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From the diaries by Jeff
….individualism or consequentialism? Pick the first, and you drift steadily toward liberalism and lose what makes your side distinct. Pick the latter and you can no longer promise “liberty” to everyone while ignoring the destructive consequences of their actions.
– Brett Stevens (HT: Amerika.org)
America was founded on libertarian principles. This tradition empowered the rise of America. It inspired the creativity and entrepreneurial energy of our people to such an extent that after WWII our culture, economy, military and society bestrode the world like a mighty colossus. Even in modern America, the more libertarian Texas is gaining population at nearly the same rate that the more authoritarian Massachusetts and California hemorrhage tax slaves from their welfare states.
Yet, despite the epic win powered by this libertarian ideology in America, the Libertarian Party has yet to paint the electoral map gold, ban the Fed, legalize Oaxacan ditch weed, or privatize or power down any of the myriad functions that our Federal Government (in my humble opinion) has no business exerting dominion over. In today’s blog, I endeavor to explain to all five or six of my constant readers exactly why Ron Paul (or any other perspective Libertarian Party Presidential candidate) won’t make it anywhere near Mt. Rushmore without a ticket and a means of transportation. They do not get the entire concept of consequentialism.
Consequentialism involves owning the results of any action you choose to engage in. It sets a necessary, constraining and specific limit to the extent of my freedom as an individual. Most of us, even hard-core Paulistinians, get that as individuals. Some of us don’t, and reside in Cell Block 6 or have long ago assumed room temperature for a variety of reasons. Absolute freedom is as fun, exciting and unworkable as the relationship a lot of people had with the person who took their virginity. It’s a wild ride, but a perspicacious individual figures out that it has to eventually come to an end.
What modern Libertarians don’t seem to grok is that the same holds true for societies. Letting the neighbors do whatever they want is great until David Berkowitz moves in next door and decides he really doesn’t like your cute, little pet dog. Morality does have to be legislated.
It may feel liberating to let a woman abort her pregnancy if she wants to, but that’s just because fetuses struggle to express what it feels like to have their head sucked apart by an industrial vacuum cleaner. Senile Grand Parents can get on our nerves as well, it’s easier if they can just drift away one night and not wake up again. Eventually, if we just let people deal with these problems and lay back far enough, Berkowitz just has to be Berkowitz. If a fetus isn’t human, why are you? The sacred value of a human life has been subordinated to an empty life-destroying dogma of unrestrained freedom.
Letting the markets decide who gets what works well for “Tickle Me Elmo Dolls”. Elasticity of Demand and quadruple-digit credit card bills tends to discipline even the most wayward scatterbrain. My little children may whine about not having one, but neither one would shrivel up and die. If Paris Hilton owns every last one of them, I’m not too unhappy.
Letting the market demand dictate that Hugh Hefner should put up pornography theatres and prostitution houses across the street from every high school in Madison County, AL, (due to the awesome potential aggregate demand) probably requires a little more careful thought. Societal traditions, values and standards of decency need to hold sway somewhere. I can turn off a raunchy Super Bowl Commercial. I can’t stop a sick culture that pipes its filth into the very walls of where my children go to school. Modern Libertarians seem a bit confused as to why my cute little adolescent can’t just take his porn and his hookers straight-up; like a man.
I find myself respecting a lot of the ideas espoused in philosophy of libertarianism. The USA Patriot Act was never my favorite legislation. I often wondered what it would be like to have all these new and exciting investigative tools in the hands of President Hitlery. Janet Napolitano’s definition of potential domestic terrorists offered us just a little appetizer of what the feke-sandwich would taste like if Barack Obama really wanted to serve it to us for lunch with an ironic smile. I could envision him sneering and telling us to be good little USA Patriots as he ordered us off to the reeducation camps.
When it comes to showing care and reluctance to ever give the Federal Government significant power over anything, Ron Paul has a valid point. The Department of Homeland Security should have played a role in a dystopic novel by Sinclair Lewis or George Orwell. The freedoms we give up, to assuage temporary fears, sometimes never get returned back to us again.
That all being explained; there also has to be a counter-test to determine how far individual and societal rights can actually be extended before we’ve given ourselves enough rope to auto-asphyxiate. Late, Great USA Patriot Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. perhaps nailed the proper design for that filter better than anyone alive in America today. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” (HT:Askville.com)
The hateful and destructive rights that such a standard would strike down are myriad. Free, tax-payer funded abortions, for example, would put many people’s noses out of joint. Even free Planned-Parenthood Funded abortions would run afoul of at least one cute, little nose. Free, guaranteed, government health care for all citizens, via a single-payer system, would certainly require slavery to provide for the guarantee to the extent that the supply of qualified physicians is finite. In essence, placing a limit to the rights and freedoms that an iniquitous governing clique can promise, to a numerical majority of registered voters, may well be the only way the United States of America retains any individual liberties at all.
This is where the Libertarian position that we can have individual freedom, athwart all the silly, reactionary barriers of decency, culture and modest restraint, runs into the brick wall of contradiction. You really can’t have it all without paying for it. Nobody ever makes it into heaven without lying down for a dirt nap first. The freedoms Libertarians tell me I should just be able to take for granted often times, inconvenience, offend, harm or even partially enslave the people around me.
For a brief period of time I thought about being a Libertarian, instead of a Republican. Having to share an organization with too many Lindsey Grahams, Lincoln Chaffees and Arlen Specters can do that to anyone who has morals. However, because of those morals, I could not believe what the modern Libertarians believe. It is because many other Americans, agree with and share at least some of those morals, that President Ron Paul will never amount to anything more than an obnoxious meme on the Internet Tubes. To the extent that Libertarians are libertine, they are also not faithfully libertarian. Fight for freedom as a Republican instead.