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What Libertarians Misunderstand

Monday, February 14, 2011


Recently, in a piece about the dangers inherent in libertarianism, I pointed out that libertarians, by applying their live-and-let-live philosophy to the moral sphere as well as the governmental, do nothing to maintain the societal moral framework that enables people to govern themselves from within and that ensures that Big Brother won’t have to do so from without. (I recommend you read the piece.) Not surprisingly, this provoked some angry responses and fallacious counter-arguments. This article is my response to them.

I will start with the one thing that characterizes libertarians as much as anything else: a misunderstanding about the nature of law. To illustrate the point, consider the commentary of “End the Fed,” a “devout libertarian” who posted under my first piece. He wrote,

I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on whether people should smoke crack or have abortions. My choice is drug free. My choice is not to have abortions. And if you want to do those things, I won’t criticize or judge you.

I simply accept the fact that those things exist whether I want them to or not.

OK, now imagine if I said,

I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on whether people should commit murder or rape. My choice is to respect life. My choice is not to commit rape. And if you want to do those things, I won’t criticize or judge you. I simply accept the fact that those things exist whether I want them to or not. I’m a good Libertarian.

Understand that all I did was take End the Fed’s reasoning to its logical conclusion. After all, what do murder, rape, and abortion have in common? They are all moral matters — as is the stuff of all legitimate laws.

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  • Sean

    I am not a “devout Libertarian” but even I can see the fallacy in your argument here.

    The examples that you give are not comparable. Drug use does not violate the rights of another while rape and murder clearly do. (I’m leaving abortion out because I don’t believe that it belongs in the first category)

    It took very little study for me to understand how Libertarians make that distinction. You seem to have missed it. Using the “logical extension” that you claim to employ, I can conclude that you either ignored the distinction entirely for the sake of your argument, which means that you are unethical, or you don’t understand it, which means that you are unqualified to offer an informed opinion.

    • remesquaddie

      Right on Sean. Besides , I have always believed that we should make drugs legally available. Those who want to kill themselves using them is not our problem, but let’s refuse jobs that might injure others, and no driving license period. That would make drugs cleaner, and much much cheaper, which would remove much of the murder that is still going on . Free up prison cells, reduce the number of police needed, and lawyers and judges etc. etc.

    • LS

      But who do you think should pay the medical cost of illegal drug users ? Should a drug user ignore health hazards and expect others to pay medical bills for them. Drugs also make some people unproductive and unable to hold a job. Should they expect others then provide them a living because of the lifestyle they chose? How many drug users would you support so they can live their destructive life style ? Too many people today live destructive lifestyles then turn around and look for others thru the government to take care of them.

    • Hank

      Stop mischaracterizing! If someone hates government forcing someone to not do drugs, why the hell would they then turn around and say that government should be able to force taxpayers to pay for the medical bills of someone whose life is messed up because of those drugs. Not everyone is as philosphically inconsistent as you project them to be!

    • Linda

      We are all paying for these idiots because most of them end up in prison. Where do you think our taxes are going??? There are far too many government programs out there that we the people are paying for. The government cannot stop anybody from doing anything. If and when they break the law you bet your sweet beepie we the tax payers get stuck paying for them!!

    • Dave

      Linda – they end up in prison because it is illegal. Some drug users commit crimes and some criminals do not use drugs.

    • cookcreative

      Excuse Me? Drug use does not violate the rights of others? Try telling that to the victims of human trafficking, drug wars and broken families. Perhaps you should go to Mexico and immerse yourself in the dark underworld of drug smuggling and then tell me it’s victimless.

    • BadCyborg

      Your examples are wholly specious since they are NOT the result of individuals’ use of drugs but of GOVERNMENTS’ attempts to regulate/legislate morality. Tobacco is wholly legal and thus produces no such carnage. When alcohol was outlawed a similar pattern of criminal behavior emerged and remained until the 21st amendment repealed the 17th.

      The fact is, the examples you cite are purely the result of the so-called “war on drugs” and NOT on the use/abuse of drugs themselves. Legalize (or at least decriminalize) drugs and the cartels will have to find some other way to make their money.

    • shannon

      ” Legalize (or at least decriminalize) drugs and the cartels will have to find some other way to make their money.” wrong, they could just sell it leagaly then. possibly their market would increase making even more money!

