The Koufax Award nominees for funniest post, always a treasure trove, are up. How they winnowed the Fafblog! and Poor Man posts down to only a few, I have no idea. But I was particularly pleased to be reminded of this Belle Waring post about Reason’s 35th Anniversary debate:
Richard A. Epstein: even in the libertarian utopia, some forms of state coercion will be required. If we must assemble 100 plots of land to build a railway which will benefit all, and only 99 owners will sell, then we may need to force a lone holdout to accept a fair price for his land. Similarly, the public enforcement of private rights and the creation of infrastructure will require money, so there will have to be some taxes. [Note to self: no shit, Sherlock.]
Randy Barnett: Not so fast! Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it rather than restricting liberty in advance. We’ll know a lot more about human liberty in the libertarian utopia, and private entrepreneurs will solve these problems somehow without our needing to grant to governments the dangerous ability to confiscate our property in the name of some nebulous “public good.” And as for rights enforcement — look it’s Halley’s Comet!
David Friedman: Epstein places too much confidence in his proposed restrictions on government power. Rights could be enforced privately, and imperfect but workable solutions to the holdouts in the railway case could also be found. “To justify taxation we need the additional assumption that rights enforcement cannot be done by the state at a profit, despite historical examples of societies where the right to enforce the law and collect the resulting fines was a marketable asset.”
Now, everyone close your eyes and try to imagine a private, profit-making rights-enforcement organization which does not resemble the mafia, a street gang, those pesky fire-fighters/arsonists/looters who used to provide such “services” in old New York and Tokyo, medieval tax-farmers, or a Lendu militia. (In general, if thoughts of the Eastern Congo intrude, I suggest waving them away with the invisible hand and repeating “that’s anarcho-capitalism” several times.) Nothing’s happening but a buzzing noise, right?
Of course, one could just go ahead and vote for Fafblog! anyway:
FAFBLOG: Well Dr. James Dobson it has been a while since we had our last interview an in between the Ban Gay Marriage Amendment Amendment failed. How you been since then?
JAMES DOBSON: Just terrible, Fafnir. Because of the weakness and corruption of the United States Senate, I have been forced to become gay.
FB: Oh no!
JD: I’m afraid it’s true, Fafnir. I now spend my nights in a ball gag and a chastity cage while Gary Bauer whips me from behind in his skintight leather bodice.
FB: That is terrible news Doctor James Dobson! Not only has gay marriage forced you to become gay, it has made you a bottom!