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Sometimes I amaze myself

I am giving myself a pat on the back. I posted about the fire department in Tennessee this morning. Uncle posts about an attack on Libertarianism at this site here. In this site, the blogger posts:

This fire is a the result of libertarian land. In libertarian land, collective action is forbidden so taxes cannot pay for fire departments. Without taxes, you must rely on the voluntary subscription to services (or after the fact fees, but for something like firefighting that requires a large and constant maintenance cost, after the fact fees aren’t going to be enough to keep a fire department active). If you must rely on a voluntary subscription service, then you must discourage free loaders. If you must discourage free loaders, then you must let the homes of the poor, or unlucky or plan stupid burn to the ground.

 To which, I posted this reply:

Of course, you have the alternative: You turn the $75 fee into a property tax, and anyone who doesn’t pay has his house foreclosed on and taken away by the taxing authority to pay the taxes.

This taxing authority also needs staffing, and so hires personnel to handle the taxes. With this new overhead, the previously voluntary $75 fee is now a mandatory $150 tax.

If you do not pay, they take your house. When they send the sheriff to your house to evict you, if you resist, he activates the SWAT team, and they gun you down. Then they raise the tax to $250 so they can cover the expenses of the SWAT team.

Isn’t that much better?

Yes, the Libertarian way is heartless and cruel, and the collectivist way at least insured that the house didn’t burn down. The owners are dead or homeless, but at least the house didn’t burn down.

Edited to add: This is an email response to this post:

No. The police in Europe will never kill you, in Europe we don`t do that any more, you Americans probably do. You Americans just don`t get it do you; You can`t run a whole country the same way as a McDonalds restaurant!

Ok, I guess Americans know best, you have the best systems and don`t need to be lectured by anyone about anything. You are simply the best, right? 

 This guy doesn’t understand that there are only two ways to conduct any sort of business: By force, or by voluntary cooperation. If I refuse to pay my taxes, how else can the government force me to pay, except through force? If I resist their force with force of my own, do you think the cops are going to give up, or will they increase the force they employ until I submit?

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People are too greedy for libertarianism

There is a lot of buzz on the internet about the South Fulton fire department. In case you haven’t read it, this is the town fire department who provided fire services to the surrounding area, if the homeowner paid a membership fee. In this case, they allowed a house to burn down because the homeowner had not paid the fee. I am no going to discuss this particular incident, as I agree with Firefighter, who has posted an excellent analysis here.

Instead, I want to talk about a more general issue. The people commenting here say that Libertarianism will never work because it is cruel. They are wrong, the real reason why the Libertarian philosophy will never work is that people always want the power to make others give them what they want, but never want to pay for it. Everyone has their issue: the homeless, healthcare, Fire service, whatever.

There are only two ways to get people to do things for you: voluntarily, or involuntarily. Do you think that people should interact voluntarily? If so, then you must allow people to set the standard by which they will provide that care.

If the doctor says that he will only provide care for money, and the patient has no money, then there are only four options:

A. You pay the bill on the other person’s behalf (voluntary donation)
B. You force the provider to provide the service/product for free (forced compliance- slavery)
C. You allow the provider to turn the non-paying person away (voluntary noncooperation)
D. You force others to pay the bill (forced donation- legalized theft)

Libertarians believe that the only fair and proper answer is A or C.
Socialists believe that the only proper answer is B or D.

For those who believe that we have a responsibility to feed/clothe/care for people who cannot pay, just how do you think that the people providing the service will provide it?

How will the hospital pay its staff? How will the fire trucks get fuel? How will restaurants get food for the homeless? How much of your own money have you given to the cause? Do you allow a homeless man to live in your spare bedroom?

If you are not willing to use your own money and resources to provide that service or product, then why do you get to compel me to use mine? Giving away other people’s money and possessions is not charity. One post there said:

The measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Libertarians demand that the US score exactly zero.

That is incorrect. Libertarians are not against voluntary charity. They are simply against “charity” at the point of a gun. A tax that takes money from one person and uses it purely for the benefit of another is not charity, it is theft.

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It Figures

I am currently taking a class on Administrative Law. That is, it covers the laws and regulations that govern administrative agencies like the FCC, FAA, and local ones like the Fire Department.

We were discussing a situation in class, and our assignment was to find a solution for the problem, as if we were the person in charge. I found one that accomplished the goal, and still respected the rights of the people involved. Another student’s solution was a gross violation of the law, and of the rights of the people involved.

I pointed out that his solution was a violation of the Constitutional rights of the people involved. His reply to me was “So what? Let the lawyers worry about that. The broke the rules, they need to accept whatever happens.”

Guess where he works? Homeland Security.