A Reason to Abolish USPS

You know how USPS is often adduced as an example of a service provided by the government that is efficient, reliable, and used by everybody?

Well, I just discovered that Libertarians have a very bizarre argument in support of abolishing the USPS. Their argument – of all the thing in the world – is the environment. USPS, they say, delivers all those annoying ad circulars and commercial promotion packages. FedEx – an example of government-free truly commercial enterprise – doesn’t. This means that abolishing the USPS will not only reduce the government’s control over our lives but will also save the environment.

I have to say that of all the strange, convoluted Libertarian arguments I have had the misfortune of hearing this one is the most outlandish so far. “Let’s abolish the USPS to save the environment” is a very inventive argument. Of course, when you start coming up with something this weird, it’s a sign your position is quite untenable and you realize it.

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47 comments on “A Reason to Abolish USPS

  1. There is a long historian of libertarians attacking the post office. I would point you to the example of Lysander Spooner in the 19th century, who ran his own private post company until the federal government forced him to close down.

  2. Jeez, really? Don’t most libertarians oppose the science behind global warming on the grounds that pollution controls are bad for business? And now they’re all, oh, no, it’s the post office that’s screwing up the environment! Give me a freaking break.

  3. I have always had good experiences with the Post Office. I would be very glad to see FedEx and UPS abolished. They are so extremely inconvenient to deal with. Furthermore, the US Constitution says that the federal government must deliver the mail, so the existence of these outfits, except for delivering packages weighing more than 70 pounds, should be illegal.

    • No, the Constitution doesn’t say that. It says the federal government has the power to establish post offices, but doesn’t say it must or that no one else may do so. By that same token Congress must declare war on foreign nations because it has the power to do so.

    • Oh hell effort. Ahem

      Dissemblers, jugglers, impostors, players with God, his son, his angels, his saints: devisers of new devils, feigned tormentors of spirits, usurpers of the key to the bottomless pit, whippers, scourgers, batfoulers of fiends, Pandars, Ganimedeans, enhancers of lust, deflowerers of virgins, defilers of houses, uncivil, unmanly, unnatural venereans, offerers of their own mass to supposed devils, depravers of their own relics, applying them to unspeakable, detestable, monstrous deformities: prostituters of all the rites, ornaments, and ceremonies of their Church to impure villainies: profaners of all parts of the service, worship, and honour of God: violators of tombs, sacrilegious, blasphemers of God, the blessed Trinity, and the virgin Mary, in the person of a counterfeit devil: seducers of subjects, plotters, conspirators, contrivers of bloody & detestable treasons, against their anointed Sovereign: it would pose all hell to sample them with such another dozen.

  4. If the USPS were shut down, I could never get mail at college, because no one else delivers to PO Boxes.

    And that would make me very sad, because not only would I be unable to order textbooks online for cheap, I would no longer be able to receive mail from home.

  5. In school, I was taught that a working postal service is vital and necessary for any kind of modern society. In fact it is kind of a requirement to advance past barter trade, so I can see why governments have an interest in preserving their services. On the other hand, it can’t hurt to take the U a notch or two down, now can it ?

  6. I identify as a moderate sort of libertarian. (Please click on my blog and actually read what I write before assuming that you know what I think about some issue.) In brief, I think that the science behind global warming is quite sound (see this post where I take libertarians to task http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2007/03/01/6032) and I think we need to tax fossil fuels and other things that contribute to global warming because externalities are, by definition, costs imposed outside of market transactions.

    As to the post office, I would be willing to pay extra if they would deliver all of my junk mail to a recycling bin. I don’t know if that makes me a good libertarian (I’m willing to pay rather than impose the cost on others) a bad one (because of the recycling aspect), or simply exasperated with junk mail, but that’s my stance.

    • The moderate Libertarian discourse in this country has been so hijacked by the Tea Partiers that nowadays, the word immediately evokes the image of a fanatic screaming “Take your government out of my Medicare” and waving a gun around.

      Of course, the Liberal discourse has also been hijacked by language-policing privilege-scratching holier-than-thou preachers of mindless tolerance.

      As for the Conservative discourse, it fared even worse.

      • Yeah, most serious people think that. That’s because we live in a world that where science is respected and not every state-favorable narrative is presumed to be a state-concocted conspiracy.

  7. Yes. It is true that I am skeptical of some of the short-term predictions, but if you keep adding a substance to a system, one that efficiently absorbs sunlight, over time that system will, um, absorb sunlight. Which will cause its temperature to go up.

    • Fair enough, your statement is accurate, but now the “science” of global warming is bogus, and we have no clear evident about if the actual global warming (not the future) is anthropogenic or not. And we have WAY MORE important environmental issues to deal with…like the Food-Ethanol used because of the “science” of global warming.

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