James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dr. Lenny on Government

From Dr. Lenny:

Governments should provide infrastructure, not direction. It should protect freedom and liberty, not provide them. It should keep laws to govern structure, not laws to govern men. When rule of law turns to rule of man, we get Iraq, a war on those in poverty dubbed the drug war and an even more insane war on a tactic, terrorism.

Excellent point. If the neighbor girl gets an abortion, or prayers are said at Texas high school games, or Michigan's universities have affirmative action, or Canada's socialized medicine is crumbling, or EU regulations create unemployment for its own people, or if there's tyranny in the Middle East, I may not like it. In fact, I won't. But they do not affect my interests in such a way that would justify me imposing constraints or using force.

Just as an apartment tenant has no right to intervene in the activities of fellow tenants, let alone what goes on in other buildings. What does matter to the tenant is to be spared from violent people, and from noxious odors, noise pollution, and pests from his neighbors' apartment. And that the halls, lobbies, elevators, and other public access areas are clean and safe.

If we viewed government this way, we would probably find ways to govern ourselves better.


  1. A reason for war:

    A well known secret

    The War On Unpatented Drugs

    BTW if the guy in the apartment below you has expressed hostile intent and he is stockpiling amonium nitrate in the spare bedroom do you think waiting for a crime to be comitted is a good idea?

    Perhaps the guy just likes flowers and hates Libertarians.

    We do have some fairly recent history where a certain German disclosed his political program. Which were obviously the ravings of a lunatic. And yet his attempt to institute his program got a lot of folks killed. He even declared war on the US.

    At the time no one wanted to stop him early because of the cost in $$$$ and lives. They paid much more later.

    Of course you could judge things differently. It is probably one reason you are still a Libertarian and I am not.

  2. If someone expresses hostile intent, that DOES effect my interests and the safety of the whole in such a way that constraints and possibly force is justified.

    The difference is between things I don't like, and things which threaten me.

    Good article links, BTW.

  3. Nice post. The distinction between governing structure and governing men may overlap with Nock's between government and The State; which, in turn, reminds me of the old libertarian socialist distinction between the government of men and the administration of things.