Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Conversation Every Libertarian Has Had

By Gary North

Liberal: I come in the name of The People.

Skeptic: Which people?

L: The Downtrodden, The Dispossessed, The Exploited, The Victims of Malevolent Forces Beyond Their Control.

S: You mean swing voters on welfare.

L: I would not put it that way.

S: I didn't think you would.

L: You are an apologist for the unregulated free market.

S: I am an apologist for private ownership.

L: You mean "Every man for himself."

S: I mean "Every man with his own."

L. Some people have more than they need.

S: I have a solution for that.

L: What's your solution?

S: Sufficient economic growth, so that everyone has more than he needs.

L: But some people will still have more than others.

S: You are shifting the argument from "more than he needs" to "more than others."

L: They are the same thing.

S: No, they aren't.

L: I want a society in which everyone has what he needs. "From each according to his ability. To each according to his needs."

S: Exactly how do you intend to attain such a society?

L: By voter mobilization.

S: I get it. "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote."

L: You are resorting to rhetoric.

S: Yes, I am. But it is rhetoric based on logic.

L: In your world, the rich would get richer, and the poor would get poorer.

S: In my world, the productive would get richer than the less productive.

L: As determined by the rich!

S: As determined by customers.

L: But the rich use advertising to exploit these customers.

S: They hire the same ad agencies that politicians hire in election years.

L: That's why we need campaign financing laws.

S: That's what the incumbents always say.

L: I want a level playing field.

S: As determined by the incumbents.

L: I want neutrality.

S: As determined by the incumbents.

L: I want one man, one vote.

S: As gerrymandered by the incumbents.

L: Are you saying that there is no neutrality?

S: Rival systems of moral cause and effect do not agree on what constitutes neutrality.

L: You mean to say that the playing field cannot be level?

S: Not when there are conflicting definitions of justice.

L: Then how can we achieve justice?

S: By reducing the power of people with badges and guns.

L: You mean smaller government?

S: I mean smaller civil government. There are other forms of government. How about greater self-government?

L: But that would place society into the hands of The Exploiters.

S: It would place the economy into the hands of customers. Society is what would then result.

L: But that leaves rich people in control.

S: In control of what?

L: The means of production.

S: To be used how?

L: To exploit The Masses.

S: By selling them what they want.

L: But they don't know what's good for them.

S: And you know what's good for them.

L: Yes, I do. That is why I want to help them. For their own good.

S: I figured as much when you said, "I come in the name of The People."

L: But I really am speaking on behalf of The People.

S: Who says?

L: The voters.

S: Why do they vote this way?

L: Because they have been taught to respect social justice.

S: Where were they taught this?

L: In the public schools.

S: Taught by whom?

L: Qualified instructors.

S: Screened by whom?

L: Experts.

S: Screened by whom?

L: Even better experts.

S: Empowered by whom?

L: Experts in positions of state authority.

S: How did they get there?

L: By competitive examination.

S: Designed by whom?

L: Experts.

S: Where did they get their expertise?

L: In college.

S: Financed by whom?

L: Taxpayers, mostly.

S: These experts are tenured -- beyond political control.

L: Yes.

S: Why?

L: To keep politics out of education.

S: By politics, you mean voters.

L: Yes.

S: You mean The Masses.

L: Yes.

S: Who don't know what's good for them.

L: Yes.

S: And you come in their name.

L: Yes.

S: Are you tenured?

L: Not yet.

S: But you're working on it.

L: Very hard.

S: Incumbency pays.

L: It has in public education.

S: But test scores have fallen for a generation.

L: That is because the voters have not been willing to finance education sufficiently.

S: Because they don't know what's good for them?

L: Exactly!

S: So, you want to restrict the free market.

L: Yes.

S: Why?

L: Because it's based on self-interest, not the public interest.

S: And you operate in the public interest.

L: Yes.

S: You are coming in the name of The Exploited Masses.

L: Always.

S: Why don't they speak on their own behalf? Why do they need you?

L: Because they are inarticulate.

S: So, you are more articulate than they are.

L: I have had more education.

S: But you want me to believe that you are not acting in terms of your self-interest.

L: Yes.

S: You want to set up government programs to operate on behalf of The Exploited Masses.

L: Yes.

S: Who will run these programs?

L: Experts.

S: Where did they get their expertise?

L: We've been through all this.

S: What will these experts be paid?

L: An honest day's wages for an honest day's labor.

S: As determined by whom?

L: Experts.

S: I see where this is going.

L: You catch on fast.

S: When will the taxpayers catch on?

L: When they have more education.

S: As administered by the teachers' union.

L: Whose members are experts.

S: Tenured experts.

L: Yes.

S: Except in California, where a judge just overturned tenure for tax-funded teachers.

L: There will be an appeal.

S: No doubt.

L: This will be reversed on appeal.

S: Why?

L: Because it is an attack on those who speak in the name of The People.

S: Folks pretty much just like you.

L: Educated people.

S: This is your version of neutrality.

L: Yes.

S: This is your version of the level playing field.

L: Yes.

S: It's tilted.

L: On behalf of The Masses. Therefore, it's level.

S: And those who speak in their name.

L: All playing fields should be level. Some should be more level than others.

S: That sounds strangely familiar.

L: Yes, it does, doesn't it?

S: I don't think we can agree on what constitutes the proper definition of "level."

L: Then the voters must decide.

S: Until they run out of other people's money.

L: You really are a skeptic.

S: I really am.

Read the full column here.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm not sure I've ever met someone naive enough to think "Sufficient economic growth, so that everyone has more than he needs" is an actual possibility. At least no one who studies economics.