Recently, this insipid anti-libertarian comic has been making its rounds on Reddit:
Let’s burn this strawman panel-by-panel:
This is Fred. "Hello."
He is a libertarian. "I was born rich."
No, he's not. He's a strawman. Also, if most libertarians are “very rich”, then why do rich people tend to donate to either Democrats or Republicans as opposed to Libertarians? (BTW: Goldman Sachs has made contributions to both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates—in the exact same race!)
Fred says ignorant things. "The poor are lazy. If you can't climb out of poverty working full-time for 7 dollars an hour, you need to work harder."
Yes, there was a time when minimum wage was sufficient enough to raise and keep someone out of poverty, but as it has failed to rise with inflation, that's simply not the case anymore. But while minimum wage advocates would ask why minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, more economically-sensible people would ask why inflation has risen in the first place. The real solution would be to address the reckless fiscal and monetary policies that allowed such inflation to go out-of-control. But then, that would be tackling the actual problem (inflation) rather than the symptom (low minimum wages).
"Foreign aid is a waste. If someone is starving to death because the country they were born into can't afford food, it's their own fault."
No, most people in poor countries are starving because of the incompetent policies of their corrupt governments (I.E.: Venezuela). Also, if foreign aid could end poverty in Africa, it would have ended long ago. Reason explains: “To date, [Africa] has received well over $600 billion in outside assistance. World Bank data show that a majority of African countries' government spending comes directly from foreign aid. Yet much of Africa remains impoverished, and rampant corruption continues.”
"All those dying African children need to get up off their malnourished asses and get jobs."
Sure. Why shouldn’t poor Africans be able to pull themselves out of poverty through jobs? Even the United Nations admits that employment is the key to lifting Africans out of poverty. As much as liberal statists decry outsourcing and “sweat shops”, the truth is that most poor foreigners want such jobs, as the only other alternatives for them are either substandard farming, prostitution, or starvation.
"I believe we should do away with the minimum wage, unions, and government assistance."
1) Most economic studies show no real correlation between minimum wage hikes and employment.
2) You have a right to join a union. You do not have a right to force others to join a union. You also don’t have a right for your union to escape culpability for corruption, especially when that corruption has disastrous effects (I.E.: Hostess).
3) If government assistance was enough to eliminate poverty, it would have been eliminated long ago. Since the “War on Poverty”, we have been spending trillions on “government assistance”, and yet poverty has remained stagnant—in fact, poverty was already on the decline up until the start of the “War on Poverty.”
"For some reason I think companies will treat their workers fairly and pay their employees well when they are no longer forced to do either of those things."
Costco already pays its employees a starting wage of $11.50 per hour (with an average wage of $21 per hour) and plenty of lavish benefits. No government coercion was required for them to provide all that. Wal-Mart recently raised its starting wage to $9 per hour (with plans to raise it to $10 per hour by next year). Again, no government coercion was needed. Many companies have raised their starting wages higher than the federal minimum wage. In every case, no government coercion was needed. So yes, companies can treat their workers fairly and pay their employees well without being forced to.
"The government infringes upon my personal freedom by disallowing me the right to own slaves."
Slavery violates the libertarian concept of self-ownership, which states that "each person enjoys, over himself and his powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else that he has not contracted to supply." (And no, this does not mean you can voluntarily sell yourself into slavery!)
Don't be a 'Fred.'
Oh, don't worry. I won't. That's because Fred is only a strawman that exists in this artist's imagination.