Limit cases and sociolibertarianism

The usual arguments against libertarianism itself are honestly not very credible. Not only is the theory of natural rights and freedom solid, but we have numerous examples of real-life applications of libertarianism, even in our societies, which work with greater efficiency than governments could ever imagine.

However, there is another class of arguments which may seem more credible. They are arguments which are supposedly limit cases for which libertarianism is not adequate.

For example, a small government might be seen as more unstable and easier to break down. It is true that any system which is opposed by the people will eventually fail. An extreme example of this would be the german democracy after WW1, which was broken down in a dictatorship thru popular vote. Another example would be the brief periods of anarchy after a revolution, which is quickly broken down by new governments, usually dictatorships.

The main reason why democracy is more stable than totalitarism is because the appeasement of the majority thru representation lowers the number of malcontents. But if we accept this explanation, then we must conclude that a sociolibertarian system would be much more stable. Its very basis of social freedom ensures that anyone will find a system that corresponds to his general tastes without having to rely on representants at all. If anyone is not satisfied with the system of their country, they are free to form their own, with its own judiciary, police, and all the works. That way, everyone can still be totally satisfied with their political environment while having very few influence on the government itself.

However, it is also relatively easier to overthrow, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, corruption is a law of the universe : every system eventually diverges from its optimal path. If the government fails to its task, we don’t want it to be virtually invincible. We want to be able to reverse the process when necessary.

Another example is warfare and other emergencies. Might not, one may think, a socialist country react better than a libertarian one to such situations ? Is it not necessary to give power to the government so that it can resolve these situations better ? This is not obvious at all, in fact the contrary might be true. Not only are individuals more apt to see where their own interest lies in such occurances than government that act on the basis of power and popularity, but private systems would be more efficient than public ones. We may easily imagine, for example, a system of private armies, where people decide to pay from their own pockets for a war in another country, to which other people may object on reasonable grounds.

In the same way, the reliance on the free market of the sociolibertarian government is more stable than centralized operations. For example, imagine a military rebellion. In a centralized system where military forces are concentrated in a public army, who is going to stand against them ? The pragmatic fragmentation (or lack thereof) of a free market is an advantage of stability and quality. In the case of the military, the government could hire competitors, instead of being defenseless.

Another problem which has hardly been studied at all is human stupidity. For some reason, an objection against libertarianism is that people are too stupid to administrate their own lives. But quite the contrary, this is an argument for a small government : if people were really too stupid to administrate their own lives, how much more true would it be for a whole country !

The difference between private and public error is that the effect of public error is incredibly larger. To give an illustrative example, suppose that we have a choice between A and B (they might be different products or types of products, different power policies, different ideologies, or many other things). If we simply the problem of varying contexts, let’s suppose that the rational option is A, and yet 85% of people choose B. It is therefore easy to see that, unless limits are imposed on the government, B will be enforced. But this solution is unsatisfactory, because freedom of choice for all agents will yield a better result of only 85% B instead of 100% B. Democratic systems amplify human stupidity, instead of individualizing it.

Another supposed problem is destructive actions. In economics, we would have the example of drugs. This is an area where there is considerable legislation that aims to stop destructive actions. And yet, is it rational to desire laws against drugs ? Seeing that the damage done by these laws (especially thru the formation of black markets) is around ten times the damage done from problems that drugs consumption encurs, it would be safe to say that it isn’t a rational alternative. We see that this is very much a variant of the human stupidity problem.

A last problem is the question of bad laws and bad enforcment of laws. What if the government becomes corrupt, or encounters problems in its basic functions ? A sociolibertarian system would not be disadvantaged in that aspect, since communities would be free to establish their own independant judiciaries, polices, and even armies if they so desire. Therefore we expect such a system to be more stable in that regard than a bigger government.

These arguments do not prove that libertarianism is flawed – rather, they prove that libertarianism is a superior alternative, because of the choice it affords to individuals. Anarcho-capitalism is one big limit case : only if people are intelligent enough to promote choice do they obtain an optimal society. In a libertarian society, human stupidity is certainly not as much of a problem.