Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Libertarians for Bigger Government

I believe in two things: freedom and personal safety. Government takes away the first to add to the second. The first few tradeoffs are entirely worth it: I lose my freedom to kill people but I gain a reduced chance of being killed; or I cannot steal but I am not stolen from.

After that there are swift diminishing returns. We get into things like drafts, gun laws, wiretapping, drug laws, and so on. Freedom-hating cowards push an agenda of fear to increase their control at the cost of our freedom.

So pardon me if I sound a bit scared.

Every day we are being poisoned. The very air is filled with toxins. The water. The land itself. Where from? Business. In the pursuit of profit (a noble goal) they take the path of least resistance, dumping pollutants which kill everyone nearby and spread around the world. This is a clear case of externalities; of costs which exist, but are not calculated because the profit-maker does not incur the loss. We are the ones who lose.

How do we get poisoning us onto their balance sheets? Social change could effect this; with consumers refusing to purchase those products which are made in a poisonous manner. This isn't going to happen. Why not? For starters, people are lazy and ignorant. But even if they were aware, they would likely trade lower health later for cheaper products now. That is their choice, but their choice affects everyone around, including those who wish to make a different choice.

Enter government. It exists to protect individuals, including against the tyranny of the majority. I will not attempt to propose an exact mechanism, but it is time for government to protect physical well-being from the poisons of others.

It is time for Libertarians for Bigger Government!

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