A Libertarian Leaning Conservative...

>> February 24, 2010

attempts to dance with the two philosophies.

I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. ~ Ronald Reagan
Cue the music...

I am coming to define my inner Libertarian as meandering to the federal side of things and my inner Conservative leaning to the local in that I see Libertarianism as the absence of moral law and in some points of Conservatism the desire for a certain amount of it.

Put another way, Libertarians wish for no laws restricting their freedoms in any way, a group of Conservatives might decide on a set of standards for their community, and conversely, Liberals, would know capriciously which, what, and wherefore a law should be applied but would refuse to enforce it until a Conservative happens to cross the line. --> Ha! Gotcha! Hypocrite!!!

Therefore, I aim to let the Libertarian side of me vote in State and National elections, the Conservative vote in the local and the Liberal side be subjected to ridicule and scorn for the rest of my days for he has distorted the logic of governance in total. --> Baaaad Liberal. Down boy. Sit. Stay. Play dead.

For instance, in terms of alcohol, smoking, drug use or gambling, one might say that at the federal and state levels they should be legal and only at the local level could they be outlawed. Let each community decide. This, it is becoming clearer to me, was the founders' intention, or nearer to it. The more prohibitive the laws become, the closer to home they should be. That being said, the community stops at my front door. My home is my inner sanctum and shall not be compromised. I hear you knockin' but you can't come in...

On Foreign Policy:
As to the Libertarian side, I still have a problem being too isolationist (as in Ron Paul). I believe it is folly to think that we should leave the middle east to fester, having no influence there when we have allies in that region that need our presence and vice-versa. Russia and China would certainly take advantage of the vacuum were we to leave that portion of the globe alone but for a second. Even as we are there, they openly and secretly aid and abet our enemies. Such activity would just increase if we were to vacate the premises.

There is a quandary though in foreign policy. How do I judge that which cannot be judged? That is to say, how does one wisely decide on issues of conflict and war as a mere citizen when he has no relevant information? My government must, I'm sure, withhold certain matters of strategy and resultant policy from me because of security and intelligence. So, I must trust, to a certain extent, that they know what they are doing. Although in the case of certain politicians I will never be able to grant enough trust and as to the government in general even the most trusted is never fully so.

It suffices to say that when my country goes to war, I pray it is just. When my brothers kill others I pray God had the final say and it was righteous. I pray we are on the side of God and that we are the tools achieving his goals. Faith is needed here, for without it I am despaired.

Let it be known though that if I cannot be on God's side, then I would chose to not be on any side and hope that we as a country would hold that policy.


This essay contains some things I have learned and refined about my personal political views in the past few months. My Libertarian friends and Conservative friends might see these things differently than I. That is why we have these little bloggy discussions no? If not you, then definitely me. If my understanding of a political view is mistaken, then by all means let me  know. I'm still in the ebb and flow of my own political discourse after all.



Jeffrey Ellis February 24, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

Nicely done, dude. I think you have balanced your libertarian and conservative sensibilities very nicely. I myself have gone so far as to say I'd even vote for some liberal things (e.g., social programs) if they would be done only on a very local level.

robot February 24, 2010 at 11:00 PM  

Thanks for the feedback Jeffrey. Now, if we could take your want for local liberal social programs and allow the private sector charities to do their thing... oh. wait, and you would say, let liberties reign supreme in the local communities as well. - You know what? If both of those were even remote possibilities, I'd be all in. Now that's MY kind of compromise.

theCL February 24, 2010 at 11:30 PM  

What do you mean when you say "moral law" and "restricting freedoms?"

Are you willing to ignore natural law and step into positive law?

robot February 24, 2010 at 11:56 PM  

Hi The CL, I knew my ignorance of certain terms would get me in trouble. :) By moral law, I simply mean laws against ones vices or things which I might do that don't harm another person. By "restricting freedoms" I mean arbitrarily laws which tell you what you can't do. "You can't put that (even unoffensive)sign there." You can't gamble or buy car insurance from another state or smoke in an establishment that would allow it if not for the law. If by natural law you mean "God's" law or the unalienable rights than no, I'm not willing to ignore those, but I can see a situation where a community might wish, by popular vote, to ban certain vices. Is that libertarian? No. But I also see it as their right as a community. The Amish would be an extreme example. They have their rules and it seems to work for them. - By positive law do you mean as when the government is the one who gives the rights as opposed to God? If so, then absolutely not. We the people have rights and we give them up in small increments in exchange for certain securities. It's not perfect but nothing is. - This felt like a test. How'd I do?

theCL February 25, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

Before commenting, I wanted to make sure I was responding to what you were saying.

