A Comment About The “Good Government” Paradox

I recently read a book review on byupoliticalreview.com about Connor Boyack’s upcoming book, Latter Day Liberty. The reviewer mentioned that he was a “vehement anti-libertarian” but he did a pretty good job of reviewing the book fairly. One comment he made though was this:

Libertarians are not opposed to large governments because they want fulfill whatever caprice their desires may dictate, but because they understand that in a society where men are angels, there is no need for laws or governance, and they want to enhance the angelic nature of those who share their societies. It presupposes a hopelessly idealistic view of human nature and a hopelessly simplistic view of sociology and psychology, but it is a bold and noble dream nonetheless.

I believe that statement is inaccurate and one fellow commenter made this remark in response to that portion of the review:

I’m not sure this is really true. I think libertarians are opposed to large governments because they know that men aren’t angels, and can’t be trusted with power. I don’t want freedom because I trust people, I want freedom because I don’t trust people to micromanage my life.

I made a followup comment along the same lines because I wanted to address the implications of the book reviewer’s thought process by those remarks about angelic men in society:

I agree with Jeffrey’s comment above, and have always been confused by the thought process of the reviewer, Chandler, who like many more left-leaning individuals often mention that people are bad or dumb or that capitalism rewards the greedy and most evil people in society. They see government as the voice of the people that can curtail that evil nature in society. But the big paradox I’ve always seen as obvious is, if so many in society are so evil and bad, where are these angels supposed to come from to take power and use it for good? There’s nothing magical about government force that attracts angels, and the history of the world proves that quite glaringly. I mean, it’s governments that have done far more to oppress, kill, steal and destroy societies than any other entity. If you are against greed, theft, and control, then don’t be afraid of the company advertising to you, begging you to buy their product, that you voluntarily give your money to in exchange for something you want. Look to the entity that demands your money and uses violence and threats of violence if you don’t give it to them for whatever they choose.

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