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.