I can’t resist quoting at length from this excellent Through the Looking Glass post…
What’s interesting here is that if the homeowner’s association were a formally constituted government body — say, a zoning board — the homeowner would face pretty much the same set of choices that he does against a private body: fight in court, petition the board to change its policies, or run for a seat on the board and start to work from the inside. And the argument that “he know about the association when he chose to buy his house” applies just as well to a zoning board. The main difference is that, as our libertarian commentators are quick to point out, there are restraints on government, like the first amendment, which do not apply to private bodies and cannot be used to defend against them.
Which all might give some people the feeling that there’s something ever so slightly wrong with libertarianism. (At least if you think it’s supposed be about empowering people and not corporations; if the latter, there’s no problem at all).
I agree with the libertarians that freedom from government intrusion is a good thing – reproductive freedom, for example, and freedom from goverment censoring boards. But other freedoms matter as well – freedom from the threat of hunger and poverty, for example. Freedom from having a political process dominated entirely by the wealthy and by corporations. Freedom from discrimination. None of these freedoms, however, seem worth protecting to libertarians.
UPDATE the SECOND: The blog Freespace disagrees with me, also.