ProfessorBainbridge.com | Stephen Bainbridge | I don't understand why more winemakers aren't libertariansFor the same reason that conservatives who don't trust government employees somehow do trust government employees once they've been given me a gun and a badge: people don't connect the dots.
[...] something I've heard from many winemakers, as they also almost uniformly bitch and moan about land use regulations, which seem to be the bane of their existence. So if a conservative is a liberal who just got mugged, why aren't winemakers all libertarians?
The State's lifeblood is coercion and violence. It is arbitrary and amoral and inefficient. Not only when you happen to hit some friction with a department or bureau or organ you dislike: always.
Sometimes individual state actors do a good job. Some of them care. But sometimes a bear in the woods doesn't eat you.
Sometimes Mama Grizzly doesn't devour you; Nature is nevertheless red in tooth and claw. Sometimes governmental employees do good works; the State is nevertheless an institution premised entirely on using violence to compel other people's behavior.
We've been trained to believe that the Government are the Good Guys. (This is why conservatives love cops and soldiers: they position themselves in contrast to the "the Bad Guys" and thus look more like the Good Guys.) Almost everyone with power reinforces this belief, from your elementary school teacher to the President. But they aren't the Good Guys. They aren't necessarily the Bad Guys either. They're just Guys. This is the Fundamental Insight of Libertarianism.
That's a scary thing to come to grips with. It's comforting to think the guy with the power of life and death is the best and the brightest. He's not. He's the same jumped-up dweeb you remember from 8th grade who promised that if you elected him class president every day would be pizza day in the cafeteria, but really was only running because he thought if he won then maybe the cute brunetter in homeroom wouldn't ignore him. That's who's in charge of the State. The only difference is now he has better hair, a winning smile, and a raging case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
PS For an excellent contemporary example of this Government == Good Guys illusion, check out the infuriating and dismal consequences of letting a girl cross the street. If any citizen threatens to kidnap a child it's a community-wide pants-shitting moment. If someone with a business card from Child Protective Services knocks on your door to take your child away you're expected to acquiesce no questions asked.