Saturday, September 03, 2005

Limits Of Libertarianism

I believe, as Libertarians do, that the State should be small. But we part company when they say "the (Brit) State that is not your friend.

The State does have some resemblance to a protection racket - if you don't pay your taxes its agents forcibly seize you, lock you up and take your belongings. However there's nothing wrong with a democratically controlled protection racket, as Katrina demonstrates.

Immediately after what was effectively an
area bombing of New Orleans, the State evaporated. There was heroism:

Some are characterizing the young, first-time bus driver's act as "looting." But the bus that Jabbar Gibson "commandeered" had been abandoned on a New Orleans street. He took it upon himself to rescue dozens of families--grandmothers, young parents, toddlers, and an 8-day-old infant. That is not "looting."

But a
dark side emerged:

NEW ORLEANS September 2 - New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Compass said. "Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."

This is a lefty AP report, so don't bet the farm on it - but it's clear things were pretty bad.

Now the State is

Texas game wardens watch over people who were caught using a mail truck to try to escape New Orleans. They were freed but forced to continue on foot. Reuters.

A detachment of 300 National Guard troops have landed in anarchic New Orleans with the authorization to shoot and kill "hoodlums", Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco says.

Thousands of troops have struggled to counter armed looters and help tens of thousands of refugees flee New Orleans, where chaos reigns three days after Hurricane Katrina.

Top officials have confirmed that the storm killed thousands of people and have made a desperate plea for help to restore order to New Orleans and the surrounding region.

"Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New Orleans," Ms Blanco said.

"These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets. They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.
These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."

Colonel Henry Whitehorn of the Louisiana State Police said the law and order situation in the city was "bad".

But he said anarchic conditions around the Superdome stadium and central business district where up to 20,000 refugees had been sheltering were "stabilizing".

He admitted that a number of police officers who had lost everything in flooding after Hurricane Katrina had handed in their badges, unwilling to take the fight to looters.

There's the limit of Libertarianism.

You (maybe) don't need the State to look after you if you are young, strong and have a shotgun, 200 cartridges & and a one week supply of food, water & medical supplies. But if don't have this, or you're old, weak, a kid, a stranded tourist who was too daft to obey a mandatory evacuation, then armed thugs will prey on you. That's where you need those cops and soldiers from the State.

This applies particularly to Brits, who have allowed their State to disarm them, so even the young, strong and well prepared will be unarmed and so victimized by armed thugs.

Bottom line: the Anglo State is your friend - just keep it small.