A libertarian and one of his new friend are in a
bar, drinking a beer after work. The friend heard about his fellow being a
dangerous anarchist so he decided to investigate a little bit more about that
The Friend: for you what is a
The Libertarian: a group to force the people in a
How is the state forcing the
The state threatens to put them in
What is a state for?
It was actually to force people not to force each
You said “was”. That’s not true
No. Now, a state is to force people to do what
some want: the biggest minority in democracy or the chief in dictatorship. To
force them to give some of their money to the state, not to smoke in a bar,
Why do you think the purpose of a state has
I think because people sometimes believe that
forcing people to do something they want can be easier and less expensive that
getting them to want it. And people quickly understood that the state is the
biggest gun of all to force others.
So, in XIXth Century, people owning companies ask
the state to force companies abroad to pay money. That prevented the abroad
products, which were better, to be cheaper than the local ones. The richer won
whereas the abroad companies and the local consumers lost.
When they saw that, it was easier for the new so
called “socialists” to convince the less rich to trust them. They could
tell the less rich they would make the state to force the richer to give them
more money and fewer hours to work.
OK, wait, if they did not, we would still work 12
hours a week for a misery, wouldn't we?
Actually, this is not right my friend. More money
and / or less work and / or better work conditions is not contradictory with
the growth of a company. Smart entrepreneurs, like Herb Keleher, know for
a long time that happier loyal employees make happier customers that make
happier shareholders. For example, why do you think Henry Ford raised wages in
Everybody knows that! To make his employees
Sorry but this is the myth, not the reality.
Henry Ford raised the wages because he understood that better paid employees
would be more loyal and it would thus be less expensive than recruiting and
teaching new ones.
That’s the same issue in
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Wait… China, you won’t say China is a paradise,
No, obviously, I am just saying that in China
they have been doing in 20 years what we did in one century, which is raising
the daily available dollars for a huge part of them, maybe 300 or 400 million
people. And you can see many regions out there where the “bargaining power” has
been reversed: too many jobs, not enough people, so employers have to seduce
people, not the other way around.
But there is no liberty in
Yes, and that’s a shame. But as you saw in Arab
countries recently, education and globalization will lead to more freedom.
What’s the biggest issue with China is not what they’re doing, but that they’re
doing it at least 80 years after us, and at ten times the scale. So it is a big
deal. Either we let customers in West profit from less exensive products and
chinese producers raise their living or we turn back to closed systems where
local low value producers will be happy but the Chinese and us as customers
will be less wealthy.
Ok, but let’s back to us: honestly, the state is
not “forcing” you…
How do you call one that would threaten you with
guns if you don’t want to do what it tells you (which is what would happen if I
refuse to pay taxes).
Right, if you’re not happy, you can leave the
But I was born here! Between you that want a
state and me that don’t want one, why should you be more legitimate to
…hmmm, because this is
Why democracy should be seen as a verifiable god
given truth? [The friend is mum].
By the way, why do you like the state?
Because it can help the
Can you say the “less rich” instead of “the
poor”? Honestly even the least rich today in our country are probably “richer”
than Louis XIV was. And for me there are no way but arbitrary decisions to
decide whether one is “rich” or “poor”: absolute adjectives can
OK. So, because it can help the less
Are you OK to agree that it’s doing it by
racketing money from other people?
Yes. But it is
Necessary for what?
Because, it’s unfair to let them
Unfair to whom?
To me, first…
…so you feel
better off knowing that the state is doing it? So you are
asking the state to force people to do what you want?
…Ok, me, but everyone should feel the
Why? Wanting to help the less rich is a choice
you make, partly to feel yourself better. You can think that people which don’t
feel worse when thinking about the less rich are assholes, but why is that
giving you the right to force them?
…but you don’t feel worse about the
I feel worse. And I want them to get wealthier.
But I don’t want to get what I want by forcing other people with a
…but without a state, they would
No. First, all the “universal” services from the
state could be done much better and / or cheaper with time thanks to the right
to compete. And, as in any country, we would have much higher “real
solidarity”, where people choose to give money for nothing. The lower level of
charity in a country is directly correlated to the higher level of state
That’s one of people’s biggest mistakes: wanting
to provide a service to everyone by letting the state do it alone with no
competition and paid by force. You know, if I can’t convince you to let me live
with no state, I would rather let free groups to compete to provide the
services and be forced to give money to the less rich for them to choose one of
and what about free school and free French
It’s a bad example my friend. In France, it’s not
a coincidence if we have the highest level of state spending and among the
worst results, according to PISA. Second, there, it’s you that is richer and
was born in a better off family that is stealing the less rich to pay for your
higher education or culture they won’t get. As I said before, and Frédéric
Bastiat before and better than me, everybody is trying to force anybody else
with a state. Based on that, guess why I am sure you’re feeling a rise in
“selfishness” or a crisis of the “vivre ensemble”.
You think it’s because of the
Yes. Gifting apart, the best way to get what you
want from a person is to trade it for something he wants more. While
trading, both are thinking they’re winning. As a state is to force, from the
start, there is a forcer and a forced. State is feeding the
fight between people.
Ah ah, you said it, “thinking” is the right word.
Because we know each other that someone can lie in a trade and someone can
You’re absolutely right…and that’s why some
people or companies provide services to tell you whether or not you can trust
someone else before a trade. And companies as ebay have even digitalized the
process with feedback: you know you should not lie on a trade because people
will know and may boycott you.
As you saw with Mediator recently, a state does
not seem to be really better at providing trust J
Ok so, according to you, a way to prevent people
from lying or forcing others is the risk for them to be
But “professional forcers” like Mafia would rise
in your world?
I don’t think so. Especially because the state
won’t be there to force people not to buy drugs. So many businesses done today
in fear and violence would be pacified. Remember Prohibition. Patrick Ricard
looks a bit like Al Capone but is less violent don’t you think?
And many groups will provide security services
because it's obvious people want it.
Yes but don’t you believe that with time only one
private security company will emerge as a monopoly and thus recreating a
You know, the very first reason for monopoly or
oligopoly is the state. Because companies run by men, are like anybody else,
wanting to profit from the state. Bigger corporations are most often pro state
and can get rules to prevent competition from newcomers. So with no state,
chances are smaller to be the only one to provide a service to anyone. And if
eventually the only risk is to come back to where we are…
…but with what consequences! This would be a
Neither for me. First no place can work without
having many people believing at least a bit in trade, state or not state (think
about Iraq). Second, most of civil war is actually to…lead the state! So if
people lose their faith in the state, one of the biggest causes of war is
…you say “faith”?
Yes, it’s really that faith I want to kill. I am
logical. If some people want a state, I don’t want to force them not to have
them. I want to convince them that the state is what prevents us to get
wealthier and eventuallly happier. And, to start, I want that
people not to force me to be forced by the state. Would you?
Then the dialog stopped and the two buddies left
each other. That night, The Friend did not sleep as he could not stop thinking
about what The Libertarian told him. What if he was right ?