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Libertarians and the Who Will Build the Roads Syndrome

Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career with a passion for all things libertarian to become the Libertarian Opinionizer.


Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer

Over the years so many libertarians have heard the question “Without government who will build the roads” it seems to be a seriously contagious syndrome. To understand this bizarre syndrome we need first to understand the whole issue of exactly what a “syndrome” is.

Depending on the definition and source there are thousands of syndromes stalking the human world. Not all “syndromes” are medical, psychiatric, hereditary or even particularly negative, as these two entries from show:

a group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms

a characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behavior: the “Not In My Backyard” syndrome

Book Break: Your Libertarian Opinionizer’s Pick—The Saul Alinsky Syndrome

The Too Many Syndromes Syndrome

Wikipedia lists 1,428 medical syndromes; other sources list 5,000, or 6,000 genetic syndromes. Other sources contain long scrollable A thru Z lists of syndromes.

These syndromes seem to be highly favored by the medical, psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries. Some syndromes are totally unknown by most people. Some appear and disappear, some change names, some seem so strange they sound like they’re made up.

Some in fact are made up, like The China Syndrome in which a nuclear meltdown would burn a hole through the earth all the way to China (Hollywood made a movie with this name) or the Repressed Memory Syndrome In which scientific evidence shows that “memories” have not been “recovered” but have actually been implanted or altered by a “recovered memory” therapist. (Where were all the cynical Republicans on this one during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings?)

In fact, after researching this article it becomes clear that anyone can make up a syndrome about anything anywhere any time for any reason. So if this article seems muddled, befuddled and should have been scuttled it’s because of the Too Many Syndromes Syndrome.

“In the politics of human life, consistency is not a virtue.”—the little recognized Saul Alinsky Syndrome.

Take for example the case of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, discovered in the 1960s but since changed to the more scientific-sounding MSG Symptom Complex. People eating food in Chinese restaurants that use monosodium glutamate (MSG) in their food experienced headache, skin flushing and sweating.


Curiously, however, there seems to be no corresponding description of Mexican Restaurant Syndrome that afflicts diners with mild to severe spicy-hot discomfort in the lips and tongues of consumers and causes beads of sweat to form on foreheads due to consuming jalapeno peppers.

There’s also no listing for the rare New York City Italian Restaurant Syndrome that occurs when one is seated near a table full of swarthy-complexioned men speaking with heavy Sicilian accents and using words like “wiseguys” and “made men.” Symptoms may include being subjected to bullets crashing through plate glass windows and bodies dropping to the floor.

Some Syndromes are Fatal

One of the strangest of all syndromes actually appeared and then promptly disappeared in 2008 in a flurry of mainstream news reports originating from a Reuters article headlined "Sudden death after arrest may be new syndrome."

The Reuters article read: "Young men who die suddenly after being arrested by the police may be victims of a new syndrome similar to one that kills some wild animals when they are captured, Spanish researchers said on Tuesday."

The article goes on to explain that after investigating 60 cases of sudden unexplained deaths in Spain following police detention, the researchers concluded that young men in particular were experiencing surges in blood levels of chemicals known as catecholamines when under severe stress, and not as previously believed by rational persons as surges of rising blood levels on cell floors known as Severe Beating Syndrone.


One can only imagine how a theoretical newspaper interview back in 2008 with Spanish Police Officer Chuy Doñutz might have gone:

"That's the seventh little pansy-ass sign-waving anti-war protester in six months that just up and died on me right after I subdued, uh, took him into protective custody. I guess these perps, or is it vics, I never can remember my TV cop show slang, these geeks just all suffer from SDAA. You know, Sudden Death After Arrest Syndrome."

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Apparently, once a young man is arrested his adrenaline level goes ballistic and pops his heart. He dies from cardiac arrest, not from police arrest.

So now, previously unexplained deaths while in police custody can be easily explained away: the detainee simply scared himself to death.

Libertarians and other rights advocates can take heart; the police state has been exonerated. So now that everything is a syndrome nobody is responsible for anything. The result can now always be:

“The syndrome made them do it.”

Today there are plenty of articles about “Sudden Death Syndrome” and “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Syndrome” but nothing about “Sudden Death After Arrest Syndrome.”

“It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles”—the little recognized Saul Alinsky Syndrome

Still, one has to wonder, how many other syndromes are yet to be discovered out there that can actually explain away anything anyone wants to explain away?

Some Syndromes are Illegal

Suppose a group of convicts were caught trying to tunnel their way out of a prison.

