The ultimate and predictable argument presented by people wed to state dominance is the question of “public services” like roads and other infrastructure: Who would build and maintain roads if not for the public spirited denizens of government agencies? The answer, of course, is that people would build roads just as they do today.
During the industrial revolution, advances in productivity yielded increases to supply of a host of consumer products. Much of this productivity centered around factories and mills where technological advances and assembly lines improved efficiency. While the builders of these industries grew wealthy, so did the vast majority of people who now had access to less expensive clothing, durable goods and food. To get to these factories, roads were required. To ensure that people could travel from their homes to these factories, roads were required. To provide places where the products of these factories could be sold, roads were required.
The need for means of travel sparked the building of roads. Of course, roads existed long before the industrial revolution, but the need to transport ever larger quantities of goods over longer distances triggered other advances in road building and transportation. None of this required government oversight, foresight, or edict. In other words, necessity built the roads.
From this point the argument will typically devolve into concern for the less fortunate: Who would build roads for the poor? The answer is the same: anyone who has a need to access, or provide access to, labor and distribution of goods. The poor have to eat and cloth themselves just like everyone else. To the capitalist, they are a market to serve not a victim to subsidize. The same roads transporting goods across the country are made accessible to all. While access to these roads would likely include a fee to cover upkeep, that would be no different from the fees currently extracted through the numerous tax schemes claimed by bureaucrats and politicians as a means to keep up the roads. The difference is that competition for transit possibilities would make roads cheaper and better maintained. Of course, had government not hidden the cost of roads through taxation, socializing the cost and making road travel appear less expensive than it is, other means of transportation might have been developed by now to reduce the cost and improve efficiency. Then the question might be: Who will build the hover ports?
We live in a world of scarcity. We will never know a time when a single thing, like an apple, can be consumed by more than one person at a time (i.e. not shared, wholly consumed). As a result, humans have developed methods of avoiding conflict over scarce goods such as through the development of, and adherence to, property rights. When conflicts do arise, those involved are directly impacted by the outcome of the conflict. As a result, the vast majority of people avoid conflict whenever possible. This is not the case when conflicts arise between states.
The bellicose leaders of the governments of the United States and North Korea have recently seen fit to rattle their nuclear sabres over the north Pacific. One is an elected bully accustomed to getting his way and the other is a self anointed “supreme leader” of a nation oppressed by his communist regime. These distinctions aside, their common penchant for conflict is increasingly on display. Conflict is far more easily entered into when the combatants have no skin in the game.
Kim Jung-un rules with an iron fist over a nation of people shielded from 21st century advances. Donald Trump commands the most powerful military force in the history of earth. Each willingly proposes to send people under their command into the nuclear breach. Neither will shed blood should bombs begin to rain. Neither will see his son or daughter’s flag-draped coffin return from a distant battle zone. It is this absence of direct consequence which makes each of these fools far more willing to enter into war.
The recent political discussions around transgender people, and the progressive uproar when claims of special rights are made, have resulted in a variety of opinions surfacing on the subject, some of which I wish to address. For example, I’ve read a few people in the liberty movement state that transgenderism is a “mental illness”. While I can understand their lack of empathy for the “gender fluid,” I find such assertions a bit beside the point. Few are in a position to judge the mental state of someone believing themselves to be straddling genders. More importantly, at least for libertarians, mental state is beside the point.
I’ve long contended that the progressive obsession with being “born like this” is a reaction to conservative claims of defying nature or religion. The primary example here is homosexuality but transgenderism is clearly of the same ilk. Since conservatives claim that “god” dictated the natural state of man and woman, anyone behaving counter is an aberration. In response, progressives and gays tout “science” as proof that they were born the way they are. To all of this, libertarians should say “who cares?”
The fact that I am born a certain way may influence my preferences, but that doesn’t change my state of humanity. Nor does my choice of lifestyle. So, whether I am born gay, or transgender, shouldn’t matter any more than if I choose to have sex with people of the same sex or choose to have my own genitalia replaced. Neither choice nor nature changes my right to live the way I choose to live. Libertarians, of all people, should understand this. If only more people could grasp such simple concepts.