    • Am2sweet

      Pardon me but drug use can and does affect the rights of others. My nephew was on drugs just for the fun of it I guess and ended up frying his brains. His mother was beaten up by him and he ended up in a nut ward and his mother had to pay for it which she couldn’t really afford. He can’t hold a job and has to stay on meds or he gets violent. He’s been living in a group home under careful attention and doubt he’ll ever do anything other than exist. It tore up his sisters and mother. His father is dead and anyone saying drugs don’t affect anyone else hasn’t seen first hand what they do. Neighbors down the road were murdered by two druggies needing money for drugs and of course druggies don’t seem to hold down jobs. Another problem with hard druggies. my nephews sisters and mother should have had the right to a more peaceful life than having to worry about what R was going to do to them. Or worry about him hurting himself or someone else. It should have been their right to use their money on things they or other children needed instad of paying some place for a kid who thought it was cool to do drugs. The couple murdered should have had the right to live out their life instead of suffering at the hands of two strung out kids who thought they were ‘cool’.

    • Hank

      Guns cause crime too! I knew this guy this one time and he had a gun and he shot someone. Drugs and guns are the problem, not the people that use or abuse them.


      Actually, your nephew’s mother’s job (and not the governments, and if they were good at it, your nephew would never have used them) was to keep him off drugs, and she failed. Poetic justice that she got beat up.


    • 2WarAbnVet

      Hank said, “I knew this guy this one time and he had a gun and he shot someone.” Well, Ive seen many instances where people used guns to prevent crimes, and protect their families. You single example is specious.

    • Hank

      It was SARCASM. OKAY? Crikey People!

    • Hank

      Why didn’t they use their second amendment rights two blow those two faggot teenagers away? That is why we have a second amendment, so people can enforce the Law themselves, when they or theirs are in immediate danger. Morepoetic justice. They neglected to excersise one right, and they had all their rights taken away through their deaths.

    • ITISME

      I agree, you are the only one who makes any sense. Use of illegal drugs destroys many lives and the user’s family as well. Child abuse is sky high because of so many meth users, I can go on and on. I have personally
      seen the destruction of individuals (who where good normal people to start with) turn into “vegatables”. Unlike cigarettes, which are not psychoactive, illegal drugs damage the brain and this damage is irreversible. This is why these drugs are illegal. (Look at
      that AZ shooter, high probability he never would of went insane and did what he did if he was not using these mind altering chemicals. The government needs to protect some people from themselves, and others they come in contact with.

    • Hank

      Who but an insane person would smoke what he was smoking in the first place?

    • Hank

      Should we ban anger, ignorance, poverty, alcohol, and any number of other factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect? No! These things are not the problem, the people themselves are. It is human nature. Some are worse than others, but all men are capable of destroying their own lives and those of others regardless of what restrictions you put on them, whether or not the use bad substances or abuse things that are otherwise harmless. You can’t expect good results by throwing more money and regulations at a problem. Would child abuse go down if there were no meth addicts? I doubt it.

    • Lenore Villa

      Drug use has contributed to rapes and maurders in a statistical level that is not coincidental. It also has diminished the rational and physical control of users to the extent that accidents leading to injury, maiming or death are fairly prevalent. i don’t mind them ‘killing’ themselves with its use. That is their choice. I do, however, refuse to have my family, friends and others close to me be part of the collateral damage they cause on their way to their graves.

    • Hank

      Get a gun, then!

    • Dave

      Most of that is from the drug Alchohol. Should it be criminalized again?

  • Art

    To put the libertarian viewpoint into much greater perspective:

    ” Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins “…

    I suggest you take a look at ALL the published works of Robert Anson Heinlein.

    He not only wrote Sci-Fi, but was very interested in politics…

    • Hank

      Also, the Law, By Frederic Bastiat.

      And another thing, ALL libertarians that define an unborn child as a human being are pro-life. Those that define it as something else are pro-choice (ie pro-death). It has nothing to do with libertarianism, but the definition of a human being. Some libertarians may be wrong to be pro-choice, but they are consistent with their definition of “living human being”. I am anti-death, pro-life, a libertarian (not with capital L), and a [fiscal and on many issues, social] conservative. To claim that libertarians cannot be conservative, is to claim that someone that believes in freedom is not free to have conservative viewpoints. The author of the story is unaware of the fact that their is a broad spectrum of libertarianism. Some of it is abhorrent anarchism, yes, and some of it is capital L party politics, but for the most part, independent libertarians, who fairly often ]vote Republican, are minarchists, as in they support the state as a necessary evil, but its powers go only so far as to protect life (including that of the unborn child), liberty (freedom of thought and speech, right to a jury of peers, the right to make money and spend it as one pleases, provided that no other individual’s life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness is violated), and the PURSUIT of happiness (just the pursuit, not always happiness).

      This definition of the state leaves no room for welfare (a violation of the liberty to spend one’s money as one pleases), unpunished crime, bailouts (ie welfare), public schools, prolonged, bankrupting wars, a central bank (picture a giant squid with its tenticles strangling the private finances of the citizenry).

      This was what was originally set up. Some possible exceptions are, of course, the popst office, tariffs, and slavery. But these are things that would have been ironed out if pre-civil war era politicians had kept to the principals of true Liberty.

  • Mel

    At its core, the Libertarian view (as I see it) is something to the effect that one should be able to live life in whatever manner one chooses that does not impinge on others’ rights to do the same.

    Basically, if I’m not hurting anyone else with my choices, it is nobodies business. Laws and regulations should only address violating others rights to be left alone.

    I do firmly believe in less government and more freedom-the government should not be my nanny.

  • Jim

    Sean, I couldn’t have said it better! The only thing I could add is that please don’t expect me (or the government) to pay for the bad choices you make. If you get addicted to crack or some other drug, whether legal or illegal, it’s your problem not mine. If you rob somebody to support your habit, you go to jail, not for your habit, but for your violation of someone else’s rights.

    • Linda

      Unfortunately, it is our problem! Do you have a clue as to how much money we spend on criminals everyday. So the belief if you do things that don’t hurt others fine. But you need to go to jail when they do??? Again, we are paying for these people. There will always be laws there has to be some form of government. But to the point where our current mastermind is going. WAY out of line. Government should not be allowed to make medical choices for anyone who is in the US legally and is paying there taxes. One way or another we have to take responsibility for what we do, unfortunately that is not what is being taught any longer. To the point do what you want as long as you THINK you are not hurting anyone else.??

  • gullah

    The problem sean is ppl do things on drugs they wouldn’t normally do. It ruins ppl.

    • stevor

      And as he said, one has to be responsible for their actions and deal with the consequences.

      Money, greed, and a lot of other things “ruin” people, too.

      Laws were created for those who weren’t of a right mind to see that doing certain things wasn’t good for themself or others.
      There’s a law to not drive on the wrong side of the street. That’s pretty much common sense but somebody who doesn’t use their brain might do so, cause an accident, and unless we had that law, they’d argue that “nobody said it’s a bad idea”.

      Laws are mainly for morons and lawyers who love to protect them.

    • shannon

      “Money, greed, and a lot of other things “ruin” people, too.” very true, just look at congress as an example!

  • Mel

    At its core, the Libertarian view (as I see it) is something to the effect that one should be able to live life in whatever manner one chooses that does not impinge on others’ rights to do the same.

    Basically, if I’m not hurting anyone else with my choices, it is nobody’s business. Laws and regulations should only address violating others rights to be left alone.

    I do firmly believe in less government and more freedom-the government should not be my nanny.

  • Bryan

    The biggest dividing line, which you seem to have missed, is the line where the actions directly affect other people. Drug use, by itself, does not affect others, but driving while high and injuring others does. Libertarian thought would say don’t legislate the morality of the drug use, legislate the ACTION of the driving while high.

    Your fallacious response of “following the logic” does not actually follow this logic. I might suggest you actually learn a little more about the subject than the “cliff’s notes” version spun by the media before you make broad sweeping statements that encompass an entire movement. Especially a out one that would probably be closer to the thinking of the founding fathers than the broader conservative movement would be.

  • Fred

    It is not the job of the Federal Government to be the watchdog for morality. It is the job of the church. The reason the government stepped in is that the church got lazy and did not provide light to the world. If the church took care of the poor then the government would not have to. If the church protected the helpless then the there would not have to be laws to do so. But the church got too interested in the stain glass windows that show the glory of some god and forgot the very thing that the Son came to redeem.

    • Hank


    • Linda

      Sorry, it is up to each of us as individuals!! The Church is always there to help and it does if you let it. God is very much overlooked these days. And because of that this is the ugly world we live in. Stop trying to put blame elsewhere. Start taking responsibility for yourself. God gave us all a brain it is up to each of us to use it for the good.

