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The Conservative - Libertarian Schism: Freedom and Confidence
FreeRepublic ^ | July 31, 2002 | Francis W. Porretto

Posted on 07/31/2002 5:20:31 AM PDT by fporretto

Each abridgement of liberty has been used to justify further ones. Scholars of political systems have noted this repeatedly. The lesson is not lost on those whose agenda is total power. They perpetually strain to wedge the camel's nose into the tent, and not for the nose's sake.

Many a fine person will concede to you that "liberty is all very well in theory," follow that up with "but," and go on from there to tabulate aspects of life that, in his opinion, the voluntary actions of responsible persons interacting in freedom could never cope with. Oftentimes, free men and free markets have coped with his objections in the recent past, whether he knows it or not. You could point this out to him, provide references and footnotes, and still not overcome his resistance, for it does not depend on the specifics he cited.

His reluctance to embrace freedom is frequently based on fear, the power-monger's best friend.

Fantasist Robert Anton Wilson has written: "The State is based on threat." And so it is. After all, the State, no matter how structured, is a parasitic creature. It seizes our wealth and constrains our freedom, gives vague promises of performance in return, and then as often as not fails to deliver. No self-respecting people would tolerate such an institution if it did not regard the alternatives as worse.

The alternatives are seldom discussed in objective, unemotional terms. Sometimes they are worse, by my assessment, but why should you accept my word for it?

Let it be. The typical American, when he opts for State action over freedom, isn't acting on reasoned conviction, but on fear of a negative result. Sometimes the fear, which is frequently backed by a visceral revulsion, is so strong that no amount of counterevidence can dissolve it, including the abject failure of State action.

We've had a number of recent examples of this. To name only two prominent ones:

  1. The welfare reform of 1996, which limited total welfare benefits to healthy adults and imposed work and training requirements for collecting them, is among the most successful social policy enactments of our time. Huge numbers of welfare recipients have left the dole and assumed paying jobs, transforming themselves from dead loads on society to contributors to it. Yet many politicians and those sympathetic to their aims continue to argue that the welfare system must be expanded, liberalized, and made more generous. A good fraction of these are honestly concerned about the possibility that the 1996 restrictions, the first substantial curtailments of State welfarism since the New Deal, are producing privation among Americans unable to care for themselves.
  2. The War On Drugs, whose lineage reaches back to the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Control Act, has consumed tens of billions of dollars, radically diverted the attentions of state and federal law enforcement, exercised a pernicious corrupting influence on police forces, polluted our relations with several other countries, funded an immense underworld whose marketing practices are founded on bloodshed, and abridged the liberty and privacy of law-abiding Americans, but has produced no significant decrease in recreational drug consumption. Yet many Americans will not even consider the possibility that the War On Drugs should be scaled back or terminated altogether. Most resist from the fear that drug use and violence would explode without limit, possibly leading to the dissolution of civil society.

In either of the above cases, could we but take away the fear factor, there would be essentially no argument remaining.

Fear, like pain, can be useful. When it engenders caution, it can prolong life and preserve health. Conservatives in particular appreciate the value of caution. The conservative mindset is innately opposed to radical, destabilizing change, and history has proved such opposition to be wise.

However, a fear that nothing can dispel is a pure detriment to him who suffers it.

Generally, the antidote to fear is knowledge: logically sound arguments grounded in unshakable postulates and well buttressed by practical experience. Once one knows what brings a particular undesirable condition about, one has a chance of changing or averting it. The great challenge is to overcome fears so intense that they preclude a rational examination of the thing feared.

Where mainstream conservatives and libertarians part company is along the disjunction of their fears. The conservative tends to fear that, without State involvement in various social matters, the country and its norms would suffer unacceptably. Areas where such a fear applies include drug use, abortion, international trade, immigration, cultural matters, sexual behavior, and public deportment. The libertarian tends to fear the consequences of State involvement more greatly. He argues to the conservative that non-coercive ways of curbing the things he dislikes, ways that are free of statist hazards, should be investigated first, before turning to the police.

I call myself a libertarian, but I can't discount conservative fears in all cases -- especially where the libertarian approach to some social ill involves a major change to established ways. Radical transformations of society don't have a rosy history.

Yet conservatives, too, could be more realistic, and could show more confidence in the ideals they strive to defend. As Thomas Sowell has written in discussing the War On Drugs, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damned fool about it."

