Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Big business and the federal highway system

There's a great new post at Mutualist Blog with the details on something Kevin Carson has alluded to before- the crucial role big business played in lobbying for the creation of the federal highway system. This, in turn allows big nation-spanning corporations to dump a big chunk of their transportation costs on the taxpayer. Whether these companies would remain viable if they had to pay the full cost themselves is an interesting question.

It is an amusing (or depressing, depending on my mood) irony that many liberal/"vital center" types who talk about how statism protects us from the depredations and exploitation of big business are the same people who consider the national government highway system a glorious achievement that proves that demonstrates the state's wisdom and benevolence. The people who rage against huge corporate chains are largely the same people who cheer for the many of the government programs that make the huge chains so powerful in the first place.

This suggests a possible recruitment opportunity- awakening people to this contradiction has the potential to lure at least some statist anti-business types to our side. I'm not as optimistic as some about the prospects of winning large numbers of leftists to the cause of libertarianism, but I still think there's some potential there.

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