Statist exhortation: Go to Somalia!


"Why don't you go to the libertarian paradise of Somalia?"


"Somalia" is almost the Godwin of anti-libertarian arguments. It indicates a poor understanding of, well, everything - libertarianism, anarchy, and Somalia.

Kevin Carson addresses most of the issues in Somalia - Is That Really All You Got?

The major problems with claims that Somalia is a "libertarian utopia" is that Somalia is actually a failed third-world state. Government or no, it's not going to magically acquire the resources, education, and technology to become a first-world nation; and those of us in first-world nations like the technology that even a semi-free market can produce. Nor will its citizens necessarily be ready for freedom and individual responsibility; much like the fizzled "Arab spring", they may instead cry for a new (religious) dictator. Second, the fallout of a failed state doesn't mean a peaceful voluntaryist nation. In fact, new distributed states—warlords—sprang up quickly, hardly libertarian followers of the Non Aggression Principle. There is definitely variance across the nation, and apparently more freedom outside the larger cities (Mogadishu).

Somalia also does not protect property rights, which is what libertarians and right-anarchists demand of a society to be considered liberty-oriented to begin with.

But it's interesting that measurably, even with those problems, Somalia is in some ways better off then when it had a centralized state: see the paper Better Off Stateless. For example (from Anarchy in Somalia, although it is more of a distributed state with some anarchic regions):

Index 1991 2011 (or latest)
Life expectancy 46 years 50 years
Birth rate 46 44
Death rate 19 16
GDP per capita $210 $600
Infant mortality 116 deaths / 1,000 births 109 deaths / 1,000 births
Access to safe water 35% 29%
Adult literacy 24% 38%