Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Experimental libertarianism

Michael Gerson finds what he calls an online experiment in libertarianism. His conclusion:

[The online role-playing game] Second Life has plenty of spontaneity, and not much genuine order. This experiment suggests that a world that is only a market is not a utopia. It more closely resembles a seedy, derelict carnival -- the triumph of amusement and distraction over meaning and purpose.

Of course, online role-playing is presumably all about "amusement and distraction," so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised and shouldn’t draw big conclusions.

Discussions - 2 Comments

True, Second Life is essentially a huge virtual resort hotel, so the unregulated businesses that flourish within it are leisure-related. Okay, by "leisure" I mean gambling and prostitution. Still, it indicates an important human tendency. You can't trust everything to free market forces for the same reason that you can't let your kids pick the menu every night. Of course they wouldn't demand that it be ALL dessert, but the dessert/real food ratios would be extremely unhealthy.

piker62's observation would hold true, if we were children, and the government were our parents. Joe is right to note that this is not a valid test of libertarian premises. No doubt many players of Second Life join in for the cathartic pleasure of doing things that they'd never dream of doing in real life--not because they are legally forbidden from doing so, but because the ordinary social costs of engaging in these activities are high.

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