“Liberaltarians”

A friend of mine once defined a Libertarian as:

“A Liberal who has read – and understood – Hayek.”

If you are a Libertarian, I’d like to have a chat with you about why this is more accurate than you may believe, but first, I want to explain my personal political ideology.  If you understand the definition of the terms as they were originally defined, I would most accurately be described as a “Classic Liberal.”  It will help to think Jefferson, Madison, Rush, Mason, Henry, Adams, etc.  The primary difference between me and the Federalists of their day is that I have the benefit of hindsight to guide me, so I am much more sympathetic to the arguments and cautions offered by the Anti-Federalists.  Still, I understand that the Constitution is not a Libertarian document.  The closest that Libertarians will ever be able to come to our Constitution would be The Articles of Confederation, and history records how well that worked and why.  And this is why, where, on the surface, it would seem that Libertarians and I should be natural allies in the struggle to preserve individual liberty and rights, we’re actually at odds with each other.  This is also why I will never be able to come to your side of the divide between us: because history tells me that doing so will be as doomed a compromise as conceding to the Collectivist/Statist’s agenda.  So, we have to learn how to address each other’s concerns in a manner that will allow you to cross that divide and stand with those of us who are trying to hold the line our founders drew in the sand in 1787.

I want to start with a nasty tendency that some – not all – Libertarians have to act like Liberal/Progressives.  Unless I am as deferential to you and your ideas, and unless I agree with you 100% and agree never to criticize or question your leaders, you will attack me as viciously and in the same manner as the Left.  While I disagree with him on much of this issue of Libertarian vs. Conservative/Classic Liberalism, Beck does explain my objection to this Libertarian tendency pretty well in this story/video clip:

 Why Is Libertarian Glenn Beck Using ‘Nazis’ & ‘Fascist’ to Describe Some Other Libertarians?

“You Libertarians, you’re Nazis! The fascist Libertarians — you have to agree with absolutely everything!” Beck, who has identified himself as a Libertarian in the past, said.

Beck is, of course, referring to Libertarians who have openly stated that they hate him because he has in the past disagreed with former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

“You are more fascist than anybody in the Republican Party because you are — if you don’t walk in step exactly with you, you’re not welcome,” he added.

There is a great deal of truth in Beck’s words.  If you insist on uniformity, then how can you even claim to be “Libertarian:” you are espousing an idea in a manner that contradicts the ideal.  Throw in that the majority of Libertarians hold positions so close to Anarchy as to be nearly indistinguishable from Anarchists, and that Anarchists are natural allies of the Communists, it starts to become understandable as to why modern American Conservatives see no difference between Libertarians and Liberal/Progressives: it’s because you are presenting yourself in the same light the Left does, and for pretty much the same reasons.  This attitude is not only prohibits political compromise and alliance with Classic Liberals and Conservatives, it is destructive to society in general.  This is not an issue that you can just demand Conservatives/Classic Liberals accept.  This is an issue you, the Libertarian, need to be aware of and control.  Otherwise, you water down the available pool of individuals who might otherwise stand together – as our founders did.

Now, I have listened carefully to my Libertarian friends.  At the time, I was the only Conservative student in my philosophy department in college, so I naturally tended to side with the only Libertarian student.  We became friends, but our friendship taught me that I disagreed with him as much as I did the Utilitarians, Socialists, Progressives and Marxists.  I have since given a great deal of thought to why I disagree with most Libertarians, and I think I’ve concluded that the average Libertarian – the one who actually understands the ideas and ideals of their ideology – are as willing to use force in demanding their goals as the Collectivists are – they just do it in a passive manner.  The problem with this is that many of the Libertarian demands actually harm society, but the Libertarian argues they are “victimless crimes.”  At the moment, I am thinking specifically of the Libertarian support for drug use and prostitution.  This simply isn’t the case, and as long as the Libertarians fail to see this fact, they will never find the allies we both need in the Conservatives/Classic Liberals.

