Muh Roads: A libertarian counter-argument often used in arguments concerning public infrastructure. The mistaken assumption of the statist it is uttered against is that only a coercive government is capable of building and maintaining roads and other “natural public utilities”… whatever the fuck that means.
But without government, who will build the roads?!?
But… Muh Roads!
Although the retort itself seves little to further the debate, it does point out the absurdity of the statist’s argument.
Let’s talk about toll roads. Most people hate them because you have to stop and pay fees in exchange for the privelege of driving on them. But where does the money for these magical “free” government built roads come from? According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, it costs about $1 million per lane per mile in rural areas, scaling up by a factor of 10 in dense urban areas.
Now construction companies aren’t out there building these multimilion-dollar
wonders of transportational freedom out of the goodness of their hearts… No,
TANSTAAFL, they’re getting paid by state governments who
receive subsidies from the federal government. Governments cannot materialize
money out of thin air 1, so any money they
have stolen must have come
from taxes. Now consider the fact that, unless it is a perfect market oracle,
the government must have collected money in such a way that some people pay
more relative to their amount of use than others.
So what do subsidies have to do with toll roads? Well, for a non-subsidized toll road, the burden lies on the market to decide whether or not it will be profitable (and therefore whether it will continue to be maintained). People who don’t need to use it aren’t forced to pay for it, and those who are able to pay for their use get what they want. Everybody wins.
But without government, every road will be a toll road!
These are the words of someone who is afraid of having to pay the market value for their use of the roads. These words say “I want someone else to pay my fair share”. These are the words of a thief.
Take for example this community in Hawaii whose livelihoods were threatened when severe flooding destroyed access to their businesses:
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources had estimated that the damage would cost $4 million to fix, money the agency doesn’t have, according to a news release from department Chairwoman Laura Thielen. …
Business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running. – Via CNN
When it comes down to it, private individuals will solve their own infrastructure issues… without the help of the state.
Actually, that’s is a lie, but we’ll save the discussion for another post. ↩