One of the fascinating phenomena of advancing libertarianism here at The Future of Freedom Foundation for the past 30 years has been seeing how frustrated statists become with the failure of libertarians to come up with solutions on how to make socialism work.
Statists, of course, are people who look to government — and the force of government — to run and control important parts of our lives. In the mind of a statist, the purpose of government is to serve as a surrogate parent, one charged with taking care of us and keeping us safe.
Statism governs our lives in such areas as healthcare, education, money, immigration, and diet. That’s why we have a socialized healthcare system, a socialized education system, a socialized monetary system, a socialized immigration system, and a drug war that punishes people for ingesting substances that the government hasn’t approved.
There are two things to keep in mind about socialism: It doesn’t work, and it produces crises and chaos.
Consider the current healthcare crisis with the coronavirus. The term that Ludwig von Mises used to describe the consequences of socialism was “planned chaos.” What better term to describe how governments at all three levels are handling the coronavirus? Public officials are running around like chickens with their heads cut off and, in the process, resorting to the only thing they know — enacting measures that destroy liberty. (See my blog post yesterday, “Liberty versus ‘Security’ from the Coronavirus.”)
Of course, it’s not as though there wasn’t a healthcare crisis before the coronavirus. There has been an ongoing, never-ending healthcare crisis ever since Medicare and Medicaid, two massive socialist programs, were adopted in the 1960s. They brought about the destruction of what had been the finest healthcare system in history.
The chaos that Medicare and Medicaid produced was the reason for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But clearly that didn’t work to end the healthcare crisis. That’s why progressives want to go even further with fully socialized medicine, like in Cuba and North Korea.
It’s no different in education, monetary policy, and immigration. They are all fully socialized systems that are based on the socialist principle of central planning. That’s why there has been a decades-long, never-ending crisis in all three areas. And it’s the same with the drug war, a paternalistic program that is characterized by massive failure, death, violence destruction of liberty, corruption, and racial bigotry.
So, statists approach us libertarians and ask, “What is the libertarian solution to fixing these problems?”
But when they ask that question, the answer they want is one that assumes the continued existence of their statist programs. In other words, they want us libertarians to come up with a way to make their statism work.
When we tell them that libertarianism is not a philosophy that can make their statism work, they get really upset. They accuse us of not being practical. They want libertarian answers now on how to make their statist systems work.
But it can’t be done. What statists simply will not accept is that no reform can fix their statist system. It’s not “broken,” as many statists claim. It is instead inherently defective. That means that it cannot be fixed. No reform is going to make their system work, not even a reform advanced by a libertarian.
The only solution to statism is freedom and free markets.
In the healthcare arena, that means a separation of healthcare and the state. No more Medicare or Medicaid. No more medical licensure. No more government regulation. A total free-market healthcare system.
In the educational arena, that means a separation of school and state. No more federal grants to education. No more school compulsory-attendance laws. No more school taxes. No more government school buildings. No more government schoolteachers. A total free-market educational system.
In the monetary arena, that means a separation of money and the state. No more Federal Reserve. No more paper money. No more legal-tender laws. A total free-market monetary system.
In the immigration arena, that means open borders, i.e., free trade and open immigration. Goods, services, and people freely crossing borders, just like they do domestically. No more ICE. No more U.S. Customs. No more immigration officials. No more managed trade agreements. No more Border Patrol. A total free-market immigration and trade system.
In the drug arena, that means an end to all drug laws, including not just marijuana but also heroin, cocaine, meth, and opioids. People have the right to ingest whatever they want to ingest, no matter how harmful or destructive. It is no business of the state. Drug addiction and drug usage belong in the private sector — in rehab groups — not in the criminal-justice sector.
Libertarianism is the solution to the many crises and chaos that statists have inflicted upon our land with their statism. But that’s not what statists want to hear. They want to hear proposals that keep their statism intact and make it work. They are living in la la land because they continue to believe that their statist system is capable of working despited decades of failure, crisis, and chaos.
There is but one solution to the crises, chaos, and destruction of liberty, prosperity, and harmony that statists have inflicted on our land. That solution is freedom and free markets. That solution is libertarianism. The longer we delay it, the worse off we will all be. The sooner we adopt it in all aspects of our lives, the better off we will all be.