Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Myth of National Defense

Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, complains that he lacks the information and knowledge to determine whether or not military resources are efficiently allocated to achieve desired ends (kill al Qaeda, win the war on terrorism). I can't stop laughing! I hate to break it to you, genius, but this is the central problem of the socialist organization of the means of production. Whereas private firms operate under the calculation of profit and loss, the government as monopoly owner of the means of production of national defense has no such mechanism to gauge effective production of goods and services. As usual, Lew Rockwell knocks this one out of the park:

There you have it: a typical government program. Hundreds of billions down the drain, and nothing to show for it but confusion. Imagine a private business admitting that it doesn't know if it is making profits or losses. Imagine blowing through a trillion dollars and not knowing whether you actually accomplished anything at all. That private firm would be doomed, but the warfare state just keeps chugging along.

Later in the memo, Rumsfeld asks obliquely: "Do we need a new organization?" In a word, yes, and it shouldn't be government.

We're dealing with the oldest political error: the belief that because everyone wants something, government should or must provide it. If the error is pervasive, the result is the total state. If it is completely uprooted, the result is the purely free society.

Then Rockwell unleashes the devastating logic:

Everyone needs to tell time but we don't suppose that government must issue everyone watches. We pretty much leave that to the private sector. With issues of food and housing, government has variously attempted mass provision but with obviously disastrous results: who wouldn't prefer private to public housing, grocery stores to K-rations? If the government had nationalized software production 10 years ago, you wouldn't be reading this article right now.

Now, I have met several libertarians (and other assorted retards) laboring under the delusion that "national defense" is a "different" good, one than cannot be compared to shoes or watches. Of course, I've also met several people devoted to the fantasies of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. In short, by accepting such a position you are assuming that "defense" can only be produced by some entity operating with a monopoly over means of the production of security for a certain, arbitrary geographic region. As Lew asks, why is socialism in defense necessary?

I'm salivating in anticipation of the arrival of my copy of Hoppe's new The Myth of National Defense, shipped via UPS not that other socialist organization.

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