Two significant problems with this libertarian rant against government. First,
show me one example, in the real world, where libertarianism has actually worked
in practice. Why, in all the industrialized world, is there no successful
libertarian country? The answer is because these ideas simply do not work,
except in idealistic, utopian thinking. Sure, they sound good, but nobody has
ever been able to get people to charitably do all the things we expect good
government to do.Second, statistics show that the wealthy, those who
would have to fund all this charity, contribute a smaller percentage of their
wealth to charitable causes than the middle class. So, once again, this
pie-in-the-sky appeal is really just another way of putting the huge burden of
taking care of the needy on the backs of the middle class. And they can't
do it. Their resources are already stretched too thin. Unless we are
bold enough to equitably share the fruits of labor (profit) with those who
actually produce them, the next-best alternative is a progressive tax system.
But let's stop calling it "force" and recognize it as simply the
way we fund a civilized society.
Kent, Lets stop calling forcing people to pay for something they don't want
to, force? Your willingness to take others money without their permission, and
view of people as inherently greedy and unwilling to take care of people in
need, speaks volumes about your own character. The struggle between
agency and force is not new to our time, I am pretty sure I have heard the
"greater good" argument from the advocates of force before. Whether it
is to "take care of the poor, and funding a civil society" or
"redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost", the effect is the
same. A tyrant who thinks he knows better, seeks to take away the agency of
Jason, I'm not speaking about my own character, just commenting on the
actual state of our society and human nature. Also, I'm sure
you don't like being "forced" to pay for police protection, public
libraries, road maintenance, and clean drinking water. Until you lose the
attitude that government is the enemy and is evil, you will be part of the
problem rather than part of the solution. Using emotionally charged vocabulary
is counterproductive and just widens the political divide so that nothing
constructive can be accomplished.In the meantime, perhaps you could
give us just one real-world example of libertarianism that works.
Mr Boyack has a very limited perspective, showing little historical knowledge.
From our British mercantilist roots through the present day commercial interests
and government have worked hand-in-hand. More often than not this has been a
hand-out to those commercial interests. In the 20th century the common man and
woman received (finally) some of government's help, largely beginning with
the New Deal. Recent times have simply witnessed some degree (but only some) of
balance between the little guy and the big interests in terms of government
Kent, You want to force me to do something I don't want to do, and then
pretend like you are not an enemy of agency? I am in favor of self defense,
justice, books, the ability to travel, and clean water to drink. I don't
pretend that the only way to have these things is to get together with my
neighbors, give one of them a gun, and have him go around and collect money from
everybody in the neighborhood to pay for them, or else they will be locked in a
cage.I don't know how you define "problem",
"solution" and "constructive" action, but I am pretty sure we
are not on the same page. As someone who lives in Provo, UT, I
assume you are LDS, or at least are familiar with pioneer history. There is not
a better example of a voluntary society than the first few decades of Mormon
history in Utah.
@Jason.... the average Utah family pays in state taxes $5,986 - this includes
Income Tax, Property Tax, Sales Tax, and Auto taxes including registration and
gas tax. Source - Utah Tax Payers Association. For the same year that these
numbers were taken, per student spending was $7009 a year. So, if
you have a single child in school.... you are receiving a net benefit of $1023 a
year - you are receiving more in services than you pay in taxes. If you have
more than one child in school, that number shifts dramatically to over $8,000
dollars in net benefit.This does not include any of the other
services you use on a daily basis, roads, standby services like police, fire and
medical assistance, libraries, the courts, ... the list goes on and on.So in the end... a lot of people are being "forced" to subsidize the
average family in Utah. But even forced is a wrong word. You want to live in
a world where it is pay as you go and consume... elect people who will do that.
Elect people who will change the system so that before you enroll your kid in
school... pay full tuition cost.
No one is advocating anarchy or no government. It is possible that our society
would work better if people were allowed to make their own choices and take care
of themselves and their neighbors.To the people that say that
government needs to do more and more, I have one question, when is the point
that government gets to be to big?
Blue Devil, I have five kids and one on the way. I wouldn't dream of
subjecting them to the travesty that is our public education system. That I am
forced to pay for it, and my own kids education is immoral and unjust.