The past two decades, starting roughly with Ronald Reagan's ascent to national prominence, have laid the foundations for an enduring coalition between freedom-oriented libertarian thinkers and virtue-and-stability-oriented conservative thinkers. Each side needs to learn greater confidence in the other, if we are to establish the serious exchange of ideas and reservations, free of invective and dismissive rhetoric, as an ongoing process. Such confidence must include sufficient humility to allow for respect for the other side's fears -- for an unshakable confidence in one's own rightness is nearly always misplaced. There is little to learn from those who agree with you, whereas much may be learned from those who disagree.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Philosophy; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: conservatism; libertarianism; libertarians
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This is (hopefully) the last segment in this series of essays. It occurred to me while composing a column for the Palace Of Reason that FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," while stirring, left out quite a bit of the equation. Impenetrable confidence is just as much of a danger as impenetrable fear. In particular, it keeps you from exchanging ideas usefully with others -- a malady from which the American body politic suffers ever more as time passes.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

1 posted on 07/31/2002 5:20:31 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: weikel; christine11
Ping!

All my best,
Fran
2 posted on 07/31/2002 5:32:24 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: fporretto
If only all such dialog could be so civil we, myself included, might learn more than we thought possible.
3 posted on 07/31/2002 5:40:07 AM PDT by Wurlitzer
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To: fporretto
In either of the above cases, could we but take away the fear factor, there would be essentially no argument remaining.

In deed!

4 posted on 07/31/2002 6:04:15 AM PDT by FreeTally
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To: fporretto
Very wise words.

Unfortunately, while I think that there are libertarians/strict Constitutionalists who are willing to compromise on the War on Drugs issue, the so-called Conservatives who support it tooth and nail do so with a religious zeal that prevent such rational and logical debate. They become "ideologically frozen". There are maybe two people on this entire board I've seen who can make a good debate for using caution in approaching any plan to decrim or legalize. The rest are all too happy to resort to strawman arguments, dodging the debate, trying to change the issue, out and out character assassination and personal attacks in order to cling to their favorite issue.

For instance, recently, I had someone from here hand me the URL to an article he told me proved that Prohibition lowered the death rate from alcohol abuse. When I pointed out to him how he read the article wrong, and that it actually said, in no uncertain terms, that Prohibition caused MORE alcohol related deaths and jacked the homicide rate up to levels that weren't seen again until 1975, he suddenly couldn't be bothered to discuss the issue like a rational adult anymore, and resorted to "Drugs are wrong and immoral, and so is anyone who supports them! You are wrong and I am right!" type tactics.

Ironically, the simple minded Socialists who insist on calling themselves Conservatives don't seem to realize that you can support the Constitution without supporting the activity that it covers. I don't like the KKK, or their hate speech, but I will fight to protect their Constitutional rights. People don't have to take drugs, or approve of drug use to see that the WoD is socialist, unConstitutional, corrupt beyond all imagination in it's current form, and needs to be changed/ended.

And it seems a good number of the most vocal pro-WOD's are self-admitted former hardcore drug addicts who have decided to blame the objects instead of their own personal failings. And unfortunately, I don't think you can really expect to ever reason with people like that...
5 posted on 07/31/2002 6:19:17 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: fporretto
Very wise commentary indeed. It is greatly appreciated (and rare).
6 posted on 07/31/2002 6:59:31 AM PDT by Grit
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To: WyldKard
Amen, brother!

Sometimes while discussing the WOD, I will ask, "If heroin were legal today and you could buy it for $5, would you do it?" Not surprisingly, I have yet to find someone who would take up this instantaneously addicting drug...or at least admit to it. I then point out that apparently they believe that they are smart enough to avoid heroin, but they think everyone else is too stupid to make the right choice.

7 posted on 07/31/2002 7:33:23 AM PDT by Nephi
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To: *libertarians
Index Bump
8 posted on 07/31/2002 7:39:32 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: Nephi
Sometimes while discussing the WOD, I will ask, "If heroin were legal today and you could buy it for $5, would you do it?" Not surprisingly, I have yet to find someone who would take up this instantaneously addicting drug...or at least admit to it. I then point out that apparently they believe that they are smart enough to avoid heroin, but they think everyone else is too stupid to make the right choice.

Ding ding ding!

That's it exactly. The overriding impression I get from these Pro-WODdies is that they honestly seem to believe that everyone in America is a gutteral animal who is being held in check merely by force of law. That the moment you losen up even a little, they immediately turn into monsters. I mean, WTF? Do they honestly think the majority of Americans are just itching to try crack and heroin, but won't because it's illegal?

