Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Shooting Unarmed Men / Freedom and Happiness

Marc Stevens gives us an anarchist take on the American cop who shot an innocent passenger :

The bottom line is this: these atrocities will continue until the time arrives when people wake up and say enough is enough. We will no longer accept government, we will have a voluntary society. Government is the most deadly threat to human life and we will not quietly submit to your control any longer.

If you have this compelling need to protect us, that is fine, bring your service to the market and let the market decide if your service is valuable enough to pay for.

Provide your service on a voluntary basis like NORMAL people.

This will not happen until people see government for what they are: gangs of ruthless killers, thieves and liars.

An old essay by Bryan Caplan called "Freedom and Happiness" has an interesting discussion on this correlation.

The connection between markets and economic well-being is best illustrated empirically. The recent histories of Germany and Korea provide the equivalent of two controlled experiments demonstrating the link. In both cases, what scientists would call "exogenous" forces suddenly split homogeneous nations into two parts. In both cases, one government adopted market-oriented policies, whereas the other imposed a rigid state-run economy. In both cases, the living standards in the more capitalist nations became so far superior to those in the "control" nations that ruthless emigration restrictions were imposed to prevent a steady population drain.

Governments have two sorts of policies with profound effects on the development of virtue. On the one hand, governments typically favor paternalism - using the threat of punishment to discourage self-destructive and vicious behavior. At the same time, governments often take care of people who are suffering because of their own irresponsible behavior. The free-market policy, naturally, is simply the negation of both.


The market doesn't have any perfect way to develop character either, but at least avoids the pitfalls of these two breeds of state policy. Character won't spring up on demand under any system. But the market environment does tend to foster it by simultaneously giving people the freedom to test their strength of will along with the discipline of the natural rewards and punishments of virtue and vice.

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