Although my libertarianism has many different “foundations,” I want to focus on this one in particular. I take it as a truism that people like different things, and likewise that the world is full of scarce resources with alternate uses. Any system of human “governance” (in the broadest sense of the term) must come to terms with these two facts. I am a libertarian, at least partially, because I believe the market system tends to better rationalize different tastes and to produce more abundance of those scarce things.
.. there is only one solution that produces a rational, socially optimal result: property rights and rights of transfer. ..
.. Property rights create social cohesion because they keep us from fighting over how property will be used. They are a socially optimal solution to the problem that people like different things, and they can be endorsed by people with severely contrasting tastes. I let you have dominion over your property because I want dominion over mine. I’ll let you play your Barry Manilow if you let me play my Bob Dylan. And if you’re playing your music too loud, I’ll knock on your door.
Yes, this doesn’t solve all the problems that come with people liking different things, but it does an amazing job of solving most of them. Moreover, a system of respect for property rights does not invent new, unnecessary problems. Under normal situations, it is not a problem that you listen to Barry Manilow and I listen to Bob Dylan, as long as we respect property rights. If we politicize music preferences, however, we will invent a problem out of thin air, namely what are “we” going to listen to?
After something is politicized, “keeping to yourself” is no longer an option. Instead, you have to play the political game if you want to live your life according to your values.
I am a libertarian because I hate the game. We live in a time that increasingly fetishizes democratic choice as a method of rationalizing our disparate preferences. This is ludicrous. Democratic choice is at best a method of solving some collective action problems that are truly problems, and it is hardly ever a real problem that people like different things.