Sunday, May 22, 2011

Libertarian dreams

From Jacob Weisberg:

Though I criticized Ryan for his unsupported rosy assumptions (shame on you, Heritage Foundation hacks), I reacted too quickly and didn't sort out just how laughable Ryan's long-term spending projections were. His plan projects an absurd future, according to the Congressional Budget Office, in which all discretionary spending, now around 12 percent of GDP, shrinks to 3 percent of GDP by 2050. Defense spending alone was 4.7 percent of GDP in 2009. With numbers like that, Ryan is more an anarchist-libertarian than honest conservative.

It is interesting to be reading this as I just finished the book the Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. What I found interesting about this book was the assumption that one could so easily eliminate all of the functions of government (and yet have highly patriotic individuals willing to die for this version of a state).

But what I found interesting is how these ideas of government cannot be easily reconciled with a strong military. In the novel, Heinlein has the settlers of the moon act as a voluntary militia that is able to hold off another power. But these ideas are simply incompatible with a role as a "global policeman".

So there is a tough decision to be made about the role and scope of the US government in international affairs, if we really are going to put serious libertarian ideas of the state into practice.

1 comment:

  1. Bit late to the game, but some time ago I wrote about this very question:

    There's only a very short step from utopia to euthanasia.