Spoken in class today by a leftist student of unknown ideology who probably loves Salon articles: “Some libertarians think individuals with vast economic power have the right to turn people into paupers.” They seem to misunderstand one of the most basic characteristics present in any human society.
No matter what the structure of society, there will always be some individuals who have more power than others. Further, in any society, there will always be some individuals who actively use their power to the detriment of others; this certainly is not limited to any particular ideology, class of individuals, or structure of society. To think otherwise is hopelessly naive and would deny the existence of sociopaths. If someone was actually concerned about instances of the misuse of power, they should take a look at government. Government has vastly greater power than any business or private individual could ever hope of having and the instances of abuse of this power are painfully obvious: 260 million individuals killed by governments in the 20th century and countless other abuses and violations of individual rights. Some people are so tunnel-visioned about the potential for power abuse in their pejorative hypothetical libertarian state they forget the catastrophic reality they are living in. And let’s be realistic here, unless they are supporters of some genre of anarchism, they ultimately accept the idea that the state may wield power and turn people into paupers through taxation. Awfully hypocritcal, wouldn’t you say?