Imagine designing the perfect pickup truck — or at least one idea of a perfect truck. It has all the best components — shocks, brakes, axles, tires, headlights, and a massive 5k pound payload capacity.
Now imagine looking at your own Ford F-150 and deciding that you will work to make it like the model you designed. Some upgrades are easier than others — you can swap in new LED headlights without any other major modifications being required. What about increasing the payload, though? That’s not something you can accomplish simply by changing the sticker on the doorjamb.
At minimum, a major payload increase will require upgrading the shocks, brakes, axles, and tires — but even that won’t get you to the 5k pounds you want. The frame itself, the foundation of the vehicle, simply won’t support your vision. In other words, you have to live within the practical limitations of what you have, or you have to start from scratch and build a completely new truck.
This hypothetical scenario is similar to the libertarian dream of a free society. Such a society has all the best components — ironclad property rights, real money, no involuntary wealth redistribution, fully privatized services, unencumbered free markets, free trade, and no state impediments to travel or migration. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, much like our hypothetical half-ton pickup, our current society simply isn’t compatible with all of these upgrades. Eliminating the police or opening the borders without making other necessary changes first will quickly destroy a society rather than making it freer.
To eliminate police, a society must transition to private security and private investigators who can absorb the necessary functions of current law enforcement. To remove state impediments to trade, travel, and migration, a society must abandon the flawed notion of the ‘public sector’ and privatize everything from roads and parks to education and charity.
To imagine that eliminating the police or opening the borders would — without other fundamental societal changes — bring our lives closer to a libertarian ideal is as myopic as believing that removing the payload sticker from your half-ton’s doorjamb will allow you to carry 5k pounds without consequences.
I truly believe that mankind can peacefully coexist in a free society, but I also understand that such a society must be built with intention, not cobbled together from the pieces of something else entirely. The events of the last year — the appalling reaction to the virus as well as the unchecked leftist violence and assaults on free speech — have made it clear that American society lacks the foundation necessary to ever evolve into the kind of free society in which I desire to live.
Societies should be free and pickups should be able to carry 5k pounds, but attaining these goals requires the proper foundations. For now, I believe the most productive course of action is to work toward attainable upgrades that acknowledge the fundamental weaknesses we lack the resources to correct.