    • Monette

      Who do you think the church is? People, you twit!!! Who do you think the government is? Wow – people!! The church is not here to help all the poor and useless. Yes, the church does do a lot of charity; but, it is to the point that the church cannot, nor should it be expected to, do it all. “The glory of some god”?? The Church is not here for “the glory of some god”, it is here for the Triune God. And people like you do not want to listen to Christian morality, you would rather just try to blame the Church for your lack of morality!!!

    • Jackbooted Thug


      I think.

  • brian doherty

    I agree with your application of the basic principle. People never seem to like the results of the principles that established or removed from socity. A case in point is the abolishment of the church courts in new england the goverened moral conduct.

  • Dar1rep

    I am a Libertarian (not sure about devout) and I must agree with Sean’s comments above. The misunderstanding, at least in this “example”, is clearly on the author’s part.

    With that said, I understand where the author was trying to go – there is a moral component to healthy societal development. “Right and wrong” are distinctions which have been abandoned by the left and undoubtedly lead to individual irresponsibility; the antithesis of all Libertarians. It’s just that most Libertarians I know would rather leave moral teaching to parents, pastors and (non-indoctrinational) teachers rather than governments or political parties.

    • Dave

      Reading most of the comments on patriot update, I would say it is the right who have abandoned right and wrong.

  • Rusty

    I do not believe it is the job of the government, the church, or any institution or individual to be “the watchdog for morality.”
    While the onus of education may fall on institutions, it is my imperative to be responsible for my morality, the resulting actions, and thus, the consequences thereof.
    To relegate the well-being of the poor and helpless to ‘the church’ is only a way of dodging personal responsibility to care for others.
    While concern for the welfare of our fellow man is not mandatory, I certainly would be wary of anyone who is completely lacking in empathy.

    • Hank

      No one said that the church could force their morality on the drug users, but simply that if a drug user belongs to a denomination, or his family does, that that denomination or church, as a private institution, and within the Law, may excersise its rights (as a free association of individuals with individual rights) to help the addict. These include freedom of speech (counseling the addict with scripture and common sense), and charity (helping to rehabilitate, provided that he is not forced into it). Sure, this process will miss a few drug users, but that is where family and community come in. Any addict left over after this will almost certainly be a violent criminal anyways, and that is where the State comes in, to pounish the violent crime, not the use of drugs.

  • Dave

    I believe the author is trying to demean a belief system that is becoming more and more common place among the populace. The conservatives are scared that every one will recognize that at heart, they are more libertarian than conservative. I found that I was after reading the platforms of the libertarians vs. the non existant platforms stated for the dems. and repubs., who didn’t know what their party platform would be so they couldn’t put one in writing.
    The next election, folks should seriously look at the people running in the libertarian party.


    • Hank

      The Libertarian Party is just a party, and for all the good it may have or done, it is still capable and willing to violate its own principles for a little bit of Raw Power. They will have no choice but to make serious compromises if they want any power, and they are the party that can least afford to do so.
      They could lose all credibility. Why do you think that their are so many splinter groups among libertarians. It is because they have left or never joined the LP, which they saw as just another political harlot.

  • One Voice

    It is a tough issue. There is little doubt that violation of “Christian moral law” has contributed to the destruction of many individuals and families. Alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution, gambling, pornography, adultery, and other moral sin result in addictions that destroy self-esteem, dominate otherwise productive lives, and bring heartbreak and despair to loved ones. To say there is no impact on society is not only naïve, it is a lie.

    At the same time, history has shown that these vices persist (and even flourish) in the face of every law created to abolish them. We do not stop the “sin” by legislating against it. To the contrary, making these vices illegal results in a seedy infrastructure that flourishes in providing restricted substances or services. In fact, I doubt any organization would be more vehemently opposed to the legalization of drugs than the drug lords and drug cartels that would wither and die without the artificially high prices charged for the risks involved with illegal activity.

    Probably the best example of a successful handling of a “moral issue” would be what has happened with tobacco over the last 40 years. Ads were taken off of television, warnings were put on labels, laws to resist distribution to minors remained in place, and an education campaign (much of which was funded by taxes on tobacco) focused on the destructive nature of tobacco. These have all resulted in a huge downward jump in tobacco use in the United States.

