Libertarianism and Building Your House
We’ve been talking in Values Analysis about Hobbes and the conception of the social contract. I mentioned some connections here between it and libertarianism (in general: the rules of the society should not extend beyond restricting actions that would allow people to direct harm one another). As a result of this, many libertarians tend to be obviously anti-“big government”. The bigger it is, they think, the more it is likely extending its power beyond that which the social contract was set up to accomplish (maximize individuals rational self interest while preventing direct harm).
Beyond this, libertarians tend to think that big-government is also incredibly messy and inefficient. Over at Professor Bainbridge he talks a bit about this, telling a story about trying to build an edition on his house in Los Angeles, and why the experience contributes to his affinity for libertarianism (of the small “l” variety, anyway — the small “l”s think the Libertarian party is ineffective and so share its beliefs but don’t join it, whereas the big “L” ones are members of the party).
He and I don’t often see eye to eye on many things, and whatever you may think about libertarianism or the role of government, this is a funny story. It’s right out of a 19th century Russian novel. If you’ve ever read one, you know what I’m talking about.