Saturday, March 5, 2011

10 Things Atomists Should Go Without.

Time for a list-y post. All the things in this list are things that have been created by governments, which (as earlier discussed) libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism and other atomist ideologies would like to see dismantled and replaced with an entirely free market. If you find yourself tempted by these ideologies, think of this as a reminder of what you’d have missed out on.

  • Stephen Hawking. Infamously held up as an example by American conservatives of the sort of person who’d have been killed by “death panels” under a public health system, Hawking in fact owes his life, and the technology that enables him to work and communicate, to the British National Health Service; science today would be far poorer without him.
  • The Internet. Grew out of a US defence project.
  • Doctor Who. For that matter, the majority of decent British telly.
  • Related, a lot of quality journalism. I’ll go into this one more next time, as the irony involved deserves its own post.
  • Daylight savings time — for that matter, any form of time coördination.
  • Highways. All roads for that matter, which is why the first question to ask a libertarian is always whether he owns a car. Or a bike. Or a bus ticket.
  • Competent employees. Sure, the wealthy send their kids to private schools, but even they’re government-subsidised; and their companies benefit from a publicly-educated workforce.
  • Your telephone number.
  • Courts. It always amuses me that libertarians love to stand on their individual rights even as they tear down the institutions expressly designed to guarantee them those same rights.
  • Public transport. You hear people bitching about Metro, the private train operator, and Connex before it, a lot more than you heard them bitching about the government-run Met.
Sorry this one went up a bit late — and sorry for missing Thursday. Got a new Flash-blocker that’s been messing with my Web browser and stopping me from posting. Uninstalled it now and it’s working fine. If anyone can recommend a decent Flash-blocker for Safari that isn’t ClickToFlash, please let me know.


    1. I just want to point out that the internet was actually invented at CERN (on a NeXT, heh), although I totally cede that it spread through DARPA.

    2. DARPA created what would become the Internet — it was the World Wide Web that was created on a NeXTcube at CERN.

      That said, CERN is possibly an even better example than DARPA, being a coöperative effort between multiple states.

    3. All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?