Tuesday, April 1, 2014

There is No Road to Liberty

Note:  This was an April Fools' Day post.

Liberty.  It is an admirable goal.  It is a goal that is just within our reach and yet, somehow, just beyond our grasp.  Today I must admit the single glaring problem with the principles of liberty.  While the non-aggression principle attempts to portray itself as perfect, there is one fatal flaw which stands out.  It is with deep regret that I must reveal the Achilles' heel of liberty:  Roads.

There is no question that, without a government that receives taxation by forcible means, roads would be an impossibility.  While taxation generally goes against the non-aggression principle because it is required to use or threaten force in order to collect taxes, taxation is absolutely necessary for the construction and maintenance of roads, highways, and freeways.  Let's find out why.

Roads consist of the most complex technology known to man.  I wish I could take the time to explain all the theories, scientific principles, and experimental concepts that make roads possible, but that is simply out of the question with my limited knowledge.  There are people who study for decades in order to comprehend just a fraction of how roads are planned, financed, developed, constructed, and maintained.  Since all the knowledge that goes into road building can only be bankrolled by an astronomical amount of money, the only possible player in the road business is a government that must be able to use coercion in order to garner all the necessary funds.  A free society would simply be unable to pay for a system of roads.

Another reason why liberty has no answer for the road problem is that roads are an anti-market concept.  Simply put, no one would be willing to pay for such a thing as a road.  People pay for all sorts of things like cars, cell phones, houses, jewelry, computers, water, electricity, and more.  There is constant evidence in front of us that there is a market for a virtually unlimited amount of products.  But unlike all those things, in the entire history of the world there has never been a shred of evidence that someone would actually pay for the ability to use a piece of land for the purpose of traveling from one point to another.  Philosophers and scientists can't seem to agree on why this is so.  Some believe that it is due to an unconscious desire in the human spirit to disconnect from the world around us and limit mobility.  Some suggest that a prehistoric mass-extinction event arose because of early humans' efforts to travel, and because of that, human behavior evolved to restrict further transportation endeavors.  In any case, only a government based on violent threats has the ability to get humanity past whatever is making us unwilling to voluntarily build roads.

Governments throughout history, including our own, have been guilty of all sorts of atrocities such as corruption, extortion, political oppression, religious persecution, enslavement, genocide, and imperialism.  But road building is the one shining example that proves that absolute liberty and freedom from coercion simply cannot work and is doomed to fail, and must never even be attempted to any degree.

1 comment:

  1. Road building by government reminds me, is a sort of obscure way, of Jonathan Swift proposing the only way for poor Irish to live was to properly prepare their children as food for the rich. It was a modest proposal.