POSTSCRIPT FOR PERFECTIONISTS

Whenever I give a speech or write an article, I am struck by how much I must leave out; I always think that if only I were writing a book, I could say everything. I have now written a book and am forced to conclude that if only I were writing an encyclopedia…

I therefore close by commenting on what I have not said. I have said almost nothing about rights, ethics, good and bad, right and wrong, although these are matters central to the ideas of most libertarians, myself included. Instead I have couched my argument throughout in terms of practicality. I have asked not what people should want but how we can accomplish those things which most of us do want.

I have done this for two reasons. I am very much surer where I stand, where my arguments come from and where they will lead me, with regard to practical questions than with regard to ethical ones. And I have found that it is easier to persuade people with practical arguments than with ethical arguments. This leads me to suspect that most political disagreement is rooted in questions of what is, not what should be. I have never met a socialist who wanted the kind of society that I think socialism would produce.