    We need to protect our children (as much as possible) from early exposure to addictive and destructive vices. We need to not allow advertising media to create and build demand for vices which lead to addictions and destroy families. We need to educate the public on the affect these vices have on individuals, families and society. But we do not need to spend billions of dollars ineffective police activity and on filling our prisons. We do not need to allow a criminal element to force its customer base into lives of prostitution and robbery to feed a drug habit.

    There are “baby step” laws that can help deter misuse of drugs and alcohol. DUI laws have helped a little by reducing one of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Perhaps mandatory drug testing to ensure that welfare assistance is not used to feed drug habits (particularly at the expense of children) might help. (It is interesting that many have to undergo drug testing to earn a living, but that anyone can live on government handouts without the testing.) We could restrict advertising that glamorizes alcohol use. We can make the world a better, safer place without making vices illegal.

  • gman041

    No actually they are all crimes against humanity but the same liberals who want same sex marriage, sodomy and DADT also do not think that murdering babies is morally wrong. And so do the politicians that pander to the left.I agree that libertarians do have this live and let live attitude but it is restrained by moral laws of society. Therefore a libertarian would send a rapist or murderer to the chair as quick as anyone else.

    • Hank

      If given the chance, this libertarian would hit the switch on the chair. As ong as their was a fair trial. Their might be one or two instances of giving someone a second chance (especially if they were under the influence), but, for the most part…Kill ’em All.

  • Hank

    The Title itself is a lie. Libertarians do understand that if you had a perfect government run by perfect people that kept everyone perfectly safe and comfortable, and that no one was ever hurt, that life would be just grand. More than this, however, libertarians understand that there is no such thing as “perfect government” or “perfect people” or “perfectly safe and comfortable”. It is always the near exact opposite. Therefore, less laws leads to less chances of people who claim to be perfect to abnuse them (the laws). The author may understand the Law of Moses, but they have no clue as to Human Nature. No matter the restrictions, man can destroy himself and others, because man is capable of rational thought and can overcome any adversity in any situation, good or bad.

  • Daniel5714

    What Morality? That has came and went along time ago.Do You really think that most Americans give a dam about what happens to You and Yours.I hope not as You are sadly mistaken.I’m all for Legalizing Drugs! If the Government would Legalize it and tax it like the do Cigarettes,Alcohol and Gas there would not be a Deficit.If the Government did not try to control everything You do there would not be a Deficit. The Government is nothing more a Communist Regime trying to dictate Your every move!And I disagree with any of You that think that Driving on drugs is anywhere near as dangerous as Driving under the influence of Alcohol.More People die from that in (1 year) than all the drug deaths ever recorded in History.If You don’t beleive Me do some research on how many People die each Year from Alcohol related injuries and how many People die from Drugs during that same period.You will find that for every person that dies from drugs there are about (1,000) dies from Alcohol but that’s legal.You can have all You can afford.Go out and kill Your entire Family,Friends,Neighbors or anyone else that makes You angry or happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I can’t sit in My own House a smoke a joint because You say I can’t or the Government says I can’t.Get Real! You have more of a chance of dying from the food that You eat than You do from Me doing Drugs…..

    • Hank

      I think it unwise for anyone to do drugs. Period. That does not, however give me, or anyone, or the representation of anyone (ie government) the right or responsibility to keep you from them. Marijuana, the gateway drug, is harmless compared to certain others, and a person is capable of controlling themselves, even while on pot. I am not sure taht you meant to imply that you yourself use pot, or if you were just creating a hypothetical. Regardless, a Tyrannical Government is worse than all the pot smokers combined.

    • Daniel5714

      Yes I smoke Pot.I’m 53 Years old and have been smoking it since I was 17.I have done other drugs also during My life Crack,Herion,Cocaine,Uppers and Downers>But I have never stolen anything to get it or have I ever killed anybody to get it or do I ever intend to.But give Me a bottle of Booze and I am a totally different animal.I’m apt to go Postal at any moment.Although I can and do limit My consumption of Alcohol for obvious reasons I will never quit smoking Pot no matter how many Laws they make or how many Goodie Twoshoes tell how bad it is .I have smoked it for nearly 40 Years and if I’m still alive 40 Years from now I’ll still be smoking it.

    • Hank

      Well, fine. Good for you. I hope you never go postal! That could be scary.

      Interesting tidbit that has always made me tone down my criticism of pot users:

      The ancient Scythians, a people that i have always admired, invented it’s use, and just look at them! They may not have had a very well recorded history, but they left their mark on history, and not just in regards to drugs.

