More often I hear people tell me they identify themselves as a libertarian. Like most, I can agree with many libertarian principles, especially those related to personal privacy. However, I feel libertarian dogma taken as a whole is selfish naiveté. Most people bristle whenever I mention this in discussion or debate. Often, I try to explain that overall libertarian dogma is opposed to the concept of community and the concept of nation in itself. Individual liberty over all else at all times can only be possible if you live in a world where you are alone at all times. Absolute isolation is becoming less possible every day. Therefore, libertarianism is the wrong philosophy at the wrong time, even if it were the least bit practical, which it is not.
Do you want to live in a world where you and a few neighbors hold a fundraiser to raise enough money to hire the construction company needed to fill the potholes on your street? Do you want to live in a world where the funds are debated based on how often you and your neighbors actually use the street you all live on? This is the utopia we would have if the libertarian dogma was extrapolated into reality. Libertarianism may work behind closed doors within a personal household. Beyond that, in the environment we share, the selfish naiveté of it all is exposed and looks more than a little silly to me.
At this point of the conversation, if I’m even still having one, many hedge on their strong libertarian values. Making one exception after another until they’re basically an advocate for personal privacy – just like me. Others ignore the cognitive dissidence held within their ideals and double down on the wonderful sounding notion of individual freedom over all else.
These columns do a great job expanding on my point of view. The second link even mentions a scenario quite similar to the bake sales for potholes one I’ve been using for years.