Rendered (But Not At Gunpoint)
get that their ability to decline a service or
product serves as an incentive. The seller of the service
or product must convince you that the service or product is worth
at least as much as the money they are asking in return. If not,
and you decline, then they must try harder to convince you of the
merit of what theyre selling. If they cant convince
you (or enough other people) then they go out of business. In a
free economy, where willing buyers transact with sellers
who cannot coerce, only services and products that have objective
merit defined by peoples willingness to purchase
them succeed. Products and services that lack merit fail
as defined by peoples lack of interest in paying good
money for them.
But most people
have difficulty making the intellectual (and philosophical) Great
Leap Forward applying the same reasoning, the same economic
discipline, to government.
If, for example,
the government really does provide valuable services as it
so often claims then why is it necessary to force
people to purchase these allegedly valuable services? If the services
provided by government really do have value, wouldnt
most people eagerly purchase them without coercion?
enforcement vs. peace-keeping.
It is doubtful
the current system of law enforcement could be maintained
on anything other than a coercive basis because too
many customers regard it as a service theyd very
much like to decline and would decline, if they had any choice in
What does that
tell you about the value of law enforcement?
The guy down the road who likes to smoke pot on his porch (and maybe
grows his own smoke in his backyard) is in no way causing me or
anyone else any harm. Thus I have no interest in paying armed
thugs to dragoon him in chains off to prison. My neighbor who keeps
unregistered vehicles on his land, out of sight, hasnt
victimized anyone Im aware of and without a
victim that is, a real person actually injured in some objectively
real way can there be a crime? Not in my world. And
so I resent being forced at gunpoint to help pay for the armed thugs
who spend their days enforcing laws whose transgressors
have victimized no one. I would never freely give a single
copper penny to Officer 82nd Airborne. He and his kind act not merely
without my consent, but with my contempt. That I am forced
to help finance their activities is a source of tremendous annoyance.
Paraphrasing Jefferson: To compel a man to furnish contributions
of money for the propagation of actions which he disagrees with
and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
But how about
the rest of the article
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columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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