The Gun Analogy, or Why I Am Not a Libertarian

25 Feb

Have you ever heard that Libertarian phrase: “They’re going to come to your house and take your produce at the point of a gun.”

This phrase was oft used by my teenage self. I used it often and I used it well. But, I’ve lately been annoyed by it. My growing antipathy towards Libertarianism, I think, is the root.

Libertarians think there are number of legitimate functions of government. If the government goes beyond these purposes and taxes you for them, then the government is acting like an armed robber. Eh.

There are certain legitimate functions of government – but they go beyond what a libertarian thinks. BUT that’s neither here nor there. The question is: Is the government acting like an armed robber when you are taxed so that the government can operate illegitimate programs or policies?

The answer is no.

Taxation without representation is a violation of your rights as a citizen. But, that is not the monster we are dealing with here. We, after all, have the opportunity to vote. Because there is a process in place where politicians are chosen and policies made, you consent to the outcome by consenting to the process. The government’s policies may be illegitimate but that is another question entirely.

Having sufficiently cleared the air of this I hope never to hear: “You want a government GUN in your living room taking your shit? Running your life?”

Yes, the government is becoming more coercive – but we are making it that way. It is not coming uninvited and that is the problem.

But this displays a weakness of understanding in the Libertarian. He does not see that the regime is an outgrowth of its citizens. Especially if it is a self-governed regime. When the citizens are consulted, and are the ultimate authority through their ability to vote, the government can only be as free as they are capable.

The government we have isn’t something we didn’t ask for. We the People slowly built and perfected the gross bureaucracy in Washington DC.

The image of the government with the gun is a comforting one for the Libertarian – just kick the government out of your house! Put it back in its place! This seems like a relatively easy task. All that stand in the Libertarians way to a utopia of freedom are laws and programs that must be changed and repealed. But the reality is much scarier – the American people stand in your way. The American people want those laws and want those entitlements and until a significant change has occurred the government will legitimately ask you for money that you know is going to waste.


On a completely unrelated note, if you see the tag “sex” you might wonder what this post has to do with sex? Nothing, it has absolutely nothing to do with sex. But I figured it couldn’t hurt the visitor statistics if I started tagging each post with “sex.” We’ll see what happens.


4 Responses to “The Gun Analogy, or Why I Am Not a Libertarian”

  1. "Gentleman" Jake March 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    “[The government of the United States] can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” – Ben Franklin

    • Cole March 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      Exactly. You can always count on Franklin.

      • "Gentleman" Jake March 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

        However, the American people by and large were not in favor of prohibition even though it was a “populist movement.” Examples such as this make me suspect that it is not totally appropriate for you to claim that the powers wielded by the government exist because “the American people want those laws.” Democracy isn’t the rule of the majority, but the rule of the most vocal and organized minorities.


  1. Dictatorship of the proletariat, or Why I am still not a conservative « RSSted Development - February 26, 2011

    […] so my pal Cole says. We have, after all, the opportunity to vote. That’s the same thing as consent, […]

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