Don't Leave Me Alone


Samarami's picture

The comment section of this essay is perhaps more informative than the article itself.


Paul's picture

The author is wrong. I responded this way:

“The problem with government welfare programs is not that the presumed intention to help people in need is a bad thing; it’s that the means is inappropriate to the end.”

So… if the means chosen actually accomplished that end, you would be OK with it? No problem with coercion, violence and theft?

I have news for you. What defines libertarianism is opposition to state violence, not utilitarian quibbles over efficiency.

This article (and even more so, Peron’s) gets it exactly wrong. What we should do is back off on the hard sell. Instead we should tell people we think they should get the government they want, and in return they should let us get the government we want. For libertarians and anarchists, this means “leave us alone”. It is not our job to save the world, because the world does not want to be saved. But we may be able to convince people to leave us alone at least, provided we make it clear we have no interest in imposing our view of freedom on them. It is a more modest, less threatening goal. This means we should be advancing the idea of subsidiarity. There is no need for “one size fits all” government, that fits no one.

The very worst thing we can do is say “We’re from the Libertarian Party, and we’re here to help you!” That’s so, even if we dress it up in terms of concern for them. They’ve heard that line before. You cannot impose liberty on others, and the hard sell doesn’t work either. Frontal attacks don’t work. We need to let example, and our own happiness, be our salesman. People will learn it is good to be left alone, in their own good time.

Suverans2's picture

Like this (thumb up): "We need to let example, and our own happiness, be our salesman."

Agree with this: "You cannot impose liberty on others..." As the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".