“Medical personnel are now investigating complaints by one of the diggers,” the TV news nerd will explain, and then cuts to a video of the subject explaining, "Hey, I didn't want to dig that tunnel. I was really carping about it the whole time. I just couldn't help myself. I have this condition. I suffer from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome."


In another case suppose the police captured a burglary suspect after a short foot chase. He is charged with felony burglary and resisting arrest after fleeing a police officer’s command to halt.

However, his defense attorney, Gill T. Clyant of the law firm Loozer, Bungler and Botch, demanded that the resisting arrest and unlawful flight charges be dropped.

"The defendant did not run by conscious choice or intent," Mr. Clyant argued. "He cannot control his limbs. His legs made him run. Both of his lower extremities are controlled by Restless Leg Syndrome."

This is believed to be the first time that the RLS defense has been used in an American courtroom.

“The Capone gang was actually a public utility; it supplied what the people wanted and demanded.”—the little recognized Saul Alinsky Syndrome

Some Syndromes are Social

In a Midwestern city a husband and wife requesting anonymity agreed to enter marriage counselling in the hopes of saving their marriage.

"My husband wears nothing but military fatigues," she groans. "All the time. When he plays paintball, when he goes camping, when he goes fishing, when he works on the car. When he mows the lawn. He has fatigue shirts, pants, jackets, neckties, caps and socks. He sleeps in camouflage underwear. He wears his sky blue camo battle dress fatigues when we go out to dinner."

But she isn’t finished. "He has 73 pairs of fatigues in the closet. Army, Marine, Paratrooper, Special Forces, you name it. He has dessert camo, jungle camo, woodland camo, city camo, tiger stripe, Khakis, olive drab and Navy blues. He wears his fatigues chronically. He has ... he has..."

Her husband glumly interjects, "I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."


Some Syndromes are Cultural

Professor Lickwood Ascettes is an exceptionally gifted economist. He is known to have Down Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. The result, in varying degrees for different individuals, is lifelong educational difficulties and developmental delays that cause learning disabilities in childhood and other medical problems such as heart and gastrointestinal disorders.

With tremendous intellectual determination Prof Ascettes overcame his condition to succeed as a leading exponent of the trickledown theory of economics that posits reduced taxation on businesses and wealthy individuals will stimulate economic growth, thereby producing a trickledown effect that benefits all of society in the long run.

While many economists, including libertarians and other free marketeers, disagree with his position they acknowledge that he is the world’s only known economist with Trickle Down Syndrome.


When Jerry Attrick first came to the Golden Geezers Retirement Home he was soft-spoken, polite, congenial and respectful towards everyone. Three other residents asked him to join them in one of their favorite card games.

Everything went fine until Pete lead with a 3 of hearts, Maggie played her jack in order to flush out the ace and Jerry triumphantly played his ace of hearts and paused to rake in the trick while Trudy studied her hand.

Then, with a grin and a flourish, Trudy slapped the joker on top of the other cards and took the trick.

At first Jerry fumed, then mumbled, then grumbled, then his face turned red and he pounded the table with his fist and angrily swept the cards to the floor and stomped away.

Throughout the following days and weeks others invited Jerry to join them in a card game but every time the joker was played Jerry would react in the same furiously outrageous way.

Eventually the word got around. “Don’t play cards with Jerry Attrick. He has that new disorder we keep hearing about. Every time you trump his trick his Trump Derangement Syndrome flares up.”

“he who fears corruption fears life.”—the little recognized Saul Alinsky Syndrome

Some Syndromes are Political

Every election cycle Libertarians are constantly confronted with the claim that if they don’t vote for the “most freedom-oriented” candidate with the best chance of winning they’re just wasting their vote.

This typically means that if Libertarians refuse to vote for Republicans by explaining that they would just be voting for “The lesser of two evils” they’re told they’re wasting their vote.

If they vote for a Libertarian Party candidate but the Libertarians “can’t possibly win” so they’re just wasting their vote.

If they refuse to vote for the candidate of the person accusing them of wasting their vote they’re wasting their vote.

If they refuse even to participate in the process and don’t vote at all they’re accused of wasting their vote.

This has become very familiar to both LP and non-political libertarians as the Wasted Vote Syndrome.

Libertarians counter that this is actually the Wasted Vote Myth, or worse, the Wasted Vote Lie. A vote doesn’t “belong” to anyone other than to the individual entitled to cast the vote. It is not a mandatory action. No one else “deserves” it. No one else is “entitled” to it.

Voting “for” a person is not a vote “against” another person.

Casting a vote is an act of one individual expressing his or her preference for one other individual or thing—an amendment, a proposition, an action—over all other competing options.

