Being Libertarian Perspectives serves as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, answers a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen moderates and facilitates the discussion.
Dillon Eliassen: I’m trying my best to put myself in the shoes of a Trump supporter who’d also be pro-liberty, but I must admit it’s hard. But they say a good debater can take a stance opposite to his natural inclinations since good debating relies on objectivity.
Bric Butler: LOL, it’s OK. I understand my positions are not that popular among libertarians. Trump is a larger than life character that could have a major impact on the nation. If I’m going to support him, I’m going to have to defend him. I’m an openly gay conservative-leaning individual at a progressive liberal arts college. Trust me, I don’t even notice when I’m being politically ganged up on anymore.
Dillon: LOL, I imagine you feel beset on all sides. It’s hard enough to be gay and conservative, due to that “liberal plantation” you ran away from.
I’m a libertarian who personally has many views that would be considered socially conservative. I’m pro-life, pro-family. I think many libertarians advocate sexuality that to me seems closer to deviancy than empowering, like promiscuity. I don’t get why promiscuity or sex work should be considered a positive moral attribute.
Do you consider yourself socially conservative?
Bric: Not exactly. I’m pro-life but I remain pro-choice politically because I literally don’t have a clue when life actually begins from a biological or philosophical level and I don’t think anyone else does either, as of now. And yes, I agree with you, many libertarians don’t just tolerate certain behaviors they seem to celebrate them like pot use and prostitution.
Dillon: What is your position on gay marriage? Which should just be called marriage, by the way. Calling it “gay marriage” maintains an air of marginalization.
Bric: I wish all the benefits and protections of marriage could easily be done though private contract. Yet there are so many it’s almost impossible do so, therefore for all practical reasons I support “state sponsored” marriage. In my ideal world all marriages would actually be state civil unions. I want all legal powers of the clergy in regards to the civil side of marriage cut off. For example, no longer having any part in signing marriage contracts. Basically I want the part where when they say “by the power invested in me by the state of ___ ” taken away. They can go sign a contract at the courthouse then have any kind of marriage ceremony afterwards done by anyone they want but it will have no legal meaning. Only religious if that’s what they want. France already has a similar model to this. I think this would help protect freedom as we go forward too. If you completely separate the church from state when it comes to marriages, it will make it very hard to force churches or clergy to preform gay weddings, which is for many progressives the next step.
Dillon: I don’t want government to enforce my social views, but personally I think third trimester abortion is immoral unless the mother is in danger. I don’t care about gay marriage, do whatever, it’s not going to hurt society or redefine marriage or whatever. What’s wrong with being traditional, though, concerning kids? Get married and then have kids, is that so repressive? I don’t think single parenthood should be celebrated. It really bothers me that people are too afraid to be critical of personal behavior they don’t agree with. The problem nowadays with being something like socially conservative is it’s conflated with wanting government to enforce social conservatism. They don’t have to go hand in hand.
Bric: I have no issue with abortion limits. Personally I see gay marriage as being socially conservative since it promotes long term relationships. Yes, family matters when it come to having children in a two-parent stable household. Libertarians often talk about how the welfare state is immoral from a transfer of wealth standpoint but not at all about the destruction of stable two-parent families into single parent households. A government breakup of the family unit is usually taken by many, even some libertarians, as a conspiracy theory, but people all the way back to Plato’s The Republic have advocated for ending the family unit in order to create their socially engineered societies and government Utopias.
Dillon: Are you religious? Do you and your family go to church?
Bric: I’m about as religious as the love child of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins would be.
Dillon: OK, so you are a secular social conservative.
Bric: Yep, basically. Which makes me all the more of an odd cookie.
Dillon: Do you think there is a parallel between the peer pressure from liberal progressives regarding social justice and accepting any sort of social behavior lest you be called a bigot, and the permissive/libertine attitudes most libertarians seem to have so as to pass the Libertarian Purity Test™?
Bric: I can’t prove anything but I’d say probably.
Dillon: It’s coincidental but the parallel exists. Many libertarians and most progressives believe any social behavior subversive towards traditionalism is a good thing because it upsets the established order, which can only be repressive, simply because it is established.
Bric: Uprooting every last aspect of the established order usually does nothing helpful in in furtherance of achieving a freer society. As seen by the French Revolution post 1793, the October Revolution of 1917, the cultural revolution in China starting in 1966, etc.
Dillon: Yep, this is why history is so important to study; but it is perpetually ignored, to our detriment.
I have a friend from Indonesia. She’s a professor over there. She told me about a student of hers that she was worried about because the student was being promiscuous, so much to the point of it being harmful to the student, i.e. VD, sleeping with unsafe partners, messing up in school, etc. So my friend, a conservative (not in the political sense, but as in a traditional values type) person and religious (Hindu) was trying to be a role model for the student so the student wouldn’t mess up her life.
What my friend said that “triggered” me when talking about the student is “I don’t want her to think I’m being judgemental…” I stopped her and asked, “What’s wrong with being judgemental?”
A problem nowadays is that people have been cowed into NOT being judgemental, but being judgemental is a good thing. We should not be afraid of the PC crowd. Being judgemental is a good thing because it sets standards of morality, and morality benefits individuals most of all. Adhering to a moral standard is a good thing, and it’s something that has been lost. My friend being judgemental and vocal about it towards the student might hurt the student’s feelings but in the long run the student would benefit by not engaging in risky sexual behavior.
And again, I’ll repeat it lest I be accused of being authoritarian, I don’t advocate government enforcing a particular brand of morality other than that which protects life liberty and property. I am for drug legalization, but that doesn’t mean I’m pro drug addiction, and I have no problem telling a drug addict that he is making bad choices. But it’s this fear of appearing judgemental that is leading to serious problems.
How about drugs? Are you pro legalization?
Bric: For sure when it comes to pot, but as for other drugs I would need to know the cost/benefit analysis. Would the increase in healthcare costs be less than or more than what we currently spend on the drug war? Not to mention possible increased social cost from the possibility of more broken families. I’m sure that info is out there but I just have not looked too deeply into it.
Dillon: The “social cost” argument is one that annoys me because it depends on the substance involved, but that is a nuance not often recognized by drug warriors. Is there a social cost to pot legalization? No. But for heroin and coke? Maybe. Quantifying it is difficult though, especially since you can’t really quantify freedom as it doesn’t have a dollar value to contrast with the dollar value of property stolen to pay for a drug habit (though legalization would lower the retail cost of drugs).
Bric: As an economics student I’ll try like hell to quantify it. My brain is going to malfunction if I can’t think of it as cost vs. benefits.