Naturally, if we have legalization, we'll need to have SANE, rational, honest drug education in the schools (as opposed to thise DARE propaganda crap that makes kids distrust what they are taught, and increases drug use among kids. We need to just tell these kids "This is substance X. It does Y to you. Now that you know all it can do to you, don't come crying to us if it screws you up."
9 posted on 07/31/2002 8:06:51 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: fporretto
Libertarians hold liberty as an end in itself.

Conservatives start with social order, and then look to history to note that liberty is indespensible to maintaining order. First order, then liberty to sustain order. Thus, pure liberty is not necessary (or even possible, really); only enough liberty necessary to maintain order.

10 posted on 07/31/2002 8:36:13 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: Free the USA; 2Jedismom; Carry_Okie; Fish out of Water; AAABEST; A. Pole; Agrarian; Alamo-Girl; ...
ping
11 posted on 07/31/2002 9:05:39 AM PDT by madfly
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To: HumanaeVitae
Not sure I would call it social order they want. In many cases it boils down to enforcing one groups version of morality on another by force of law. I think that is incompatible with liberty.
12 posted on 07/31/2002 9:12:58 AM PDT by steve50
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To: fporretto
Excellent post.

Please put me on your ping list, if possible.

13 posted on 07/31/2002 9:25:34 AM PDT by DaveCooper
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To: DaveCooper
bttt
14 posted on 07/31/2002 9:37:06 AM PDT by madfly
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To: HumanaeVitae
Conservatives start with social order, and then look to history to note that liberty is indespensible to maintaining order. First order, then liberty to sustain order. Thus, pure liberty is not necessary (or even possible, really); only enough liberty necessary to maintain order.

This may be true, but our Founding Fathers did not intend for Government to be the sole driving force of social order. They would not given us such chestnuts like "Government is like fire; a useful servant and a dangerous master." or "The Price of Freedom is eternal vigilance" or "When People fear the Government, its Tyranny. When Government fears the People, it's Liberty" if they thought exactly the way you do.

Morality begins in the home. The Government only exists to protect and enforce the rights of the individual. To the Libertarian, the smallest unit of Government is the individual. To the Socialist Conservative, the smallest unit of Government is the "social unit" or "society".

Libertarians live and die by the Constitution and apply it evenly, even to stuff they don't like which is protected. Socialist Conservatives make excuses and pretend that the Constitution is a quaint and charming suggestion when it means giving freedoms to stuff they personally don't like. The Anti-Gun Crowd and the pro-WOD crowd are two pea's in a pod. You can remove "drugs" and replace it with "guns" in any of their arguments, and they sound exactly alike. They complain about how corrupt and immoral the Government is, and then expect the Government to turn around and be the sole source of morality in this country.
15 posted on 07/31/2002 9:39:45 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
Actually, I'm the latter: a conservative, although not a socialist. I believe the government has the right to regulate all kinds of behaviors.
16 posted on 07/31/2002 9:47:33 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: HumanaeVitae
Actually, I'm the latter: a conservative, although not a socialist. I believe the government has the right to regulate all kinds of behaviors.

Then please point out the section of the Constitution to me that grants the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT the power to conduct a "War on Drugs". Or a "War on Poverty". or a "War on Guns". Please point out the section to me that usurps the 10th Amendment, and the States rights to decide these issues for their individual selves?

Once again, it is my belief that only Socialist Governments see themselves as the chief source of morality. Government is Mother, Government is Father. This is already happening (has happened) in our own country.
17 posted on 07/31/2002 10:06:35 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
"Then please point out the section of the Constitution to me that grants the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT the power to conduct a "War on Drugs". Or a "War on Poverty". or a "War on Guns". Please point out the section to me that usurps the 10th Amendment, and the States rights to decide these issues for their individual selves?"

I can't point it out, because you're correct on the 10th Amendment. But here's one for you: please point out the part of the Constitution that restricts the states from passing sodomy laws, anti-prostitution laws, anti-drug laws, even anti-atheist laws.

I mean, slavery was Constitutional, wasn't it? The states, under the Constitution that you would "live and die for", can ban or allow whatever they wish.

18 posted on 07/31/2002 10:12:53 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: HumanaeVitae
Some more wisdom from our Founding Fathers:

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." --Abraham Lincoln.
19 posted on 07/31/2002 10:13:12 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: HumanaeVitae
I can't point it out, because you're correct on the 10th Amendment. But here's one for you: please point out the part of the Constitution that restricts the states from passing sodomy laws, anti-prostitution laws, anti-drug laws, even anti-atheist laws.

