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How to Answer "What If..." Questions by Free-Market Doubters and Skeptics

This has been posted before, but it warrants a repost because we all find ourselves falling into this trap regularly. This is how to answer all the "What if..." questions posed by free-market doubters and skeptics.


"Skeptics of the free market are forever asking, 'Well, how would the free market attend to mail delivery? Education? Or, whatever?' Satisfactorily answer these questions, they imply, or the free market case loses by default … often aspiring libertarians will stumble into the booby trap: they'll conjure up some sort of an answer....[Unfortunately] a person can no more explain how the free market would attend to mail delivery than his great-grandfather could have explained how television could ever emerge from free market forces!...How would the freed market attend to mail delivery were the postal service de-socialized? I don't know! Nor could anyone have known 100 years ago how the free market would develop the means to deliver the human voice from city to city.… No one could have predicted in 1865 what form these forces would take during the next hundred years." - Leonard Read, The Free Market and Its Enemy (1965)


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My response

I just bombard them with theories on floating interest rates until their brain hurts.

But seriously, I know some good principles, most basic, some a little more advanced than others, but then I develop my own hypothesis on what I think would happen given whatever ridiculous situation the questioner postulates. And I tell people that it's my own opinion. And most people seem to respect that more than reciting from a book. As a matter of fact, Keynesians who are just reciting Keynes to me usually concede on the basis that they know talking points but don't fully understand how it would function.

I bet my interpretation of free market economics is different than yours. But, we start from the same place, and the fact that we end up in different places is the beauty of liberty.

"I just bombard them with

"I just bombard them with theories on floating interest rates until their brain hurts."

HAHAHAHAHHAhahahahahahahahahaha.. oh man... I needed that...

"He did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it." - John 3:17

"Well, you know it's like I always say 'it ain't government work if you don't have to do it twice.'" - Jerry Gergich

I do the same!

I am constantly saying, "In my opinion..." and also bombarding people with facts and examples to which they have NO answer for...this becomes a problem because the information seems to discredit EVERYTHING they thought they knew.

So much so that my uncle actually said, "You bombard me with so many facts, and I'm just supposed to accept them as truth. I don't know enough about that. Some of us work and have better things to do."

I interpret that as, "Now don't you be bringing all those facts into this discussion. I don't have the time to do all the reading that you do, because my time is more valuable than to waste it on the internet."

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!



Show your uncle this quote from Rothbard:

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’

But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”


I like that! I think I will add it to my list of favorite quotes!

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


Answer their question with a question

When people get something for free or get something they mistakenly believe is free, they get confused and ask how things will get done.

You can unconfuse them by asking them a question instead.

Ask them: If the government had a monopoly on shoes, where they were the only provider, and then they decided to get out of the shoe business and allow privitization, how would shoes be provided?

Ask them: If a slaveowner were challenged and told that slavery should be abolished and he replied by asking who will tend to his crops -- how would you respond to the slaveowner?

Another good way to answer...

"He had this gigantic faith in freedom. He often said that he could not and would not predict the outcome of granting liberty to individuals and could not and would not speculate on the shape that society would take under conditions of freedom. But he could say for certain that whatever the results of freedom, they would be more consonant with human rights, more prosperous, more creative, and more orderly than anything that the state could manufacture through coercion." - Jeffery A. Tucker on Leonard Read.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!