Libertarians Will Be the Ruin of Us All

If you believe in limited government, then you need to know that Libertarians are the most dangerous people in America. Thanks to Libertarians, Democrats—completely controlled by left-wing oligarchs and public-sector unions—are going to extend government control into every facet of American life.

If you doubt that, come to California, a one-party state where Democrats enforce everything from the trivial—banning the sale and production of foie gras and a bill to outlaw plastic straws—to the tyrannical—water rationing, urban “densification,” confiscatory taxes.

Libertarians apparently believe their principles justify their running candidates who steal far more votes from Republicans than they ever do from Democrats. This happens for the obvious reason that people who favor limited government tend to vote Republican, but the practical effect of this activity is to dilute support for viable candidates who can actually limit government. For all of their online intellectualizing and high brow banter over the Austrian School and “objectivism” they can’t seem to understand simple math: If you siphon votes away from Republicans, Democrats win.

Earlier this month, a Libertarian candidate in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District drew 1,379 votes, which handed the election to Democrat Conor Lamb, who won by 627 votes. Good job.

If the Libertarians, thank God, hadn’t run a vapid stoner for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton might be our president today, falling down the White House stairs on her way to turning America into California, instead tripping while touring the Jahaz Mahal palace in India. Think about that.

Are Libertarians Right About Anything?
And what of “libertarian” thought? On every political issue of significance to this nation, Libertarians are wrong.

When it comes to immigration, Libertarians believe in open borders. “Free movement of people.” Wonderful. But when you pin them down, Libertarians acknowledge that they don’t believe in welfare, or government-sponsored multiculturalism, or racial hiring quotas, or any of the other taxpayer-funded programs that make America a magnet for destitute immigrants. Like Democrats, Libertarians love to pat themselves on the back because they support “open borders.” Because they’re not racist. We’ll worry about ending all that welfare stuff later. Meanwhile, let millions more pour in, and let government expand to accommodate them. Don’t worry, there are only 1.5 billion people in the world who live in extreme poverty. No problem.

Then consider infrastructure. Libertarians don’t want the government to get involved in funding football stadiums and concert halls. Fair enough. But what about freeways? What about airports, seaports, railroads, reservoirs, and aqueducts? According to Libertarians, a “public-private” partnership is a dirty word. Creeping socialism. Libertarians, though small in numbers, nonetheless manage to mobilize the pseudo-intellectual heft and activist outrage necessary to help kill these projects, especially since approval usually hangs by a thread. They hand victory to environmentalists who don’t want to build anything. And public sector unions laugh all the way to the bank, since they get to pocket all the money the public saved, in the form of increased pay and benefits.

What about government-sponsored research and development? “Never!” cries the Libertarian. Let the private sector make those investments. That’s fine. Nobody’s stopping them. But it was government-funded research that gave us aerospace technology, atomic power, computers, the Internet, life-saving medicines—the list is endless. Perhaps the U.S. government should stop funding all of this vital research, so other nations who’ve managed to curb their Libertarians can overtake us in every strategic technology sector where we remain competitive.

Which brings us to trade. According to Libertarians, “free trade” means if you can make cheap wool, and your trading partner can make cheap tea, then you should stop making tea, and they should stop making wool, and everyone in both nations will buy cheap tea and cheap wool. But what if the wool is actually steel, and what if the tea is actually oil, and what if all of a sudden you need a lot more steel, and a lot more oil, while your “trading partner” doesn’t want to sell it to you anymore? Or what if the country that made wool paid their wool manufacturers a subsidy, so they could sell it to you for nothing right up until all your own wool manufacturers went out of business? Or what if you bought so much wool, and tea, and steel, and oil, that you had to borrow money and hock all your assets just to pay for it all?

What If Libertarians Were in Charge?
The real world is messy.

But let’s not finish without considering the military. Libertarians say everyone in the world just wants to trade freely, and move freely, and the “principle of non-aggression” will keep us all safe and secure. Stay out of foreign entanglements. Abandon the sea lanes. Demilitarize space. Vacate overseas military bases.

But power, like culture, abhors a vacuum. Disengage, and soon enough, the world will become a far less libertarian or libertarian-friendly place. Funny how that works.

Libertarians, please get your nose out of Adam Smith and read Edward Gibbon instead.

Libertarians haven’t really thought things through. If all they ever manage to do is put Democrats in power, America might still have a chance. But imagine if the Libertarians actually were in power. In their perfect world, everyone is a super-yuppie, who trades thin gold coins for services and smokes pot on weekends. Some of them are software engineers, and others design websites. They’re all around 26-years-old, have cool tattoos, and have sophisticated taste in music and fashion. But here’s the deal: in the real world, people aren’t all super-yuppies. They’re old, battered, hard-working, ordinary Americans. And they deserve more.

Ultimately, Libertarians—small and capital “L” alike—are arrogant simpletons. The world they want is a Social Darwinist hell. The world they’re going to give us, if they don’t wake up, is a socialist hell. Tough choices.

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.

About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also the director of water and energy policy for the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).

Photo: Dead porcupine lies on the side of the road