Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Peter Pike has already replied to Reppert, leaving me with precious little to say. But I will pick up on a part of Reppert’s statement:

“But I'm just skeptical of these ‘socialism versus capitalism’ arguments. We socialize some things and we ‘capitalize’ some things. No one wants to privatize the public education system (though we may want the law to protect homeschoolers).”

I’m in favor of privatizing public education. So much for that example.

“No one wants to privatize the police department…”

Actually, I don’t see why state or local authorities couldn’t hire private security firms to do police work. For example, security guards are sometimes hired as campus police. To be sure, we’d need to change the laws to confer the same rights and responsibilities private police.

“…the fire department.”

Once again, what’s the antecedent objection to a private fire dept.? To take a real world example:


“…the interstate highway system.”

Given that private industry built the transcontinental railroad, I don’t see why private industry would be unable to build or maintain an interstate highway system.

I’d add that John Stossel has argued for the privatization of the highway system:


“...or the military.”

i) Actually, private armies are nothing new, and our own military contracts out some dangerous assignments to private firms.

ii) However, the military isn’t comparable to business. To some extent the armed forces need to be inefficient. By that I mean national security requires a generous margin for error. We can’t afford to underestimate our security needs. So a certain amount of duplication is required. We need plenty in reserve for whatever contingencies may arise.

iii) Moreover, a national defense is just that. So naturally we’re going to nationalize our national defense–especially for a continental nation-state like the US. That’s hardly comparable to state and local police.


  1. http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/02/colton-california-considers-disbanding.html
    This is a link to an article about fire departments contracting out to an outside agency.

  2. Are you just arguing with him on his own terms, or do you really believe that a Christian political system would be libertarian?

  3. I don't object to gov't doing whatever the private sector either can't do as well or can't to at all.

    However, Reppert acts as though his examples are self-evidently true. He's obviously done no research on the issue, or even thought very deeply about the issue.

    Also, privatizing various functions isn't synonymous with libertarian philosophy.

  4. As far as the military goes, it's not staffed by bureaucrats so much. Rather, private citizens enlist or are contracted into the ranks of the armed forces for a fixed time of service. Then they return to the private sector.

    But weapons and equipment development and manufacturing are done in the private sector.

    Public school systems are supposed to be local government charges, but state governments have grown to regulate education and channel national funds to and control over aspects of local school systems.

    Most law enforcement is local with state and national level law enforcement only for specific areas of enforcement.

    Fire departments are local and many are staffed by volunteers and funded by private donations.

    So I would say that his observations are mostly of local governments which makes them loosely inductive at best and fallacious at worst. It seems that local governments tend to do better at governing than the ultra-bloated federal government.