Unless the Federal Government has a power deligated to it by the Constitution, it is assumed those powers are held by the States. So yes, States are perfectly correct in passing anti-sodomy laws, anti-prostitution laws, etc. I think such laws are folly, but I would rather see the issue handled on a State by State basis, as was the intent of the Founding Fathers, than see the FedGov overstep its bounds.

I mean, slavery was Constitutional, wasn't it? The states, under the Constitution that you would "live and die for", can ban or allow whatever they wish.

It wasn't UnConstitutional, perse. At least, not until the various Amendments outlawing slavery were passed. While I think slavery was abhorant, I am afraid I must agree with what the South was trying to do when it wanted to break away from the Union.

And now you are trying to change the topic. I've been a tremendous supportive of States rights. Unfortunately, most Conservatives-in-Socialist-Clothing think the Federal Government is chief in all things, and that States Rights are a myth.

So let me ask you: Do you think the Federal Government has the power to wage a War on Drugs? Do you think the War on Drugs should continue as is, or should the matter be left up to the States?
20 posted on 07/31/2002 10:17:47 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

Well, first of all, Lincoln wasn't one of the Founders. But I'm not arguing here for or against the drug war. If it can be demonstrated that ending the drug war is better for social order than prosecuting the drug war, then conservatives should call to end it. The problem is that the law teaches, and by bannning drugs we teach people that it's not O.K. to do drugs.

I'm just making the broader point that we live in a culture, and we have a right, as a society, to prohibit behaviors that are corrosive to order, such as bigamy, homosexuality, bestiality, pornography,etc.

21 posted on 07/31/2002 10:20:04 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: madfly
Thanks for the ping, madfly. From the commentary:

....The conservative tends to fear that, without State involvement in various social matters, the country and its norms would suffer unacceptably....

This assertion better characterizes the AUTHORITARIAN than it does the conservative. Within the Conservative wing, there is a libertarian--authoritarian schism, not a libertarian--conservative split.

22 posted on 07/31/2002 10:25:11 AM PDT by BillofRights
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To: HumanaeVitae
Well, first of all, Lincoln wasn't one of the Founders. But I'm not arguing here for or against the drug war. If it can be demonstrated that ending the drug war is better for social order than prosecuting the drug war, then conservatives should call to end it. The problem is that the law teaches, and by bannning drugs we teach people that it's not O.K. to do drugs.

Then you believe that the Government is the sole source of morality, and that people are unable to teach proper behavior in their own homes, or that private schools are unable to teach good ethics? Once again, this is the mindset of the Socialist, not the Conversative. Do you think yourself that bad a parent that you must surrender the reigns of control over your childs development to The Federal State?

Laws are merely there to protect individual rights. Do you speed? Obviously speeding laws don't teach people speeding is wrong. Parents teaching their kids the possible conseqeuences of speeding does. Do you think that hate-crime laws alone teach people hate crimes are wrong? So you think a Neo-Nazi isn't going to vandalize a synagogue merely because there is a law against it? What is so magically specially about marijuana, for instance, that makes doing it "wrong", while alcohol is "right". Is marijuana bad merely because it's illegal? Is it illegal because it's bad? Where does the circular logic end? Alcohol was illegal once. Was the point of that law to teach people alcohol is bad? When the law was lifted, and alcohol was relegalized, did it suddenly become good? What magical event took place that changed alcohol from "good" to "bad" to "good" again?

I'm just making the broader point that we live in a culture, and we have a right, as a society, to prohibit behaviors that are corrosive to order, such as bigamy, homosexuality, bestiality, pornography,etc.

Please define "society" Please tell me where "society" lives. The Government is not design to arbitrate morality. It is merely a tool to protect the inaliable rights as endowed by our creator. Certainly, states have the rights to pass anti-homosexuality laws, and the like, but it seems folly to me. If you don't want your children engaging in certain "victimless behaviors", then you need to teach them your own damn self, intead of expecting the Government to take over for you. Thats the problem with this country. Too many people expect the Government to raise their kids for them, so as we get more and more towards Socialism, personal responsibility is DISCOURAGED. After all, Mommy and Daddy Federal Government will clean the mess up.

Certainly, States have the right to pass the laws they want. While I don't approve of some of the laws, I would rather see the States handling the issue. That makes it easier to either move to a State that is governed to my liking, or makes it easier to campaign to get the laws changed.
23 posted on 07/31/2002 10:31:04 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
--Abraham Lincoln.

