By Leaving People Alone

Questions: How will children be educated? How will people get health care? How will business fluctuations be prevented or moderated? How will people get personal security? How will people receive income when they can no longer work? How will the society’s distressed and disabled receive support and care?

Statist answer: Only by employing threats and actual use of the government’s force and violence. Pass laws, and send out the cops to enforce them.

Libertarian answer: By leaving people alone to deal with these matters through private, cooperative measures voluntarily arranged. Remove government obstructions and penalties, and get out of the way while people arrange their lives in the great variety of ways that suit their personal preferences without resort to force and violence.

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.