A good friend of mine posted the following cartoon to facebook, with instructions: “If house pets were libertarians. (And someone, please sketch the opposite…)”
The middle panel begs the question, in the logical sense. Of course, we humans have outside knowledge that the filter is absolutely necessary for the survival of the fish. The necessity of myriad government boondoggles however, is not so well established. The other two panels are reasonable to the extent that libertarians say these sorts of things.
Regarding the first panel: Sure, governments do things for us. Any libertarian who says otherwise is wrong. Sure, the government also does things to us that libertarians don’t appreciate, but that’s an aside. The theory, from a libertarian point of view, is that, since government extracts payment for its services at threat of force, and without regard to whether it pleases its customers, there is no way to tell whether the taxpayer gets his money’s worth. Many surely do. Many do not.
There is an element of question-begging in the first panel as well. The dog in the comic plainly rebuffed the better end of the bargain. When the IRS forces taxpayers at threat of imprisonment to cough up $2.6 billion to, say, put a rover on Mars, the value of that deal to the taxpayers isn’t quite as clear.
Regarding the third panel: I believe that the cat has spoken a group slander upon the destitute that libertarians should avoid. The reality is, simply, that people respond to economic incentives. Where barriers to market entry discourage work, libertarians should not hold that against the poor and jobless.
With that all said, here is my response cartoon. Not personally sketched, as requested, but rather plagiarized. It will do for now. I claim fair use on a matter of public interest: