Daniel Klein on Libertarianism
By Arnold Kling
For an encyclopedia, he writes,
In the eyes of the libertarian, everything the government does that would be deemed coercive and criminal if done by any other party in society is still coercive. For example, imagine that a neighbor decided to impose a minimum-wage law on you. Since most government action, including taxation, is of that nature, libertarians see government as a unique kind of organization engaged in wholesale coercion, and coercion is the treading on liberty.
I think this gets to the essential disagreement between libertarians and others. Everyone else sees the government, at least implicitly, as having some higher moral status. No one would grant that I, as an individual, have the right to walk up to you and demanded a percentage of your income. Or to threatened you with fines and imprisonment for giving a professional haircut without a license. But if I were a politician, most people would grant me the right to do these sorts of things because government has a higher moral status. See Klein’s longer essay, The People’s Romance.