Libertarian Opinion

Libertarianism is About Peace and Respect, not Somalia

Somalia is not a libertarian utopia. Find out what is.

Libertarianism is about associating with others in a civilized way. Libertarians want to deal with their fellow human beings using reason, persuasion and other peaceful means. We don’t want to coerce. We expect to not be coerced in return. Libertarianism is about freedom. In order to have freedom, we must first have peace. Libertarians recognize that liberty can’t exist without responsibility. So we’re big on accountability.

Libertarian critics like to snark that we should move to Somalia. There is no state in Somalia. The people there enjoy considerable liberty. It is a stateless society. It’s quite libertarian in some respects. But that’s not our utopia. It’s not what we’re shooting for. Somalia was victimized by British and Italian colonialism. A dictator razed the country during his twenty year reign. The people say no to more of this. They pursue a more traditional, clan-based form of living. That’s their right. Libertarians in the west, however, are generally more individualistic.

What would a libertarian society look like? It’s impossible to predict the actions of 7 billion liberated people. So we don’t know. We can only point to examples of how libertarianism works right now, such as in private arbitration, neighborhood watch, credit cards, mutual aid and countless other examples. In “Private Law,” Robert Murphy imagines how law can arise from voluntary relationships. Non-state defense can arise from these contracts. Justice would be transformed to a restitution model based on contract violations. Instead of punishment, people would make their victims whole.

Libertarians endure constant abuse in our pursuit of a more just society. The above video is a lighthearted takeoff on our trials and tribulations with some reasonable, if brief, answers in response. Enjoy.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

3 replies on “Libertarianism is About Peace and Respect, not Somalia”

Actually, traditional Somalian culture is a libertarian treasure trove because Somali customary law is compensatory rather than punitive, as in Robert Murphy’s proposition. There’s a great book about this called The Law of the Somalis, by Michael van Notten. It’s very important to look to Somalia right now because it’s pretty clear that all of its problems stem from the interventionist West and attempts to establish a government. But if no central authority manages to take control of a country whose people know very well how to handle themselves without it, all of us in the West would see that libertarianism works, and that would be a major step for the libertarian movement.

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