Public Choice Theory and the Story of How I Adopted the Views I Have Now

Now that the two-year anniversary of this domain’s registration is over, an even bigger milestone has passed. Four years ago during the night of the 2008 presidential elections, I finally rejected Minarchism in favor of free market anarchism. While the terminology I would use to describe myself has evolved somewhat, the actual means of association between people and resources that I find most desirable has remained pretty stable.

 

I still doubt that laws against victimless crimes are necessary. I am also skeptical of the idea that any problems in the mutual exchange of a free market can be solved by putting trust into an institution that has even more power than the very individuals and organizations it is supposed to police. There is no way in hell I can effectively defend that claim here – a book is in the works that is supposed to do that.

 

I suppose this would be a good time to describe what my final breaking point entailed because I also happen to be reading a book for the first time that reinforces it. On the night of the election, I was paying special attention to the fact that they all tend to operate around the assumption that 51% of all voters should be able to impose their preferences on the other 49% as well as all those who do not or cannot vote. On top of that, I found myself having a hard time deciding what voters under a Libertarian society would actually vote on; if government is already playing it’s proper role than why hold elections in the first place? Are we supposed to just vote for a candidate that will be more diligent about not infringing on the rights of others?

 

All that seemed a little problematic; especially given the fact that I already knew that government was really nothing more than a major exception to nearly every rule we apply to ordinary citizens. Again, this is an area that I cannot dive too deep into here either but a section of my book in the works will deal with this very issue. To put it simply, there is no ethical justification for government that does not fall back on either a tautology or abandoning it for a cost/benefit approach.

 

Anyways, elections. So given the fact that it was a slight dilemma stemming from elections that led me to finally adopt a Market Anarchist way of thinking, I decided I would celebrate it by actually taking time to read a book I have known about for years but never had a chance to read until now:

 

The Myth of the Rational Voter

This is probably one of the most underrated and increasingly relevant books of all time.

 

So far all I have known about the book is based on an economic paper that summed up much of the book’s thesis. For those of you who feel you might not read the book or would simply like a taste test of what Bryan Caplan has to offer in this area, I highly recommend reading that paper and sharing it with others. Honestly, Brian Caplan has provided a cure for the widely held assumption that our electoral system is something that gives accountability to government and can result in rational policy.

 

Caplan points out that there are a number false assumptions that the general public has on economic issues, and that we cannot expect these to cancel out and be overcome by a small percentage of the voting populous that do know what their doing at the voting booth. On top of that (and this should be pretty obvious), there is very little consequence in actually voting anyway:

 

PBS – “Voting Schmoting” from Tilapia Film on Vimeo.

 

To think that I never even knew the name for this field of economics until earlier this year. It is literally a line of attack on not just specific public policy positions, but the entire notion of having public policy as a whole.┬áIf I held the view that government was capable of being a robust institution, I would be in quite the crisis upon seeing this information for the first time. I know I sure was when I pondered it four years ago. Come to think of it, I think it makes perfect sense to share this. Hopefully a few readers will do the same to help get the public thinking more skeptically about the false notion of government “accountability.”

 

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