THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 834, August 16, 2015
School is only a starting place for education
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Our old friend Edwin Lyngar is at it again. A while back, I wrote a response to an article on Salon.com written by a man who claimed to be a former libertarian. He said that he became disillusioned with libertarians, when he realized how selfish, crazy and uneducated they were. This time he wrote about what he experienced while vacationing in Honduras and tries to use this as a shining example of the failures of libertarianism. Yeah, whenever I think of libertarianism, I think of Honduras. A country ruled by a military dictatorship and has a very low ranking on the Heritage Foundation's list of economically free countries.
In his article, "My Libertarian Vacation Nightmare" Lyngar claims that his vacation was what put the final nail in the coffin of his libertarian beliefs. Once again it's hard to believe that this man was ever a libertarian. For him to use a military dictatorship as an example of libertarianism, shows that he has no idea what he is talking about. Not even Bill Maher, who has spent years incorrectly calling himself a libertarian, would make this mistake. Lyngar complains about how the privatization of certain industries and utilities have left them ineffective. What Lyngar doesn't realize is that Honduras used to have a socialist economy where everything was centrally planned and owned by the government. In the last decade the government was forced to privatize certain industries, when their foreign investors told them that they wouldn't be able to sustain themselves much longer.
One of Lyngar's many complaints is the condition of the roads, which he attributes to Honduras' budget cuts. He complains about the abundance of potholes in the roads and the lack of a speed limit. Lyngar then complains about having to go through a series of military check points, instead of the roads being patrolled by the police.
Obviously he is using this instance to reinforce the old straw man argument about libertarians not wanting roads. How is it that this "Recovering Libertarian" doesn't know that we believe that roads should be in private hands, since people have a much better incentive to take care of something that is theirs? In the case of Honduras while it seems that the government has certainly neglected their roads, they still have military checkpoints, which means that they are still in control of them. Obviously, he isn't aware that despite the billions of dollars that has been going into the roads and infrastructure in America, we still have places that are crumbling as we speak. Also, nothing says libertarian like military check points. Sadly, with Lyngar's limited understanding of libertarianism, he probably wouldn't be able to detect sarcasm in that last sentence. I find it interesting that the government of Honduras doesn't seem to have the money to fix the potholes in the roads, but it still has a place in the budget for military checkpoints. If anything this seems like another example of government not being able to spend money wisely.
I also like the way Lyngar belittles the local entrepreneurs who are willing to spend the time and money to fix the potholes that the government apparently doesn't think is a priority. He talks about this as if this is the dream of all libertarians. Never mind that if Honduras was as truly libertarian as he claims then the roads would never have been left to the government to manage in the first place. If it had been left in the private hands of entrepreneurs who were willing to invest their own money, then it would be unlikely that they would have allowed it to fall into such ruin.
Another thing that I find somewhat telling about Lyngar's article is the way that he seems disturbed about how the people of Honduras have taken up arms due to the lack of police protection. First he complains about the shop owners who have hired what he describes as armed thugs with guns placed down the front of their pants for protection. Would it have made him feel better if those had been security guards in fancy uniforms? He then complains about a restaurant owner who greeted him and his family while sporting a pistol holstered in a gun belt. Then he proceeds to tell us that's what a libertarian paradise looks like.
I don't know what I find more amusing. That he actually believes that Honduras is a libertarian paradise or his failure to realize that his credibility as a former libertarian is shrinking with every sentence. I find it hard to believe that a former libertarian would be so freaked out about people carrying guns. If he would bother to do some research, then he would know that private ownership of firearms in Honduras is illegal. Despite the anti-gun pipedream that many left- wingers have, Honduras actually has one of the highest crime rates in Latin America. Personally I would be flattered if an owner of a store or restaurant cared so much about my patronage that he was willing to illegally carry a firearm to protect me, but that's just me.
What also calls Lyngar's former libertarianism in question, was his extreme lack of understanding of basic economics. How is it that he can't seem to understand that privatization isn't necessarily synonymous with free markets? As Robert Weazal pointed on his Target-Liberty website, Honduras is actually one of the toughest places in the world to start a business with all the regulations and bureaucracy that one would have to comply with. Weazal also pointed out that Honduras has one of the most complicated minimum wage laws in the world, which may have more to do with the country's poverty and unemployment, then the privatization that Lyngar places the blame on.
It turns out that I am not the only one who has had his suspicions about this "Recovering Libertarian." A libertarian by the name of Christopher Cantwell has done his own research on our friend Edwin Lyngar and has yet to find any evidence of this man's former libertarianism. If he was a libertarian, he wasn't very expressive about it. At one point Lyngar even claimed that he was a delegate for The Ron Paul campaign, yet Cantwell also said that he talked with several people who had worked on Ron Paul's campaign and none of them had heard of Edwin Lyngar. About the only evidence that Lyngar provides as proof of his service to Ron Paul was a picture of the two together with no indication of when or where it was taken.
I could still be wrong, but now I am almost sure that Edwin Lyngar was never a libertarian in any fashion, which explains why his reasons for rejecting libertarianism seemed to be based on a serious of straw man arguments that are usually made by statists who don't know jack about libertarianism and don't seem too interested in learning. I find it somewhat ironic that Lyngar also wrote an article about how certain people on the left should be willing to fight dirty to get their ideas across. Apparently he thinks that fighting dirty should include deception, which in my opinion shows the extreme lack of faith that the man has in his own ideas.
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