Friday, December 03, 2004

Libertarian Hearts New York

Reason editor Nick Gillespie recently wrote about how, surprise, he sorta doesn't like all the places which top Forbes magazine's "US Freedom index" which is simply a bunch of low tax places. Gillespie realizes that maybe there are more important things to worry about than taxes and regulations, and, well, hey, he likes New York City.

All of that is well and good, but what he doesn't quite do is take it all the way to the conclusion. New York City isn't as good as it is in spite of its high taxes and regulations, it could not exist without them. That's not to say all taxes/expenditures/regulations are good, but a densely populated place like NYC just simply would not exist and would not function without a pretty active government.

NYC couldn't exist without an immense public transit system. It couldn't exist without a rather large public sector keeping the place relatively clean and safe and functioning. It couldn't exist without pesky zoning and other regulations in such a dense environment, property rights are always going to be somewhat fuzzy. Frankly, it couldn't exist without all the things libertarians tend to get upset about.

I like New York. I don't think all people do or should. Not all people want to live in a place like New York. But, New York isn't and couldn't be a libertarian paradise and still be New York. And, nor could the rest of the country...