View Full Version : "Five Reasons Why Libertarians Shouldn't Hate Government"

01-13-2010, 02:39 PM
It was in my Reason Magazine RSS feed, so I checked it out.


1. Democratic Reconstruction in Japan Post WWII. Gen. MacArthur's title "Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers" left no doubt who was in charge during his six-year stint. Worked through the locals to help forge a model democracy.

Nation-building after killing 200,000 innocent people. Yeah, great idea. :rolleyes:

2. The Marshall Plan. Aid to rebuild Europe following WWII. This initially unpopular idea was dubbed "Operation Rathole" by its opponents. Truman took his time working this through Congress and making the case for public support. Executed by experienced business leaders, this operation closed up shop when the job was done.

Did we owe them any money? I think I read that some countries still haven't paid us that money back.

3. The Apollo Moon Landings. A come-from-behind win in the space race. On time, on budget, and 40 years later still never repeated. A strong head of NASA, James Webb, and a start-up culture made this incredibly audacious effort reality.

Of course, that's all it was, a race. What did we win?

Also, does anyone know what the legal status of private space exploration was at the time?

Oh, and the "never repeated" after 40 years point goes against their argument, proving we're wasting hundreds of billions of dollars for a one-in-a-hundred-year project.

4. 1996 Welfare Reform. Put time limits on welfare benefits and encouraged work rather than dependence. Based on a program in Wisconsin, a good example of building off the demonstrated success of our nation's laboratories of democracy—the states. Cut welfare rolls by more than 50 percent in many states.

This I don't know anything about. Was this a success? It doesn't seem like an example of "good government", though, as much as something government doesn't do.

5. Acid Rain Reduction. This emissions trading market approach to a serious environmental problem yielded a 40:1 benefit to cost ratio. After years of political gridlock, this bi-partisan effort relied on the input of economists to yield a solution both business and environmentalists could live with.

It's cap-and-trade, Charlie Brown!

What do you guys think?

01-13-2010, 02:42 PM
Reason magazine defending big government? I am shocked!! </sarcasm>

01-13-2010, 02:53 PM
One would think a libertarian wouldn't select such weak/bad examples.

Even if you can look back through history and cherry pick examples of say the government giving puppy dogs and chocolates to destitute foreigners, all libertarian moral and utilitarian arguments remain the same.

The one that made me chuckle the most was the mention of the moon landings. Wow they threw hundreds of billions of dollars at a silly boondoggle, only to jerk off the national ego to prove the US was better than a communist nation that later collapsed. The private sector could do it for a quarter of the price if there were actually something to get out of it.

01-13-2010, 02:58 PM
i would compile a list of five reasons why libertarians should hate government but that would just be way too easy and i would be tempted to go beyond the five limit.

01-13-2010, 03:57 PM
Wow...besides the moon landing, those are all examples of how they fixed a government mistake.

Going in to rebuild after wars started by government...a program to get people off of a government program and the reduction of acid rain, caused by government taking cash in exchange for sanctioning pollution.

Bravo government.

What next? Why not mention Reagan's tax cuts as a great government success?

01-13-2010, 10:22 PM
Reason magazine defending big government? I am shocked!! </sarcasm>

Well, these two don't work for the magazine, but I would like to see some examples of what you're talking about. :cool:

01-13-2010, 10:54 PM
1. We wrecked it in the first place by dropping two bombs on them. We could have bypassed the bombs and done a lot less nation building.

2. All the Marshall Plan did was stall out the recovery of Western Germany. They were relying on us so much that they decided they didn't need to advance their own economy. When we left, they were able to fend for themselves. Had we not helped to begin with, they would have been fine years sooner.

3. We gained nothing except a "victory" over the Soviet Union. That money could have gone to much better use than jumping on the moon, putting a flag there, and leaving.

4. There should be no welfare at all, since it steals from one to give money to another. So, reforming it is pretty much like dressing up garbage and calling it a masterpiece.

5. Had governments not subsidized pollution, the law wouldn't have been necessary. Additionally, had people simply sued for pollution of their land (give land ownership to individuals), the law would have been pointless. No business is going to continue to pollute when they lose a lawsuit.