Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rockwell Talks About the Libertarian Moment

Via Mises, we have Lew Rockwell on the zeitgeist.

I don't always agree with Rockwell, but he makes an excellent point about the way the New York Times recently addressed the libertarian movement:

... [R]eporter Robert Draper sought out not quite the top libertarian thinkers in the world, but instead those people most easily reached within a ten-minute walk from the Capitol or the Empire State Building.

Draper begins with an ex-MTV personality and proceeds from there. None of the people whose work and writing have shaped the libertarian movement, and who have converted so many people to our point of view, make an appearance. Ask the hordes of young kids who are devouring libertarian classics how many of them were introduced to libertarianism, or even slightly influenced, by the figures on whom the Times chooses to rely. You already know the answer.

To some conservatives, libertarianism boils down to hookers and dope.  Any conversation I try to have with some of the social conservatives immediately devolves into talk about legislating morality and isolationism.  Rockwell says in the article that libertarians "... oppose aggression, period. That means we oppose the State, which amounts to institutionalized aggression."

If you had to bring it down to one sentence, that one is not bad.  For those who want to not just tell other people what is good for them but force them to conform, libertarianism is what water was to the Wicked Witch.  I like "mind your own business" myself -- or the line my father once used to start a street fight:  We are in the habit of doing as we please.  

I do not care much what my neighbors do, so long as they do me no harm and don't ask me to pay their bills.  The problem is that government, by forcing all of us to have "skin in the game", can, as a consequence, demand that we all act "responsibly".  The answer is to stop forcing some people to pay for the irresponsible behavior of others. 

Peter should not be robbed for Paul's sake, regardless of whether Paul is an unfortunate victim of a traffic accident or a victim of his own crack addiction.  Medicare and Medicaid were the nose of the camel.  The whole beast is in now and dropping Obamacare all over the floor.

Most social conservatives are in agreement with libertarians to that point. 

I don't gamble, smoke, drink, or do drugs.  I've never even been inside a Hooter's let alone anything like a "gentlemen's club".  I do, however, like girls.  I think abortion is murder, and, while I can't condone or in anyway approve of what he did,  I can understand the thinking of the man who murdered the odious Wichita abortionist, Dr. George Tiller.  I think local communities ought to be able to decide, based on their local standards, whether or not it is acceptable to pray before a football game. 

No matter how someone chooses to define it, I am socially conservative.  The trouble is that the system powerful and far-reaching enough to coerce everyone into adhering to my social standards is also powerful and far-reaching enough to coerce me into adhering to someone else's.  See how that works?

When we see something egregiously wicked, we are apt to scream, "There ought to be a law!"  And that's exactly what the people who forced Obamacare on us thought.  Sure, it's tyrannical, stupid, counterproductive and likely to bankrupt us, but some fool thought it was a good idea to force people to buy government-approved insurance -- the same way a whole bunch of fools thought it was a good idea to prohibit the consumption of alcohol or lock up people who smoke weed or that what a couple of consenting adults do for entertainment is somehow their business.

Golden Rule:  Whatever you want others to do for you, do the same to them, the Man said. 

I want them to stop minding my business so I've stopped minding theirs. 


  1. I like "mind your own business" myself -- or the line my father once used to start a street fight: We are in the habit of doing as we please.

    Sounds like a scene out of a Firefly episode.

    I'm in agreement. I'm a socially conservative Libertarian. Although I'm getting a little bored with the drugs and hookers open borders type -it's a childish outlook.

  2. I think they get all the press, but I don't think they are representative. It's got a certain appeal until you're about 18 to 25 depending on how long it takes you to grow up or complete school.

    I don't think Dad ever saw Firefly, but he would definitely have identified with it.