Hopefully Unnecessary Clarification of the Day

Roderick Long, after suggesting that noncoercive authority (Patriarchy and all that) is a bad thing from a libertarian point of view:

No, I am not saying that non-forcible forms of authority are rights-violations, nor that they should be combated by forcible means appropriate to such violations, nor again that those who wield non-forcible authority should be hurled into the Pit of Azathoth, there to boil and burn for all eternity in His howling, bubbling chaos. The solution to noncoercive authority is not coercive authority, any more than the cure for flu is pneumonia.

Read the whole thing. I have a lot of time for left libertarians like Long. I also have a lot of time for the other sort of left libertarians, who want redistriubtion to correct what they see as unjust inequalities of wealth but reject most other forms of government interference. I would see that as a huge improvement over the status quo, but question whether it’s possible to have a state powerful enough to redistribute but constrained enough to avoid further state action. Then again, I’m not sure limited government is at all possible.

2 Responses

  1. I’d propose that the people themselves engage in the redistribution process rather than leaving it to some centralized state apparatus. Of course to keep this from becoming a violent free-for-all I recommend that it be orderly and that their claims of injustice and restitution be presented in a polycentric court system, with numerous courts of appeal, and where standards for evidence are similar to what we have today.

    • I can’t imagine how social justice-type claims could possibly be decided by courts in any reasonable way. Courts may be a decent way to discover the truth or estimate the level of harm of some action, but there’s just no fact of the matter what wealth distributions are just. If you favour forcible redistribution, the question surely has nothing to do with any wrongdoing or harm – only the stupidest on the left think rich people become rich by harming others – but how much liberty you want to sacrifice in order to help the poor. That can’t be decided by a court, since there’s no right answer.

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