If you ever wanted a metaphor for punching yourself in the face, look no further than the guys at Liberty Hangout trying to mash the round peg of the state into the square hole of libertarianism. They always find ways to promote ideas that are antithetical to libertarianism and then try to package them as pure. They recently tweeted out their latest:
Drug testing welfare recipients is simple a means of reducing the number of ppl on welfare. To oppose this is to support the welfare state.
I suppose that he’s trying to make a consequentialist argument. First of all, one of the many problems with this is that it very clearly fails the deontological test. Forcing people to take drug tests is an obvious violation of rights. But more problematic is his clear misunderstanding of what libertarian consequentialism is. It’s not the “end justifies the means.” If that were case, then why not just murder anyone on welfare? That would surely very effectively reduce the number of people on welfare.
Libertarian consequentialism argues that voluntary associations and transactions will always outstrip the state’s central planning in terms of production and usefulness to society. To sit there and try to develop a plan for state action—and expect it to work despite your acknowledgement that central planning fails in literally every other attempt that you don’t approve of—is unbelievably childish. There’s no silver bullet for anything. You simply cannot state that the government should do something and that it will happen exactly as you planned. Considering the humanity and the self-interest of everyone in the state involved, any state action leads to unintended consequences that cause problems that need additional solving. That’s why consequentialists reject it. This is an unbelievably horrible mistake on Liberty Hangout’s part.
But the people over at Liberty Hangout just want the apparently quick and easy solution to the problem of welfare. How high time preference of them.
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