Tag: roads

A Response to a Socialist

Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Recently, I wrote a short article critiquing Socialism and Communism. In the response section, a person responded with the following statements (errors are theirs):

“This has a few errors. Capitalism is a hypocritical ideology in its core, if everything is given to the free market, so not everyone can get an education this destroys the argument of “Eh, if you weren’t good in school, you wont be good in the future”. Your point comes about the “more wealth the rich have the better” is wrong, and misleading. There needs to be government interference for this to happen with the social programs that you hate distributing the wealth. Other wise the rich will hoard money with no restrictions and pay less to their employees since there is no interest in supporting the workers. Infact the word you support has been tried out before, in the 1800s, with massive industrial bosses monopolising industry, using child labor and abusing their power, this stems from the fact that the government didnt wish to interefere into the free market. A completely free market will unavoidably colapse into either a monoply or something else. You will also probably refuse to admit that some of the most succesful countries are once with high taxes and societies with not much economic freedom, yet the majority lives well. Compare the average life of a city dweller in the US and Norway, one has to constantly think about his medical insurance bills and if he will have enough capital to pay for his rent, while the other has a more bright life.”

I decided to take the liberty- pun intended- to respond to the typical Socialist reply, and I believe it may help you in your future debates with Statists, Socialists, and Communists. My reply is as follows: 

First, understanding what Capitalism is what it is not is imperative for discussion. Capitalism, as I am describing it, is the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services, i.e. Laissez Faire Capitalism.

The free market does, in fact, solve the establishment of education and can provide it at a reasonable price, as the competition of the marketplace is what drives up sales and profits. E.g. the oldest schools in the US are still some of the top schools in the world and were started by private and/or religious organizations. There are also several developing organizations providing free private education in the US: Free Schools | PrivateSchoolReview.com , Private School May Be Free If You Make Less Than $75,000 | PrivateSchoolReview.com , 8 Colleges Where Students Attend For Free, etc.

Additionally, when a government is coercing people to attend school, it forces education to lose its ‘value.’ A high school diploma means little-to-nothing anymore in the US because so many people have them. This has become such an issue that most employers do not actually check if someone actually has a high school diploma when they check yes in the degree box. Another important principle is that if something “good” is being forced on people, or people are being coerced to do, the good that is done is negated because something done well requires free and voluntary action, not coercion.

Laissez Faire Capitalism has NOT been tried in the US, and I am sad to say that it has not been fully implemented in any country-wide economy. What has been tried is near-Capitalism, where there are mixed economies and approaches to attempt more market freedom. What we do know is that the closer we are allowed to move towards Capitalism, the better off the majority of people are, and in the long run everyone is better off.

Monopolies come in four main categories, not just one. There are geographic monopolies, where simply due to their location almost everyone purchases from the supplier; technological monopolies are where an organization excels in technological advancements when compared to their competitors, and this gives them the  edge for monopolizing the marketplace; natural monopolies are completely free and voluntary, there just are not any direct competitors yet in the market; lastly, government monopolies are coercive powers that only exist because of government influences and protection by government with the threat of fines, prison, garnishments, removal of property, and up to death for those that dare to compete against the coercive monopoly assisted by government. This is important to distinguish, because Laissez Faire Capitalism, in its very philosophy, does not allow coercion as that is the antithesis of Justice. Furthermore, government, itself, is a coercive monopoly as it has monopolized the initiation of force and coercion.

Socialism and Communism are contradictory to Justice as they pontificate that free and voluntary exchanges between people cannot be conducted, i.e. via Laissez Faire Capitalism, while a select few of the political elite who run the Marxist government institution determines who the winners and losers are through arbitrary means. These same people will say in one sentence that [coercive] monopolies are bad, and then turn around and say government should control the marketplace. That is, by its definition, a coercive monopoly.

