Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Half liberal

Robert A. Levy, chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute, concedes that libertarians are half liberal:

The libertarian position on same-sex marriage and drug legalization is indeed liberal, not conservative — even as our position on fiscal issues is conservative, not liberal. Does that mean libertarians are philosophically inconsistent? No, it means conservatives and liberals are. Conservatives want smaller government in the fiscal sphere, but they condone bigger government when it comes to empire building and regulating personal behavior. Liberals want fewer government restrictions in the social sphere, but they embrace strict limits on economic liberty.

Unlike liberals and conservatives, libertarians have a consistent, minimalist view of the proper role of government. We want government out of our wallets, out of our bedrooms, and out of foreign entanglements unless America’s vital interests are at stake.

Conservatives would be inconsistent if they too prioritized liberty in and of itself. But they don’t. Conservatives prioritize virtue. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Postmodern America is exhibit A in the argument for taking people’s freedom away. Open a newspaper and witness democracy in action. Look at the choices the citizenry makes. We need laws defining marriage as between man and woman because there are people who think marriage is whatever they want it to be.

Getting government “out of our bedrooms” is a trite, tired line, no longer applicable if it ever was. Forget the bedroom, the argument is about relative values in the public square. The gay mafia has brought illicit activity into the public square to contend for the culture.

Their overreach has exposed libertarians, and hurts their long-term viability. Feigning ambivalence about sin is less easy when its practitioners seek legal sanction.

Related: “Stoned before the state.”

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