U.S. Capitalism Isn’t a ‘Free Market’ Reply

By Sheldon Richmond

Reason

In 1970 country singer Lynn Anderson had a hit recording of a Joe South song that opened with the line: “I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden.” I often think of that song in connection with the libertarian philosophy.

You may be asking: for heaven’s sake, why? Because it’s what I want to say to people who seem annoyed that freedom would neither cure all existing social ills immediately nor prevent new ones from arising. It’s a strange demand to make on a political philosophy—that it instantly fix everything that the opposing philosophy has broken. Moreover, I’m concerned that some libertarians, in their justifiable enthusiasm for “the market,” inadvertently lead non-libertarians to think that this unrealistic expectation is part of their philosophy. Of course, that is not good because non-libertarians won’t believe that the market would make all things right overnight, and so they’ll write off all libertarians as dogmatists.

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