Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Should We Hold Nuremberg Trials for People Who Use Government Roads?

Rick Miller emails:

[L]et me be the first libertarian you have ever heard say that nobody should use the roads.  After all, suppose they gave a road and nobody came?  A private society does not include property upon which one can trespass, whereas the government road- as it is funded through coercive taxation- is the equivalent of constant trespass.  But, like cattle, we are corralled along government roads.  Unlike cattle, we have the ability to discern aggressive behavior and peaceful behavior and should never advocate anything other than the latter.  But, I am certain that if we held libertarian Nuremberg trials, such minor association with the aggressive, coercive state- such as merely using the road- would be dismissed with extremely light punishment.

RW response:

So you don't use streets?

Miller response:

Of course!  Like I stated above, "like cattle, we are corralled along government roads."

RW response:

We disagree at a very fundamental level on the nature of human life on earth.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with using government roads when there are no alternatives. Indeed, it might be okay if there are alternatives.

You are operating from a "rights" perspective, I reject the notion of rights as it is generally thought of. My thinking on rights is more in line with Henry Hazlitt who viewed them as mystical.


  1. Let's hit peak libertarian autism and have the death penalty for anyone who ever used government services. All members of the military and social security recipients are first into the oven. After the world is purged we will finally have Eutopia.

  2. Would a new Nuremberg trial be Libertarian?
    Seems it would be pretty hard, based on " Let he who has no sin cast the first stone".

    I do like how people create new Libertarian ideas though, which I have found are usually based on lack of opportunity. " I can't and will never be able to do "this" so no one should and if you do your not a pure Libertarian like me!!"

    Gets old.

  3. How to find freedom in an unfree world. Harry Browne covered it pretty well in his book of similar title. But Mr. Miller may have a point. Many libertarians are big on rhetoric but small on action. They know that government funded projects are using stolen money but they feel they have no practical choice and so its OK to use them, as long as you criticize while doing so. Most libertarians give themselves a pass on this. That's their choice but they should recognize this behavior only enables the might makes right crowd because action speaks louder than words. The alternative suggested by Mr. Miller is to boycott. A very legitimate and sometimes effective action. The problem is even Mr. Miller perceives the cost as too high. Patrick Henry is quoted as saying "give me liberty or give me death" and followed through with action that put his own life in danger. Today's libertarian can't even muster the courage to endure some economic inconvenience to defend liberty. Mr. Millers suggestion is at least worth a discussion.

    Mr. Wenzel seems to be using the term "rights" in a political context. I think of myself having a right to my life and liberty as long as I do not trespass against another human. This is a right relative to other humans and there are no other rights. The only way rights become mystical is if they require trespassing against another human.

    1. Economic courage, enduring some inconvenience? Well lets see, that means not using the stock market, not using federal reserve notes, not using any currency other than PMs and other barter. Certainly that most likely means being a proprietor of a business (because withholding and dollars if you work for most companies) but never getting the required government licenses or inspections. And if some company is found to work for it must forgo such things too while paying in gold, silver, or some other not-government agreed upon medium. And of course never filing an income tax form. I can go on...

      Essentially that economic inconvenience quickly becomes living in a shack in the woods in Montana like the Unibomber. Obviously that isn't workable.

      So where does the line get drawn and by who?

      These things are presented as purity tests within libertarianism and by statists who think they are clever and it is hypocrisy to do what it takes to live in a world controlled by statists.

      But back to the roads, my stock answer is that I would be very happy if the government is reduced, dismantled really, such that all that remains is a simple institution that is responsible for caring for the roads and nothing more.

    2. Rather than boycotting all industries controlled by the state crime syndicate just one would be a start. Mr. Miller suggested the highways but that appears to difficult. How about the airlines and the airports and the TSA? Or maybe the so-called mass transit of busses and lightrail? Perhaps the post office, electric utilities, pharmaceutical industries, Tesla the electric auto manufacturer, or public schools. We have a target rich environment is there nothing libertarians would take action to boycott in an effort to retrieve some of our lost liberty?

  4. Hazlitt's book is available free on And an interesting book it appears to be.

  5. I'll have to check it out. It seems to be a hybrid of utilitarianism (which is not very defensible at a fundamental level), and practical reason. The latter is based on a conception of natural law and natural goods, a firmer foundation but which acknowledges the mass of gray in particular situations.

    Hoppe throws a bomb into the intellectual mix with his focus on logic, ownership and self-contradictions. I have yet to figure out how to unify it all. I tend to think Hoppe gets you pretty far, but that his famous contradictions don't necessarily imply the full extent of ownership; more like, a presumption of the natural order.

  6. I don't think libertarianism is supposed to be a suicide pact. I see nothing wrong in using things like the roads while protesting the state's control of them. The libertarian would be happy if he wins that argument and the roads become private property.

    If you're in a state-run prison camp and the guards offer you food, should you reject it on the basis that the food was acquired using tax dollars? Should you reject it to protest being imprisoned? No to both. You take it to live your life, while continuing to protest the camp and hopefully one day leave it.