The libertarian movement, as a whole, tends to adopt critical postures with respect to many government policies which are misguided. The proposal to reform the banking system tends to be one of abolition: “End the Fed.” The focus is on removing the institution, rather than on what comes afterward. While there may be some intellectual discussion of how to replace it, as a practical matter, the focus is on the removal.
Similarly, when critics of the Drug War want action, they propose to eliminate the policy and replace it with nothing.
In the world of ideas, this tends to make sense. A bad policy should be ended, and at least in theory, society will then re-coordinate in the absence of the damage created by political error. Unfortunately, one political error tends to be just replaced by another set of political errors. Abolishing minimum wage laws would be a great idea… unless Communist revolutionaries were able to use that abolition as a bloody shirt to wave around to inspire a wave of terrorism. Suddenly, the wise reform becomes bumbling into a trap set by a political enemy.
This is, overall, a sort of problem with the social category of the intellectual. The intellectual just works with ideas, rather than with the implementation of those ideas and their consequences. While ideas can be evaluated in the realms of logic and other forms of rhetoric, what’ll actually happen with those ideas if they’re put into place is entirely a matter of practical politics, which tends to be far more challenging to predict and handle. “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” goes triple for libertarian intellectuals, as the career of Milton Friedman — and the unintended consequences of income tax withholding, the innovation for which he was responsible — can attest to.
Similarly, the libertarian critique of police forces — often used to appeal to the left-leaning to burgeon the ever-churning ranks of the faithful — is an appeal to create a power vacuum. The Federal government is more than happy to amplify a libertarian critique of local police in order to create a vacuum which Federal power will then fill, rather than some sort of community-centered ideal of non-aggressive-angel-cops.
Just like fences are probably there for a reason, certain institutions and laws tend to be the borders demarcating the results of historical battles — most of those battles being fought with arms and words both. The goal of any thinking man of affairs should not be to create vacuums, but to overcome error with corrections, and to think always of the next step after displacing those errors.