It is Not a Contradiction to be a Political libertarian and a Social Conservative
I appreciate the demeanor of the discussion. Thanks. Because it is so long, I also posted this on my blog, VanDanson.com.
As I was writing my reply to you, I realized that the problems between you and me are definitional. First, there’s the problem of what is a libertarian and what is a conservative. Then there’s the problem of the difference between a classic liberal and a modern liberal.
It should not be for us to redefine these terms to suit our needs in the argument. That’s nonsense. I’ll post the definition and the source. Let’s agree on the definition, first. Then if there are areas not cleared up by the definitions, then we’ll attack those. If we cannot agree on the basic definitions, then there is no point in continuing.
“libertarian”, small “l”:
1) In the most general sense, libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the rights of individuals to liberty, to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings, and considers the protection of individual rights the primary role for the state.
2) Libertarianism requires that states, like all agents, respect the moral rights of individuals, including their rights over their persons and their legitimate possessions. All modern states, including the welfare state, fail to meet this standard. Thus, many of the powers of the modern state are deemed morally illegitimate.
1): the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change.
Since I am using conservatism in the non-political sense I only posted the social definition.
Classical liberal vs new liberal:
“Classical liberalism” is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying “classical” is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism — if such it can still be called — is sometimes designated as “social,” or (erroneously) “modern” or the “new,” liberalism. Here we shall use liberalism to signify the classical variety.
I will answer your last point first. Yes, liberalism is diverse and in many ways I am a liberal. Libertarians wanted to use the moniker “Liberal” as their first choice, but decided against it, because over time the classical, free market, individual liberalism as described by John Stuart Mill, in his timeless work, “On Liberty”, changed from one of accepting liberty and freedom of choice as paramount goals, to one of violating liberty and freedom by imposing solutions on others through the instrument of governmental coercion. It is this use of force that separates classical liberalism from new liberalism. The indiscriminate use of that force also repels classical liberals.
There are thousands of examples of this divergence. One example is the imposition of a minimum wage. Classical liberals trust private people and markets to make their personal decisions. As long as there is no force and the participants are adults, classical liberals accept the results. Modern liberals don’t accept this and see government intervention in the setting of wages and prices. This use of force is the clear area of divergence. Classical liberals abhor force in all its forms. Institutional force has to be contained in a vessel called constitutional government and the police power of the state has to be used sparingly and then for high priority items.
Roach: oxymoron, “libertarian conservative”
Diego: There you go again, connecting them as if they define each other. They don’t. An example.
When I fly, I make sure that I respect the rules of polite society. I am clean. I wear clean clothes. I don’t speak loudly or invade other people’s personal space. I don’t fart or belch. I accept everything about the person next to me that has nothing to do with the enjoyment if my flight.
When I drive long distance in my private car, I dress down, maybe I won’t shave, I fart if the need arises, I eat smelly food, blow my nose loudly and I cuss and scream at the idiots on the radio. I might even have an argument with passengers in the car.
Do you not see that I modify my choices based on circumstances? I know that I can and that I have to modify my behavior based on whether I am in a social space or a private space. That’s what I’m saying.
This gets back to where our discussion began. Just because I vote libertarian, say to legalize marijuana, does not mean that I am in favor of smoking it. Voting libertarian does not mean tht I have to accepta all comers and all things in my private life. I do not have friends who smoke it and I won’t invite smokers to my house. My political leanings can be separate from my personal, conservative leanings. A libertarian or a new liberal might smoke or have friends who do. I won’t. I do not have to allow the one influence the other. I also reseve the right to openly campaign against the use of marijuana and at the same time advocate for its legality. I do not see any contradictions.
Roach: Libertarianism … is anarchism or socialism, i.e. individualism (i.e., elimination of government, and rules and regulations), or individual collectivism.
Diego: You are wrong on both counts. First, libertarianism can NEVER be socialism. That’s clear. If libertarian is individualistic, anti-government, then socialism is the antithesis. It is government making the decisions. I know there are references to libertarian socialists, but they misuse both terms.
There is a spectrum of libertarian beliefs. There are anarchists (the rule of none) and there are limited govt types like me. I still believe that we need govt for the basics. Force exists in the world. Constitutional government is the articulated repository of force. It set out who can use force and under what conditions. Criminal law is all about the illegal use of force. The Bill of Rights is about the areas that govt cannot use force. The basics are police, courts, military and foreign relations and market externalities (pollution is one example). The govt should not be guaranteeing loans to Google or subsidizing any particular behavior or product. It’s not govt’s place to select economic winners and losers.
Roach: Conservatism is hierarchical in structure. Rules of behavior and conduct are determined by a chosen number of the community.
Diego: Hierarchy describes a lot of institutions. It describes progressive society extremely well. Progressive govt is run by a small group of professional experts who determine our behaviors, such as regulations and policies. If you disagree, your option is to move. Liberalism is also controlled by a small group of decision makers. As a libertarian or a conservative try to voice your opinion on a typical college campus. That behavior control and determination of what is acceptable speech or beliefs meets your description of conservative control. So, I don’t accept your logic or description in this.
No one is controlling my choices of what I believe is conservative. Maintaining culture and traditions is conservatism, but I vehemently disagree with your incorrect characterization that conservatism means that I have to kow-tow to human or scriptural authority. Let me not only disabuse you of that belief about me, but about conservatism in general, at least in its being different from other cultural enforce of choices as somehow being different from other cultural belief systems.
Are you going to tell me with a straight face that if your liberal progressive friends knew that you were against government inspection of food or some other cherished liberal belief, such as welfare, that you would not be taken to task? Don’t even try to defend this. It won’t wash.
This entire line of reasoning from you just is not working.
Roach: you vote Republican and not Libertarian suggests that your “libertarian” political views are not strongly held.
Diego: I already dealt with this. Libertarians as a party don’t get elected. So, voting for a Libertarian is a wasted vote. When I was young, I was a registered Libertarian. None of my choices were elected. I am in the camp of the Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Dave Brat and Mike Lee. I don’t subscribe to all of their beliefs and behaviors. That’s a subject for an entirely different post. The similarity with me is that they have strong libertarian beliefs, but realize that by being a Republican they can acquire power and nudge the political environment toward libertarian beliefs.
Roach: There is no inherent contradiction in being an adherent to liberalism and voting Republican, and believing in individual liberty.
Diego: Yes, there is. If we are talking about new liberalism, then there is a contradiction. The traditional Republican view is a belief in a smaller, constitutional government, individual liberty and economic freedom. The new liberal believes in a larger govt and only in those liberties which it supports in the line of social justice. New liberals do not believe in economic liberties. Republicans have perverted the party and pay lip service to its traditional ideals,
Roach: but in your case, the exception does not prove the rule.
Diego: As a mathematician, I can unequivocally say that exceptions never prove rules. They negate them. This includes non-mathematical rules, too.http://vandanson.com/being-a-libertarian-doesnt-mean-that-if-its-legal-that-its-moral/http://vandanson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/3e9e7196-24db-4a63-9568-76568b5fafe0.pnghttp://vandanson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/3e9e7196-24db-4a63-9568-76568b5fafe0-150x150.pngFeaturedLibertarianismPoliticsPoliticsI appreciate the demeanor of the discussion. Thanks. Because it is so long, I also posted this on my blog, VanDanson.com. As I was writing my reply to you, I realized that the problems between you and me are definitional. First, there’s the problem of what is a libertarian and what...VanDansonVanDanson email@example.comAdministratorVanDanson