Now, debating these two topics is a matter for two different posts, but I will end with a few brief thoughts.  Under the Natural Law paradigm, society is the creation of a mutual contract between all members in that society.  A contract is not a natural right; it is the product of the natural right to willingly enter into mutual agreement with another or other people.  This is a crucial distinction as it means the terms of that contract must be in agreement with Natural Law, but they are not necessarily natural rights.  In fact, many will be civil rights; or rights created by the concessions agreed to in the social contract.  Our founders understood this, which is why they actually supported a community’s civil right to pass morality laws.  Remember, Natural Law does not work for an amoral or immoral people; therefore, it follows that morality laws are a part of Natural Law.  The trick is being wise enough to keep those laws within the confines of Natural Law and, at best, drug use and prostitution walk the razors edge of that divide.  Unless and until the modern Libertarian can come to grips with this flaw in their ideology, the best they will ever be able to create for America is a modern Articles of Confederation, in which case, they will find me opposing them as vigorously as I now oppose the Statists.

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28 thoughts on ““Liberaltarians”

  1. I don’t really know what I am anymore. The political terms that have been generally recognized over the years have become so bastardized that when a politician supports socialist policies, we can’t call them socialists and any view that doesn’t include collectivist thought is racist or Nazism.

    What I would say is this – and Joe’s comments on Rand got me to thinking about it – I am whatever ideology that believes that what society should be is a passive recognition of the behaviors of free individuals. I completely disagree that the behavior of individuals should be defined by society.

    That is the difference between me and so many of our political foes on the left – to them a homogenized society that follows a single, government approved standard of behavior is the goal and they will use whatever means necessary to subjugate the individual’s rights to secure the conformity they require of a society.

    The quality of a society is a product of individual character, the character of the individual is not the result of the quality of society. There is a cart before the horse, chicken/egg relationship here.

    Liberals and progressives in this country have been at war with any kind of individual governance that is a result of morality, religion or a belief in God as part of their quest for “freedom” and “equality”. They seek to replace those internal controls with government restrictions and laws which are worthless without our internal moral compass. There is a story that I read in my local news this morning where a special needs student was sexually abused AT SCHOOL. The response? We need more cameras in schools – not that we need to deal with the immorality of a person that could do such a thing, we just need to install more cameras.

    It is ludicrous to destroy the very internal regulators that make for a civil society and then be amazed that there are people who don’t care about the laws the government imposes. At the root, there is no law, no regulation and no government official sitting in my kitchen right now that could stop me from breaking any law, up to and including theft or murder – but I won’t break those laws because I have a sense of right and wrong based on my belief in God and His laws. If everyone believed in the commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thous shalt not steal” from Exodus Chapter 20, verses 13 and 15, there would be no need for any of government’s laws as deterrents.

    Laws are reactive, principles are proactive. Principles prevent negative events, laws are ex post facto, they only punish after the event occurs. The Founders understood this, they counted on America to be guided by internal principles – this is the only way to have a functional society with a limited, constrained government. Strip those principles and overweening government and coercion (yes, Karl, true coercion) is the result. There is in inverse relationship between the morality of society and the amount of government. As God’s presence has been reduced and minimized in America, government’s power and rules have increased. That is not a disputable observation.

    • I don’t really know what I am either. I think of myself as an “independent”, though malcontent may be more accurate, simply because I don’t agree with ANY political group currently “singing songs and carrying signs mostly say ‘”hooray for our side”‘.
      Problem is, as a malcontent (I think that will be my new party), and not part of a group of people, my influence or impact on the process is severely limited. How to make a difference? You guys tell me.

    • It’s tough to “like” a comment when it contains numerous points, but I like this one overall.

      “That is the difference between me and so many of our political foes on the left – to them a homogenized society that follows a single, government approved standard of behavior is the goal and they will use whatever means necessary to subjugate the individual’s rights to secure the conformity they require of a society.”

      I observe the same type of behavior on the right. I do not believe we can legislate morality, but many on the right want to try. I am in favor of legalizing drugs more because it would change our approach to drug abuse rather than my belief that someone should simply be free to be an addict. I am opposed to legalized prostitution, because I am not convinced prostitutes and johns are not victims.

      Also, although we can make general statements using the terms liberals and progressives, by your own admission the statements and the terms used mean different things to different people. While, I think there is a commonly accepted general definition of such terms in our modern political arena, the definitions don’t aid real communication.

      Because I am a Christian, anyone who opposes something simply because it is contrary to my religious beliefs puts them in a weak position. Confidence in my religion does not require me to force it upon another, but through my actions it is hoped that another will accept it, or at least respect it. I will do the same whether the person is of a different faith or has no religion at all. I believe this is the only way to live communally in peace.

  2. I believe it would be in all conservative-minded peoples interest to come to terms with our disagreements and join forces. Obviously, you have a big problem with social issues. But I ask you, B.; are caffeinne, nicotine, and alcohol not drugs? Prostitution is a contract between two consenting adults. Personally, I don’t believe in it, but if an individual should like to earn a living that way, I won’t be their judge……

    The Bay County libertarians lean more conservative than liberal in my opinion.

    • Kells,

      Who is harmed by the use of caffeine and nicotine OTHER than the individual user? Now, if you want to equate alcohol to these two drugs, then why don’t we have DUI laws for drinking coffee and smoking? Right there we have a common sense acknowledgement that there is a difference between the drugs and their effects. Some drugs are NOT “victimless” — especially if they leave an addict who society must care for as a result.

      Prostitution IS a “contract” of a sort, but again, are ALL parties always subject to that contract? If the John is married, does his wife get to “agree” to the terms of said contract? Do his children? If the prostitute has a venereal disease and does not disclose this, was the “contract” victimless?

      Finally, re-read my post. You will NOT find me calling for Federal or even State governments to mandate morality laws. I was careful to differentiate between this level and “communities.” I did that for a reason: if I am going to argue the community’s right to make morality laws, I have to also allow for the community to pass laws to which I disagree. HOWEVER, a community should not dictate to the State or nation for the same reasons. This is the distinction most Liberal/Progressives AND many (not all) Libertarians seem to overlook.

      • If they don’t create laws, they will typically tax. In my opinion, it is govt.’s way of getting its way. Were prostitution legal, I am sure that there would be federal requirements as with everything that is legalised.

        I think you have more in common with the libertarian party than you should like to admit. They are pooh-poohing me about Rubio (just as you silly boys did), but the reality is that people aren’t voting for the “right” candidate. They vote for a pretty face that promises them hope and change.

  3. “If you insist on uniformity, then how can you even claim to be “Libertarian:” you are espousing an idea in a manner that contradicts the ideal.”

    This appears to be a dilemma for any political party, but I believe it is a natural extension of the individual human condition. Who doesn’t want to be right and have everyone else agree?

    • Steve,

      IF (if-if-if) my Libertarian friends could accept disagreement with their icons without reacting in the manner I’ve described, then I would be happy to accept our differences. But it must be realized that you are presenting the more reasonable side of Libertarianism, and it is NOT the predominate side by far.

      But then, yes, you make a valid point. So the trick then is to find a way to allow everyone who supports individual rights and liberty to stand together and, once again, I argue that the ground we’re looking for is with the founders, and not one inch to the left or right of that spot.

      • I have not gotten to Christine’s comment yet, but on a quiz she posted, I came out as soft-core. You make excellent points, especially about the founders’ creation. The genie has been out of the bottle for a long time, and it will most likely take a long time to force it back in.

  4. I agree that prostitution should be legalized as well. Ive seen legalized prostitution in action and Ive seen what we have here. There are less drugs and less AIDS and other STDS, when prostitution is brought into the light. It becomes less dangerous for the prostitutes themselves and for their clients, when people can meet in the light of day without hiding their transactions and with no need to go to dangerous dark alleys to find the merchandise they are looking to purchase. It is indeed a contract entered into between two adults and should be left at that. As for the straw man defense that the partner of the person purchasing Sex should have a say, WHY? Do you have to have spousal approval in writing to buy a motorcycle? A house? A gun? How about something more dangerous like bungee jumping? Or scuba diving with sharks? My point is that if you don’t have open communication in your relationship, that is a relationship issue not a legal issue and we should not make laws based on keeping straying partners from straying, either you keep the sex in your relationship alive and well or you don’t, but to make a law illegalizing sex trade for the ” defense of the family” is an invasion of my right to live my life as I see fit, even if that means working in the sex industry.
    Drugs should be legalized, all of them across the board. I have always believed that we should allow the drugs and make them plentiful. The people who cannot master the drug will die, and serve as a stronger warning to new users then all the prisons in this nation combined. The people who can master the drug will eventually stop using it. Ive seen this play out too often too count with the hard drugs. I worked for some time as a ” counselor” at a youth prison, I use the term in quotes because really it was glorified corrections officer work. BUT I did host AA and NA and run other group therapy’s in that setting. I have seen first hand the devastation the war on drugs has caused on the ” collateral damage” of this war. The children of people imprisoned for drugs are almost guaranteed to end up in the system themselves, we are breaking up family’s and we need to stop. YES hard drugs ARE bad , they are bad for the person using them and they are bad for the people who love them. Some of the drugs out there even cause violent behaviors in otherwise rational people.. so does alcohol….yet we allow drinking. It is time to disempower our police force, the quickest way to achieve this is to end the drug wars. Defund all narcotics operations. By ending the drug war we take away 90% of their ability to commit illegal search and seizures. The drug war is a pretext for taking our rights , even if you never smoked a single hit of any dope, YOU are still a victim of this war and its time to stop being victims and start fighting for our rights !!

    • Christine,

      I see you have a shallow understanding of Natural Law. This is why Libertarians will never gain the approval of Conservatives, and why the two will most likely remain at odds with each other — which is also why the Left will most likely prevail.

    • You make a good argument for the legalization of prostitution, and I agree that many of the negative aspects of it are eliminated by doing so. You are hard-core, and I like it. :)

      My opposition, I guess, is actually to prostitution itself, when those participating in it do so because of something else that may be broken in their life.

      • Steve,

        She rationalizes what is — in many cases — essentially the breaking of terms of a contract. That is, unless she thinks her partner just assumes she will sleep with who she wants, when she wants and buy what she wants, go where she wants and do whatever she wants without ever consulting them and that her partner has no say in the matter — or any children they may have. On top of that, look at all the government regulation you just accepted. And here I thought I was chatting with Libertarians…

        You see, relationships carry inherent rights for other people, and this is something Libertarians have great difficulty in understanding. I suspect this is why so many of them find such an appeal in Ayn Rand’s work: because she was ALL about the Id. Well, without acknowledging our duty to others, you will NEVER have liberty: it cannot exist in the world of Anarchy that would result from what most Libertarians advocate — because it is the only result that can come of what they advocate.

  5. Left/right is a paradigm that is on its final leg. There is no left, there is no right, there are the people and then there is the government. People need to remove the illusion and look behind the veil. As for the conversation about drugs and prostitution Floridacracker scroll up and reread the comments :)

    • Christine,

      If you redefine Left/Right, I suppose you can make this claim — but only if you redefine it. Otherwise, if you stick to the classic, original definitions, there will ALWAYS be Left/Right — ALWAYS! Man does not and will never “progress” past his nature.

      • Sorry Joe. I agree with Christine. I do not believe left and right occur “naturally”. We could say it became the human condition post original sin, but it can be overcome. Wouldn’t that be free will ideally exercised?

        • Steve,

          Man either believes that he can perfect himself (the Left and the urge to direct/control others), or he does not (the Right and the willingness to leave others to make their own choices). This does occur naturally, that is, unless you are going to argue there is no such thing as free will.

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