The libertarian way
EDITOR: Arguing from ignorance is rarely attractive. Michael Lind asks why there are no libertarian countries, stumping columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., who concludes that libertarianism's Achilles' heel has been exposed ("Exposing libertarianism's Achilles' heel," June 10).
Yet one answer to Lind's question appeared the day before in a cartoon depicting a politician refusing to use his power to give people jobs, health care or public works. Obviously, libertarianism doesn't appeal to those who want to live off the efforts of others.
Another reason why there are no libertarian countries is because kings, dictators and ordinary politicians spare no expense in acquiring and holding power. This is so obvious and expected that we are surprised on those rare occasions when power is voluntarily given up. Whether it is the first pope in 600 years to resign or George Washington's refusal to seek a third term, we are surprised as we expect those in power to seek ever more power.
Brute force never organizes society as well as voluntary cooperation. That is the Achilles' heel of all government, which is why we need to keep it small and strictly limited. It will still be arrogant, abusive and wasteful, but it will be so small that we won't care.
JAMES R. OGLESBY
EDITOR: Everyone hates PG&E. That makes Sonoma Clean Power an easier sell for ambitious politicians and those who stand to make big money from the county buying in. The backers can pay consultants and lure taxpayers to pack public meetings to argue the benefits of Sonoma Clean Power. But the fact is that the public is being sold a pleasing bill of goods about this being cleaner, greener, cheaper and more local than PG&E.
Make no mistake, what we've been told is the tip of the iceberg. This project is all about making money and rushing the county to buy in. We would all love a real alternative to those who brought us the San Bruno explosion, but the fact is that Sonoma Clean Power isn't that alternative, no matter what our starry-eyed local officials, the backers and their well-paid consultants tell us.