Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Thing

My essay on libertarianism, drawing on several of the themes I often write about here, has been posted at EconLib, at Liberty Fund.

Sometimes I wonder what the "state" is. There is this guy, George Bush, who in many ways runs the state, but my statist friends hate him. The state must be something else. It could be Louis XIV, of course, because he said as much "l'Etat, c'est moi!" But my friends don't really think Louis XIV was the ideal form of government. What is the answer? What is the state?

I am proud to say that I have found the state: It is Cherrail Curry-Hagler, of the DC Transit Police.



PRB said...

I realize that you were making a bigger point, but a few thoughts about the DC metro case:

1. Ms. Willet was going down the escalator at 6:30 PM (i.e., DC rush hour). She worked at the EPA. Had Ms. Willet perhaps take the Metro before? Was she perhaps aware of the strict no-food policy? As a former resident, I'd give a 99% chance of a "yes" to that.

2. If Ms. Willet wanted to eat her candy bar and be a true libertarian hero at the same time, might she have instead driven her SUV home instead of taking public transit? Without the state, the Metro wouldn't exist; if she's going to use it of her own free will, maybe she should follow the rules. For that matter, are we to take Ms. Willet--AN EPA EMPLOYEE--as a martyr victimized by an out-of-control state?

3. Note that Ms. Willet didn't get arrested for the act of eating the candy bar. She and the officer disagreed as to why she got cuffed, but that's one point that they agree on.

4. If one wanted to choose an example of DC Metro wackiness, this isn't even the best one--you should look up the story about the schoolkid getting cuffed.

5. I'm not saying I endorse the Singapore-style Metro tactics, but then again: I've been on the Metro and I've been on the El and the NYC subway, and I'm pretty sure which of the three is the cleanest. And, again: There are plenty of ways to get around DC for people who dislike the state and its shiny Metro with its 70s style seat padding.

6. I just might be in favor of similar treatment for Metro riders who stand on the left of the escalators. As for the tourists who talk too loudly on it: Canings all around.

PRB said...

Also: Love the site.

Especially the picture of Sheaves (perhaps he would scoff at my threats of canings). Although I should point out that he did give me a huge amount of help in getting data for my dissertation, so it would behoove me to show a little gratitude.