I was in a Starbucks, drinking coffee, and reviewing my notes in Libertarianism by Dr. John Hospers.
A 20-something guy walked in the door, glanced at the cover of my book, and walked over to my table.
“Are you a libertarian?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I answered.
“I don’t know you,” he said. “But I do know this: You libertarians will never get anywhere until you accept the fact of Big Government. Let me tell you why.”
“I’ll be glad to hear why… If you’ll just clarify a couple of things for me,” I said.
“Clarify what?” he asked.
“When you say we need to ‘accept the fact of Big Government’, exactly what do you mean?” I asked. “Do you mean that we libertarians have to accept the fact that Big Government DOES EXIST? OR: Do you mean that we libertarians need to RESIGN OURSELVES to Big Government?”
“I mean that you need to come to terms with the fact that government is big and it’s going to stay big,” he said
“So you’re telling me that Big Government is inevitable – that it’s impossible to shrink today’s Big Government, to make it smaller?” I asked.
“Yes, I am,” he said.
“Well? What’s your evidence that it’s impossible for voters or libertarian officeholders to reduce the size, power, authority, taxes, and/or spending of today’s Big Government?”
“Look, I don’t want to get into a debate…” he said.
“Fine. But before you go, could you please tell me which facts and evidence tell us that Big Government is inevitable — and that the only sane thing for libertarians to do is surrender to Big Government?” I asked.
“Look, I’ve got to go,” he said as he headed for the exit.
“Okay. But remember, small government is beautiful. And individual liberty is possible.”