Is Government Really Necessary?
Freedom, Naturally: A Review of Morris and Linda Tannehill’s, The Market for Liberty
by Joel Bowman
It is at times useful to imagine how a truly laissez-faire society, one entirely emancipated from the shackles of state coercion, might exist and operate. Morris and Linda Tannehill examine this very idea in, The Market for Liberty: Is Government Really Necessary?
Market for Liberty imagines a totally free society; one with no government intrusion whatsoever; one in which the free market is left to respond to the demands of individuals, without recourse to institutionalized coercion – implied or actual. Is such a stateless existence even possible, much less preferable? Or, as so many contend, is it merely an academically contrived utopia?
Morris and Linda Tannehill address all the usual fears and protestations that a truly non-governmental – i.e. anarchist society – conjures up.
Whenever there arises in conversation the mere suggestion of a totally free, laissez-faire market, the possibility that human beings might even be able to survive (much less thrive) without the safety net of State control, apologists for “benevolent government” invariably step atop their soapboxes and ask:
“Yes, but who will provide education for the masses, if not the public schools?” or “Who will care for the sick and weak, if not the public hospitals?”
Indeed, these are questions that deserve thoughtful, honest answers. But these questions assume realities that are not in evidence.
They suppose that “the public” (i.e., the state) actually has money to “provide” these services, rather than, as is actually the case, first having to expropriate (steal) it from private, productive individuals. Furthermore, the fallacy of benign governmental control relies on the idea that governments can provide essential services more reliably and cost-effectively than the private sector.