Individualism v. Freedom from Overreaching State?

Notice I’m trying to avoid questions about how much is overreaching, whether one is in favor of minarchism or not, etc.

What I am noticing is a tendency of people opposed to some level of state intrusiveness (some level of action that they count as intrusive) and present the antidote with the claim that individual human beings are not obligated to one another beyond the obligation to not attack or steal or defraud.

So, in a libertarian society, if Jeff sees Tom mugged by Bill, is he not obligated to help?  What if he knows in advance that his friend Bill plans to mug Tom, is he free from any legal responsibility for the assault and theft?

My hunch is that, in actual history, this sort of ethic has very little in common with societies that have been able to keep the government restrained from intrusion.  And I have very little confidence that this sort of widespread ethic would be conducive to anything like a free, peaceful, and prosperous society.

It seems much more likely that only a society which widely understands that people are responsible for one another would be able to minimize or eliminate the state and be free, peaceful, and prosperous.

A policeman friend of mine told me that most of his time is spent intervening between neighbors who call the police rather than deal with one another.  I’m not sure if there is a faster way to grow a police state.

1 thought on “Individualism v. Freedom from Overreaching State?

  1. Pingback: Mark Horne » “Tyranny and law”

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