At the time of her death she was already engaged in getting together essays for a further volume, which she proposed to publish in the autumn of or the spring Of
Are you a statist? Declaring any non-libertarian to be a statist is as silly as declaring any non-tallist to be a shortist.
Just as we can judge leaders on their merits and not on their height, so people can judge policies on their merits and not just on whether they increase or decrease the size of the state.
Most of the rest of this FAQ will be an attempt to disprove this idea and assert that no, you really do have to judge the individual policy on its merits. Do you hate libertarianism?
To many people, libertarianism is a reaction against an over-regulated society, and an attempt to spread the word that some seemingly intractable problems can be solved by a hands-off approach. Many libertarians have made excellent arguments for why certain libertarian policies are the best options, and I agree with many of them.
I think this kind of libertarianism is a valuable strain of political thought that deserves more attention, and I have no quarrel whatsoever with it and find myself leaning more and more in that direction myself.
This is the strain which, rather than analyzing specific policies and often deciding a more laissez-faire approach is best, starts with the tenet that government can do no right and private industry can do no wrong and uses this faith in place of more careful analysis. This faction is not averse to discussing politics, but tends to trot out the same few arguments about why less regulation has to be better.
I wish I could blame this all on Ayn Rand, but a lot of it seems to come from people who have never heard of her.
I suppose I could just add it to the bottom of the list of things I blame Reagan for. To the first type of libertarian, I apologize for writing a FAQ attacking a caricature of your philosophy, but unfortunately that caricature is alive and well and posting smug slogans on Facebook.
Will this FAQ prove that government intervention always works better than the free market? No, of course not. I believe that deciding on, for example, an optimal taxation policy takes very many numbers and statistical models and other things which are well beyond the scope of this FAQ, and may well have different answers at different levels and in different areas.
What I want to do in most cases is not prove that the government works better than the free market, or vice versa, but to disprove theories that say we can be absolutely certain free market always works better than government before we even investigate the issue.
After that, we may still find that this is indeed one of the cases where the free market works better than the government, but we will have to prove it instead of viewing it as self-evident from first principles.
But you never run into Stalinists at parties. At least not serious Stalinists over the age of twenty-five, and not the interesting type of parties.
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But the world seems positively full of libertarians nowadays. And I see very few attempts to provide a complete critique of libertarian philosophy. There are a bunch of ad hoc critiques of specific positions: But one of the things that draws people to libertarianism is that it is a unified, harmonious system.
Unlike the mix-and-match philosophies of the Democratic and Republican parties, libertarianism is coherent and sometimes even derived from first principles. The only way to convincingly talk someone out of libertarianism is to launch a challenge on the entire system. Some of them are good but incomplete.
Others use things like social contract theory, which I find nonsensical and libertarians find repulsive. How is this FAQ structured? The first addresses some very abstract principles of economics. They may not be directly relevant to politics, but since most libertarian philosophies start with abstract economic principles, a serious counterargument has to start there also.
The second section deals with more concrete economic and political problems like the tax system, health care, and criminal justice. By having sections dedicated to both practical and moral issues, I hope to make that sort of bait-and-switch harder to achieve, and to allow libertarians to evaluate the moral and practical arguments against their position in whatever order they find appropriate.
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