Right. Quote the father of Big government, a man who waged war upon the rights of states while claiming to hold to the Constitution.

Good one.

24 posted on 07/31/2002 10:41:29 AM PDT by A2J
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To: WyldKard
Some more wisdom from our Founding Fathers:

By the way, genius, Lincoln was NOT a Founding Father.

In fact, he was more of a "Floundering Father."

25 posted on 07/31/2002 10:42:45 AM PDT by A2J
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To: WyldKard
I think we're agreeing more than disagreeing. The Federal government doesn't have a right to do much of what it does. But if you're arguing that the state governments don't have an interest in outlawing certain anti-social behaviors, then are you for:

Public displays of bestiality? Polygamy? I support the Second Amendment, but what about private ownership of anthrax? That's a weapon.

Libertarians always hit the reduction to absurdity at some point with maximalist freedom. I think you would agree with me that at some point government has to regulate people's behaviors. But what standard do we use?

Judeo-Christianity, IMHO.

26 posted on 07/31/2002 10:50:34 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: A2J
Right. Quote the father of Big government, a man who waged war upon the rights of states while claiming to hold to the Constitution.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I don't think Lincoln was an evil man. I think he just had "good intentions", and we know where that gets you.
27 posted on 07/31/2002 10:50:44 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: HumanaeVitae
I think we're agreeing more than disagreeing. The Federal government doesn't have a right to do much of what it does. But if you're arguing that the state governments don't have an interest in outlawing certain anti-social behaviors, then are you for:

Public displays of bestiality?

When it's public, it suddenly becomes a "disturbing the peace issue", and naturally, it is right and proper for the Government to interfere in this issue. Now, as sick and repugnant as I find the concept of beastiality, I can't find a compelling reason to make it illegal in the privacy of one's own home.

Polygamy?

I don't see a compelling State interest in banning poligamy at all. Certainly, the State may if it wants, but again, I don't see how banning it protects the inaliable rights of the individual.

I support the Second Amendment, but what about private ownership of anthrax? That's a weapon.

Any weapon of mass destruction is a clear and presant danger to the surrounding area. Because the private ownership of weapons of mass destruction endangers the rights and lives of those in the community, there is a compelling interest for the State to interfere.

Surely, you aren't about to compare doing a couple bong hits or reading Penthouse in your living room to owning a nuclear bomb in your basement, right?

Libertarians always hit the reduction to absurdity at some point with maximalist freedom. I think you would agree with me that at some point government has to regulate people's behaviors. But what standard do we use?

Judeo-Christianity, IMHO.


Using religion as a basis of Governance is called Theocracy, which we are not. We are a Republic. In the end, the only thing the Government should be doing is protecting the inaliable rights of the individual. You don't need the Bible to tell you that it is a compelling state interest to ban murder, theft, rape, kidnapping, etc etc etc.

It's very simple: the right to throw your fist ends where my nose begins. Only Socialist Governments care to try and ban people throwing their fists in the air in the privacy of their own homes.
28 posted on 07/31/2002 10:59:09 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
BTW, I'm not trying to say there is a problem with religion. I think the instruction of religion/ethics/morals/whatever belongs in the home though. You should not expect the Government to impart religious or ethical beliefs into people. Only parents can do that. The individual makes up the Government. The Government does not define the individual...
29 posted on 07/31/2002 11:02:10 AM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
Well, if you're a libertarian, there's no reason to ban polygamy, is there? What if a guy has seven wives and 36 children, living paycheck to paycheck, and then he dies and the state gets stuck with supporting the children? I mean, if you're a libertarian why would you give any charity to these people because of their "voluntary" decisions? But if you don't want to help such people, then either the state has to do it or they starve in the street.

You talk about things going on in the privacy of people's homes; what about people who beat their children? If you're an atheist, you believe that people are just material, not created by God, and thus the parents (the physical creators of the children) can do whatever they want with them. But if you believe that children are to be protected, to what moral standard do you appeal to take them away from their parents?

30 posted on 07/31/2002 11:50:38 AM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: HumanaeVitae
[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
[14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
[15] But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
[17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
[18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
[19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
[20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
[21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
[23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
[24] And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
[25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
[26] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.