In response to your pointing out of child labor in the US, please note that it is a “privilege” for children to not work hard labor, not a moral stance. The nature of mankind, when born in nature, is without clothing, with little food primarily from one’s mother (hopefully), with no shelter except that of the voluntary guardian (hopefully), no weapons, inability to walk or talk, etc. We are born helpless, and our state at birth is that of extreme poverty. The US, and other European countries, moved towards not having children in the labor force for multiple reasons. One, because it was not financially necessary for everyone to have their children working because they had better-paying jobs that enabled them, primarily men, to provide for their families’ needs and some desires. Two, many of the labor laws against child labor were directed towards Blacks and other low socioeconomic minorities within the US to prevent them from gaining political and financial leverage in the US. Three, social pressure from those in society were disappointed in seeing that the significant primary provider of child labor was not the private marketplace, but in fact, government sending orphans to work in factories in order to fund their housing, staff pay, food, clothing, etc. especially for the orphans themselves. Today, there are still a number of countries that have child laborers, but they are mostly in developing countries, which points back to my original premise of the “privilege” of not needing child laborers.

As for your erroneous comparison of the US to Norway, let’s take a look at a few facts first. I will begin by stating it is very difficult and fallacious to compare these two countries. Also, there are, of course, major limitations in Norway that come along with having a major Welfare State: The Nordic Glass Ceiling . Nevertheless, Norway has an almost similar economic freedom as the US. Norway’s financial success comes mostly from the private market sells of oil. Norway’s population consists of a homogeneous society with similar ideas, views, and philosophy; whereas the US is far more diverse, and the US has a higher per capita GDP. The enjoyment of life in the US is far greater, overall, than in Norway. Additionally, Norway does not have the utopian system that you seem to be alluding to. The heterogeneous character of the US is what helps it drive forward in the world, providing a superior and diverse competitive market, especially when compared to Norway. This also prevents a true cross-comparison of the two countries, as they are not even similar- it is a false equivalence logical fallacy.


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The Free Market is a Better Alternative to Government

By Josh Hughes | United States

Most libertarians believe that, to an extent, the “free market” is superior to the government. But is this really true? Can private enterprises and consumers completely and voluntarily fund the services that are enjoyed today? If so, are they capable of producing such services at a more efficient and cost-effective rate? The answer, in theory, is always yes.

Can the Market Do Everything That Government Can?

Think of any service that is offered by the government. There are dozens, ranging from something as simple as the post office and sanitation services, to more complex and serious things such as domestic and foreign defense. Simple, everyday tasks that people are accustomed to being carried out by government employees can just as easily be done in the private sector. Private schools, for example, perform the same job as public schools but are done through completely voluntary means. In many instances, the quality of education is higher as well.

But some services just can’t be provided by the free market, right? Many cite defense and legal dilemmas as areas that need government control or interference. This simply just is never necessary. An example that many are fond of is illustrated by Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. in his anarcho-capitalist manifesto, Against the State. In it, one is asked to consider for a moment that shoes have been provided to children until the age of 18 by the government for as long as anyone can remember. Since society has become so used to this, and the market has never had the ability to compete, one naturally finds it foolish to question the government’s provision here. It can be assumed that many people would actually become quite defensive when the question of “Can the market do it better?” arises.

This is the case with every single service society enjoys. People don’t consider how the market and private individuals can better provide a service because it’s never been attempted.

“But Who Will Build the Roads?”

This is a challenge often brought up when taxation or government abolition is brought up. The answer is simple. The same individuals that politicians contract will build the roads. Your neighbors and peers who are civil engineers and construction workers will still build the roads. “But who will pay for it?” Private citizens will still fund the projects, just as they already do now. Instead of the violent coercion the government forces, however, it will be in the form of voluntary transactions such as tolls or user fees. Domestic defense will still be provided by private individuals, except now instead of an all-powerful police force, it will be a subscription to a privately regulated enterprise. This is true for everything. It will all be paid for and provided by the same individuals that pay for and provide it now, only this time it will be done voluntarily in the form of subscriptions, user fees, and tolls. No more will you be forced to give your hard-earned money to an agency of men in Washington, D.C. that decide where they feel it will be best spent. In the ideal society, you the individual know where to spend your money best.

