July 08, 2015

Don't Blame Libertarianism

This recent post at The Federalist caught my attention. The author claims that "libertarianism has led [her] and [her] partner into polyamory."

No. No, it didn't.

First off, what is libertarianism? Well, that depends on who you ask. There are the more mainstream libertarians (basically classical liberals) like Charles Murray who believe in a limited government that protects the life, liberty, and property of its citizens while doing little else. There is also a more consistent and radical wing of libertarianism which follows in the tradition of Murray Rothbard. The mainstream libertarians tend to be more pragmatic while the Rothbardians are more principled. These more consistent libertarians advocate a strict application of the non-aggression principle (it is always wrong to initiate aggression). If you're wondering what any of this has to do with polyamory, so am I.

Libertarian political theory (in both forms) is not a comprehensive ethical system. Belief in limited government doesn't logically lead to sexual degeneracy. The non-aggression principle isn't prescriptive at all. It is proscriptive. It can only tell one what not to do. It cannot tell me, for instance, whether or not it is morally acceptable for one to smoke marijuana. It can only tell me that it is wrong to stop someone from doing so at gunpoint. Following the non-aggression principle certainly doesn't lead to the sort of sexual perversion described in the article above.

What led the author to polyamory was not libertarianism but rebellion against God. She gives herself away when she says
The first authority I came to see as illegitimate was government, shortly after discovering Ron Paul in 2008. I stumbled upon his campaign like a rabbit hole that led me to question all of society’s rules. Soon after, I started to question my religion—Christianity. How much of it had been made up, twisted, and contrived—in collusion with the government—to support the powers that be?
So Ron Paul led you to polyamory, eh? I find that hard to believe considering the fact that he, like me, is a Southern Baptist and is about as square as square can be. Ron Paul is a libertarian. He is also a Bible-believing Christian. He doesn't see any contradiction between the two. Neither do I. Maybe that's because there is no logical connection between libertarian political theory and sexual deviancy.

So, who's right about libertarianism? The author of this article seems to think that libertarianism, sexual deviancy, and rebellion against God all go hand in hand. The man who once ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket disagrees. Something makes me think Ron Paul understands libertarianism better than this sexually amorous atheist.

Polyamory may be next, but don't blame libertarianism.

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