Gal.6
[1] Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
[2] Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
31 posted on 07/31/2002 11:55:41 AM PDT by f.Christian
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To: WyldKard
Yeah, I know that you're not arguing against religion; and we probably hold all kinds of similar beliefs on the size and scope of government. I wish, however, that more libertarians would see that without Christian virtue, liberty is impossible. "Equality before the Creator" is not something that Islam came up with. Or for that matter, atheism. For more on where I'm coming from, check out www.acton.org, religion and liberty together.
32 posted on 07/31/2002 12:01:53 PM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: f.Christian
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

And on it hangs all the Law and the Prophets. Thanks, f.Christian. Great passage.

33 posted on 07/31/2002 12:03:06 PM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: HumanaeVitae
Well, if you're a libertarian, there's no reason to ban polygamy, is there? What if a guy has seven wives and 36 children, living paycheck to paycheck, and then he dies and the state gets stuck with supporting the children? I mean, if you're a libertarian why would you give any charity to these people because of their "voluntary" decisions? But if you don't want to help such people, then either the state has to do it or they starve in the street.

Strawman argument. You could have one man and one woman with 8 to 12 kids, and his death could cause the same situation, easily. Do you now propose that we prevent people from having large families, so that they are not a burden on "society"? They are very fond of that sort of thing in China.

After all, did God not say "Be fruitful and multiply?" They were just following Judeo-Christian influences. So what if they made their own mess...it was all in the name of being Judeo-Christian and "moral".

Charity should not be extracted from the point of a gun, which is what Socialism is. If this guy dies, then, yes, too bad, but the woman and her children are going to have to find a way to get money. Life sucks, and only Socialists and Democrats think that the playing field should be leveled, Harrison Bergeron style. If other citizens want to form charity organizations so that the woman can be helped through the kindness of others, there is nothing to stop them from doing so. Expecting the Government to clean up after peoples mistakes, or misfortunes discourages people from taking personal responsibility in their lives.

Do you also believe that the Government should tell people what they can put in their bodies? Obesity costs us billions each year. Do you believe the Government should save us from ourselves and ban fatty foods? Do you believe the Government should save us from ourselves and ban smoking or drinking? After all, it would keep the State from having to clean up all those messes, yes?

You talk about things going on in the privacy of people's homes; what about people who beat their children? If you're an atheist, you believe that people are just material, not created by God, and thus the parents (the physical creators of the children) can do whatever they want with them.

That is so false, and you know it. Again, you seem to fall back upon strawman arguments. I have said time and time again, the role of the Government is to protect the rights of the individual. Theft or murder or kidnapping or rape are not acceptable at all, whether in the privacy of the home or not. The State has every right to defend children who are being abused. Because it is a crime in which the rights of one person are being usurped by another through the use of force.

Again, are you going to try to compare the act of an adult beating the crap out of a child to the act of a single, solitary adult having a bong hit in the privacy of their own home?

But if you believe that children are to be protected, to what moral standard do you appeal to take them away from their parents?

The rights of an individual are being impinged, non-consentually through force. That is the legal standard I use to protect children. Basic, universal human empathy is the moral standard I use. How would YOU like it, if you were a child being terrorized and beaten to near death by your parent(s)? Unfortunately, this is one of the very stickiest situations of Morality and Governance. How do you differenciate between discipline and abuse? No real easy answer for that one, I will grant you.

But I could make an argument that beating your child is a very Christian/moral thing to do. Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother. Spare the rod and spoil the child. The Bible is just chock-a-block with parents abusing their Children, and claiming it as a right of being a parent. By what moral right do you claim Christians SHOULDN'T beat their children?

Again, I am not saying religion is bad. I'm just saying it is folly to expect the Government to be the single source of morality and moral guidance in this world. After all you've seen with Clinton, do you honestly trust the Federal Government to understand basic human morality, and to be it's guiding hand?
34 posted on 07/31/2002 12:13:07 PM PDT by WyldKard
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To: WyldKard
Actually, I'll have to bookmark this and get to it later...it's a little long and I'm a little short on time. Cheers...HV.
35 posted on 07/31/2002 12:46:12 PM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: HumanaeVitae
No prob. I think you are right, that we more or less agree on a lot of important topics, the only sticking point being the role of Government in enforcing pure morality.
36 posted on 07/31/2002 1:32:57 PM PDT by WyldKard
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To: fporretto
As a Conservative with strong libertarian sentiments--where it comes to people living their own lives, the way they choose to live them--I never cease to be bothered by those among us who choose to stress a dichotomy, where frankly there really is not one.

