Libertarianism, like radio avertising in a down economy, is hard to sell.

It’s the most misunderstood political philosophy around. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, “Yeah, but if we don’t have speed limits everybody will crash. You can’t just have a free-for-all.” When did we ever say there shouldn’t be speed limits? (Actually wouldn’t that decision in a libertarian society fall to the highway owners? And if speed limits reduce accidents, wouldn’t the road owners want safe speed limits to protect the reputation of their roads for safety and to ensure that their costs in repairs and maintenance are kept as low as possible?)

People can’t easily conceive of the effects that less regulations and less laws would have, which is why we tend to make more laws, not less. People tend to think that less laws would create more problems: legalize drugs and everyone will be junkies, legalize prostitution and all women will be hookers, reduce taxes and the poor will all die, etc. It’s largely nonsense, and the paranoia is illustrative of the lack of trust many have that the ‘invisible hand’ of the free market is capable of balancing society the way government force does. Libertarian arguments saying that common sense, individual morality, charitable giving, market forces and such replace government force are normally trumped by those who say ‘Legislate instead!’ because it’s easy to see, directly, how legislation would work. (Most people obey the law.)

This effect can be seen when applied to the current economic troubles. Conor Friedersdorf says:

Conservatives and libertarians sometimes face a disadvantage in policy arguments. We