Other Counterarguments

Extortion/Monopolies

Another question often raised is “What happens when a company establishes a monopoly over a service, then proceeds to extort its users?” This is a very tough, but solvable, dilemma. An answer would be responsibility of the market. Individuals must not be put in the situation where they can be exploited and must provide competing services themselves. If this is unavailable, then the market must pressure the monopoly and force them to either break up or not extort consumers by refusing the monopoly and its workers service. The market will always regulate itself.

Discrimination

“What happens when a business decides to discriminate against a group of people, whether on the basis of race, religion, gender, or orientation?” In this instance, individuals and the market will again regulate itself. Minorities are more empowered today than they have ever been before. Through advances in technology, avenues such as social media and sites like Yelp will spread the decisions of businesses. Say, for example, a restaurant refuses service to an African-American woman because of her race. She can then go to Instagram or Twitter and share her experience, where it can then be seen by thousands of people. The business will suffer the consequences, as now people will refuse to go there and instead opt to go to a restaurant that serves all people.

Environment

Another main issue is environmental regulations. The EPA currently sets the standards for businesses to follow when it comes to regulations, but without a government, who will do that for us? Again, the answer is the market. Similar to the case of monopolies, other businesses and individuals will set sanctions against or boycott companies that practice in ways that are detrimental to the environment. This pressure will force the companies to change their ways or to shut down.

The Market Will Prevail

If you’ve paid attention, you have noticed that the same phrase has been repeated many times. “The free market will solve the issue.” This is the main philosophy behind most libertarian thought. The free market will solve any and every issue, and can better perform every service offered by the government. The untouched market has competition whereas the government is a monopoly. The market has drive and incentives while the government is lazy and incompetent. The market is voluntary and free, a stark contrast against the government who is coercive and aggressive. The market can and will solve every problem presented to society without the need of the government.


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You Libertarians Benefit From the State!

By. Joshua D. Glawson

We hear it all of the time. “You, Libertarians, benefit from the State!” “Ayn Rand received social security checks.” “You use public roads, public schools, and benefit from the rest of society.” “Well, that’s the price you pay to live in a civilized society.” The erroneous attacks continue one after the other.

The common logical fallacy here is called a ‘tu quoque’ argument, also known as an ‘appeal to hypocrisy.’ According to Webster’s Dictionary, this means “a retort charging an adversary with being or doing what he criticizes in others.” In other words, if someone criticizes something, and the other person responds, “Well, you do it, too,” this is a logical fallacy. It simply does not address the concern or topic at hand. Instead, when a person uses this appeal to hypocrisy, they are attempting to negate the argument by attacking the person rather than the issue. It is very similar to an ‘ad hominem’ logical fallacy.

The contention Libertarians hold is that government should not do many of the things it now does. This assertion does not disagree that people benefit from statism, it simply addresses the issues of varying topics. For example, many Libertarians attend public schools. When they argue that taxes should not pay for schools, this does not mean that schools should not exist. Libertarianism proposes that education should be privately funded by families, charities, religious institutions, companies, etc. When Libertarians attend public schools now, it is because they are taking advantage of the system that they were coerced into and forced to pay taxes to. Why should questioning a system necessarily mean one is no longer allowed to be a part of it?

The benefits of statism are comparable to that of thieves that feed their families and pay other businesses. It is a system that advocates positive liberty. This means that everyone must support it, and it will allegedly thus benefit everyone, too. Libertarianism repudiates this concept, and instead proposes negative liberty. Negative liberty means that it costs others nothing and one is free to go about their life, as the ideology condemns coercion.

It is very common that critics of Libertarianism conflate the terms “society” and “state.” They see these as interchangeable, or one in the same. As a correction, “society” is the free association of peoples out of spontaneous order. On the other hand, the “state” is the coercive power over the people.

