Many libertarians have talked and written about how in theory a truly free society would provide for the public works and social services any civilized society needs: police, defense, settlement of disputes, etc. But theory is not enough. The average person is not convinced by theory; people are far more likely to be convinced by practice, that is, actual examples of working solutions. Years of dependency on the State have shriveled most people’s imaginations. They can’t imagine how private alternatives could possibly provide enough of the needed services. The problem of defense, police protection, and providing for the poor and needy just seem too overwhelming. They can only imagine a strong central authority solving such problems.
Libertarian Michael Shermer has argued in several of his books that humans evolved in simpler times when there were relatively simple solutions to community living. Our brains, he asserts, are just not wired to understand the complexities, let alone the efficacy, of what libertarians and economists call the “invisible hand.” That is, many individuals, working cooperatively and noncoercively, peacefully trading for mutual benefit, helping others and finding solutions to social issues on the community level. That such complexity on a micro level (more…)