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How I Became a Libertarian



Meir Kohn relives his childhood experiences and teachings as a socialist turned progressive turned libertarian. Kohn emigrated to Israel from England as a child, where he joined a social commune (kibbutz) built around shared resources. Individuals worked in exchange for benefits and services like communal housing and food. He provides two takeaways: material equality did not bring happiness: minor discrepancies in housing and goods created resentment for those with advantages. Second, incentives matter. Without true incentive to produce and work creates a lack of efficiency without means for improvement.

After moving away from socialism, he floated towards progressivism and the promise for social engineering for good and that government could reliably step in to improve society. Through his study on the financial systems and federal banking regulations, he found that much of the government intervention since the 30s has caused instability and fragility. Even today, state and local governments fail to understand the complexity of the economy and concrete impacts of intervention.

Finally, he speaks on his own research into whether the government is a suitable instrument for doing good. Governments have the tools to enact force on a community - the force is expected to better the community as a whole, but that’s often not the case. Governments act as an association of associations, and while the force is often used for to protect against predation, it naturally engaged in predation when things go awry.

The government can be helpful when protecting against other predatory countries and governments. But Kohn argues that it is not suitable for running the economy and engaging in proper social engineering.
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