Friday, May 22, 2009

The Blissfully Oblivious Libertarian*

Over at The Corner, Cato fellow Jerry Taylor asks a question for non-Libertarians:
"For those of you who don’t embrace freedom as your political lodestar... If we are to prevent people from engaging in what some deem to be self-destructive behavior (guys marrying guys, women joining a structured harem, whatever), on what principled basis do we decide what sort of self-destructive behavior is ripe for legal sanction as opposed to, say, other sorts of legalized self-destructive behavior like gambling, drinking, smoking, or watching Oprah?"
Is it really that difficult to understand the thinking of ordinary conservatives? Indeed, the vast majority of people who don't hold to an ideological libertarianism? The answer is we decide on the basis of considered pragmatic judgment. One weighs the good to be gained against the negative consequences. Pretty straightforward, really.

*Lest it be misinterpreted, I'm borrowing this from the nickname of Alex Rios, rightfielder for the Blue Jays: the "blissfully oblivious gazelle" - extremely talented but a trifle abstracted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now if conservatives could only apply the same common sense to their position on war - you would think they would "use best judgment" before bombing and invading a sovereign nations and killing millions but alas they have more sense when it comes to REALLY BAD things like the victim-less immoral act of prostitution. Of course they won't apply such logic because they are addicted to wielding state power for whatever they deem immoral as if this somehow puts them on higher moral grounds. TMany libertarians also oppose prostitution on moral grounds but none would have it outlawed - the difference is that conservatives feel the need to coerce and punish those who prostitute or solicit such acts - as if that somehow makes right the corruption in man's heart. The moral ramifications of prostitution for both prostitute and the john are great enough as is - punishing with fines or jail time does nothing more than bloat the court and jail systems.

November 03, 2010 10:42 AM  

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