Jeremy Sherman recently wrote an article for Alternet, entitled, “Libertarians Need to Choose: More Freedom or Less Government? You Can’t Have Both” claiming big government isn’t only compatible with freedom, but absolutely necessary for it. He couldn’t be more fallacious, as government erodes freedom at nearly every turn.
“I’m glad to pay my tax dollars for government services that enable me to be left alone to live the life I want without other people spoiling my party or me spoiling theirs. Libertarians think more freedom results from less government. That’s BS. Government is the only organization that can enforce freedom.”
I’m not sure what fantasy world he is living in, but his tax dollars fund the Middle Eastern wars we’ve been involved in for decades, they fund the backwards training of our cops, they fund locking up nonviolent criminals in cages. How exactly is that freedom? Just because you’re not personally involved in the wars, harassed by cops, or locked up in prison doesn’t mean other people aren’t suffering for those same reasons. Government, to no surprise, is at the root.
How about when FDR decided to lock Japanese-Americans in internment camps? Or when it took 100 years for blacks to gain equal rights after slavery was abolished? Or how long it has taken for gay marriage to be recognized? All throughout history, government is the root cause of the worst acts ever committed.
Government cannot enforce freedom, that is ludicrous. Government can only punish those who they feel have committed crimes. Most of the time, these are nonviolent or victimless crimes. How can a victimless crime exist in a system that only enforces freedom? Obviously this makes no sense.
Not to mention, most services provided by a government monopoly would be served by the private sector, which he is free to donate as much money as he wants.
“Yes, enforce it. People who think freedom thrives with less government can’t or don’t want to understand. Freedom to do what you want requires efficient, powerful government with its eyes always on the prize: keeping anyone’s freedom from getting so out of hand it eats into other people’s freedom.”
Again, it’s hard to comprehend his reality. First, government is completely incompetent in solving problems compared to the private sector. In any industry, the private sector does a better and more efficient job because it is forced to be responsible by their consumers. If a business acted as irresponsible as a government, they wouldn’t last a week.
The Pentagon was just exposed for burying evidence of $125 billion being wasted on bureaucratic waste and corruption. How exactly is wasting $125 billion dollars giving us more freedom? What about the F-35 jet that cost over $1 trillion, yet doesn’t have the ability to properly fly? I wonder if Sherman is as ecstatic to pay for that waste as he is for everything else.
Second, he is completely misguided in how government actually acts. As alluded to previously, the training of cops today is atrocious. They shoot people too often, their main emphasis is meeting quotas, and rarely do they stop a crime from happening. Cops, rather, punish those who committed the crime given they have proper evidence, which is not always the case. In a situation where law enforcement was subject to competition, the unit that kept shooting and killing innocent people would not last very long. It should be obvious the government isn’t enforcing freedom when they are killing other humans.
He claims that our government is too weak and small, which is what is eroding our freedom. Yet, a bigger and stronger government would naturally need even more taxation to maintain its existence, which again is a complete contradiction to freedom. Having less of your own money because you have to pay taxes for policies and ideas you don’t support doesn’t make you more free.
If you decide you want to keep your money, men with guns will come to your house and threaten you to pay or they will lock you in a cage. Donating to what causes you believe deserve your financial support is what freedom looks like.
Of course too much freedom becomes problematic if you start interfering with others’ freedom. That is why we advocate for liberty, which is the freedom from something, namely oppression. When you are interfering with another’s freedom, you are, in a sense, oppressing them. We are opposed to that, and hold the government to the same standards that we would hold a private citizen to.
Sherman erroneously claims,
“Give me liberty or give me death, and for liberty I need government providing checks and balances like a capable kindergarten teacher who wants all the children to muck about safely, wildly and freely.”
But to pretend that the bureaucratic state, as well as all three branches of government hasn’t spiraled out of control is just naive. Obama will hand off more executive power to Trump than any other president in history. Government can turn losers in business into winners, depriving us of our economic freedom; they can legislate unconstitutional laws because of previous ‘precedents’, depriving us of our legal freedom; the president can start war at will, depriving us of our moral freedom, while killing many innocent people and destroying lives.
What’s worse is once a new bureaucracy is formed it is almost impossible to disband that bureaucracy, no matter how incompetent or unconstitutional they are. When government is allowed to grow, you get endless amounts of bureaucratic waste and corruption, directly interfering with freedom.
It seems Sherman completely misunderstands what libertarianism is. We do want the most amount of liberty for the most amount of people, and it is simply impossible to do this with a big government because of their innate monopoly on the use of force. They use this force domestically, as well as abroad, and it is in complete opposition to freedom, and especially liberty.