The government should be as small as possible. This is the only way to reduce the corruption and cronyism inherent in government. To the degree that services can be supplied by the private sector, the (much more) accountable sector, we should pursue them. We’d have lower cost, higher quality solutions to many of the problems government claims to solve.
The 20th Century was a century of centralization. The 21st should be a century of decentralization.
But whatever may or may not be the merits of the case for national defense as a “public good,” as so defined, there are many other goods that are argued to be in the same category, and thus also requiring government provision through taxation. This is often said to be the case with infrastructure and community conveniences and amenities such as roads, bridges, parks, street lighting, and neighborhood recreational areas, as well as town or city planning in general.
Yet, the fact is that very few, if any, of these need to be thought of in this way. Indeed, virtually all of them can be marketed with little or no free rider problems or would be in the self-interest of some market participants to supply free of charge…
…“The private roads that exist now have fewer accidents than public roads, probably in part because they’re better maintained: If private road builders let potholes remain, get reputations for high accident rates, or do repairs during rush hour, they have to deal with complaints and with people choosing other roads.
“Pollution and pollution controls on automobiles would also be handled by road privatization. If auto pollution were to grow too thick, people living near the offending roads would sue the biggest, most obvious target: the road owners. Road owners would therefore charge higher fees for cars without up-to-date inspection stickers.”