Libertarianism in a nutshell

On December 14th 2007, the Chairman of the Economics Department at George Mason University published an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. That questions what is the "Sweet Land of Liberty?"

Here are some good excerpts from Mr. Donald Boudreaux:

First…

"In this sweet land of liberty it is surprising how readily we modern Americans let others rule us. I’m not talking about Americans letting some foreign government rule us. That won’t happen anytime soon. There is no risk of that, say, we will quietly surrender to an invading army sent from the likes of Moscow or Beijing."

He is talking about Americans being ruled by our own politicians. So are we the land of liberty?

"I’ve always understood the boast that American is a "sweet land of liberty" to mean that we Americans — each of us, individually — value our personal space and will tolerate no interference with our individual choices by anyone. As long as I accord others the same rights, I am free to do as I please. That, at least, is the ideal to which Americans traditionally aspire."

But do we all actually aspire to that? Maybe in 1776, but I believe the days since FDR have changed all that. More people need to take this advice…

"I should also accord to my neighbor his freedoms as a matter of proper ethics. True equality — the equality celebrated by American’s founding generation– means that no one has the right to play God with the lives of others."

He ends very strongly and it requires no commentary, but I will have a slight argument near the end.

"Consider, for examples, that busybodies at the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently made headline news with their demand that the Food and Drug Administration regulate the amount of salt that food preparers put in their foods….

Because that scientists determine that eating more than 1,500 milligrams of salt each day is bad for the average American adult, I’m suppose to take for granted that the FDA should make it more difficult for me to consume more salt than these scientists presume to tell me is the "correct" amount.

I refuse, for I am a free man."

Now I understand that he is talking about individual choice but Bryan Caplan makes the argument that Economist are experts of the Economy but they disagree with the average person on Economic policy. This then leads him to say that Democracy can be bad in that way.

This could apply here that people will not listen to the food experts who say that 1,500 milligrams of salt is too much but we do not listen.

So why have experts at all? When do we know who to listen to?

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Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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