Ten Ways a Libertarian Society Would Be Different


mjackso6's picture

A pretty good set of principles, but I think that Mr. Hornberger is missing the massive elephant in the room. It looks like he's set on a minarchist society, in which there would still be a central government that, much as the current one did in the first century or so it's existence, would essentially keep it's hands out of just about everything other than a few narrow matters. Unfortunately, we've already seen where that leads; we're living it now. Small governments don't ~stay~ small, given any opportunity at all, and they most certainly don't keep their grubby fingers out of matters that should be personal affairs. So, I suppose that Mr. Hornberger's 10 principles are fairly sound in and of themselves, but in order for them to work, one glaring imperfection would have to go: The State.

Samarami's picture

"Bumper" gets quite a few things right, but you're absolutely correct: he's statist through and through. If "we" could just elect a Ron Paul or a Peter Schiff, why things would really turn around! Not.

I get not a little nervous whenever one of us sticks his neck out and tries to project just how a "truly free society" might work out. I know that's tempting. But I can tell you I have no idea how the multitude of human action events will work themselves out in the absence of central political authority -- once the state is completely and finally out of the way.

I expect no "utopia". There'll still be good guys and bad guys. I have no way of knowing how the good guys (and gals -- sorry ladies) will band together to protect themselves and each other from the bad guys. And I'm sure each instance will vary. I predict many of us will be willing to pick up the slack in cases where folks don't have the resource (or wherewithal) to pay for security and/or fire protection.

For now the "freeloader" question is of low priority. Let's just start acting free and surprise ourselves at the outcome.


mhstahl's picture


I largely agree with your analysis-it is exactly that strange dichotomy of eschewing the impositions of the government while embracing other elements of the "state" that is so common among "libertarians"(particularly the heavilly Rand influenced set of the 70's...) that made me think that it would be an interesting article to post.

The cognitive dissonance is bald, yet might be understood by examining the political circumstances of the era when Hornberger and his ilk developed thier principles (dare I say, dogma?). Communism was a real political force in the 60's and 70's and the phantasmal dividing line between "left" and "right" loomed like a parking lot spike strip. Rothbard was, if I understand it correctly, firmly excoriated for, in part, crossing the line and daring to examine the ideas of the left. Likewise, the left was much more firmly entrenched in it's notions...even though on both sides there was never really room for those who though that the state in its entirety ought to dissolve.

For myself, I tend to think that folks like Hornberger recognized the need to be on one side or another of the spikes, and then build a sales pitch. Any thinking person will soon reach the conclusions that you and I have, yet by couching them as carefully politically avant gard but still within the acceptability of the choosen tribe these writers and thinkers could maintain vitality and relevancy.

Either that or they are shallow(or both)-either way, the end result is that they have over the years spurred many to think more deeply about freedom, and what it actually means.

The internet has changed...everything.

At least that is how I've come to understand it.