There is little question that individual liberty and economic stability have taken a beating during the past fifteen years. Most state institutions, from the Supreme Court to local governments, have been active in diminishing our traditional freedoms. CSIS and other alphabet soup spy agencies now intrude into our personal lives in order to categorize our threat levels. We are given no choice but to fund the murder of foreign citizens through endless, unjust wars. We can only watch while the central bank destroys the country’s economy with a zero percent interest rate policy.
The mainstream media attempts to placate us on these issues through the broadcasting of simplistic state propaganda. For example, we are told that we should not be troubled by foreign wars or privacy invasions because there are evil people who want to kill us for our freedoms. We are told that inflation is good because deflation is what happened during the Great Depression, and we don’t want that, do we? Also, we are told that we should not worry about governments increasingly micromanaging every aspect of our lives because regulation keeps everyone honest and evens the playing field.
Who in society is able to see through the misinformation of the state media and recognize the danger that government poses to an otherwise naturally civil society? Who recognizes the debacle that has occurred on the freedom front? Libertarians, of course. Unlike the average Joe, Libertarians understand that the only acceptable role of government in a free society is to keep us free. They recognize that when men are free to invest and invent within a free market system that comprises free prices, profit, competition and private property rights, then productivity increases and so do standards of living. However, the free market system can function only when the powers of the government are very limited or non-existent. When individual freedoms and the pillars of the free market system are violated by the state, Libertarians recognize the ill effects and raise the alarm bells.
Libertarians know that a command economy never works. F. A. Hayek observed that an economy is able to function properly only when it takes advantage of the economic preferences and knowledge held by everyone in a society through the distributed mechanism of prices and profits. Central planners, on the other hand, can never access this great wealth of information with which to make planning decisions. Ludwig Von Mises observed that only free markets allow economic calculations to be made. Socialist planners, therefore, always make bad decisions because they have no means to determine what makes good ones. Instead they make decisions based upon political pressure, bribery and headlines – a formula that is incompatible with a moral, peaceful and civil society.
For example, in country after country it is apparent that state-run health care provides worse service at higher prices and becomes corrupt and inefficient because it can no longer take advantage of the benefits of a free market system. It is basic economics (of the Austrian type) that tells us that the minimum wage hits the poorest the hardest. All of the “wars” that the government is perpetrating, such as the War on Terrorism, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Guns and the War On [fill in the blank], will not succeed because at their cores is a completely warped view of morality and economics.
Who, other than Libertarians, know that democracy results in the degradation of society by a necessary increase in time preference (as observed by Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe)? An increase in time preference is caused by the transient nature of democratic governance. Rules and Laws change on a dime with no warning. The more unpredictable the future, the more present-centric people become and the less long-term thinking they employ. They prefer to spend their money now at the expense of capital investment and a better future.
Furthermore, history has proven that democracy inevitably kills the free market and replaces it with socialism and a centrally run economy – the reason being that when voters start voting themselves other people’s stuff, they need a draconian government that is opposed to individual freedom to do their plundering. A government that plunders its citizens is one bereft of basic morality and, hence, needs a corrupt judiciary, police and military to facilitate its evil. The end result is a society that degenerates into increased poverty, unemployment, civil strife, war and general decay.
Libertarians are the most vocal in highlighting the fact that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party gave the people of Europe mass genocide, economic collapse and societal destruction. Chairman Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” and “Great Leap” forward resulted in the deaths of 65 million innocent individuals. Uncle Joe Stalin’s Communist Party of the Soviet Union murdered more than 20 million people. Hugo Chávez’ United Socialist Party of Venezuela created a society where the military now doles out toilet paper to citizens carrying national identity cards and jails those who attempt to buy too much food. Dilma Rousseff’s Worker’s Party in Brazil is currently generating the mayhem and economic collapse that every other socialist regime has successfully delivered. Socialist Europe, Canada and the U.S.A. are not far behind.
In a world going through bigger economic gyrations, moral decay, increasing violence and war and one that is hell bent on trading individual freedom and the free market in favour of tyranny, central planning and socialism, Libertarians are the watchers on the wall – the ones who can sound the alarm and explain events so that the average Joe and lost politician can regain solid moral, philosophical and economic ground.