It’s one of the buzzwords in the world of politics: compromise. People talk about moving to the center of the aisle and coming together. But is compromise always possible? This is one of the dilemmas of the libertarian in the political world.
Imagine this: you and I are hanging out one morning. You ask how I would like to spend the day with you. I reply by saying, “I want to kill 100 people.” You respond with, “Whoa. No way, I’m not killing anyone!”
I answer, “Fine, we’ll compromise. We’ll kill 50 people today.”
What’s the problem here? Why is the “compromise” so unfair to you?
We do not agree on the end. I want to kill people, you don’t. Because of this, the numbers involved are meaningless, making this is a clear cut example.
Now look at the libertarian in the political realm. For example, since libertarians are against taxation, and nearly all statists favor some form of it, there is no compromise by trying to agree to come up with a tax rate somewhere in the middle. This could work if one party wanted a 10% rate and the other wanted a 35% rate. Maybe they could agree on a 20% tax rate.
For the libertarian, taxes are just out of the question, just like killing people is for any sane person.
Okay, so a day of murdering is a little extreme, I get that. Here’s another example to illustrate a further point.
We have the same scenario: you and I are both looking for something to do. I suggest that we each drink a 6-pack of beer. You’re not interested in drinking, so you say, “No, I don’t want to drink any beer.” As you might expect, Mr. Compromising Me replies, “Fine, we’ll evenly split a 6-pack.”
In this situation, you’re free to simply tell me that I can drink the beer by myself. You’re not interested and you won’t participate. But what happens if I refuse to accept that you won’t participate? This doesn’t sound like something a good friend would do. In fact, I don’t sound like a friend at all. You don’t see me as your friend. I’m the one telling you that we’re friends, but I’m making you act against your free will.
This is akin to taxation and any other sort of government intrusion into the individual’s life. The libertarian will be forced to participate simply because he or she exists within a certain geographical area.
The state is the bad-idea-machine friend who forces you to engage in some form of the activity they suggested, no matter what.