The libertarian business model
There’s a cynical cartoon that’s been circulating forever on social media that shows a seasoned cancer researcher telling a new recruit, “Yes, finding a cure for cancer would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But remember, not finding a cure is how we butter our bread.”
Surely, I thought, researchers don’t seriously adopt that attitude. A cure even for one of the over 100 types of cancer would immortalize the researchers and likely earn them a Nobel Prize. Why would they settle for the obscurity of a steady but inconsequential job? Why would they be so devoid of moral ideals, when that was likely the reason they chose a career in research from the start?
But the cartoon continued to nag me. Even brilliant people want job security, and under the steady flow of government funding, struggling but never succeeding would guarantee that security.
Their wish for an uninterrupted revenue stream also explains their hostile and litigious opposition to any claim by alt medicine that, as Bill Sardi argues, we already know how to cure cancer.
If you’re going to drag your feet finding a cure you have to be ready to pounce on someone like Sardi who maintains there already is one. You have to stage experiments that fail to support the claims of alt medicine that often use treatments found in nature, such as amygdalin and medical marijuana. Big money can only be made with patented drugs, and that puts a big bulls-eye on the backs of doctors who use treatments not approved by state authorities.
It reminded me of political leaders who conduct endless wars in faraway places not to defeat an enemy but to expand budgets. The same problem exists with so-called social wars, such as the wars on drugs and poverty. Spend, spend, spend, and spend some more while seizing the moral high ground.
Libertarians are different?
In many respects libertarians are like Edmond Dantes in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, unjustly condemned to a horrible dungeon for life and spending years struggling to escape before finally succeeding. At no time did Dantes consider his efforts an end in themselves, as the state’s various wars are. He was sustained by the faint hope of escaping — of leaving the dungeon — and working to that end defined his days.
For libertarians their dungeon is the state, but unlike Dantes they have no idea how to escape. They don’t know how to get from here to there. About the closest they come to a plan is writing a bunch of articles and books that end up saying bring the troops home and bring back the original Constitution. Are they taking up a petition to bring this about? Not that I’ve seen. Or if they have a pessimistic outlook, they tell us the world is going to hell and there’s no way to stop it.
One conspicuous exception to this approach was Congressman Ron Paul, who had a plan to end the Fed and argued for honest money throughout his career. His confrontations with Greenspan and Bernanke in Congress were models of courage and integrity. Reforming the Fed was impossible. It was corrupt from the root. And he told them so.
With few exceptions libertarians are not like Dr. Paul. They tell people liberty is the ideal but in this power-mad world there’s no way to reach it. Maybe after the state collapses but not sooner. It’s not going to go away with votes cast by the public in state-sponsored elections. Voting for liberty is never a choice. By its nature the state is an enemy of liberty, and it is in charge.
The libertarian business plan is thus similar to that of the state’s. It keeps readers reading but without a plan of escape. Reading (or watching or listening) is an end in itself.
Here are some anonymous examples selected at random. Each takes a position I fully support — as far as it goes — but as a reader what action should I take to make the position reality? The writers don’t say . . . except the last one, number 5, and I believe he was saying more than he realized.
There really was a threat. The USSR had nuclear missiles. But the USSR’s leaders never used them. The threat then went away quietly. The Russian missiles are still there, but Russian leaders don’t want to destroy Western markets by means of nuclear weapons. Their power and their wealth depend on these markets. Once again, the free market solves the problem. [Emphasis mine]
I have proposed that the only government consonant with civil society is the free market. I think many people are aware of it without actually identifying it as such. It is capable of supplying all our needs, especially justice and defense. I believe if people were given a choice to vote on the free market as their full-time government many of them would agree.
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