Answers to Questions for Libertarians by Jon Stewart

What would be your best response to these questions and statements:

  1. Is government the antithesis of liberty?
    > No. Slavery is the opposite of liberty.
  2. One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom.
    > This is not a question. Yes, roads enhance freedom. Not all infrastructure enhances freedom. For example, courts and prisons hamper freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom in some ways, but costs a lot of money, reducing the amount of money I have to spend on things I want, thus hurting my freedom.
  3. What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?
    > The free market does not “pick” losers. We do. If someone’s venture goes bankrupt because we don’t buy what they’re selling, we should let that happen. If someone can’t get a high paying job because they don’t have the skills, they should learn new skills. We should donate to libraries and websites like wikipedia that give people the opportunity to do so.
  4. Do we live in a society or don’t we? Are we a collective? Everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that the people who lose are hung out to dry? For a group that doesn’t believe in evolution, it’s awfully Darwinian.
    > We live in a society. I don’t consider it to be a collective. I don’t agree that everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us. There are many in society who don’t work hard. If by “hung out to dry” you mean that they don’t receive the same benefits that those who do work hard receive, then yes, they should be. If you mean should they starve, then no, they should not.
  5. In a representative democracy, we are the government. We have work to do, and we have a business to run, and we have children to raise.. We elect you as our representatives to look after our interests within a democratic system.
    > Jon, this is not a question. I am not the government. I agree that I elect my representative to look after my interests. Unfortunately, they often don’t, and I have no recourse when they don’t.
  6. Is government inherently evil?
    > No, though it may be inherently corrupt.
  7. Sometimes to protect the greater liberty you have to do things like form an army, or gather a group together to build a wall or levy.
    > This statement is true. Jon, do you know what a question is?
  8. As soon as you’ve built an army, you’ve now said government isn’t always inherently evil because we need it to help us sometimes, so now.. it’s that old joke: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars? How about a dollar? -Who do you think I am?- We already decided who you are, now we’re just negotiating.
    > Again, this is not a question. I’m not even sure what point you are trying to make here.
  9. You say: government which governs least governments best. But that were the Articles of Confederation. We tried that for 8 years, it didn’t work, and went to the Constitution.
    > I don’t say that. I do think that the current debt created by government in the US and in Canada, where I live, is unsustainable.
  10. You give money to the IRS because you think they’re gonna hire a bunch of people, that if your house catches on fire, will come there with water.
    > I expect that most of the money I give to the government will be wasted. In Canada, local services like fire departments are funded by the cities through property taxes, and we have good visibility into the budget for fire departments, so in this case, I can actually see the value my tax dollars are giving to me.
  11. Why is it that libertarians trust a corporation, in certain matters, more than they trust representatives that are accountable to voters? The idea that I would give up my liberty to an insurance company, as opposed to my representative, seems insane.
    > Representatives are not accountable to voters. I voluntarily pay for insurance. I’m forced to pay for government services.
  12. Why is it that with competition, we have such difficulty with our health care system? ..and there are choices within the educational system.
    > Canada has public health care. In our system, people have to wait years for back or knee surgery, or go outside of the government system that they pay taxes for and pay for private care at huge expense. We have the same “choice” in our education system: either send our kids to the mediocre public system, which we pay for with taxes, or pay a 1huge premium to send them to a private school.
  13. Would you go back to 1890?
    > Yes. I think it would be fascinating to live in that time.
  14. If we didn’t have government, we’d all be in hovercrafts, and nobody would have cancer, and broccoli would be ice-cream?
    > What the hell are you talking about, Jon?
  15. Unregulated markets have been tried. The 80’s and the 90’s were the robber baron age. These regulations didn’t come out of an interest in restricting liberty. What they did is came out of an interest in helping those that had been victimized by a system that they couldn’t fight back against.
    > I don’t believe in unregulated markets. International corporations need to be regulated by the federal government. Regional chains should be regulated by the states. Small businesses should be regulated by the city. Sole proprietors should be largely free to do what they want, as long as they aren’t harming anyone else.
  16. Why do you think workers that worked in the mines unionized?
    > To deal collectively with the mining companies. I think unions should be the same size as the businesses they are dealing with. National unions for corporations, local unions for small businesses. I don’t think corporations bullying workers is right, nor do I think big unions bullying small businesses is right.
  17. Without the government there are no labor unions, because they would be smashed by Pinkerton agencies or people hired, or even sometimes the government.
    > I don’t agree with this statement. Also, if there is no government, how is it smashing anything?
  18. Would the free market have desegregated restaurants in the South, or would the free market have done away with miscegenation, if it had been allowed to? Would Marten Luther King have been less effective than the free market? Those laws sprung up out of a majority sense of, in that time, that blacks should not.. The free market there would not have supported integrated lunch counters.
    > I’m really not sure how much the government has helped. I believe desegregation would have happened without the government. Mixed marriages are very much the free market in action. Martin Luther King was not part of the government. Laws don’t “spring up”. People don’t need laws to be equal, just opportunity.
  19. Government is necessary but must be held accountable for its decisions.
    > I agree. However, I don’t see any way of holding our current federal governments accountable. They are largely controlled by the corporations.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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