Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quote Of The Day

If you haven't listened to this whole exchange, please do so. This is what passes for philosophy on the far right these days.

Sam is correct: There is not a single example of free-market libertarianism anywhere in the history of man -- or anything even remotely approaching it -- because the libertarian utopia fall flat on (at least) two fundamental questions:

1) How does a libertarian society protect itself from invasion from an external force? And

2) How does a libertarian society protect itself from the over-consumption of natural resources?

On the second question, I have moral dilemma that I pose to my libertarian friends that NONE have been able to answer yet without admitting that some form of "governmental coercion" is necessary. It goes like this:

In a large bay shared by thousands of families, there is a long tradition of oyster fishermen stretching back for generations. The people around the bay love oysters, and so the oyster fishermen work hard to dredge for oysters each year, but then reap great rewards when they sell their catch at the docks. From year to year the number of oysters caught varies, but there is always plenty to satisfy the demand. Then one year a strange disease hits the oyster population, wiping out whole areas and forcing the oyster fisherman to move farther and farther up the bay to catch even a few bushels of poor-tasting oysters. Eventually, the problem grows so dire that one of the older oystermen suggests that they temporarily suspend operations to allow the oyster stocks to rebound.

But another oysterman, who would rather change his profession to deep sea fishing anyway, decides in his own self-interest that he will continue dredging for oysters -- in fact he will INCREASE his efforts -- for the purpose of raising the money necessary to shift his business. He decides he will catch and sell even the smallest, blandest oysters to raise the money he needs. But by doing so, he virtually guarantees the end of the oyster industry for everyone else, at least for the foreseeable future.

In a perfectly libertarian society, what is the correct course of action?

BTW, everything in the first paragraph has actually occurred on the ChesapeakeBay in Maryland and Virginia.

-- "schultzbk", commenting on a C&L post about Sam Seder going up against Libertarianism.

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