If a person dislikes all options that person should vote for none of them, also known as NOTA—None Of The Above. To vote for anyone or anything that the person doesn’t believe in is the only true “wasted vote.”

Or Libertarians could just shove their voter’s ID cards into their waistbands and declare “Now it’s a waisted vote!”

Some Syndromes are Ideological


Libertarians have come to understand that the Wasted Vote Syndrome is actually just a symptom of an even greater syndrome, the Who Will Build The Roads Syndrome characterized by an uncontrollable Tourette Syndrome type of tic consisting of opinions, emotions, or behaviors that spread from a central delusion that if governments don’t do absolutely everything absolutely nothing will ever get done.

Libertarians who understand and embrace the non-aggression principle vote or don’t vote on the basis of their own moral convictions. The Saul Alinskys of the world have only one objective; to take over and control the monopoly power of governments using whatever means possible for the benefit of themselves, morality be damned:

“Reviewing and selecting available means is done on a straight utilitarian basis—will it work? Moral questions may enter when one chooses among equally effective alternate means. But if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise; automatically the lone means becomes endowed with a moral spirit.”—the little recognized Saul Alinsky Syndrome.

Remember that the definition of syndrome from includes these two entries:

a group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms

a characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behavior: the “Not In My Backyard” syndrome

So it can be argued that libertarians knowledgably and proudly “suffer” from The Non-Aggression Syndrome.”

No “cure” necessary. Hopefully this syndrome will spread exponentially from one freedom-loving person to another and Saul Alinsky and his crowd will get what they “unreservedly” want:

“Let's say that if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.”—Saul Alinsky, 1972 Playboy Interview

Sudden Death After Arrest Syndrome Don’t believe it? Think it’s a joke? Think it’s just Fake News? Here’s the original Reuters article from 2008 that explains how young men arrested in Spain spontaneously died while in police custody.

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Another joke? First identified in the 1960s for an illness caused from consuming MSG, even though the FDA (if you can believe them) concluded “Most people can eat foods that contain MSG without experiencing any problems.”

False Memory Syndrome—When Scientific evidence shows that false “memories” have been implanted or altered by a “recovered memory” therapist. Think Brett Kavanaugh accuser as a possibility. In the 1990s multiple therapists were sued for malpractice.

Saul Alinsky Syndrome Everyone in America should become aware of how the power hungry radical control freaks learned how to manipulate all of us for their own political benefit. Their mentor was a psychopath named Saul Alinsky.

Video View: Your Libertarian Opinionizer’s Pick—“Irritable Trump Syndrome”


Garry Reed (author) from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas on December 20, 2018:

1. You seem to have zero sense of humor.

2. You seem not to understand the reality of American electoral ballots. The only thing you can actually physically DO on a ballot in the real world is vote FOR a candidate. Nothing in your mind matters and is never recorded. There is never an “AGAINST” check box or button on a ballot. No official body or media outlet ever posts a list of how many “AGAINST” votes a candidate gets because there are none.

3. I’ve heard your arguments my entire adult life and long ago rejected them in favor of reality.

4. You seem to have zero sense of humor.

But thanks for your comments.

Michael Pedrino I on December 19, 2018:

I don't think I've ever read an article with so many words that had such little to say. I'm going to add a new syndrome to the list: stating one falsehood as a fact invalidates the entire credibility of the author syndrome.

"Voting "for" a person is not a vote "against" another person." is a falsehood that was proven during the 2016 presidential election. Millions of Americans openly admitted they did NOT vote for Donald Trump because they were enamored with his worldview or policies; many found him to be morally repulsive. Instead, they voted for him solely because they did not want to see Hillary Clinton become our 45th POTUS. They were not voting FOR Donald Trump, they were voting AGAINST Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the "Wasted Vote Syndrome", there is no such thing. We live in a democratic republic, where after an arduous primary season, we are given a binary choice between one of two viable political candidates who best reflects our values and worldview: one a Republican, the other a Democrat. Regardless of whose name you punch on your ballot, or even if you cboose to stay home and sit out the election, EVERYONE votes with their actions and ALL votes count. Nobody owns your vote, but YOU do own the consequences of your actions. So if you voted for a 3rd party candidate or sat out the 2016 election, it had the EXACT same effect of punching your ballot for Donald Trump, because he ultimately won. To say your vote or non-vote didn't have an impact on the outcome of that election is both naive and childish. Hillary and Trump were the ONLY two viable candidates on the ballot. If you didn't take the action of punching your ballot for Hillary, it had the mathematical impact of putting Trump in the White House, and it had real-life consequences on millions of people.

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