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Letter: The Libertarian lens


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Archie Richards’s June 10 letter from Libertopia claiming that regulations only hurt the poor deserves a reply. The author, one of our local Glibertarians, sheds crocodile tears for the downtrodden. “It’s for the poor” is the latest strategy for neo-liberals and libertarians who are always eager to gut regulations or shred what’s left of this nation’s social safety net, creating what they imagine will be a utopian paradise of freedom and liberty unbounded.

The plain historical fact that regulations (and taxes) exist for the public good, and protect the public from bad actors, never enters their tidy little minds. Libertarians believe there is no such thing as “the public interest” and deny that altruism exists. Everything is seen through a lens of naked self-interest. Because they can imagine no other motive, they believe all politicians and all bureaucrats are simply out for themselves, and have no other motive than grasping self-interest. Therefore, every regulation, and every tax, is a coercive measure of oppression intended to deny libertarians their “freedom.”

Of course, the same daily “coercion” experienced by most people in the corporate world goes unremarked, because employment is voluntary, and you can always quit. And then of course, you can go sleep under a bridge. With apologies to J M Keynes: Libertarians believe that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of motives, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.

BRUCE CURRIE

Concord