While those who like to neatly categorize shades of opinion can point to issues of disagreement among us--whether on an axis of Conservative vs. Libertarian--or Northern vs. Southern--or religious vs. political motivation--from many perspectives; the emphasis on those divisions serves only the quest to neatly categorize our shades of opinion. The same effort would be better spent attacking those with whom we all disagree; those on the Left who have been sytematically undermining America throughout all of our lives.

The idea of a monolithic thought system is offensive to both Conservatives and Libertarians; but somehow, many need to pursue aspects of it, all the same. But the Left, motivated by hatred, can still pull together all those on its side who are in agreement on any subject, to further the attack on those values, which the great bulk of Conservatives and Libertarians are disposed to preserve. It is not that they stop hating one another on the Left; it is just that their greater hatred for our heritage always seems to bring out unity among them, when they need it to continue their advance.

Why can't we who are more intelligent and better balanced than they--motivated by love not hate--pull together as well when it is in our obvious interest to do so?

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

37 posted on 07/31/2002 1:49:07 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: HumanaeVitae
The problem is that the law teaches, and by bannning drugs we teach people that it's not O.K. to do drugs.

Alcohol is legal. By your logic that means that we are teaching people that it's OK to drink alcohol.

But what happens when someone drives while intoxicated, causes a wreck, and kills someone else? In this case alcohol use - while perfectly legal in and of itself - infringes on the rights (to life, happiness, etc.) of others, at which time society applies the laws which are in place to handle this situation. And only in this case are the laws applied. As long as no injury to anyone else occurs, the alcohol drinker is perfectly fine, legally.

In the same way, legalizing drugs would teach it is OK to do drugs - in the privacy of your own house. Just as with drunk driving, if drug use caused someone to harm another person, laws would be in place to handle that situation.

Since alcohol is already legal, and legalized drugs could be handled in a similar manner, please tell me why the entire situation isn't hypocritical to the max, and why drugs should not be legalized.

38 posted on 08/01/2002 3:26:37 AM PDT by serinde
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To: fporretto
"Such confidence must include sufficient humility to allow for respect for the other side's fears -- for an unshakable confidence in one's own rightness is nearly always misplaced. There is little to learn from those who agree with you, whereas much may be learned from those who disagree."

To discuss one side's "fears" versus the other side's, is only relevant if The Law is not involved. I don't care how "afraid" conservatives are of *federal* legalization of all drugs. That's a matter of The Law...the Constitution. *Federal* criminalization of *any* drug is unconstitutional, and I don't give a d@mn about conservatives "fears" on the issue.

The only way I would be willing to compromise on *federal* legalization of all drugs, would be if a conservative could make the case that the Constitution permits federal criminalization of drugs. No conservative can make such a case, in my opinion, because it's open-and-shut. There is simply no doubt, in my mind, that federal criminalization of the possession or within-state sale of ANY drug is unconstitutional.

So, conservatives, don't talk to me about your "fears" regarding complete elimination of all federal laws on all drugs. I'm too cold-blooded to care about your "fears" on that issue. ;-) Talk to me about The Law (the Constitution). If you admit that federal laws criminalizing drugs are unconstitutional, then your "fears" mean nothing to me. If you think that federal laws criminalizing drugs *are* constitutional, you'd better start explaining.

Mark Bahner (Libertarian)
39 posted on 08/01/2002 2:18:52 PM PDT by Mark Bahner
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To: HumanaeVitae
"The problem is that the law teaches, and by bannning drugs we teach people that it's not O.K. to do drugs."

By approving of *federal* banning of drugs, conservatives teach people that conservatives don't give a d@mn about the Constitution. (We all already know that liberals don't give a d@mn about the Constitution.)

If you conservatives want *federal* laws banning drugs, you'd better start working on the appropriate Constitutional amendments, right away! Otherwise, the lesson that you're giving (that you don't care about The Law) is much worse than a "lesson" that you don't care about the harm drugs cause.

Mark (Libertarian)

P.S. By the way, it's really nonsense to claim that legalization equals acceptance. Cigarettes are legal, but you'll find virtually no one who would say that means that cigarette smoking is "O.K."
40 posted on 08/01/2002 2:31:59 PM PDT by Mark Bahner
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To: Mark Bahner
I really have no opinion on legalization or non-legalization. I don't want people to do drugs, but whatever is more conducive to order, whether legalization or prohibition, is fine with me. Prohibition brings gangs, corruption, etc. Legalization brings more drug users...hard core drug users that are a drag on society.

