Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Fundamental Insight Of Libertarianism

Jonah Goldberg:
...the one thing libertarians grasp better than conservatives or liberals is the danger of the category error when it comes to the role of government... The fundamental insight of libertarianism is that the government is the government. It cannot be your mommy, your daddy, your big brother, your nanny, your friend, your buddy, your god, your salvation, your church or your conscience.
(HT Arnold Kling)

1 comment:

thinking said...

This quote means nothing, because it doesn't tell us what government is.

Unless one is going to argue that we should have zero govt, then one needs to define just what it is that govt is and should do.

Of course people sometimes look to govt for answers it cannot provide, just like they look to many figures and institutions of authority in similar misplaced fashion. The root problem of people looking to govt for these other functions is that they are not being fulfilled by the real thing.

For instance, if someone is looking for govt to be their "daddy" or "mommy" it's because they lack in that area. The same if people look to govt to be their "god" or "church" or "salvation."

The long term solution is to develop a healthy enough society such that people get these needs met in the truly adequate fashion.