Libertarian Buts

In this country’s contemporary political spectrum I view myself as a libertarian. Try looking it up and you’ll find that being a libertarian is to politics, what being a Baptist is to religion. It covers a lot of sins.

Much like Baptists, there is a core belief to all libertarians. That’s the belief in liberty. All libertarians believe in personal freedom. My personal view, and one shared by many libertarians, is that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses, so long as he causes no harm and respects the same right for others.

For me that means the government should back off and let people live their lives free from regulations that limit our liberties. Our government was originally designed to preserve liberty for its citizens. Now our government is engaged in whittling away our liberties one at a time. What was designed to be a small government that served the people is now a huge controlling bureaucracy.

We now work almost four months out of a year to fund our government. Think about that. We spend almost one-third of our working life just to pay taxes. Where did the vision of a small government that serves the people go wrong? There are estimates that we’ll have to work well into May of 2013 to fund the new taxes that the current administration passed, and the supreme court upheld.

I don’t want to get bogged down politics. We have the power to change our government at the ballot box. Vote in November. If you live in Illinois vote several times.

What I’m really interested in is that phrase “each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses, so long as he causes no harm and respects the same right for others.” That part of libertarianism causes what I call “libertarian buts”, or LBs for short. We all have a tendency to be LBs. It’s something we have to think about and struggle against.

There are some great examples of practices that cause LBs. One is drugs. How hypocritical do you have to be to think it’s OK to head home Friday night after work and knock down a six-pack, but think someone should go to jail for sitting on their back deck and smoking some dope? Anyone who does any activity where their reaction time and judgement are impaired has the potential to do harm to others. There are laws against it. But should there be laws against some drugs that can impair your judgement and not against others? Not if you’re a true libertarian. Drugs will always bring out the people who say, “I’m a libertarian, but…”

Ponder the drug example and you can think of others. Sexual orientation is a big issue that outs LBs. To the people who say gays are just stirring up trouble, I say I’ve never marched in a hetero pride parade, on the other hand nobody has ever tried to discriminate against me because I’m straight. The whole language is biased. If I’m straight does that make gay people crooked?

The issue of gay marriage turns some libertarians into raving LBs. People invoke the “causes no harm” clause of the libertarian creed. I say get serious. Marriage is a word. The meaning of words change. If two people love each other, and sincerely want to commit to each other, let them call it what they want.

Gay marriage is not harming “traditional marriage.” Traditional marriage can be religious or civil. It can be an elaborate ceremony or a simple five minutes in front of a judge. What’s harming traditional marriage is traditional divorce. Something the gay community will discover pretty quick.

Divorce and the break down of the traditional family is worrying me. I’m 60 years old. I can’t really remember any kids in my grade school whose parents were divorced. How many grade school kids today can say the same thing? Only kids who are home schooled. And to set the record straight, I’ve been divorced twice. Guilty as charged.

If you want to be a libertarian you have to work at it. Every time you come across a situation and you start to think, “I’m a libertarian, but…” stop and come to grips with what you really believe. I believe each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses, so long as he causes no harm and respects the same right for others.

And for those of you who want to take exception to my lack of gender neutral pronouns, libertarian emphatically does not mean politically correct.



One Reply to “Libertarian Buts”

  1. Good post. I used to be a minarchist like yourself, but I think if you truly appreciate liberty, there’s no other ideology than anarcho-capitalism. It’s impossible to believe in government and freedom simultaneously – government can only operate by destroying freedom and violating property rights through taxation. Therefore, the abolition of government is a necessity. That’s how you truly embrace freedom.

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