to direct democracy, with many referenda every year.
United States (5 links)
Libertarians frequently claim the United States was libertarian or laissez-faire between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Alternatively, they claim it is the closest state now. Both claims are ahistorical and ridiculous.
Charter Cities (8 links)
Libertarian Utopias! Libertarians want to experiment with Charter Cities: being given a region of their own to manage themselves. What we will probably see is is a corrupt autarchy controlled by international corporations and dependent on second class citizens or workers commuting in or out. You cannot assume democracy or civil equality for charter cities. The City of London is an actual existing charter city.
Cyberlibertarianism (8 links)
A utopian, incoherent front for neoliberal exploitation of technology. Some excellent spin-offs, such as Wikipedia, and some enormous threats, such as Algorithmic Prison.
Seasteads (4 links)
Floating versions of Charter Cities that would have all of their ills PLUS great difficulty leaving due to isolation. A past example is the Scientology Sea Org, notorious for abuses. Many proposals for these have failed.
A libertarian utopia was actually tried here -- and it failed miserably
The comical tale of Minerva, the first of many libertarian colony frauds: it defrauded 2000 investors. "... the principality remained no more than a flag fluttering in the wind over a few square yards of debris that threatened to wash away in the next storm." And did wash away.
NEW 2/07/2019: Anarchapulco (1 link)
A festival for anarcho-capitalists run by scammers in Acapulco, Mexico, with hopes of encouraging many to become residents of the region and build a new community of government-evaders.
Fiction (3 links)
Libertarians, lacking real world examples, eagerly swallow fictional examples, especially science fiction.
Honduras (5 links)
Paul Romer and Patri Friedman are attempting to start up Charter Cities in Honduras. Lots of excitement and political intrigue including murders of opponents and a Supreme Court committee declaring them unconstitutional.
Libertarianism: A Luxury for Citizens of Developed Countries [More...]
"As far as I can tell, libertarian movements only form in societies which have already developed a national infrastructure; the existing government has already levied taxes on the population in order to build a system of roads and bridges, and public services."
Libertarians’ scary new star: Meet Bryan Caplan, the right’s next “great” philosopher [More...]
"You might be tempted to dismiss Bryan Caplan as just another Koch-funded libertarian hack. But I think he may well be the next great libertarian philosopher. Caplanism may represent the future of that near-oxymoron, libertarian thought." (sarcasm)
RationalWiki : Libertarian paradise [More...]
The RationalWiki article on libertarian experiments, frauds, and wishful thinking.
The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy [More...]
This is a variation of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, used to dismiss inconvenient examples. Libertarians cannot explain why there has never been a libertarian society, and find excuses to explain that existing small governments are not "true libertarianism". The real reason is that libertarianism, like communism, is contrary to human nature.
The Failure of Libertarianism: Why Economic Freedom Alone Cannot Deliver a Better Future [More...]
"If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early 21st century is organized along libertarian lines?"
The question libertarians just can’t answer [More...]
If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it? Some political philosophies pass this test, such as Nordic social democracy. Laughably, they try to substitute claims of economic freedom instead.
The Questionable Record of Neoliberalism [More...]
"I’ll take a brief look at [...] the US & UK, Chile, Hong Kong & Singapore, and Scandinavia. I believe that in none of these instances do we get a clear example of neoliberal policies succeeding economically."
Why Burning Man is not an example of a loosely regulated tech utopia [More...]
"But Burning Man is intensely regulated. It’s got its own police force. Gun control is absolute. Attendance is limited to a set number of people who can afford the not-cheap tickets. The very layout of Black Rock City is a paean to planning and organization. Central control is as much the essence of Burning Man as is hedonism and fire."


Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians.
Robert Locke, "Marxism of the Right"
Lacking any really-existing libertarian countries to which they can point, the free-market right is reduced to ranking countries according to “economic freedom.”
Michael Lind, "The Failure of Libertarianism: Why Economic Freedom Alone Cannot Deliver a Better Future"
If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn’t libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world? Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried on the scale of a modern nation-state, even a small one, anywhere in the world.
Michael Lind, "The Failure of Libertarianism: Why Economic Freedom Alone Cannot Deliver a Better Future"
Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density.
Charles Stross, "Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire"