[ExI] Is there a potential libertarianism / democracy tension?

Amon Zero amon at doctrinezero.com
Tue Sep 27 12:15:25 UTC 2011

On 27 September 2011 13:05, Amon Zero <amon at doctrinezero.com> wrote:

> The main reason I asked in the first place was that I was starting to think
> that a much narrower set of views were generally considered to "count" as
> libertarian than I had originally understood, so what I thought of as my own
> 'moderate', 'atypical', or 'lapsed' Minarchism was in fact nothing of the
> sort (I very much like the idea of government with very strict
> jurisdictional boundaries, but personally draw those boundaries in places
> that put me at odds with most libertarians). I've found this conversation
> reassuring, to see that there is not a single school of thought on all
> matters libertarian.

Actually, Dan, Kelly, any interested others - I do have another question for
you regarding the above -

I personally like the idea of Universal Health Care very much, but don't
worry, I'm not going to argue for that here, I don't expect you to agree
with me. Such a system requires taxation to exist, for a start (unless it is
some variant of the Swiss or German systems, in which private health
insurance is mandatory).

What I'm curious about, is why (or indeed if) it is ok for libertarians to
advocate taxation to support "Night Watchman" State functions (army, police,
courts), but other arguably essential functions such as healthcare are
beyond the pale?

The two answers I'm familiar with are that (A) no taxation is ok at all,
army etc should also be private, and (B) army/police/courts are essential or
can be privatized, whereas (e.g.) healthcare is not or cannot.

Since we're highly unlikely to argue one another around to each other's
point of view I won't be tempted to deconstruct your arguments (assuming i
could!), but I am genuinely curious what principle draws a line between
armies and hospitals. I could understand the line being drawn there by some
libertarians and not others, but I have been given the impression that this
is tantamount to a definition of libertarianism; that tax for
armies/police/courts is ok but nothing else is. Would you agree?

- A
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