Why Wouldn’t They Use the Roads?
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big-L Libertarian. I don’t even really count as a little-l libertarian, although I’m fairly sympathetic to their views. So when discussions of topics related to those ideas come up, I tend to pay attention.
There is a recurring talking point related to libertarianism which I’ve seen repeatedly widely in many different contexts, and which has always confused me. It comes up when someone is attacking libertarians / fiscal conservatives / Objectivists / etc. “If they object to the government’s taking money and spending it to benefit society”, the argument runs, “why do they still use the roads, hmm? They don’t seem to have any problems with taking advantage of our system of highways.”
Now, the mere fact that the sort of people who make this argument are stupid and ignorant enough to conflate all those categories might be enough to account for any absurd features of any arguments they put forward. I’ll grant that. But let’s look closer at this particular argument, anyway.
Let’s leave aside for the moment the question of precisely why someone from those vaguely-defined categories might object to the state taking resources and using them for things. Why in the world would someone who opposed that refuse to use roads? They’ve already paid for their construction and maintenance – not by choice, but by compulsion – so why should they deny themselves the utility of the transportation network?
I mean, what do the arguers believe fiscal conservatives would be proving to anyone? Even as a purely symbolic act, how would not driving on roads score ‘points’? And with whom?