It is out of human nature that people wish to freely associate and trade with others. People benefit and progress by having societies. They advance mankind’s ability to freely speak, trade, and live with fewer worries than they would without others. When people begin to impede on the lives, liberties, or properties of others, there is a shift from free association to dogmatic statism. The existence of a state should be only to protect the lives, Liberty, and property of its citizens, and nothing more.

When these naysayers of Libertarianism suggest that Libertarians want to benefit from society and not pay into it, they misconstrue the basic principles of Libertarianism while concurrently mixing “state” with “society”. There is no price to live in a civilized society. In fact, the wording itself indicates that people live “civilized,” meaning the respect for other individuals, and within “society,” meaning a voluntary association of people. So, suggesting there is a price to act civilized and to voluntarily associate is a contradiction.

The Libertarian position is that individuals are to be free as in the philosophy of negative liberty. They are to freely associate and trade, and through this, prosperity and peace will emerge. People benefit from society, but can live freely without association with others if they so choose. Positive liberty and statism harm society by crushing individual Liberty, justice, and society itself.

To make it very clear, Libertarians cherish society. Society implies freedom of association and holds individual liberty fundamental to human existence. Furthermore, Libertarians advocate for the most crucial characteristic of a just system, personal responsibility.

“With great Liberty, comes great responsibility.”


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An Honest Plan for the Future of Our Liberty

Michael McFarland | United States

Libertarians must become leaders in business, in politics, in education, and in science. More importantly, we must become leaders in our community, for it is in taking up that responsibility that we demonstrate how the philosophy of peace and prosperity is vastly superior to the authoritarian alternatives. That is how we win.

From the pothole filling anarchists who take it upon themselves to repair damaged roads, to the volunteers at the rec centers, and community gardens, we can see everyday examples of liberty in action.

You don’t have to wait for the election of a candidate to public office, or the passing of particular legislation to make a real impact. These things aren’t what truly matter.

Instead, I’d like for you to take a look around your community, and look for ways you can help improve it. I want you to look for actions you can take to improve the quality of life in your immediate area.

Is there trash you could pick up?

In addition, could your neighbors use some help with their yard or their home?

Also, how are the schools? After school activities? Your local religious institutions?

These are just a few examples.

The more we show how well taking responsibility for your own community works, and the more responsibility the community has for itself, then the less likely it is that the community will want to relinquish that responsibility to government bureaucrats and their goons.

Let’s not wait for the government to relinquish control. Let’s take it back by taking back our communities one neighborhood at a time. It’s time to show that government action is not necessary.

That’s how we win. That’s how we ease the fears of accepting responsibility for one’s own life, and that’s how we see more libertarian ideas penetrate this authoritarian system of control and subjugation.

#Rise #TakeHumanAction #GoldRush2018

***Michael McFarland is a guest contributor and he is currently running for Arizona State House. For more information, please visit his website at https://mcfarlandforaz.com/

But Who Will Clear the Roads? The Private Sector, of Course

By Ryan Lau | USA

Ah, winter. A serene, picturesque time of year filled with glistening snowbanks, sheets of luminescent ice, and skiers whipping down the slopes. It truly is a wonderful time of year – that is, if you prepare for it. The unparalleled beauty of winter weather is surely breathtaking. However, it is up to us all whether breathtaking is to imply beauty or death.

The government, by definition, has a monopoly on force. They control our healthcare, our money, our police, our military. Without a doubt, this includes the building, fixing, and clearing of our nation’s roads. As of now, there is no such thing as a for-profit road, and taxpayer money funds them in their entirety. Yet, time and time again, many governments, specifically those in areas where winter weather is rare, show their inability to fully maintain the roads. In the past week alone, at least 15 people have died in the South during bouts of uncommon inclement weather. Official reports claim that these deaths are because of the weather, but this is simply not the case. Snow and ice did not kill those people; government’s inability to maintain their own property did.


