Tales of Tadeusz

Thursday, March 31, 2005

An Open Letter to Libertarians

I'm not sure what the big deal is. Okay, we suspect that the costs of letting everyone have free access to now illicit drugs might be even more than the extremely painful War on Drugs. And we are not convinced the prostitution is a victimless crime just because its supposedly contract-based (as if all contracts including those for debt slavery were just). But really, us social conservatives agree mostly with our libertarian brethren.

I want taxes cut, and Social Security moved toward the free market as Bush is trying to do. I am pretty close to an absolutist on the right of free speech. I think the Second Amendment is almost as vital as the First in protecting our freedoms.

Okay, I support the pro-life position, but I am surprised that that is not the default libertarian position as well. After all, if the pro-lifers are correct that that is a human being from the moment of conception then it follows that a libertarian must defend it with all his abundant passion. And its like a game of Russian roullette, at what point does it become legal or wise to shoot guns at someone's head. 1-in-6 bullets, or 1-in-13 or 1-in-30? The obvious answer is none of the above, and if we had odds placed, I'm pretty sure the dealmakers in Vegas would not want to sell you a bet with a 1 vs. 30 payout if your proposition was "Over the next twenty years, society will come to accept that life begins at birth."

I'd like to get rid of a lot of government. Axe the Post Office, and the Department of Education, and at least four or five others, and give the 1/3rd of the West that is owned by the federal government to the states for them to divvy out.

Federalism is a great idea. One of many great ideas in the Constitution. The Rule of Law is wonderful. I'm suspicious of democracy first projects which place democracy before the Rule of Law. In fact, I suspect thats one of the major things the US Military is doing in Iraq--its providing a Rule of Law full body cast until the car wreck victim can knit his own bones back into shape to handle that vital function.

Our Founding Fathers pretty obviously had respect for Law. But then they put in the Second Amendment too, which in some ways is not very lawful. What is its purpose? If government becomes too tyrannical, the people have the means at hand to violently deal with the government. There are other uses for the Second Amendment, it helps keep us safe from criminals, and for many is part of a fun sport. But thats not the main reason for it.

I think Libertarians might have a bit too much respect for Law because their philosophy is so neat and well-tailored. And Law is more helpful in situations like that. But I'm reminded of someone who claimed Shakespeare broke the rules of writing. And I believe it was C.S. Lewis' response that Shakespeare did not, he only broke the rules that we know. The finer, wiser rules of which our model is but a crude simulacrum still exist.

Justice has its rules.

So, if Libertarians will restrain their wildest urges, their self-righteousness and paranoiad fears of Witchburnings (I would laugh myself silly, but I know this is sincere on the part of some libertarians.), and so the Social Conservatives will restrain their fear of Auschwitz and their wrath over the tragedy of Teri than we can move toward that glorious day when we don't need each other, and we can really pummel the snot out of each other. I speak of the day about two years after the Democratic Party is shredded, and the Republicans hold eighty percent of all elected offices. In that day, America will again have two parties as is natural for our system.

A dominant Republican Party, and a powerful Libertarian Party. And that my libertarian friends is about the best offer you're going to be able to keep. The Libertarian tail is not going to be able to steer the Social Conservative/Gunowner/ Businessman, etc. etc. dog. You guys are a small element in a large coalition, and frankly if you are to replace the Democrats in the year 2020, you need to start forming a coalition, learn to compromise, and learn not to pick fights with people who thought they were on your side. Or you won't even get to replace the Democrats.

Some other group, more prone to compromise, and with a sweeter temper is going to take that prize then. I'd like it to be the Libertarians because I agree with you guys a lot, and even when you are wrong, you are usually not that wrong, or other forces exist that will tame you to sensibility without my lifting a finger.

One last point: I think most people choose actions like "letting Teri's body die" out of good intent. They may see it as mercy, or see it as a necessary sacrifice to save the Constitution. Others see it as cold-blooded murder and torture, and don't see that we are bending the Constitution much if at all, and think that undue deference to judges is Unconstitutional. But most, indeed almost all, people on both sides are trying to do the right thing.

So I won't call those who supported Teri's death, Nazis or Death Cultists, even as I realize this is opening the gates of Concentration Camps a little further. But they swing open and closed just a little bit every month of every year. Eternal vigilance keeps us from going back to that horror. And if you feel that my nuanced position is worthy of being libelled as "Jihadi" or "Theocrat" or "Fascist" then go watch football where insane screaming by the fans is par for the course.

Requiescat in Pace Teri

Tadeusz

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