As far as our "right" to do drugs...well, there are no such rights. In fact, the only rights we really have are a) the right to live, and b) the right to be neither above or below the law.

We don't have a right to prostitutes, drugs, homosexual behavior, etc. The majority of society could pass a law that everyone has to wear a green hat on Fridays or be put in jail; but come Friday, EVERYONE better be wearing a green hat.

41 posted on 08/01/2002 3:41:50 PM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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To: Mark Bahner
I knew I could count on you to learn absolutely nothing from your experiences at the Ann Coulter Fan Club, Mark. That I-can't-be-wrong attitude of yours is why conservatives listen to me, a libertarian, with something resembling respect, while they dismiss you, a Libertarian, as an arrogant, self-righteous, dangerous fool. It crippled you there, and it will cripple you here. As long as you maintain that posture, you will neither learn anything you don't already know, nor influence the thinking of anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

Enjoy yourself.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

42 posted on 08/01/2002 4:34:28 PM PDT by fporretto
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To: A2J
Wilson not Lincoln was the father of big government.
43 posted on 08/01/2002 5:20:54 PM PDT by weikel
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To: HumanaeVitae
No God, no restraint. No restraint, no duty. No duty, no order. No order, no liberty. No liberty...well, you get the point.

Lord Acton is dead; Long live Lord Acton...www.acton.org.

44 posted on 08/01/2002 9:09:16 PM PDT by HumanaeVitae
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: Kevin Curry
No, libertarian loon, it has nothing to do with "fear" and everything to do with resisting the "socialist paradise" that already exists in the dope-tolerant nations of the world.

I knew you'd be dropping by, Kevin. You never miss a chance to slather contempt on libertarians, people who counsel a re-examination of drug prohibition, or anyone else who dares disagree with you.

So I've decided to pull off your cover, seeing that you've made it so easy.

You say your reason for opposing any relaxation of drug prohibition is that it leads to welfare socialism. If it could be demonstrated convincingly that this is not the case, would you maintain your support for drug prohibition?

Take a moment to think it over.

You see, if you answer "yes," you've just revealed to us that you've been insincere about your reasons for advocating drug prohibition. And if you answer "no," you'll have to cope with the historical facts: every welfare state in Europe predates the relatively recent major rise in drug abuse. In almost every case, the luxuriance of those welfare states has been too well established for too long to be a consequence of drug abuse.

Dr. Ron Paul, Republican Congressman from Texas, is of the opinion that drug abuse is more likely to be a result of welfarism than a cause of it. The temporal relations between the two provide his thesis more support than yours.

Have a nice day.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

46 posted on 08/02/2002 3:46:51 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: fporretto
Good post/comments bump.
47 posted on 08/02/2002 4:04:58 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Kevin Curry
Your post had needless personal attacks in it and has been removed. Feel free to repost your arguments without the name calling and without suggesting that someone who disagrees with you must be a dopehead. This has been going on too long, and really needs to stop. Thanks, AM
48 posted on 08/02/2002 4:21:31 AM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: fporretto
A thoughtful post.

"In either of the above cases, could we but take away the fear factor, there would be essentially no argument remaining."

The problem here is that the fears are real. Poverty and privation are real things, just as dope filled societies have also existed (and they are not happy places).

If libertarians want to be taken seriously they need to provide pragmatic solutions and not pie in the sky, utopian wet dreams.

For example, eliminating all social welfare would make far more people self-reliant, it would also certainly recreate the human tragedies described so well by Dickens and other 19th cen. writers. Are we prepared for street urchins in rags and old people cast aside like refuge? Perhaps a return to debtors prison?

Likewise w/ your WOD example. Should we willingly accept the return of opium dens and all of the miseries associated w/ that natural consequence to drug legalization?

Frankly, I find the inevitable consequences of the above sited examples unacceptable in our society.

If that makes me a socialist to some then so be it. But it is the conservatives, and by extension, the GOP that have taken the real fight to the American people. And in the real world idealism is simply not practical.

Reasonable and pragmatic solutions are welcomed. Moronic Randian rants are worthless.

And to those who would say it's the idealists that change the world I would add this qualifier; idealists w/ a plan change the world. I challenge the libertarians to present a practical plan for moving this country in the direction of liberty; short of that they have little to add.

49 posted on 08/02/2002 4:56:43 AM PDT by Pietro
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To: sweet_diane; OWK; technochick99; MadameAxe; Texasforever
ping
50 posted on 08/02/2002 6:43:24 AM PDT by dirtboy
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