Dear Senator Dietsch;
In your letter today slamming ‘libertarianism’ you seem to insinuate that Government solved the slavery problem. While that may be true, in part, in the United States, it is not a fact globally. There are, according to estimates, over 40 million humans still being victimized by one form of slavery or another all across the earth, including right here in the good ole USA.
24.9 million of those fall into the forced labor category, or what many traditionally think of as slavery. The rest are victims of forced marriage, a group of victims that is now finally counted in worldwide slave estimates.
The United States government, prior to approximately 1865, actually protected slavery. The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850 forced states, even ones who disagreed with or outlawed slavery, to return slaves to ‘their owners.’ One can only assume that this is not the type of Government for which you advocate?
Still today, large governments in foreign countries allow slavery to commence, completely ‘legally.’ Now, everyone knows that legality and morality are not bound together. India alone has 18 million people victimized by legalized slavery. China is next with 3 million or more slaves.
You claim “[g]overnment, done right, protects us, the people, from exploitation. Is government always done right? Of course not.”
If you leaned more heavily into that last sentence you’d understand why so many identify as libertarian, either big L or small l. Governments, in fact, are hardly ever done right. That grand experiment of America is that we self-rule, and want to be free of government interference in our daily lives. For reference, you can read about the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellions, the Pine Tree Riot, and more.
Most of us go about our daily lives quite routinely. We take care of our families, work our jobs, socialize with our friends, and strive to make our lives ever better. The government, to most people, doesn’t enter that equation on a regular basis.
Nary a soul thinks of the CVS CEO earning 434 times the average salary there. Nor do many lament the amount of homes owned by their neighbor, or how much Amazon pays in taxes. These issues are not on the average person’s mind. And why?
Does the CVS employee really care about how much the CEO makes, or does that employee strive to earn a higher wage through hard work and investment in the company? Does the person renting really make their lives happier, or better, by opining about the landlord with 12 buildings? Or, does being envious of Amazon’s zero federal tax position somehow make my small shop more prosperous? Of course not.
You say that Governments, done right, protect us from exploitation. That, to a degree, is correct. The Government exists, to put it simply, to protect the rights of the individual. The individual, of course, is the smallest of minorities. The rights of the individual are inalienable. You can not enslave another, nor can you force your will on another. Yet, legislators seek to force their will on the minority of the people quite often, while claiming they have a mandate from the majority.
In 1793, and through the late 1860’s, the majority of people thought slavery should be legal. And it was. The majority in World War II thought it was okay to intern Asian Americans. The majority in Germany thought it should be legal to execute those of Jewish background.
Libertarians, however big or small the L, believe in a simple principle. It’s called the non-aggression principle, or NAP for short. It calls for free and voluntary interactions among all people. Free, and voluntary. Slavery is never free, or voluntary, by definition.
The jobs we work, voluntary, for agreed upon wages by both parties, meet this model. As do most free market transactions. I have $2 and want a coffee, you have coffee and want my $2. The transaction is to equal benefit.
It is when Governments get involved that this arrangement goes sideways. Amazon, as you mentioned, gets special privileges and perks from the Government. Though Amazon is an amazing company that provides great benefit to my life, and in return I voluntarily exchange with them for my money, the Government gives them special treatment through cronyism. That, Senator Dietsch, is also not libertarianism.
I could go on and on here for days, but note: libertarians would never force their will upon others. That would be aggression. I can’t speak for every libertarian, big or small L, but I can say that the principle of non-aggression extends to the limits of the Government. For if I can not use force to extort another, the Government shall not be able to either.
(This author is a big C conservatarian)