This is a summary of a great article in the Washington Times by Tom Mullen. If you don’t really understand Libertarian philosophy on the issue of corporatism, take about 5 minutes and click through to the original article. Otherwise, I have the main points outlines below. If this doesn’t get you thinking about Washington Politics as usual regarding an Obama or Romney administration, I doubt much will. Consider voting for Gary Johnson!
- Libertarians are not corporate apologists
- Already, the usual fallacies have resurfaced. If you don’t want the government to run education, you must be against education. If you don’t want the government to run healthcare, you must not want people to get healthcare.
- This misunderstanding is often summed up with comments like, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with an ‘every man for himself’ society.” This springs from the absurd assumption that human beings never confer benefits upon one another except when forced to do so at gunpoint.
- One corollary of the “every man for himself” theory is that a libertarian society would “let corporations run wild,” resulting in a small, wealthy elite controlling all of the resources and exercising oligarchical rule over the rest of society. (So do we live in a libertarian society now?)
- Having created the problem in the first place, the government then proposes to mitigate the effects of the distortion it has caused with heavy regulation. This further distorts the market’s natural balancing mechanisms. Regulations drive up the operating cost of doing business and provide barriers to new firms entering the market. The larger, established players can absorb the costs due to economies of scale. Smaller firms cannot and are kept out of the market by high entry costs, if not more directly by other regulations like permitting or licensing. The effect of regulation is exactly the opposite of its intention. The largest and most powerful corporations are insulated from competition, allowing them to grow even larger, while putting less pressure on them to improve quality or lower price. That’s why most regulations are written by corporate insiders themselves.
- Libertarian conclusions are inescapable without completely abandoning cause and effect reasoning. With risk providing a natural limit to growth and free entry into the market providing significantly more competition, the largest firms must be smaller and competition and choice must increase.
- A century of progressive governance has produced exactly the results that the progressives purport to oppose: an enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of a small percentage of society and a few large firms dominating every economic sector. We have nothing to lose giving libertarianism a try.
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