I’ve been having a few conversations recently that have reminded me why I am a Libertarian by nature. A Minarchist to be precise.
Firstly, I believe that the traditional Left/Right arguments are futile. They rehash viewpoints that were settled long ago. Or, at the very least, argued to an impasse. What characterises both sides is their desire to exercise control over the rest of us. Truly free speech cannot be tolerated so we are given the language of the politically correct and must never, ever cause offence. Working tax credits buy the votes of the lower paid by taking tax from them and then giving a bit back. Smokers and drinkers suffer penal rates of tax to pursue their pleasures while there have been serious suggestions not to treat these people on the NHS. This is despite them paying much more tax info the system than they take out. Then, of course, there are the constant ads exhorting us to drink, smoke, gamble or use sugar “responsibly”. Where I live, planning permission is required to change the front door of your house; these are normal, fairly modern houses with standard upvc doors not a Grade II listed pile. People who enjoy bdsm pornography can be prosecuted even though the participants are consenting adults. It is possible to get a criminal record for putting rubbish in the wrong bin.
I could go citing examples of this mad desire by politicians of all flavours to control us but I’m sure readers will get the point. Anything you can think of is fair game to be monitored, rationed, licensed or banned. Presumably, “something must be done” is a disease that afflicts our elected politicians. Anyone who has a microgram of Libertarian spirit abhors this desire to be controlled.
What is worse is how government expands. Take any issue that most people agree is a “good thing” to have. Education, health care, public transport, electricity or anything else that comes to mind. What happens in every case is this:
1. The government of the day supports it by allocating resources because it gets votes.
2. Whatever the “thing”, it is seen to be desirable.
3. More resources are given to it.
4. The “thing” grows and finds new things within its remit.
5. The government of the day funds the expansion.
6. The “thing” is found to have some negative aspects.
7. The government of the day becomes concerned about the use of public (i.e. our money) so introduces measures to solve the problems.
8. The problems can’t be solved because the “thing” has become ever more complex.
9. In the interests of accountability, openness, fairness and transparency more oversight and regulations are introduced by the government of the day.
10. The oversight and regulations introduce further costs and do not address the initial problems.
11. Points 7-11 are repeated in perpetuity.
The process above is the inevitable consequence of big government. It would be much better all round if the process stopped at point 2 but politicians must court popularity to get votes. A Minister is valued by the size of the Ministry. Popularity and vanity drive the relentless growth of big government despite it being doomed to failure.
As a Minarchist I believe in small government. I concede that there is a need for a common approach to defence and security, a requirement for laws that allow citizens to go about their business without fear, a body to enforce those laws and it is sensible to have an office to control money supply and a few other economic matters. But do we need ministers for the civil society, art & culture or most of the others we pay for? Why do we need parish, town or city and county councils? Why can’t these ministries and councils be abolished or, at the very least, cut to a bare minimum of functions?
Be a Libertarian. Fight for free speech, small government and take responsibility for yourself rather than expect/demand politicians to do it for you. They all exact too high a price. Just the way it is.