[Rushtalk] Why are there no libertarian countries?

Paf Dvorak notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
Fri Jul 26 12:03:25 MDT 2013

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Libertarianism strictly individual philosophy

Libertarianism strictly individual philosophy

July 25, 2013

Commentator Michael Lind called it “The question 
libertarians just can’t answer:”

“If (the libertarian) approach is so great, why 
hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever 
tried it? Why are there no libertarian countries?”

It seems Lind doesn’t understand what he’s 
asking; he certainly doesn’t understand libertarianism.
Kent Mcmanigal

Kent McManigal

That’s a common problem with criticisms of libertarianism.

There can’t be a true “libertarian country” 
because libertarianism is strictly individual, 
just as is any philosophy or way of life. You 
can’t have a libertarian country because a 
“country” has no mind, opinions, or philosophy ­ 
those things belong to the individual.

A “country” is an intangible concept, not a physical entity.

When you try to base a country upon any one 
philosophy, you are pigeonholing everyone who 
lives there into one cramped box, and your 
concept inevitably breaks down because a huge 
percentage of the residents are being forced to 
live in a way they don’t want to live. A way they 
may even find reprehensible, repugnant, and wrong.

Good or bad, there are only individuals. A 
country cannot initiate force or commit theft. 
Only individuals can. Each individual makes that 
choice for himself, and blaming it on the 
abstract collective is a failed attempt to avoid responsibility.

A state, or rather those representing themselves 
as that state, can either leave individuals to 
live as libertarians, or can try to force them to 
behave as collectivists of one sort or another by 
regulating or prohibiting consensual, 
non-aggressive behavior, and by violating their 
right of association and property rights.

Individuals who would prefer to live free will always find a way.

However, there have been countries where the 
state mostly stayed out of the way and let 
individuals live a libertarian life: early 
America and medieval Iceland are two popular examples.

Even today most people live a largely libertarian 
life in their daily interactions with others. Not 
only here, but all across the world.

Most individuals seek to trade for what they want 
rather than steal it. Most people try to reach an 
agreement with others rather than beat them into 
submission. Most people will “live and let live” 
as long as they don’t see a “one-size-fits-all” 
order being imposed on them and on everyone around them.

Perhaps this means the world is mostly 
libertarian already, if you ignore the 
professional political realm. And, it is probably 
better for your mental health and happiness if 
you do ignore that realm as much as possible.

Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:
dullhawk at hotmail.com

Paf Dvorak


"Right and wrong matter more than legal or illegal."
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