C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The trouble with libertarians...

...Is that they are seldom 'libertarian' enough. We read once screed after another from angry Hayekians contending that taxation is theft. The welfare state, the public broadcaster, virtually all publically owned and funded assets are an affront to 'liberty', evidence of a society heading down the road to surfdom.

It is curious, then, that the libertarians do not apply the same analysis to precisely those insitutions that actuall can and do deprive people of their liberty, and are paid by the public purse, namely, the police and the army. How could these self-proclaimed defenders of freedom have missed so elementary a point?

History tells us that welfare states are not at all the same as police states, the latter often functioning as model capitalist economies. Fascism requires the population be disciplined by the local constabulary, not government funded schools or art galleries. Should a coup ever occur (and this is unlikely in Australia's near future), do our libertarians think it will arise from the military, who are in possession of genuine force, or by Tony Jones and Red Kerry on the 'tax-eating' ABC network?

The libertarians inevitably (and hypocritically) stop short of this radical juncture, preferring to dismantle the welfare functions of the state rather than erode the state's ability to enforce, brutally if need be, its dictates.

Ironically, it was Lenin who called for the abolition of a standing army.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Australia, Britain and the US continue to fund bloodshed in the Middle East, and the enforcement of unpopular laws, something that would likely go unchanged in the (extremely unlikely) event of a libertarian government.