Three Words That Can Answer Almost Any Libertarian Question


July 24, 2013 by Liberty

threewordsI don’t know.

They’re a magical set of three words that are the correct answer to any of the typical questions asked by statists:

How will poor kids get educated without government doing it?

How will poor people eat without food stamps?


I don’t know is the correct answer to all three of these questions.

Asking a libertarian how anything would happen in a free market is like asking where America would be if Germany built the first nuke. There is no way to know. They’re silly questions that involve millions of impossible to answer possibilities.

You probably understand this but it’s easy to misunderstand the depth of this process:

Who will build the roads?

You need to ask whether people would need roads if government didn’t build millions of them and encourage people to use them. If government stayed out of the business then we might all be taking trains to work (or hover cars.) Government distorted the public’s need for roads by requiring people to build and use them. If roads weren’t government monopolized, other companies may build them, or people would find some other means of travel.

I don’t know is the only correct way to answer that question.

People Don’t Like I Don’t Know!

I hate this aspect of people. I do it myself sometimes. If you were to say you didn’t know how the roads would be built, people tend to instantly stop caring. They assume you’re just tearing down a system that already works. They just don’t get that there are too many facts involved to predict what the world would be like if Germany built the nuke.

If you’re still interested in making the point then you need to do it without using the humble words, “I don’t know,” in most cases. People don’t respond to it.

That’s why many people just go into a blathering theory of how the system would work. That’s a rather weak method of convincing most people but it can work a little. It may convince them on one issue but it fails to help them understand how the world would survive without firefighters or public dog catchers. This is a great way of avoiding the, “I don’t know,” but it doesn’t really pull them into the philosophy and it certainly is a little bit of bs.

I found one approach a few days ago that was a little slow but it was a powerful approach to making my point. I asked the person I was talking to about how they’d provide the service for profit. I gave them some quick ideas but soon he was throwing out his own. The more someone thinks about that question they ask, the more answers they’ll come up with. I soon realized that the person I was talking to had 3 or 4 different ideas on how to build the roads. That allowed them into the depths of libertarian philosophy fast. It’s never about 1 right answer. Libertarians don’t need to know 1 right answer. All they have to do is stay out of the way as much as possible.

The Moment I Love (but shouldn’t)

Sometimes a statist will throw a lob out there that I love to just knock out of the park. Quite frankly, sometimes I come close to belittling them about it. That isn’t good for anyone but (a person more charming than myself could probably make it good) it makes me happy.

When I throw a random idea out there and a statist says, “I just don’t think that’s a great solution because of (insert minor factor here.)”

I say something like the following:

First of all. I can’t say that’s a great idea either. I don’t know if that would work. I’m not a road expert (road scholar, perhaps?) I’m not an expert in business. I don’t need to be because I probably wouldn’t be the one doing it. There are experts that can answer the question a million times better than me but it’s a potential solution and unlike the situation you provide, no one loses their rights.

What is the solution that you have exactly?

Ok. Lets extort 313 million people. All the people that don’t pay our extortion money, we’ll make send larger and larger amounts of required extortion payments. We’ll hire millions of tax collectors($50,000 a year) to add to the intimidation. Then we’ll use the millions of police ($40,000 a year) to “protect” people from extortion evaders by locking them in cells where we pay $40,000 a year to house them (even if the money the extorted “owed” is significantly less than that.)

 Is that really a solution?

 Libertarians could suggest letting people drive wherever they wanted and it would be a better solution than that. Heck, destroying all cars and having everyone walk would be a better solution than that.

There is no perfect solution to any of the problems in life. There are only priorities, actions, and results. Statists claim that their priority is for the common welfare but they refuse to look at the results of actions and check if they’re inline with their priorities.


3 thoughts on “Three Words That Can Answer Almost Any Libertarian Question

  1. Great article.
    I also have three words I use in answering Libertarian questions.
    After “I don’t know,” I tell them what I do know: “don’t trust politicians.”

  2. James Taylor says:

    “no one loses there rights”

    Jesus H. Christ, how do you manage to you the wrong form every time?

    • Liberty says:

      You’ve gotten me again Mr. Taylor!!!!

      Shucks. Well… for the record wrong everytime is an unfair statement. I used my find function to find many correct uses of “their.” Ta-Da! So I’m only mostly an incompetent editor.

      I really appreciate your help with all these.
      Thank you!

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