or basically I believe with great care and good luck you might be able to convert Libertopia back into normality without contravening any of the axioms, thus restoring the status quo but with less bitching about Tyranny.

This, but seriously.

So, ninety-eight percent of the time, when I’m using libertarian ideas, I’m using them as a method for deciding plain old ordinary political issues of the day. Respecting human autonomy is usually a good idea, so let’s not have a drug war or tell people that they can’t make their own medical decisions. Markets are generally a good way for people to make mutually beneficial trades, so let’s not cripple them with rent control. Things like that. Maybe not positions that you agree with, but they’re just ordinary opinions on ordinary issues.

But the other two percent of the time, when I forget myself and start wasting my time by indulging in Theory, then yes, I’m more or less trying to re-create the status quo, but with less oppression. When I look around the city I live in, I see people living in houses, driving cars to work, visiting in the parks, sending their kids to school, and shopping in the stores. I figure that what I see people doing must be what they want to be doing, by and large.

So any significantly more libertarian society had better be able to deliver that, or people would never adopt it. People value freedom to travel, so there had better be a network of roads that won’t be shut down on some blacktop-baron’s whim. Maybe condominium ownership at the scale of an entire city, where all the property owners grant a mutual easement to a right of travel on the streets? And once you have a municipal corporation, where you have to agree to certain conditions to buy property there, a lot of coordination problems become a lot easier to solve. Or maybe people see their jobs as the most important economic relationships they have, rather than where they live, and unions would become the organizing principle of society and providers of services.

Or maybe something else. There are many, many ways to join people together into complex, voluntary social structures. Libertarianism doesn’t begin and end with atomized individualists saying “this here is my land and I have the right to shoot any trespassers.” 

And you’re right, this sort of thing would take great care and good luck and a lot of hard work besides. Building a civilization worth living in always requires that. But if you could build a world that’s more or less the same as the world we have today but but with fewer people being dragged off to jail for breaking unnecessary rules – wouldn’t that be worth it?

I mean the point is that most people aren’t being dragged off to jail for breaking unnecessary rules, so that’s not the relevant point of comparison.

A better comparison might be “a world with slightly more hairdressers and marginally cheaper haircuts, because currently my local jurisdiction imposes an unnecessarily high level of licensing overhead on the profession and thus far we have been unable to effectively coordinate to weaken it”.

Or a world with more tall buildings, or whatever. But then you get back to talking about what kind of world you want to live in, rather than exactly how you ended up structuring the ruleset in order to get there.

But I do think that consequentialist arguments are a lot easier to make progress with, because axiomatic arguments invariably devolve into discussing consequences anyway, and no one likes the idea of their favourite axioms leading to unpleasant results.

I mean the point is that most people aren’t being dragged off to jail for breaking unnecessary rules, so that’s not the relevant point of comparison.

Most people – I would go so far as to say all people, at some point in their lives – forgo simple pleasures and positive-sum exchanges because of the threat of being jailed or fined for breaking an unnecessary rule.

You don’t have to throw people in jail to be oppressive. You just have to hire some big dudes with sticks and say “…or else!




The entire fucking core of Austrian economics is that you can’t judge value outside of a voluntary economic interaction but that makes actual punishment for crimes impossible so for that they ignore it and allow judges or victims to decide the value of things by fiat.

That’s what Lex Talionis is for – we might not disagree on the dollar value of an eye, but we can definitely agree that an eye is an eye, so if you’ve taken mine, I’ll have yours – or a sum of money we agree on, if you’d rather part with that than your eye.

In Bloodtaking and Peacemaking, Miller tells the story of some Norwegian merchants who had chopped off Skæring’s hand and thought the judgment too steep:

“Then I shall make you another proposal,” said Gudmund. “I will pay Skæring the thirty hundreds that you were judged to pay, but I shall choose one man from amongst you who seems to me of equivalent standing with Skæring and chop off his hand. You may then compensate that man’s hand as cheaply as you wish.”

This did not appeal to the Norwegians and they decided to pay the original award immediately. Gudmund took Skæring with him when they left the ship.


To the Norwegians the award should reflect the price of a middling Icelandic hand. Gudmund forces them to conceive of the award in a different way: it is not the price of buying Skæring’s hand, but the price of preserving a Norwegian hand.

If a small person gets punched by a big dude to a level that really pains him, do the small person get to strike him with the same force as he struck which the big dude can just shrug off or is the some measure of  comparative pain there?  Hell, is there some measure of comparing the gentleness of the eye or hand removal?  This is more “Shit logic Austrians wouldn’t accept under any other circumstances.“

Also “Choose one other man among you of a similar standing“ yay fucking individualism. Also fuckin hilarious with Rothbard saying the polar opposite, that bosses cannot be held liable for subordinates under basically any circumstance.

I mean for maximum hilarity, the small person subcontracts the punching to a person with as much size advantage in this new punch as the big dude had when he punched the little dude.

Also Vikings weren’t that individualist.

Also Rothbard is wrong about a lot of things.


economist diss tracks be like your mum is a deadweight loss, your mum exhibits regulatory capture, your mum is farm subsidies for ethanol,

your mom is a federal project to keep food prices high


In Libertopia there is no coercive state power to compel business owners to add fire escapes and unobstructed exits to their factories, and if a fire breaks out that isn’t the direct fault of the owner then they bear no liability whatsoever for the casualties that may result.

Now, workers are free not to enter the employment of anyone who doesn’t have adequate liability insurance, but employers are equally free to tell them to starve at their leisure, and given the lack of unemployment benefits history suggests that they will not struggle to find willing workers regardless.

The only possible solution to this conundrum is a robust trade union movement! Union membership cannot be made compulsory as that would require coercion, but with suitable outreach efforts to attract a critical mass of workers and some sympathetic owners it would be possible to exercise non-coercive power by means of boycotts and strikes, as well as provide a social safety net.

If union power was sufficiently strong, it would even be possible to levy “taxes” on business owners, non-coercive trades of payment in exchange for access to union labour. With a bit of luck and a careful hand it just might be possible to create a true worker’s paradise without any coercion whatsoever.

You joke but that is, like, 98% of the way to the perfect conception of the Good.

We all out here being “Listen you shouldn’t coerce people that’s all we’re saying!”

ANd you out there replying “Oh yeah? Have you considered that might lead to GOOD THINGS, HUH? CHECK MATE, LIBERTY!”




does this not make anybody else upset?

No I’m fine with teens being taught how to have anal sex nothing about this is wrong I love cum

Me too. Imagine if they weren’t taught and fucked it all up, there’s tearing and STD and all kinds of shit you can get wrong. Good on Teen Vogue for risking their reputation to perform this vital public service.