Reinventing Government Badly
It is patently obvious, even to many libertarians, that some form of government is needed. Libertarians thus reinvent governments according to their own lights as defense associations, private monarchies, and a variety of other bad solutions that privatize power.
- Anything private enterprise can do, government should be able to do too. (1 link)
- 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.
- Community Associations (1 link)
- Including Homeowner Associations, Condominium Associations, Rental Agreements, and Restrictive Covenants. These are market-based equivalents of zoning and other local regulations. All serve to regulate local commons. While libertarians may approve of these "private" regulations, they are not really a solution since they override what would otherwise be your property rights. And the literature is full of abuses by these, just as it is for zoning and local government regulation: none are perfect solutions.
- Defense (1 link)
- Defense against predation both external and internal is a classic public good which libertarians have no real way of providing short of re-inventing government. Even Nozick thought private defense agencies would consolidate into a monopoly which would justifiably tax. Individualist plans for defense are fundamentally fantasy.
- Dismantling Democracy: The forty-year attack on government... and the long game for the common good. [More...]
- Long-term conservative strategies to discredit government and secure political control over public goods have empowered plutocrats over the past 4 decades. An analysis of their strategies and recommendations on how to combat them. Includes libertarians and the Kochs.
- Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Brave New World [More...]
- But because of their obsessive belief in absolute private property rights, their vision of the ideal society quickly degenerates into one of oppression, where irrational and extreme discrimination can be enforced on the grounds of private property rights, and where libertarian society degenerates into quasi-fascist demands for the physical removal of anyone deemed “undesirable,” including, most notably, cultural libertarians, hedonists, or anyone not committed to extreme social conservatism.
- Minarchy (3 links)
- The foolish idea of a minimal government, which overlooks the better idea of an optimal government. But libertarians have no moral justification for or alternative to taxation in a minimal government. Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand are the best known minarchists, and both fail miserably.
- Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes (book)
- How social norms can substitute for law in small, close-knit communities. Interesting, but not a substitute for law or state because (a) it requires close-knit communities, (b) it doesn't scale up to the size of modern states, (c) maintaining a close knit community requires severe limits on liberty, (d) communities rely on the state for the stability of their property and communities (the foundation that social norms are built upon), and (e) we'd expect out-group externalities to be maximized.
- Polycentric Law (4 links)
- Non-monopolistic, competing law. We actually already have that in the USA, with federal, state, and local law plus local authorities and commonlaw. It may also include private law. Some libertarian academics have made careers describing other, rare or ephemeral historical examples. The big problem is preventing conflict over whose law prevails: this can be solved either with simple dominance or with division of responsibility. This is not a libertarian idea.
- Private Road Associations (PRAs) (1 link)
- Based on European models. Overlooks the fact that association membership is not voluntary, dues (taxes) are assessed, government provides support, and that such roads handle roughly 4% of traffic per year (the rest being on government-operated roads.) We already have a similar system in the USA: county and town operation of roads through local governance. It obviously isn’t an instance of solving the coordination and freeloading problems without government. Thus it’s useless as an example.
- What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism [More...]
- Tyler Cowen denounces older libertarianisms in favor of his State Capacity Libertarianism, a renaming of the big government servicing business that we've always had. In the age of Trump, he swings his libertarian propaganda efforts towards crony capitalism. He also gets in a few digs at liberaltarianism.
Anarcho-capitalist, as far as I’m aware, have yet to answer exactly what a landowner is if not a de facto state. A state is defined over a particular territory, and (theoretically) has control over what happens in that territory. Ownership is also defined as having control over an object; in the case of land, this quite clearly leads to each land owner effectively being a sovereign state, however small. [...] any response that centered on how landowners would be competitively inclined to do Good Things could equally be applied to states, so would be an exercise in special pleading.
UnlearningEcon, "An FAQ for Libertarians"
Developers, whether of high-rise condominiums or sprawled out "golf communities", cobble together with a mix of contract and corporation law obligatory "community associations" that control and restrict the use of privately-owned properties (along with managing common spaces and other purposes). Developers don't abridge the rights of their customers out of some inexplicable, cruel perversion. They form these associations, and grant them restrictive powers, because customers demand it, because doing so maximizes the market value of the properties they wish to sell. As buyers, developers hate zoning law, but as sellers they promulgate it. It is "the market" that demands some mechanism of overcoming potential coordination problems among neighbors, not the acommercial mix of identity politics, misplaced environmentalism, and "NIMBY"-ism that Yglesias and Avent emphasize. The only reason city neighborhoods don't have restrictive covenants and powerful community associations is because they have city governments that serve the same function.
Steve Waldman, "Zoning laws and property rights"