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Libertarians like to complain about the critics of libertarianism with “muh roads.” To them, the argument defending public infrastructure is absurd because private companies are incentivized to be more efficient. If that’s what you really think, I’d like to direct you to the F-35.
While the Libertarian Party is an irrelevant parody, libertarian arguments have made great strides within both parties. One of the primary pillars of libertarianism that has been making great strides on both the left and the right is that of private property. One has to ask oneself what exactly changed since Masterpiece Cakes?
It might not seem obvious to the casual observer that the Democrats have embraced private property rights. After all, the left isn’t exactly consistent in its embrace of any principle. Almost as if it has no principles and makes no bones about it, so consistently criticizing their lack doesn’t get us very far. I’ve just found the phenomenon of Silicon Valley private property rights to be a very interesting forum to observe the left’s incursion, corruption, and convergence of the Right’s institutions (specifically, Private Property) to be very educational.
I should think Silicon Valley’s collusion and censorship should throw up massive red flags on the libertarian arguments about privatizing everything. The question should be popping up about whether there is any place for a Public Commons if every soapbox is privately owned. Yet I have not seen anyone ask this, to me, very obvious question: Can you have free speech in a libertarian society where all property is private property?*
This should open a door to a dozen thoughts on the nature of government. What is government, exactly? What is our relationship to it? We seem to take it for granted that Twitter, Google, and Facebook are not “government”. But Company Towns existed before, couldn’t Company Counties exist now? What about States? Countries?
While the Supreme Court has defended free speech in company towns, has our philosophy of government evolved to the information and internet age? Can government be more amorphous than a governing seat tied to a physical location?
Our concept of the population’s relationship to their government has been an evolving thing. In Ancient Times, rulers were gods. In Medieval Times, rulers were divinely appointed by God. The reformation was just one more shift in our concept of government that government was at the consent of the governed, ultimately resulting in a very strange concept that WE are the government. I’m not entirely certain modern Americans have any idea what that actually means anymore. And the ones that do understand it likely really liked Andrew Breitbart and are some of the prophets going around preaching the sky is falling as our culture embraces privatized authoritarianism.
Question is, are we going through another evolution of government? From gods to godly appointed, to selected by us, are we now approaching government by purchase? Can one buy their own country and assert their sovereignty and jurisdiction on those who willingly engage with their product? Inquiring minds would like to know.
* There is an argument here that if everyone owns private property, that people can still freely speak. But I find that the concept of everyone owning their own property may be far more complex in a capitalistic and debt-riddled society.Published in