November 2015
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Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. Send your comments to me at I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. I have gotten into the habit of leaving out full names and email addresses; I have had too many people think better of something they said fifteen years ago. If you want your name and email included, let me know. Flames, however, will be published with full name and email address.

Dear Jonathan:

I saw your essay on lying, this morning I wrote that sentence...

Where truth is needed for sale there is lying.


Hi there

I realize that commenting on your 18-year old essay on libertarianism might be silly, but I wonder if you have read it recently and re-evaluated it in a modern context. It's kind of interesting how some of your premises did not stand the test of time. :)

If asked, I can tell you which ones collapsed under the passage of time, but I didn't include a spoiler alert. I can start with the last one, though, as a teaser: rivers and creeks in national parks no longer "belong" to all of us. In many out west (and surely elsewhere), you need special permits - such as one for a professional photographer - or else you must be supervised as part of a tour, to say nothing of restrictions upon the type of kayak and protective gear you use. (To say nothing of the fact that the only proof that something belongs to you is whether you can sell it; tried to sell your 1/7000000000th of a river lately?)

Also, as you re-read it, consider: libertarianism is not anarchy. There is a role for a powerful government in the libertarian view; it may be smaller than others desire, and limited in ways too numerous for them, but still a potent overseeing force.