The following was written by Pretoria-based ASFL Local Coordinator Martin van Staden
Libertarianism is not a philosophy of appeasement. Unlike our social democratic colleagues, most of us do not dress libertarianism up as a vehicle for utopian outcomes. When we ask for welfare systems to be dismantled, we understand that some will be stripped of their immediate income, and so to say, be thrown under the bus (although, merely temporarily). When we ask for military intervention to cease, we understand that some civilian in a far off place may be deprived of protection he has become accustomed to. When we demand that the State should not violate privacy until there is no doubt that a liberty-depriving crime has been committed, we acknowledge that some crimes may not be averted and that some people may suffer as a consequence. Quite maturely, and with the application of logical reasoning and rationality, we know that the implementation and the construction of a free society, although perfectly practical, will not be an easy ride for anyone, and that the ride will be more difficult for some than it is for others. But we regard only one principle as mandatory imperative: individual liberty.
Libertarianism is about realizing that in all circumstances when dealing with people with agency, the individual is the best judge of their own interests. If you are of the Rothbardian school, you believe the State should move out of the way because it is a criminal entity which violates our natural rights. If you are inclined toward the ideas of David Friedman, you believe the State should move out of the way because as a matter of fact, it is always effectively inferior to the operation of the free market, an idea which Rothbard also broadly agrees with. ‘The State moving out of the way’ obviously has its own consequences, many of which are unknown, but which we believe in any case will be preferable than having a supermassive institution extorting us on a continual basis in every facet of our existence. Stefan Molyneux has been clear in this regard. A popular rebuttal of his when someone asks him “how would x be done without the State?” is to say that he does not care. However it will be done, is a better alternative to having people in costumes with guns doing it with purported legitimacy. Any voluntary acts are to be preferred over the coercion of government, even if they prove to be more difficult or uncertain. (more…)