@Kent: I guess when the Mormons first moved into the SLC valley and took care of
themselves wasn't a good enough example of people taking care of people
without gov't intervention.
There are no rules that govern the formation of governments. There are no rules
that say what a government can do or can’t do. There are no limits to
what the people can ask their government to do, except the limits of the natural
world and the people themselves. People create governments to do
those thing they cannot or don’t want to do for themselves. Governments
accomplish their mission by force of control over the people themselves. For
every law that protects us from outside enemies there are thousands, millions of
laws to protect us from each other. The need for government comes
from the greed and dishonesty of all people of the world. Consequently
governments are always created by people seeking to control the wealth of other
people. Our founding fathers were no different. They wanted a
bigger piece of the pie. Since governments are reluctant about giving up their
control, it usually takes a war to accomplish the deed. The people
in our state governments are doing the same thing that others have done for
centuries. Trashing the federal government is just like when we trashed the
lbrown0715,I think any reasonable interpretation of LDS history in
the valley would say that, in the early years, the church really was the govt.
for the people.This leads to a few questions.First, with
a widely dispersed LDS population (inter-spliced with other faith and non-faith
communities), could even the LDS now provide that level of care and oversight
for their members?Second, can we base a govt. structure necessary to
serve all citizens on what a closely knit religious community will do for its
own members? What of those whose faith community (if they have one) is less
able to care for its own members?
Connor is spot-on. BTW, he's not "rant[ing] against government."
That's disingenuous. He may be ranting against the government status quo,
but he also acknowledges a proper role for government.Also, to claim
that - short of an equitable sharing of the wealth (a whole debate of its own) -
the next best thing is a progressive tax system? More than just a logical leap,
that's total nonsense.
And, Ultra Bob, I disagree with you. There ARE rules that govern the formation
of governments. There ARE rules that say what a government *may* or *may* not
due. These rules are called "Natural Law". There's a difference
between 'power' and 'authority', and though it is clearly
within the *power* of groups and individuals to form governments and do as they
please, it is also true that they are acting outside of their moral *authority*
anytime they act outside of the boundaries established by Natural Law.
I wish I could edit my second post. I meant "do" not "due".
Eric Checketts. Thank you for responding. The only time I feel
insulted is when I am totally ignored. If there are Natural Laws
that apply to governments, where are they posted and who handles the
enforcement. My understanding of the notion of government would
include every organized group of human beings, large or small, that shares the
responsibilities of the group in return for the benefits of the group. The family is a government. The parents are the administrators and make
and enforce the rules. The kids have only those rights and privileges allowed
by the parents. Churches are governments, with the government
administration ranging from democracy to dictatorship. Every
business, club, union, association and whatever is a government for its members.
The only thing constant about governments is the aspect of sharing
and the notion of purpose.
I think Mark 1 asks the most important question. What is the limit of
government growth? If Democrats would only say they are concerned with too
large of a government, then maybe we all could have a constructive debate.
However is seems that to Democrats, there is and should be no limit to
government spending. The military being the exception, but then Democrats would
rather use military cuts to spend more on other programs. Who thinks that the
national debt can go on forever. If you do think the debt can grow forever,
then I have the solution to all financial problems. Raise the debt limit to 100
trillion dollars for this year and fund everything needed. Sound stupid and
unworkable? So does a 17 trillion dollar debt.
In the past, there were plenty of resources to help people in need. If somebody
fell upon hard times, they could turn to family. If family was unable to help,
there was the church or the community,and failing that, the local government.
Since then, the family has been decaying at an alarming rate, fewer people go to
church (and the current administration seems bent on stripping churches of
whatever influence they still have), and there is precious little sense of
community, with people sequestering themselves in their own homes to partake of
the latest hot reality show on TV. Sadly, with all of these buffers either
falling apart or rendered impotent, many people feel they have nowhere else to
turn BUT the state or federal government. Until we truly become our
brothers' (and sisters') keepers and shun this "every person for
themselves" mentality that we tend to have,I fear that the government's
reach will only extend deeper and wider. We need to weaken it by rendering it
Ultra Bob, I think you're right in your comments about government in
it's different forms. All of those examples you gave would, in my mind,
qualify as a form of government. And to your point about the "rules of
government" not being posted, indeed they aren't. I think this is the
crux of the libertarian message; we want people to understand principles of good
government so they'll stop supporting the immoral actions of government in
any form. The potential of a libertarian community is a very real one, but it
depends on how well we do at spreading the message. And for now the
liberty-loving community may be relatively small but it's growing like
Dangerous? IMO, this particular article and those who promote similar things
are the true danger.