      It’s kind of like the Ancient Norse Berkerkers, they got drunk and STILL KICKED SOME ASS! That doesn’t mean people should go get drunk, but I won’t hold it against them as much as certain folks with no sense of history do.

    • Daniel5714

      Thank You for Your kind words and understanding.Most if not all People that are againt using Marijuana have never tried it and therefore no nothing about it besides all of the Condemnation of it or what someone else(again that has never tried it)have told them.If they had of they would not be against it.Why do You think there is now Medical Marijuana.It’s because even the Doctors know that it’s really not that bad for You infact it’s an awesome pain killer. And theres many other uses for it besides that.Did You know it can be used as a Biofuel to help us ween our Country from Oil.Or that the fibers from the stalk can be used to make Clothing.We as a Country have outlawed one of the greatest things that was ever discoved all because of a few ignorant People have said it’s wrong.It has been around for Thousands of Years and just like Cockroaches it will be here long after were gone….

    • Hank

      I still condemn it, but only about as much as someone who plays with legos condemns megabloks! Ha!

    • John

      Yes I “assault people”.I’m 53 Years old and have been “assaulting people” since I was 17.I have done other “crimes” also during My life “stalking”,”incest”,”pederasty”,”home invasions” and “embezzlement”. But I have never stolen anything to “do” it or have I ever killed anybody to “do” it or do I ever intend to.

      But give Me a bottle of Booze and I am a totally different animal.I’m apt to go Postal at any moment.Although I can and do limit My consumption of Alcohol for obvious reasons.

      I will never quit “these crimes” no matter how many Laws they make or how many Goodie Twoshoes tell how bad it is .I have been “a criminal” for nearly 40 Years and if I’m still alive 40 Years from now I’ll still be “a criminal”.

      There…that makes it all better. :)

    • Hank

      I assume that that is sarcasm meant to mock Daniel5714? Otherwise, you are just palin scary and should keep that information off this forum.

    • Hank

      I meant Plain, not palin, ha!

  • John Gaver

    Those who have read my past posts know that I have no respect whatsoever for the LP. They have warped and distorted (small “l”) libertarian principles beyond recognition. I do however, respect much of what is considered (small “l”) libertarian principles.

    That said, Duke’s argument is a tired and thoroughly discredited argument that has been used – or rather misused – by every religion in the world, (including my own, i’m sad to say), in an attempt to write their own morals into law. It doesn’t matter whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Druid, Wicca or Santeria. All religions have at one time or another, attempted to claim “Moral Authority” to write their own religious tenets into law.

    But I can see that there are still those who need a refresher course in the difference between Law and Morals.

    In fact, the ONE purpose of ALL law should NOT be to impose one’s morals upon another, but rather, to protect each and every person from any sort of attack from every other person, coincidentally including, the imposition of another’s morals upon them. The attacks that law should protect against are those that would deprive him of his life or cause injury to him, deprive him of his own money or belongings, without just compensation or restrict his right to live in the manner that he chooses, as long as he doesn’t violate the same rights of others. That’s pretty simple and straight forward. No morals there.

    Put another way, my right to swing my fist ends right in front of your nose. As long as my exercising my liberty doesn’t pose a threat to your life, health, wealth or liberty, then there is no cause for government concern.

    So laws against murder, assault, fraud, theft, larceny, arson, etc. are valid uses of law. Even laws that protect society as a whole are within the concept of law. That would include laws such as marriage, which establishes, among other things, a joining of financial benefits and liabilities and even helps track genealogy and helps prevent inadvertent inbreeding. (I actually knew a girl in high school, who fell in love with someone who, when they filed for a marriage license, learned was her second cousin.)

    By contrast, laws that create an entity that has the authority to devalue our currency, at will, is not a valid use of law. In fact, such an entity is a blatant misuse of law, as it gives one entity power to take another person’s wealth, without just compensation, by simply devaluing his money. No moral judgement – just theft.

    Laws that would prevent a person from drinking (while not otherwise posing a threat to another, by driving, flying a plane, performing surgery, etc.), would be an attempt to impose one person’s morals upon another, through the misuse of law. Similar misuse of law, to impose morals, would be laws that prohibit a person from doing business on Sunday (the old Blue Laws). Both impose a moral judgement upon someone else, who may or may not hold the same moral values.

