The presidential contest between Clinton and Trump (can we shorten that to “Clump”?) is so depressing that it’s time to distract ourselves with some libertarian humor.
And I’m even willing so share such humor when libertarians are the target of mockery.
We have a new addition to that list. Here’s Ron Paul selling Libertarios, a “deregulated cereal.”
I have to confess that I laughed when I first saw this. The “prizes inside” on the lower left is an especially clever touch.
I suppose I should take this opportunity to explain why “Libertarios” wouldn’t actually exist in a genuine free market.
- First (and I can’t believe I actually have to explain this), it’s not profitable to poison/kill/nauseate/irritate customers. Investors are not going to sink a bunch of their money (building factories, buying raw materials, marketing, etc) into a cereal without making sure there is some reasonable expectation that the product will be sufficiently attractive to generate a profit.
- Second, libertarian theory very explicitly embraces the use of the legal system to impose costs and penalties on those who (presumably by accident) do things that cause harm to others. So when mistakes happen (as they will in any system), there is a mechanism for monetary compensation. Perhaps even more important, unfettered markets produce a web of “mutually reinforcing private regulation.”
The bottom line is that people value health and safety, so markets naturally will seek to provide these things. In part because most people are decent human beings. But even if some folks aren’t good, there will be pressure to provide health and safety simply because it’s a way to earn profits and avoid costs.
Some people have a hard time believing this, which is why they embrace command-and-control regulation.
And they periodically cite examples of how mandates and red tape from government are supposedly correlated with good outcomes. One of my favorite examples is the data showing a decline in workplace deaths after the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fans of OSHA think this is a slam-dunk argument showing the benefits of regulation.
Perhaps, but then they need to explain why workplace deaths were consistently falling way before OSHA was ever created. When you look at a chart with long-run historical data, the most obvious conclusion is that the bureaucracy and accompanying red tape hasn’t had any positive impact.
In other words, workplace deaths have been falling for a very long time. Mostly because such tragedies are very bad for the bottom line, and also because societies can afford more health and safety as they get richer.
Went out of business Executives lost jobs Investors lost money Civil penalties imposed
So, yes, laugh at the Libertarios humor, but also keep in mind that in a genuine free market that such a cereal never would exist.
And if it did somehow materialize, the box actually would be accompanied by some additional information (which I have helpfully added since I’m a thoughtful person).
By the way, if you’re still not convinced, take a trip to North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, or some other statist paradise. I’m sure you won’t be able to get honest data on workplace deaths, but you’ll quickly learn about the limits of command-and-control health-and-safety regulation if you buy a bunch of consumer products.
P.S. Needless to say, I also have a collection of explicitly pro-libertarian humor.
Libertarian Jesus scolding modern statists.
This poster about confused statists.
The libertarian version of a sex fantasy.
The theory and reality of occupational licensing.
Libertarian Star Wars.
I also have lots of anti-big government humor (I especially like these cartoons), but the above list are the jokes and images I have that are based on a purely libertarian perspective.
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