Libertarian Utopias and Dystopias

Libertarian Utopias

The United States government collapses, the Mafia fills the void, and there was much rejoicing. The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth is the earliest example of a libertarian utopia that I know of. Quite fun.

Imagine if Ayn Rand had a sense of humor – and history. You might end up with something like Poul Anderson’s Polesotechnic League stories, especially those featuring Nicholas van Rijn: Trader to the Stars and The Man Who Counts.

Perhaps the quintessential libertarian utopia is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. This is the story that turned me into an anarchist back in high school (I got better). Heinlein also included a non anarchistic libertarian utopia within The Number of the Beast, which is otherwise not one of his better works.

If you want an undiluted libertarian utopia that doesn’t play fair at all, try L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach. The style resembles Heinlein, and the story is kind of fun, but it is utterly unrealistic.

Norman Spinrad gives the market based arbitration of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress an eco-hippie vibe in Songs From the Stars. It’s very groovy.

For more smaller government visions, see the conservative and social liberal utopias as well. The liberty-minded might also enjoy some of the authoritarian and economic leftist dystopias.

Libertarian Satire and Dystopias

Suppose we take libertarian logic to its logical conclusion and legalize murder between consenting adults. World peace breaks out as the inherently violent compete in The Hunt. And “Why have birth control when you can have death control?” The Tenth Victim is a groovy Italian movie from 1965 that is one of the inspirations for the Austin Powers franchise.

The United States has broken up into burbclaves, each with its own security and constitution. The Mafia provides secure neighborhoods and pizzas. And the closest thing to a true government is the cable company. Such is the bizarre backdrop of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a truly wild idea-dense ride.

For a heavy-handed takedown of libertarian ideas, we turn to Hollywood, which finds the idea of corporations more powerful than government to be quite scary. The original Rollerball is a good example of the genre. The short lived TV series Max Headroom is another example of the genre. I list more in the conservative dystopias.

(The book and movie links are affiliate links. The reviews are genuine.)