We can provide an effective, single payer health care system for everyone on
less than what our piecemeal system costs us now. It would be the great american
charity to one another, to not subject people to choose between treatment and
financial catastrophe. It's greedy and conceited to think that an every man
for himself system actually functions in delivering health care.
Ultra Bob...Here are the basics to all good government...Everything
that conforms to Natural Law arises from the following three rules:1. Do all you have agreed to do.2. Do not encroach on others or their
property. (This rule implies that any and all agreements should be made only
through free will, not through force.)3. Groups of people, unorganized or
organized (governments included), have no moral authority to do that which an
individual has no authority to do.The problem is that some people
refuse to obey these rules for a civil society. For this reason, people have
instituted governments for the defense of the rights of those who choose to live
by these rules. Criminals lose their rights when they harm others.When governments begin to act in a criminal manner (as defined above), there
is no one to defend against it. Instead, economies stagnate, science falters,
civility disappears, security crumbles, and ultimately, that society or its
government collapses. It happened to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans,
Mongolians, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Soviets. It is beginning to
happen here. The only way out is for individuals to return to sound principles
for a civil society.
1brown:"I guess when the Mormons first moved into the SLC valley
and took care of themselves wasn't a good enough example of people taking
care of people without gov't intervention."Interesting that
you should mention the LDS move to the Great Salt Lake Valley. I've been
editing an article today about how the LDS stance on public education changed
during the presidency of Joseph F. Smith. Of course when the Mormons arrived,
they were their own government, a theocracy, which, by the way, required a lot
from the people. Brigham didn't ask for volunteers to go off to the far
corners of Mormon Country. He sent them. Not a lot of freedom or democracy in
those early years.But by the early twentieth century, the Church
couldn't afford to educate all of its children, especially in areas where
there were no church academies. So in February 1905, President Smith endorsed
the growing public education system. The Church shut down most of its academies
and began the seminary and institute program to provide religious instruction.
In other words, the world changed, and the Church adapted. They were
actually glad for this "government intervention."
Amen to goosie's comment. Governments that have superfluous programs tend
to shrink over time.
You know Eric, my friends in Germany think they have more liberty than we do in
America in many ways. Especially in terms of health care, they are free obtain
quality health care from any of thousands of facilities and providers, and they
pay, on average, half of what we do for health care. They consider that a
greater liberty than we enjoy. So how do you define freedom? Your definition
seems to be "freedom from government." But sometimes government provides
greater freedom. Of course, we have to pay for it. But by your definition, that
would be using "force," the libertarian F-word.
@Jason "There is not a better example of a voluntary society than the first
few decades of Mormon history in Utah."Then the Great Depression
came along and showed how unprepared Utah was to deal with life unless
government stepped in. Utah ranked No. 2 in the nation in terms of per-capita
relief spending in the Depression.@Kent DeForrest Enjoyed your
comments. You are spot-on.
@Jason... does that animosity carry over toward public education equally apply
to universities - which are also subsidized? Just wondering. Is the U of U
an immoral taking of others money too...? Just wondering how far your
feelings go here?
Twin LightsAs members of the LDS church we are commanded to store up
foods and supplies in times of need. We are advised to grow a garden. It's
not so much that the church will take care of our needs as much as the members
help each other take care of their needs. When that is not able to take place
THEN the church can step in. But, in nowise are we advised to go to the
government for assistance. Firstly we ask our families. Secondly we ask for help
from the church.There is also a large humanitarian resource at the
disposal of the church where they can send needed supplies anywhere, anytime. In
many cases the LDS church is the first to be there.Yea....sure it
can. Joseph Smith taught the Saints true principles and then let them govern
themselves. Charity works.....we don't all have to be of the same faith to
know it works or to know of its effects. At the same time the LDS church does
not discriminate who that charity is given to when aid is required. All are Gods
children and therefore should be treated as such.
lbrown0715I am aware of the church's stance on food storage,
humanitarian aid, and members helping each other. As helpful as these things
are, they are (in my experience) insufficient for many chronic problems.
