Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Another step down the slippery slope, part VI

Running Blog Capitalist accuses my reductio of being a "heinous lefty strawman" and claims not to believe in the premise that the State's property rights are identical to those of an individual. I think the following quote from this post is sufficient evidence that he does hold that view:

Frankly, if you fund something, whether you're a private individual, an organization or the state, you have expectations of what you're funding. If the state is going to fund/run/control education (which I, of course, oppose) and its expectations aren't met, it's only reasonable for it to withdraw funding.

(Emphasis mine. Note that while he opposes State funding, he's quite happy to treat it in exactly the same way as private funding - contra to his claims in the strawman accusation)

But on the other hand, if he now wants to deny holding it, then that's fine - because I don't need it. In fact, all I need to hoist him on his own petard is premise 2, which he expends a great deal of effort defending here.

The only question we really need to ask is this: If the government said to RBC "sorry, but you can't use the roads" (a benefit provided, however justly or unjustly, by the State), would he consider that his freedom had been infringed?

I suspect he would. In fact, I suspect he'd go on an extended rant about how the evil totalitarian government was enslaving him and stealing his TV or somesuch. The problem, of course, is that this would be grossly inconsistent with his stated position (which, I should point out, pays no heed to whether the benefit is provided justly or unjustly).

If on the other hand he bites the bullet and meekly accepts his house-arrest-by-Propertarianism as not infringing his freedom, it invites the question of "what the hell sort of 'freedom' is this?" Frankly, if the Libertarian definition of freedom means you are "free" while being effectively forbidden to travel, then that definition is inadequate.

And if on the third hand he just wants to stick his fingers in his ears and ignore the question because answering it would "ascribe legitimacy to the idea of government funding" (or property ownership), I'd point out that he has been answering the question in the negative for the entire thread, and ask what has changed to bring upon the sudden silence. I'd also question the relevance of his form of Libertarianism if it cannot provide answers to actual political or moral problems...

Inconsistency, inadequacy, or irrelevance - it's a tough choice...