Here’s what I’ve put up at Libertarian Home recently and that I haven’t posted here:
Tim Worstall over at the Adam Smith Institute blog, Good luck with that Jeremy, good luck with that:
“At which point we have this rather plaintive cry from Jeremy Warner (or perhaps the subeditor who wrote his headline), someone we usually rather agree with:
If the state must meddle, it should do it better
As is well known, I write the best and most interesting posts on Libertarian Home. But Zach Cope, MD, comes a close second. Here he is on Downton Abbey.
Classical Liberalism: The purpose of government is to do those things – and only those things – which both must be done and which only it can do.
Democracy: The purpose of government is to do the things the voters ask it to do.
A classically liberal government in a democracy is asked to do something – anything – that it is not currently doing. If it accedes it is no longer a liberal government; if it refuses it is not a democratic government.
(This should cause more sleepless nights than it does.)
Classical Liberalism: Society has no right to compel its members to defend it.
Traditional public goods theory: Society’s members will not voluntarily defend it.
But if a society must be defended then it must compel its members to defend it. But then it is no longer a classically liberal society.
(This, too, should cause more sleepless nights than it does.)
Tim Worstall, Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, replies to my previous post:
No, I don’t read here[Libertarian Home], this being a good example of why. Libertarianism tends towards the angels on pins sort of arguments.
As for government doing the things that must be done…..there really are such things as public goods. And there really are some such that can only be achieved with the compulsion of government. For example, the creation of protections for IP.
I don’t say that the current system is right, not at all, but I do say that some such system is needed. And it will need to be government produced, through the law.
Ergo, there’s something that must be done and can only be done by government.
If Tom Knapp still pops by, I think this might raise a smile.