My post on “Tough Luck” sparked a Facebook conversation with the great Bill Dickens.  Reprinted with his permission:

Bill: You’ve
got to be kidding me. The problem with most of your examples is simple.
While Libertarians have to say tough luck! The person defending
government would say “Hmm… your right! Let’s change that!” At worst
they would say “The benefits outweigh the harms” (as in the case of
regulation). There is no comparision.

Bryan: Are
you kidding me, Bill? Libertarians can’t say, “The benefits outweigh
the harms”? They can’t say, “Let’s change that by giving more to
charity” or “Let’s persuade people to live more prudently”?

Bill: @Bryan,
you were the one who put the words “tough luck” into the mouths of
libertarians, not me. I wouldn’t have objected to a post that made the
point that there are other ways of

dealing with the examples you cite besides saying “tough luck.” I also
wouldn’t have objected if you had tried to make the case that we are
better off not giving government support. I worry though that “tough
luck” is the first thought and that the reactions in your response are
an after thought. It seems to me that radical individualists really
don’t feel responsibility for others and reject Rawlsian/social
insurance sorts of arguments. It seems to me there really is a
difference here in the desire to fix problems rather than to excuse
ignoring them.

Bryan: @Bill
– My point is that everyone eventually says “Tough luck.” The
hypotheticals were constructed to skip to that point. If X, Y, and Z
are how you fix problems, just specify, “What if X, Y, and Z are
inadequate. What then?”