It’s a goodie. It comes from William Falk, the editor-in-chief of the right-of-center The Week magazine. After castigating Senator Rand Paul and libertarian parents for their responsibility in the measles outbreak in California (with its epicenters in Left-wing Marin county and Left-wing City of Santa Monica; how libertarians came to be blamed for the outbreak I’ll never know), Falk writes:
Libertarians are absolutely right that personal freedom is important — and easily eroded. Left unchecked, government does indeed presume too much control over our decisions, our money, and our privacy. But in a country of 320 million souls, what we do affects each other — sometimes profoundly. In a libertarian paradise, Americans would still be free to smoke in enclosed offices and restaurants, and 50 percent of the population would still be lighting up — sticking society with their health-care costs. No one would be required to wear a seat belt in the car. And yes, vaccinations would be strictly optional, and the nation’s “herd immunity” would disappear. As an old adage points out, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of another person’s nose. So go ahead, swing your fist — but good luck finding a space that doesn’t have a nose in it.
Ouch! Falk is such a good daddy. He gives libertarians the spanking they deserve: not too hard, not too soft, but juuuust right. Imma break this one down point-by-point.
Libertarians are absolutely right that personal freedom is important — and easily eroded. Left unchecked, government does indeed presume too much control over our decisions, our money, and our privacy.
Notice Falk’s all-too-reasonable lead-in. He gives off the vibe that he is the moderate one here, because he understands the libertarian argument and that, therefore, he is in control.
Ah yes. While Falk is in control, libertarians themselves are not in control. They have no idea what they are doing. Falk understands this about libertarianism. Libertarians do not.
in a country of 320 million souls, what we do affects each other — sometimes profoundly.
Again, Falk is kindly explaining a concept to libertarians that they don’t understand. Falk knows libertarians don’t understand this because he understands libertarianism better than libertarians do. Falk, a moderate conservative, or perhaps a moderate Leftist, knows that libertarians cannot possibly grasp this concept. I do wonder though – even with all of Falk’s superior knowledge of how societies work – if he realizes that government actors are just people, and that they are beholden to the same laws and institutions as the rest of us. Or is Falk’s omnipotent point about 320 million souls one that only applies to those he disagrees with?
Does he include support for bad laws in this maxim?
In a libertarian paradise, Americans would still be free to smoke in enclosed offices and restaurants, and 50 percent of the population would still be lighting up
Lol! In a libertarian paradise, the owners of the offices and restaurants would decide who gets to smoke what where. I can’t add much more to the 50 percent claim, except to laugh out loud again.
sticking society with their health-care costs.
Wait. In a libertarian paradise, wouldn’t each and every atomized individual be stuck paying their own bills in a Darwinian fashion? Even Falk’s straw man is knocking down straw men.
No one would be required to wear a seat belt in the car.
True, and not a day too soon, either. Ralph Nader is a mommy’s boy.
And yes, vaccinations would be strictly optional, and the nation’s “herd immunity” would disappear.
Why would people stop getting vaccines? And here, at last, with this question, we come to the root of all fallacies. The implicit assumption in Falk’s entire argument is, of course, that without government coercion people would be too stupid to get vaccines. People would be too stupid to do a lot of things Falk deems necessary for a good life. Therefore Falk is forced to rely on government, on law, and on society to justify his blatant authoritarian impulses, and if these fallacies are challenged, as they have been for the past twenty five years or so, then Falk and other authoritarians turn to more base fallacies.
The Week‘s alexa ranking is 4,024. Notes On Liberty‘s is 811,551. The lower the number, the higher the rank.
This is what we’re up against.