    Now I know that someone is going to mention abortion, so I’ll address it now. Although I strongly oppose abortion, I have to accept the simple fact that my opposition to abortion is based upon my own morals and religious up-bringing. I realize that not all religions believe that a fetus is a person. In fact, I understand that there are more people in the world who hold a different belief in that respect than hold my own belief. If all comes down to each religion having a different definition of when life begins. Therefore, any law that would either limit or require abortion, would fall under the heading of an attempt to impose one set of morals upon those, who hold different moral views. An abortion law would fall under the same heading as a law that would require the beheading of an infidel. It is an attempt to impose one’s morals on others, who don’t hold the same morals. QED.

    Law is all about protecting the individual’s rights, as long as exercising those rights does not infringe upon any other person’s similar rights or ability to exercise his rights. It’s not about imposing one’s morals upon another or about choosing one set of morals to be observed over any other.

    • Hank


      What is your religion?

    • Hank

      Here in the US, most peolple are christians. Almost all of the different sub-theologies within those sects, define a fetus as a living entity, even if a number of the members of those churches disagree.

      I attribute the thought in the US that a fetus is nothing more than a blob to Government Run Schools, not any one or more religions.

      Having said that, who but someone that is coached with illogical tired counter arguments, would say that a natural, biological entity that meets all the requirements for life apart from self dependence (some would argue that the fetus is not self aware, but this is invalid. A fetus can feel pain. If you were to remove the fetus early, it can, in some cases, survive just as well as a full term fetus. When the fetus is far enough along, and needs nourishment, its own brain and nerves control how the nutrients from the mother are distributed throughout its body in the way that can best ensure its survival. And if there is still some doubt, err on the side of life, even at the expense of the so-called right of the mother to suck her childs brains out) would deny that the fetus is alive?

      How come, among certain libertarians (I am not trying to call you out here), it is ok to murder the future generations, that are supposedly not humans yet, but it is not ok to tax, enslave, and endebt (is that a word?) the future generations, even those that will not be concieved for 100 years, let alone those currently in the womb?

  • Morning Glory

    I feel like a lot of “hairs” are being split here. I don’t see how legalizing drugs is going to make us any better off than when booze was made legal. If you think we have problems with drugs now, just wait! If ever legalized, the abuse we see now will be just the tip of the iceberg. I see parents (who aren’t bothering any of their neighbors, peers, officals, by the way) neglect their children in the most devasting ways–no food, poor shelter, inadequate clothing. Money, time, energy, and effort is spent trying to capture the next “high” while the children are the ones who suffer the most. What sterling examples these addicts set for their offsprings~~NOT!

    • Hank

      You are missing the point.

      An analogy:

      If people were free to hire who they wished, even based on race, all black people might be out of a job. That does not mean that the freedom to hire whom YOU wish for YOUR business is a bad thing.

  • Hank

    Do you want to illegalize booze too?

  • Marty

    It seems like no one here has really read the article and made an effort to understand it. The author didn\’t fixate on drugs. He simply made the point that all laws are the imposition of morality. He actually wrote three articles on libertarianism at that Thinker site. I have read all three so I know what his point is. Here are the other two.

    They are an education.

  • Marty

    It seems like no one here has really read the article and made an effort to understand it. The author didn’t fixate on drugs. He simply made the point that all laws are the imposition of morality. He actually wrote three articles on libertarianism at that Thinker site. I have read all three so I know what his point is. Here are the other two.

    They are an education.

  • WiseOvOwl

    Hey Hooey & HaHa: Nice piece of miss-representation here of a libertarian. A Libertarian is one who relishes the rule of law and liberties granted under the constitution while embracing the responsibility of life. As I see it the Demopublicans have done everything else wise. So much gross immorality has and is displayed by both these parties. “P” poor example and way off the mark. Bye the way why do think both are subject to expedient firing at primaries and elections? You really must think the founding fathers were highly immoral based to this article. Protecting your pathetic false face party politicians are a much more higher calling. In short this article earns a BS degree.

  • william

    This guy is so full of it he sounds like the current president, he is comfortable talking down to me, he is pompus, wrong, and an idiot. I wish he had the ability to read and understand the constitution. It is a pretty straight forward document that even our children can understand. Until they recieve a government education.

    • Hank


      Jefferson himself said something to that effect. He liked the Constitution because the common man (and even children) could understand its simplistic, straight forward language. I guess Ezra Klein has less intellect than a child.