The Flaws of Government in the Snow Removal Industry

First of all, it is important to recognize what exactly the scope of these storms was. As 15 deaths is a considerable margin, one might expect a massive storm to cause them. Conversely, the weather system, by any standards save the South’s, was rather mild. Atlanta saw one inch of snow, and much of Louisiana barely had a dusting. Simply put, these tame amounts are absolutely no excuse for the death of an eight-month-old baby, among others.

Though the South obviously does not see winter weather with the same frequency as does the north, it is far from the first time. Atlanta, on average, experiences 1.9 inches of snow per year. Though this is quite a low number, it proves they are no stranger to occasional frozen precipitation. Why is it, then, that the government of Atlanta, among other cities, is absolutely incapable of clearing the roads, to the point where their own inaction leads to the deaths of innocent civilians? Clearly, the answer lies in the way that local and state governments spend their money.

Without a doubt, the Atlanta metropolis has over a thousand miles of roads to clear with every snowfall. In fact, their priority routes alone within city borders constitute over 200 miles. To face this daunting task, Atlanta government officials decided it would be effective to own a whopping eight snowplows. Eight snowplows for one of America’s largest metro areas, and the fourth-worst for traffic on a normal day. This led to the five-day city shut down during the 2011 snowstorm, as well as the eerie quiet caused by last week’s dusting. Though the city has since upped their fleet to a total of 40 plows, it still is simply not enough.


The Root of our Roads Problem

Why, then, does Atlanta, among many other Southern cities, continually fail to provide for its citizens? Essentially, it all comes down to the fact that the city, as stated above, holds a monopoly. As there are no other providers of roads, citizens must use state roads for everyday travel. With no competition and a massive demand, the city has nobody to lose the road “consumers” to. The people need the roads, and though they are often in terrible condition, there is not currently a better option available.


A Simple Solution

Though the people of Atlanta currently do not have a better option, this does not in any capacity mean that one does not exist. Ultimately, decentralization and privatization of the roads will best fit the needs of the people. If a private company fails to clean their road in time, especially if it leads to an accident or fatality, they will not satisfy their consumer base. Consequently, that road company will also lose their customers. In order to maintain a large consumer base, and thus, a profit, competing companies must provide a better service than a competitor.


How Will Privatization Work?

How does this relate to snow removal? Imagine, for the sake of simplicity, that there are ten parallel roads leaving a part of Atlanta. Ten companies own one of the roads each, and use of each road is equally convenient. In the event of a snowstorm, four of the owners decide not to treat their roads in any way. These roads are impassable and get little to no traffic for the duration of the storm. Four others plow their roads every two hours, and while they remove some snow, conditions are still not optimal, and these roads also operate with limited traffic. The last two owners, thinking intuitively, plow and salt their roads twice an hour, leaving them in reasonable driving condition. As a reward for looking out for their consumer base, these two owners receive the bulk of traffic during the storm.


How Will You Benefit?

Now, as a driver, which road would you choose to travel on? Most likely, if you chose one of the last two owner’s roads, you would be in the vast majority. When competition exists, quality increases. As the other eight owners notice a decline in traffic, they must, to restore it, evaluate their decisions as opposed to their competitors. If they can pinpoint lack of snow removal as the source of the problem, two possibilities arise. They may either spend the money required to increase use of their service, or fail to attract consumers. The former results in business growth, the latter in bankruptcy. As no company wants to go bankrupt, they will create more new and innovative ways to better suit their consumers.

Without a doubt, privatization is the most surefire way to fix the disasters caused by state-funded snow removal. By abandoning this monopoly, we are moving away from a time of inaction and towards a new era of progress. In doing so, the people will finally see changes for the better in the quality of our roads, saving time and lives in the process. Surely, though anyone can clear a road, the private sector can and will have the greatest success, satisfying the most people at the lowest possible cost.


Image from the Little GSP.