July 24, 2003

Wanted: a Department of Anarchy

Every statist in the world has at one time or another called private enterprise solutions anarchy. They just can't see how things such as food production, heavy industry, road transport, or many other services could ever be accomplished as something other than a pure state system. And clearly there are some things that nobody has successfully figured out how to privatize in the modern age (like the military or concluding treaties with foreign powers). But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try. This, in essence, is the argument of minarchy, the idea that the government which governs best, governs least.

Obviously the name must go (though there would be something delightfully wicked in having a DoA issuing edicts terminating bureaucracies "sorry, you're DoA'd") but there's something to be said for a permanent department whose sole task is to privatize the function of every other government bureaucracy.

It would create an institutional force during budget and authorization times for the provision of obvious social goods via private arrangement and would allow old, no longer useful sections of the government to come under quick scrutiny and be recommended for Congressional action to eliminate or executive order to eviscerate the useless bureaucratic parasites.

So what's wrong with the private equivalents of a DoA? Unlike many free market ideologues, minarchists are practical in the sense that if the private alternatives aren't working, shifting effort into government action isn't verboten but may be a temporary necessity until we can figure out how to get the job done without forcible taxation.

Right now, the job of keeping our freedom is slowly being lost on many fronts as traditional small government forces abandon fiscal discipline and few care to go through the fight necessary to evict even minor expenditures. Jim Nussle and the government oversight committee are a step in the right direction but more is needed because government reform is about spending smarter while the DoA would be about how to transition to not spending at all out of the taxpayer's purse.

I would expect a DoA to eventually privatize itself and perhaps be brought back into the govt. fold when the further descendants of a free people draw close to losing their freedom to government growth once again. There is now no real institutional constituency in government for less government. There should be.

Posted by TMLutas at July 24, 2003 01:14 PM