It's funny. I have heard many general objections to the idea of Libertarians serving in government, usually based on misconceptions, resulting in preposterous doomsday scenarios.
My favorite is the hog farm scenario. Because Libertarians believe in the right of private owners to enjoy the fullest property rights possible, some interpret this to mean that hog farms will sprout up next to their fine suburban home or church. They want zoning to ensure that the hog farm will be kept away. What would really keep the hog farm away is the value of land in the area. If there are $200,000 homes on $40,000 half-acre sites, there is no way a hog farmer will be interested in the adjacent parcels. In order to make a living, a hog farmer needs acreage that goes for about $4,000/acre, not $80,000/acre. That price will keep him away better than any zoning regulation. After all, zoning regs vanish with the payment of the variance fee.
In the confusion over the distinction between libertarianism and libertinage, we find that some people think that anarchy will plague any jurisdiction that elects even one Libertarian, with rioting in the streets, and the city in flames.
So, at last, I arrive at my long-winded irony. Whenever I see a major party mayor or governor looking at a tight budget, the first thing out of their mouths is the threat of layoffs affecting police or fire forces.
Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat, proposed an intriguing plan to consolidate the police and sheriffs departments. It's worth a look, and if the consolidation can produce savings to the taxpayers without a loss in efficiency and effectiveness, it's worth doing.
Because the consolidation apparently needs legislative approval, and the Republicans in the legislature are stringing the approval along, the Mayor fell back on scare tactics. Peterson put the following items on the block, to various degrees, per the Indy Star:
Mayor Bart Peterson outlined some services he said could be cut if his
Indianapolis Works plan to streamline local government is not approved by the
General Assembly. Peterson said not all of the cuts likely would have to be
made. Here are examples:
Police officer layoffs
Reduce street sweeping
Reduce garbage collections
Eliminate non-required water qulaity monitoring
Close city parks
Reduce staff in the Mayor's Action Center
Eliminate historic preservation planning.
This is the kind of slash-and-burn cutting that we get accused of, but would never propose. We propose the removal of frivolities. Mayor Peterson proposes to eliminate the essentials first while maintaining the frivolities, to reduce quality of life for all citizens rather than for political hacks.
"We need to do whatever it takes to avoid making these choices," Peterson said.
Very well! A Libertarian wants to cut many things from a city budget. Funding for the police or fire is not one of them. I wouldn't dream of proposing to close parks or stop picking up garbage. Since he seems to be begging for it, let's give the Mayor a little free help.
Any lobbying a city does, such as for a football stadium, should be cut immediately. No city or other government entity should ever be involved in the promotion of the arts. Art is in the eye of the beholder, so the last thing I want is a soul-less bureaucracy enforcing official beauty. Cut all associated expenses immediately. Pie-in-the-sky, speculative alternative transportation is the stuff of billionaire adventurers, not responsible cities. Cut it immediately. Is it really necessary that the Mayor's staff be as large as it is? Cut it immediately.
Go to the City's website. www.indygov.org/home.htm There is all kinds of pork ready to be chopped. Chop it out and see if there isn't plenty of money suddenly available for the proper functions of government, such as safety forces.