Tell Us What To Do!

David Galland, Managing Director of Casey Research, posted an article a few days ago on democracy and the moral life.  His thesis was that letting government give us moral feedback rather than experiencing the consequences of our bad decisions leads to tyranny.  I agree wholeheartedly, but that is not the real story.

One of Galland’s literary devices in the article was the construction of a thought experiment.  He asked his readers to imagine how a military takeover in the U.S. might look, bizarre and impossible as it sounds.  Numerous times, you will note, he reminded readers that this was just a thought.  It turns out that many readers wrote him–cheering on the idea of a military takeover!

Forgive me for speculating here, but one has to pause at what kind of mind could come up with that.  I suppose that for some people, the thought of leaving others well enough alone is so disturbing that they would gladly usher in a military dictatorship.  Perhaps some of the denser ones figure that the military will enforce the values they hold dear while locking up all the pesky “others” who don’t see the light.

I shudder to think of the number of people in this country who cling to some variant of this philosophy–that the purpose of government is to “make things right.”  And herein is the root of the problem.  Government stays busy meddling things that don’t need to be fixed and generally can’t be managed anyway.  The sensibilities of conservatives are no better in this regard than those of liberals, they are just aimed at a different target.  Liberals want to make sure you eat your vegetables, and conservatives want to make sure you don’t have too much fun during sex.

Libertarians want neither.  We are perfectly content to let you stuff yourself with deep-fried Twinkies and giggle during moments of intimacy.  We doubt that either of those will be an option under a dictatorship, military or otherwise.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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