The basic concept of libertarianism is giving people a “choice”. Giving them the power to choose… Something that both the “nanny statist” left and their counterparts on the “far right” oppose. The leftist wants “government” to regulate (for your own good) every part of your life. Increasingly the far right also wants more and more control over your life…
When a government is no longer “responsive” to the wishes of the people (and ours is increasingly so) we start seeing increasing mistreatment of people because they lack any choice. The quality of service provided by the VA has fallen despite increasing amounts of money being allocated by Congress. Part of the reason is increasing “administrative overhead” that has nothing to do with the care our veterans are now receiving from the VA. The problem of course is that the veterans do not have a choice as to where they can receive medical care except through the VA unless they are willing to obtain service from doctors outside of the VA. Something that is only possible for some, not all of them as it exists due to the increasingly high cost of US health care. Then of course most “civilian” doctors are not likely to have much experience dealing with the sort of medical problems created by military service in time of war. Even so, perhaps our veterans would be better off with seeing medical professionals outside the VA. One way to do this and also make it “affordable” for them would be a system of “medical vouchers” which would allow them to obtain health care services outside the VA if they so wished to do so.
The problem really is due to “lack of choice”. There is no “competition” that might force the VA to treat our veterans better. This is the same problem that exists whenever there is only one “provider” of goods and services available. It doesn’t really matter whether or not the agency in question is run by the government or private enterprise. Although in the case of private enterprise, the threat of possible “competition” may help to encourage better treatment than what would be the case if there was little “risk” of any possible “competition”. However businesses that are “favored” by government usually treat their customers rather poorly since they have no real economic incentive to do otherwise.
Another example of this occurs wherever there is a government enforced monopoly so that the consumer has no choice but to accept what they are given. This occurs whenever a group of providers of goods and/or services enjoys the benefits of government enforced “protection”. When there is only one “legal” source of goods and/or services available. Where the customer/consumer is forced by the power of government to accept what is given. And pay whatever price that is demanded by the monopolists he or she must deal with. This is so common a practice today that many people cannot conceive of actually having a choice. Of being able to decide for themselves as was once the case before the professions conspired to gain themselves a government enforced monopoly much to their own economic benefit. Much like labor unions did later following their own example of limiting “supply” which in turn meant that they gained more economic power than what was the case previously before the Roosevelt administration gave them “protection” through legislation. (the Wagner Act) Legislation that allowed the unions to obtain more wages and (later on) benefits that they would not have been able to obtain otherwise.*
*While some libertarian authors will claim otherwise, the power of organized labor, like the power of the organized professions and occupations depends upon the power of the State. Without that power, neither would enjoy the power that they do today, especially as governments in a libertarian society will be far smaller and less powerful than what we now have today. Also, as representatives will be selected by lottery, far harder to corrupt!
In a libertarian society where there is true “freedom of choice”, a society where the role of government at all levels will be far smaller than it is today, your income is far more likely to be based upon the principles of supply and demand. You will also be in competition with people all over the world who are supplying goods and services in a truly competitive free market. Because of this, although incomes may well be lower than today, the cost of living will also be far lower than it is today as goods and services freely move to where they can obtain the best price. Something impossible today thanks to all the “protection” we still allow to exist. Also, the restrictions we now see over access to knowledge will disappear. Anyone will be able to educate themselves to the limits of their own abilities and then apply the knowledge and skills that they have developed to better themselves. We will move from a social order based upon “credentials” to one based upon “certification”. In such as society, the value of your services will depend upon what you know, not upon what college or university that you went to. All in all, a better life for everyone than what we now have. Hopefully one of less conflict too, one where crime is both rare and uncommon.