Katrina versus Libertarians

Like much of the blogosphere, Centroids has been
discussing the fallout from Katrina and what it tells us about
both government and Libertarian philosophy — specifically, the
limits of both.

The discussion has certainly been spirited, if somewhat uneven.
One of the most creative was Rich Hockett’s proposal for privatizing and tying
together flood prevention and insurance, which led me to
assert three fundamental fallacies of Libertarianism

a) There is always a
solution that does not require a strong central authority with coercive

b) Big business
is inherently wiser than big

c) Rational,
self-interested financial calculations *always* yield the optimal social result

and the following axiom of small

order to deal with a real, large problem, the only way to make government a)
smaller is to simultaneously make it b) stronger, and c)

My problem with
Libertarians is that they demand (a) while claiming (b) is undesirable and (c)
is impossible! I also replied to Rich’s fundamental

> 1) there
are many problems that can (and should) be handled by the private sector rather
than the public, and that’s OK

> 2) local institutions
(private and public) are more effective and efficient than big

> 3) rational,
self-interested financial calculations often yield better results than political

with my own

a) Market
solutions allow greater individual creativity at the price of lower social

b) Local
solutions enable greater responsiveness at the risk of global

c) Rational,
self-interested financial calculations are only optimal if they take into
account long-term

d) Rational,
self-interested political calculations are only optimal if they take into
account long-term

though I did

e) Our current
financial systems tend to provide greater discipline than our current political

Though as a fixable aspect
of the systems involved, not an immutable law of nature.