Self-reliance is the ideal and should be strongly promoted, but what do we do
with a kid with chronic disabilities who has no parents and is not a member of
any church?Reference government assistance, the following is from
Handbook 2, Section 6.2.4: "Leaders may also help members receive assistance
through community and government agencies."Reference to charity
being sufficient, I think even a cursory reading of 19th century history shows
that, outside of tight-knit religious communities such as the LDS or the
Shakers, charity alone was not sufficient to meet the needs (think Dickens).We may not need to be of the same religion to know that charity works,
but communal religious communities seem to be the only ones who actually made it
work. That is not where the LDS are today and not where our nation is.
Public schools are the perfect example of why we need to teach personal
responsibility. Kids who think they are entitled learn nothing, no matter how
much we punish the schools and the teachers for not teaching them. Kids who take
personal responsibility for their education, learn much. If everyone
does what they can, to care for their own, there will be plenty left to care for
the needy. We can care for the helpless, but not for the clueless and the
helpless. The clueless need to get a clue and start being contributors instead
Twin LightsI don't know what we do with a child with no parents
and no church. Does that mean that leaving this child to a local charity means
that we ignore that child's needs? Not at all. The ineffective
use of charity by a people is something of an individual issue that cannot be
solved simply by making an edict by the federal gov't to ensure that all
are taken care of. In Australia where social welfare is shared by all by
legislation still has people who live well below the poverty line. I would argue
that charity through legislation does not work. In fact we have people here to
simply do not desire to work because the gov't will take care of them.Who's fault is it that charity faileth? I would point to the people
most responsible for it's distribution.....you and I. It's not the
gov't job to take care of the child with no family and no church. It our
job. It's the gov'ts job to stay out of our way in allowing us to do
just that. People taking care of people.
lbrown0715,I have no problem with putting more folks to work when
and wherever possible. I get that you think that we should (individually) step
up and take care of folks. And, in my experience, sometimes we do. But
sometimes we don’t.Is it my job to take care of that young
person with severe disabilities and no parents he can rely on? To a degree,
yes. But just me? I don’t have those kinds of resources. Pooled with
others? Maybe. But then we get back to what private charities can and
can’t do. Again, the evidence appears to be that charity alone is
insufficient to the societal task.As to why it is insufficient? I
leave that to the churches to mull and address. It is not a function of
govt.Govt. policy needs to be crafted based on everyone, not what
one small group can or will do. Unless there is evidence (outside of smaller
religious groups) that charity alone has been sufficient for long-term
sustaining of vulnerable people, we need to look elsewhere.
"Brigham didn't ask for volunteers to go off to the far corners of
Mormon Country. He sent them. Not a lot of freedom or democracy in those early
years."Are you contending that a member of the church had the
choice of obey or get arrested and locked in a cage? The moves were given as
callings, there was no threat of force.You asked for an example of a
libertarian/voluntary society, and I gave one to you that lasted, by your
calculation around 70 years.@BlueDevil, no one should be forced to
pay for the voluntary education of another adult. There is even less of a
justification for public spending on University than for schools for children.
to Jason WelchIf you are *outraged* about paying for education just
imagine how the rest of us feel when we get our property tax bill & learn
our share for 'the privilege' of helping educate your kids and many
others. Why do people think they still feel the need to produce the
same # of offspring as their ancestors did in the 19th century? I could go off
about scarcity of natural resources but won't. My solution to
fund education? An occasional per capita tax. Or, maybe (this is a stretch IMO)
minimal property tax on all the ward houses here in Zion?
re: Steve C. WarrenWasn't it one of the Eccles whose family
started First Security Bank that was the brains behinds FDR's
'economic stimuli'? How's that for irony?
"No one is advocating anarchy or no government." - I am.