I agree with a lot of the politics on here, particularly the criticisms of the criminal justice system. I also agree in general that the current state of the 2 party system allows for rampant abuse. So that aligns me with libertarians in many ways, but I definitely lean left politically.
My question to Mr. Balko, how do you reconcile big government projects that you celebrate in many of your photos and articles with your libertarian perspective? For instance, you have written about your affection for Old Town in Virginia, but you also criticize their restrictive rules. Can you not see that Old Town would not exist as it is without those rules? How much would you like it if Old Town tore down some historic buildings for a more lucrative strip mall?
This photo is a great example, as are many of the photos that you often post. You obviously appreciate the beauty of this structure and probably can’t help but appreciate the role it plays in the lives of the people of the city and for the businessmen in the market. This is a government built structure and I would venture to guess that it is maintained by the government (I have not researched this and it could have been privatized; even so I would venture to say the governments still protects the building’s integrity). This is a great example of how the government is needed to do things that the market cannot do on its own. A business might look at this structure and figure that it would be more profitable to him to tear it down and rebuild a mall, as often happens in many places around the world. Maintaining old structures is expensive. But what about the effect of tearing down these structures on the city and the residents?
I think this exemplifies the problem I have with libertarianism and why I lean left. I see that you must appreciate the importance of the role government plays in our market since you often take pictures of these places that would not exist had it not been for strong, active governments. But yet you align yourself as a libertarian.
I would love to see a post from you on how you reconcile this. What is government’s role? Should businesses be allowed to do whatever they want? Where and how do you draw the line? How do you ensure that the things we allow our governments to do are not abused? How can we have structures like this without a big, active and strong government?
“The Alexandria Times article explained how Old Town Alexandria’s onerous permit process and regulatory system have put a strain on small businesses, especially the small, independent outfits that give Old Town all of its charm. I’m fairly anti-regulation, but even I don’t have too much of a problem with city ordinances that attempt to preserve unique neighborhoods with a distinct vibe or identity, particularly when the aim is to keep the quaint, historical atmosphere of a place like Old Town. ”
Then Radley goes on to criticize the specific regulations in place as being onerous and counter-productive, with what seem to me to be reasonable arguments.
So while I can’t speak for Radley, I would like to make a few general comments:
a) Not all regulations are the same, and not all libertarians are against every possible regulation.
b) The purpose (why) of a regulation is important, as is its nature (how is it implemented), and perhaps very importantly for some deontological types, the scope (does it cover public property or private business inside a public property or private business inside private property). And of course it never hurts to look at the unintended consequences.
Awesome. I bought a leather jacket there while on leave from a deployment in Bosnia. Funny thing is the jacket said it was made in the USA! I still don’t know if I ended up increasing or decreasing our foreign trade imbalance…