April Freeman Banner 2014


But What About the Mail?


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What is so special about the mail? Must government be the sole provider? Would a postal system really be so terrible in the hands of a competitive system? We and most other countries have a government monopoly, so maybe it must be that way.

Libertarians are often called out for believing the State should be responsible for as little as possible. As Henry David Thoreau wrote (taking some liberty with the motto of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review): “That government is best that governs least.”

But the mail, really? Who believes this service can be provided without a State monopoly? As this October 9, 1967 Newsweek column by Milton Friedman shows, economics provides evidence for why a competitive system would work better. And not only that: The State, along with special interests, has pulled the wool over our eyes to hide the true reason the government’s monopoly exists.

I believe Friedman is right and our lack of imagination is our undoing. Just because the State currently performs a function does not mean the private sector cannot do it. Once we realize that government is “inefficient and backward,” as Friedman put it, and the competitive system can actually solve these problems, we should start asking if maybe, just maybe, the market might be the better option for other things the State does today.

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April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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