Friday, April 26, 2013

Liberty is the means

It is curious how Sen. Rand Paul attempts to sell the liberty agenda by appealing to drug users and Louis Farrakhan followers, as if silence bordering on endorsement—instead of wise counseling against poor choices—will win liberal and libertarian converts to the Republican Party. Is this the “new GOP” Paul envisions, in which freedom of choice—and not the choice itself—is the highest exalted good?

The tyranny we are rebelling against is an increasingly aggressive nanny state that thinks it can rewrite nature and the nature of man. To paraphrase the Fabian socialist window, they want to mold the Earth nearer to their heart’s desire. Every civil institution is subordinate to this task. If it can’t be hijacked, as schools have been hijacked, then it is destroyed, as the family has been destroyed.

The tyrants have hijacked liberty. They have turned it from unburdened pursuit of noble ends into a license to sin. They have nothing to say about sexual immorality, which erodes the procreative bonds among parents and their children as well as the threads of the past extending through the present into the future. They have nothing to say about the perils of habitual drug use, synonymous with sloth, irresponsibility, and less sound mind. They understand the more corrupt the people are, the stronger their case for controlling the people.

What good is liberty if we don’t know how to use it? Rand Paul says of the so-called Facebook generation: “They aren’t afraid of individual liberty.” Maybe they should be. Or maybe they should just be more cognizant of how some exercises of individual liberty foreclose them from productive society and upend their lives.

As a matter of principle, one cannot oppose marijuana legalization while allowing alcohol or nicotine use and claim logical consistency. But we know legalizing marijuana will increase habitual usage and hurt communities in ways that repeal of prohibition did not. It’s not paternalistic to suggest there’s a very good reason laws against drugs, gambling, and prostitution are on the books. The effects of these activities permeate the community like osmosis. The stigmas are well-founded. Not many genealogies are perpetuated on a diet of sin.

Further reading: “Bill of bads” and “Pharisees’ cattle.”

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