King George Was A Libertarian

and the Founding Fathers were statists.

I stumbled across this post on a lefty site comparing libertarianism to feudalism and this comment caught my attention.

So, King George, as a descendant of a family line who out competed others, is King of Great Brittain and, as such, all Brittish land is his private property to do with as he sees fit. He controls private “security forces” and most, if not all, means of economic production.

The Founding Fathers did not like how King George ran things and divised a state to divest him of his private property.

You might say that the colonists weren’t able to leave, but I would say they could have gone West. Of course that would put them on the King of Spain’s private property, or gone North onto the King of France’s property. It was a very libertarian world back then, all property was privately owned.

You might say something about coercion, and I would simply reply that protecting his rights to own private property and make the rules for it’s use was well within  libertarian ideology. If the colonists didn’t like it they should have moved.

The above is only half serious, as above, so below. Read the following paragraph in the voice that does movie previews:

In a world with a winner-take-all economic system, one man will rise to the challenge and out compete the rest. One man will acquire all the land and all the production. One man will rule them all.

Its unlikely that one man would literally rule the world, but a relatively small group has for most of human history. The various European royal families, who were mostly related, ran the continent through a system of property ownership and oaths of fealty, otherwise known as oral contracts, combined with very strong inheritance protections.

Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. The classic François-Louis Ganshof version of feudalismdescribes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. A lord was in broad terms a noble who held land, a vassal was a person who was granted possession of the land by the lord, and the land was known as a fief. In exchange for the use of the fief and the protection of the lord, the vassal would provide some sort of service to the lord. There were many varieties of feudal land tenure, consisting of military and non-military service. The obligations and corresponding rights between lord and vassal concerning the fief form the basis of the feudal relationship.

In other words, voluntary contractual agreements. Liberty!

It has only been since the creation of a “public” state (with its intrensic coercion) and the concept of public property that the majority of people have had the opportunity to own land. Slaves, serfs, vassals, sharecroppers, etc. have been the norm in the civilised world.

In a hypothetical libertarian society, the utopian kind espoused online, everybody owns themselves, leaving aside the fact that you are  the product of somebody else’s labor, and the products of their labor and competes in a free market, anarcho-capitalist economy where property rights are above all. In any competition, somebody will come out ahead. In this society, “ahead” means wealthy. As a wealthy capitalist, you purchase property, real estate, businesses, resources, etc. Over time, you accumulate property and become the largest land owner in your area. You need workers for your businneses, workers will necessarily be the less competitive, hence why they’re working instead of owning, so you build affordable rental housing. You throw in some commercial properties and maybe a concert hall, etc and build a nice town for your employees. The other successful people in neighboring regions have found themselves in a similar situation and implemented similar solutions.

Most people work for a living in the major industries owned by you with some working in one of the smaller independent niche industries renting your commercial spaces, but there are some who refuse to respect the property rights of others. Since most of the workers are busy working full time, you create a security service to patrol and apprehend these vagabonds. This service costs money and isn’t entirely necessary to business, its more of a perk for your serfs villagers employees. As such, its not fair that you should give up your private property (money) to protect somebody else’s private property, that’s their responsibility, so its decided that employees of your businesses will have a small amount deducted from their paychecks, while those in the small independent businesses located in your  commercial real estate will have a small amount tacked onto their rent.

Congratulations, you are now a feudal lord! If you play your cards right, you might be able to out compete your peers and become king!

In all seriousness, this is where all economic systems lead. The driven and capable will dominate any system and there’s no way to prevent that, they’re winners*. The fundamental flaw in libertarian ideology ( and marxist ideology and any other economic ideology) is with trying to build a society around economic ideas. Economies are a by product of  a society and will reflect the values of that society. If you build a healthy society you will have a healthy economy, but nobody wants to talk about what constitutes a healthy society. That gets messy!

*If you’re reading this, then you’re not, I don’t care what your mommy told you.





4 thoughts on “King George Was A Libertarian

  1. Since when would any self-respecting libertarian refuse to allow his colonists the right to free their slaves upon their petition? I think something stinks here. Someone might have their wires crossed. Ya think???

  2. Pingback: I’m Kinda Clever, Sometimes | NC Links

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