This is a tricky topic for me. On the one hand, I agree that libertarianism in its purest form could never work. At least, not yet. You can’t depend on charities to fill the void because, frankly, people aren’t generous enough with their money to make that work, and I highly doubt that would change even if we eliminated federal taxes altogether. Also, I feel that some libertarians are a little naive when it comes to private sector corruption. Though to be fair, there are many on the left who seem equally naive about government corruption.
That being said, I’m really quite grateful that libertarians are around. Now that they have some real influence in the GOP, they’ve started to make a few inroads on criminal justice reform and the war on drugs. They seem to be pulling the GOP a little to the left on both of those issues, which I consider a positive development. And they’ve also helped bring needed attention to civil forfeiture laws, which is also a decidedly good thing.
I also very much appreciate their skepticism regarding the role of government. I do think we’re often a little too eager to turn to Washington for solutions to problems that could be handled better at the state and local levels. The minimum wage is one of several examples of that.
The union thing is an interesting point you brought up. Most of the libertarian writers I’ve read are relatively supportive of unions. However, they’re also strong believers in freedom of association, so they hate it when employees are forced to join a union against their will. As far as I can tell, that’s their big objection to the way unions operate, along with government legislation meant to amplify union power.
With that in mind, I think libertarian participation in politics is a healthy and positive thing, and I really quite admire how principled a lot of libertarians are. But I also don’t believe a libertarian society is doable, and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime in the near future.