Jon Lebkowsky on Wed, 14 Aug 96 18:40 METDST

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Re: nettime: libertarians

At 07:56 AM 8/14/96 -0700, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>On Sat, 3 Aug 1996 wrote:
>> "Libertarians complain that the state is parasitic, an excrescence on
>> society. They think it's like a tumor you could cut out, leaving the patient
>> just as he was, only healthier. They've been mystified by their own
>> metaphors. Like the market, the state is an activity, not an entity. [...]
>[I forwarded this message to a friend, whose reply is attached. --Declan]
>Comment:  Even if every single good thing in my life, including my own
>genetic makeup, was a direct result of government action, I would still be
>a libertarian.  All that matters from the standpoint of making good public
>policy is the future.  The past is only relevant if it teaches us lessons
>about what makes good policy generally.  I think the most pro-government
>lesson that past govnt involvement with the internet teaches is that the
>govn't can *sometimes* do good things as a completely unintended
>consquence of their actions.  This is not a complete surprise, nor does it
>require me to back off from the general observation that the unintended
>consequences of government action usually range from zero net gain to
>very, very bad. 

Declan, it's unfortunate that your friend chose to remain anonymous. It's
difficult to address this question of 'unintended consequences,' however I
would note that the Internet itself is an 'unintended consequence of
government action."

"The past is only relevant if it teaches us lessons about what makes good
policy generally."  Man, I wish I could live in this world of simple
absolutes that so many libertarians seem to inhabit...


Jon Lebkowsky     

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