Why I’m A Libertarian

AND NOT A conservative — put as simply as I can.

Conservatives understand that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” but seem to miss the point when it comes to “Drugs ruin lives.”

Conservatives, confronted with the libertarian demand that drug prohibition cease, miss the point. It’s not about an abdication of individual, personal responsibility. It’s about limits on the scope and power of the state, and the kinds of sanctions the state should be permitted to enact and enforce. It’s about a focus on the actual harm done others and the proximate nature of the acts — the mala in se — to be punished. It’s about limiting the “collateral damage” of unrestrained state action.

Conservatives swerve into trouble when they assert, “There’s no right to privacy in the Constitution,” but have no trouble using the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as a rhetorical blunt instrument against the Federal government. No cognitive dissonnance there. Oh, no.

I should have liked it a lot better had the founders been a bit more explicit. They thought it should be self-evident, but reckoned without idiots and those of ill intent. There should be in letters of fire over the gates of the place, “These things are forbidden the state; all which is not expressly mandated here is forever beyond its purview.” And across the way, “These things are permitted the people; to others do no harm, otherwise, do as you will.”

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