If done locally, basic zoning laws and whatnot are certainly up to the the community. But vice laws ...

I don't think basic regulations necessarily infringe on a persons inalienable rights. For example, a parent has the inalienable right to raise their child as they see fit, so certain regulations really aren't problematic. And as far as the Amish, they don't enforce their rules down the barrel of a gun. But let me get to my point.

Let's say I'm wasting away my life smoking pot 24/7. I haven't infringed the rights of anyone else, but none the less, I'm smoking way too much.

Do you have the inalienable right to point a gun at my head (how laws are enforced) to force me to stop? Or the inalienable right to lock me up in jail (take away my freedom) and/or fine me (confiscate my property) for simply sitting on my couch or back porch smoking a joint?

Now, I would certainly hope my friends and family would intervene, but seeing as I'm not infringing on anyone else's rights, I don't believe you have the natural right to use any type of force against me. Do you?

I believe most vice laws violate both the US Constitution, and the constitution of my state (Michigan). Because there's no argument from a natural law point of view, that would give someone the right to point a gun at my head, take away my freedom, and/or confiscate my property for an act that harmed no one else.

As a Christian, I don't believe there's a Bible-based argument for the use of this type of force either. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have yet to find it.

The morality of drug use is moot to me, because I believe it's on the anti-vice crusaders to prove that they have the inalienable right to use, or threaten the use of force against someone who isn't violating the inalienable rights of another.

What do you think?

robot February 26, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

First of all, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

I definitely agree with you here. Our "inalienable right to liberty should not be infringed" is pretty hard to misconstrue, and yet, here we are, with our right to have vices infringed upon at the federal and state levels. I would withdraw the line to the local level. I'm trying to say that some communities might not want someone walking the streets smoking dope (public behavior). Some might say that's acceptable. It would be the prerogative of that community. If he were doing it in private then that's another matter. I did draw another line at the home's front door, right?

theCL February 26, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

Prerogative of the community? I think both arguments can be made. Of course, all politics should be as local as possible. I'd even argue that if a given state's constitution allowed it (in a plaing language reading), a state could implement a socialized health care scheme of its own (has some have).

The hard part is ... Can a local government override a state constitution?

robot February 26, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

I guess that would depend on the state's constitution and, as long as we're speculating, if the state constitution barred the activity in question, how far the community is willing to argue the point. - Supreme Court? Expensive argument.

Unknown March 13, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

Interesting points.

I personally (and I self-identify as pretty strongly libertarian on most points) feel that that the "community" has no rights. Only an individual has rights. While I don't equate "libertarian" with "libertine" (as in, NO rules), I do strongly believe that my own right to freedom should not be curtailed in any way unless it directly infringes on the rights of another individual.

For a specific example... What if I want to visit a prostitute? In my philosophy, as long as the person whose sevices I am paying for is another consenting adult, there should be no problem. It infringes on nobody's rights, and I could care less if it offends someone's sensibilities - contrary to what some believe, we have no right to never be offended. Using the same example, exploitation of children would still be illegal, because we (rightly) do not consider children able to give informed consent in adult matters.

So I guess we see things pretty much the same, except I completely disagree with this statementfrom your post "I see Libertarianism as the absence of moral law" because I DO consider protecting the innocent a moral imperative that can be defended from a Libertarian POV.

robot March 13, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

Hi Scratcher. I think I misrepresented what I meant by "moral law". Let me rephrase. I see libertarianism as not wishing to legislate morality. By that I mean vices. I would certainly agree that protecting the innocent would be in the realm of responsibility of a libertarian philosophy.

I would still offer though that a particular community could locally decide what public behaviors they would abide.

Thanks for the comment.
I learn about and define my own beliefs in more understandable terms through these conversations.

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