Is libertarianism, and its notion of “everything voluntary,” Utopian?
Libertarians would point out the belief that government can be restrained and kept to a safe minimum is highly idealistic, and goes against the evidence of history.
Believers in the possibility of good government blame everyone and everything other than the institution itself for its consistent failures. Or they simply deny the failures.
Some will claim if Americans would just restore the Constitution — by which they mean get government to agree to strictly obey its charter again — everything would be fine.
It’s not a matter of restoring the Constitution. Constitutions can’t stop bad people with political power from eventually doing whatever they want to do. Expecting the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution as a barrier to government power is a refusal to see where the justices’ loyalties lie.
Governments will never restrain themselves, and voters will always seek to vote themselves handouts, favors, and privileges, regardless of what a constitution allows.
Additionally, the government faithful will insist if we would only elect “the right people” the country would stop going in the wrong direction.
The fact is the “right people” are never even allowed to get nominated, much less elected, and even when half-way decent people are elected they immediately become corrupted by the system they were elected to change.
No person can represent a huge group of individuals with opposing opinions and conflicting morals. It is impossible. Instead he will represent only himself and tell you why you are wrong to disagree with him.
Then, if he’s in the majority in his particular government, he’ll impose his will on you, under threat of violence.
Woe to you if your conscience tells you what he demands is wrong.
Even under the “best” government, the inevitable is merely delayed.
History shows that republics always turn into democracies, and democracies always become tyrannies. The only variable is how quickly it happens. The idea that there’s an optimal amount of government is like imagining there’s a perfect amount of cancer. Above none, I mean.
The biggest complaint most non-libertarians have with our philosophy is that it allows no double standards to enable their favorite use of coercion. What is it you wish to do to others, using government, that you know would be wrong to do as an individual?
Libertarianism accepts flawed human nature. It accepts that power corrupts. That’s not Utopian, it’s reality.
Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at: