Tag: Libertarianism

Member Post


Sorry, the post’s title is something of joke, I really just wanted your attention.  Rather than bicker back and forth over “virtue,” “liberty,” or any of the other myriad terms we use here, I put forward the following real world exercise in governing.  The Real World is far more nuanced and complex than can be […]

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Libertarianism is, like many other schools of thought, hard to define. It’s somewhat slippery, and means different things to different people. This is something that can be said about Progressivism, Neo-Conservativism, etc. Fred, however, insists that his definition of Libertarianism is the correct one. And if you disagree with him, then you just don’t understand […]

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What I Really Think about Libertarianism


My libertarian friends may be surprised to hear this, but my respect for libertarianism has grown quite a lot since my introduction to Ricochet two years ago. Admittedly, my estimation at the time was pretty low. I had lots of libertarian undergraduates, and I also encountered a handful of professors and grad students with broadly libertarian views, so I was well familiar with that “I’m-conservative-but-not-a-moral-nag” snobbery. That bothered me only a little bit. My real reasons for dismissing libertarians were twofold.

First, libertarianism struck me as reactionary in broad sense. It presents itself as a universally applicable theory about the relationship between the individual to the state, but on that score, I found Ayn Rand far less insightful than Thomas Aquinas, Plato or Aristotle. Her influence, I saw, related to more idiosyncratic conditions of her time: the rise of the administrative state. That was, I supposed, a real problem in our time, but in historical terms it was still contingent; not every society has these same problems. As a political theory, then, it seemed to me that libertarianism drew unjustifiably broad principles on the basis of historically distinctive challenges.

What Do SoCons Want?


There’s all this conflict between SoCons and libertarians on Ricochet, but, as far as I can tell, the arguments are usually around SSM and drug legalization. Ok, but traditional marriage and keeping drugs illegal are known quantities and not terribly controversial positions. So what else do SoCons want? I assume more restrictions on abortion, which the way things are going, would also not be very controversial.

Anything else? What do you want the government to do to protect the culture, and especially children? What is the government’s role? There must be concrete issues besides those that I mentioned. I think it’s the unarticulated “other” that libertarians are most concerned about.

Libertarianism: What About the Children?


delilahWhy does libertarianism seem to insufficiently care about children? It appears to only be concerned about the rights of adults while brushing off the consequences to children.

At first blush, this is a legitimate complaint. In libertarian world, there would be — for instance — easier access to harder drugs, which will lead to inevitable child/drug interactions. Obviously, it’s in our interest to minimize this, and what better way to minimize child/drug interaction than simply minimizing the amount of drugs?

The problem is this neglects the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, no one cares about a child more than their parents. Among all the rights of adults, the right (and responsibilities) of adults to their children is paramount, and the rights of good parents must be protected before we worry about the consequences of poor ones. Libertarians believe state authority is no replacement for parental authority. Instilling necessary morals into children can only be accomplished by their parents, families, and other close responsible adults.

Secular Conservatism, Libertarians, Progressives, and Marriage


I take conservatism to be an appreciation and defense of what has been proven to work, and which benefits society and the individual in a balance.

If that seems overly-broad, let me provide an example.  Morality is effective in curbing largely destructive impulses and reactions, therefore morality is worth defending in principle, with some room for debate on many fronts.  Not all morality is the same, and it is not always helpful in the particulars.  But to hold that morality is not a necessary part of society is anti-conservative in my view, as morality is the most tested method for a society to control its own behavior with respect for the society and the individual in balance. 

Member Post


Hadley Arkes in his review of Richard Epstein’s “The Classical Liberal Constitution” in The New Criterion achieves an unlikely triumph. The effect after reading the review is not that I believe one man’s philosophy has bested the other’s, but rather that I can appreciate both men’s philosophies even more. Arkes’s review is the most thorough […]

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Government, Marriage, and the Future: A Conservative Response


shutterstock_148021259Fred Cole suggests that conservatives and libertarians reach a compromise: get the government out of marriage. From a conservative perspective, the idea is a political long-shot with some substantive disadvantages. But there is, I believe, a conservative case — maybe even a Burkean one — for it on philosophical grounds.

Marriage is a covenant “before God and these witnesses.” A man and woman marry by committing to each other for life before God and their community; they don’t need the government to give them permission. Marriage was established by God before human government and does not intrinsically require legal recognition.

Still, we have had laws recognizing and supporting marriage for a number of years now, and have built a tax system and family law around it. Perhaps we could question whether moving marriage into the legal realm allowed us to imagine that the law could define marriage, thus contributing to the current situation. But as a conservative, I generally respect the wisdom of our ancestors in such areas and resist hasty changes. Ideally, I’d prefer to keep legal recognition of marriage.

Nonsense, Courtesy of Salon


HDThere’s something about liberals* when they talk about libertarians. From their point of view, those troglodyte conservatives are at least understandable. But libertarians bother them because they manage to hold a lot of “correct” positions yet are somehow wrong on things as basic as the minimum wage.

When it comes to talking about libertarians, liberals* seem to lose their minds.

A recent example of this comes courtesy of Salon.com, in a piece entitled “3 Inconvenient Facts that Make Libertarians’ Heads Explode,” by someone named Lynn Stuart Parramore.

A Signatory Explains His Position on Same-Sex Marriage … Sort of — Richard Epstein


I am one of the people who chose to sign on to the statement (which I did not draft) that carries with it the title “Freedom to Marry, Freedom To Dissent: Why We Must Have Both.” I have received some questions as to why I chose to participate. Here are the basic points.

I think that the efforts to drive people like Brendan Eich from his professional employment via a blizzard of pious statements about the need for universal tolerance, some from Mozilla itself, are themselves representative of a peculiar form of intolerance, which treats this issue as one on which there can be no debate. This effort to drown out disagreement may be legal, but that is beside the point for issues of social discourse. It would have been intolerable for individuals who opposed same-sex marriage to try to silence their opposition in this fashion, and the principle remains the same in the reverse.

Member Post


[Preface: I started writing something in the discussion on James Poulos’s summoning post, “Who’s Failing America: the Elites or America?,” viz., my thoughts on what constitutes the great cleavages between liberals and conservatives. It got a bit, well, augmented, so I’m posting this to Member Feed. The steamy subtitle: “Why the moral-political is determinative of […]

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