Thursday, 21 August 2008

Not so wild

I wonder just how sound is David Cameron's knowledge of history:
David Cameron: Binge drinking is turning Britain into 'Wild West'

We libertarians know that the "wildness" of the west is a bit of a myth:

Economic activity on the U.S. frontier during the nineteenth century took place in an environment where government was largely absent. Nevertheless, the West, as described by Terry Anderson and P J. Hill, was not nearly as "wild" as has been depicted by some historians and by Hollywood. According to Anderson and Hill, the key to the successful and, by and large, peaceful enforcement of contracts, as well as the generally peaceful exploitation of what at the outset were common access resources, was the emergence of a set of rules, both formal and informal, that assigned property rights to agents operating in this new economy.
Quite so. But if we were allowed to protect ourselves against violent neds (drunk or otherwise) and develop the institutions of civil society without the "help" of the state then what exactly would politicians be for?

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