Hearing “What about the roads?” is like nails on a chalk board to most anarchists. Almost every statist and many newcomers to voluntaryism ask this question, and rightfully so, but it just seems to go on and on regardless of how well it is answered. Some of the best replies have been repeated and ignored to the point of exhaustion. I want to address this from another perspective. I ask you this, “Why are we still hooked on cars, petroleum, trucking, and war over oil?”
Because of “THE ROADS”.
Whenever I think of the interstate highways in America, I have to wonder how advanced and convenient our lives could have been if we didn’t have this massive undertaking by the government to build roads. Everywhere. I think about what Walt Disney did in Orlando, Florida in 1971.
Imagine if 3 developers in West Palm Beach each built a 5,000 unit retirement community and there were not already government owned roads that provided access to shopping. How would this be resolved? I am not a brilliant entrepreneur and I can imagine a number of things that might happen. These 3 developers might collaborate with a shopping mall that has everything from furniture to groceries. They might develop a monorail system (or something even better) that makes continuous trips in a circular pattern to all 4 locations. Think about it; why would a retired person or couple want to live in a community that didn’t offer this service? They would never have to worry about their ability to drive, owning a car, parking a car, auto maintenance, insurance, fuel costs, etc.
Why would there be collaboration on the monorail and possibly no fee to ride? For the developers this seems like a no brainer. The town homes or condos become more valuable because of this service. For the shopping mall/plaza, which would be a new breed of shopping, you could increase rent to store owners because who doesn’t want a monopoly on 20k+ new customers, immediately?
From here I see a build out where the shopping plaza becomes a hub to other monorail and transportation systems. Each new connection brings more customers and more value to the store owners. You can see this thing growing already and I’m not even smart. Hand this off to some of the brightest minds out there and watch how fast it grows, and all of the maintenance and upgrades are taken care of with no thought required by the consumer.
If this sounds so easy then why hasn’t it been done already? Because the cost in the form of bribes, fees, and payments to use government “owned” land makes it impossible. We have unfair business practice when government has a monopoly on roads and claims all of the land. And I do mean all of the land. Stop paying your property taxes and watch how fast they take ownership of your property (on paper, because they already own it).
Can you imagine some rapid developments in transportation if the government just got the hell out of the way? Imagine how many roads would disappear because nobody thought they were worth maintaining if the costs were no longer hidden in and paid for by taxes. Imagine if maintenance of roads required conscious contributions. How valuable would the roads be to you then? Would you be more interested in better, cheaper, and faster alternatives?
Think about the abuse in government as it is. Bidding can be hijacked and favors given. Even at the local level counties will claim they took the higher bid because they “think” that contractor will do a better job. You never know when this is true or just a payback for campaign contributions, a friend of a politician, or a bribe. Government charges you taxes in numerous ways claiming it’s for roads and now you are starting to see them lease the roads out to companies so they can charge you to drive on the roads you already paid for, according to them, through taxation.
So stop asking me “What about the roads?” because I’m asking you “What have we missed out on because of the roads? Why do we continue to hold ourselves back by increasing funding for the roads?”