Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Response to my friend Kevin

My buddy Kevin had a blog post on the Culture War And he decided to post about it on twitter

Proof nobody cares about the culture war... I can't get any hits about my piece addressing it.

So I want to see what I can do to help him with his hits. (probably not much LOL)

Abortion: I am generally pro-life. I have noticed that younger libertarians, such as myself, are generally more pro-life than older libertarians. This is mostly because of Ron Paul’s disproportionate influence among young libertarians. I believe Roe vs Wade was poorly decided and should be overturned, returning control over the abortion issue back to the states under the Tenth Amendment. Frankly, I do not believe there is a right to murder your unborn child. Having said that though, I struggle with the problem of enforcing a ban on abortion in the first trimester without unnecessary invasions of privacy of women. I also would not have a problem with exceptions for rape and incest. I was strongly opposed to Mississippi’s Personhood Initiative last year because I thought it was overly broad and the explanations were contradictory. My overall goal is to find common ground to reduce the numbers of abortions and increase the numbers of adoptions.

I have talked with Kevin about the issue of a "Right to Privacy" with abortion. That whole right is connected to Griswold and is largely a specious argument. How specious was the argument? Ron Paul came up with a constitutional argument for birth control (which fleshed out the right to privacy connection in Roe) just so he could do away with Griswold. That said even if their is no right to privacy that doesn't mean the government SHOULD make abortion illegal. But Kevin's problem here is trying to come to a way he is a libertarian favors (or throws up his hands about the issue of) abortion.

This ignores two things:

To undue Roe Vs Wade would involve a LOT of Jurists being appointed and praying those Jurists rule the right way. Legislation and Legislators would need to be dedicated to decades of work to craft the legislation to slay Roe. It is an unrealistic fear. Will you peel back Roe? Thats something you can do and is part of the decades long process of getting the right court case before the right judge to change the law.


The fundemental issue with abortion today is public funding (which happens in contradiction to the law) either through double dipping or through comingling of public funds in dishonest ways. Beyond the right to life younger libertarians are pro life because its part of the state that does not know its limits and meddles in areas it really shouldn't.

Now while Kevin isn't a fan of Rick Santorum

Contraception: My general feeling on this is that it should be legal, but that government should not mandate insurance companies to cover them nor should taxpayers foot the bill for them. The only exception would be for the morning after pill in the case of rape.

He has mostly the same position as Rick Santorum on the issue. He is actually more conservative (in ends) then Rick Santorum who is more conservative in means should they both have an ability to institute policy. The problem for Kevin and for Rick is the ideas of "Libertarian" and "Conservative" have become very nebulous.

Gay Marriage: Marriage should not be role of the state. The state should not be issuing marriage licenses at all. What the state should have instead is civil unions for everyone with all the tax benefits, property rights, hospital visitation benefits, etc. that married couples have; along with the statutes necessary for dissolving them. Marriage itself should be solely the role of the church by its own rules, as long as the parties involved are old enough to be able to contract; with the state’s only role to enforce the contract.

The State provides a regulatory system where common occurrences achieve the same outcomes. The Reason the Articles of Confederation doomed the Untied States is their was no framework of regulations where people could achieve reasonably similar outcomes for the same thing. This is why this argument on marriage by Libertarians is so silly, it wouldn't work with the state as it has existed for most of the history of the United States. The Federal Government assumed a role in the marriage system because companies became national in scope and because people had broad public benefits for the first time (in the rise of modernity). As for his list of benefits under the laws today Gay Couples can do all of the above with the exception of Tax Benefits without a change in one law. The problem is that the argument for gay marriage is not about civil rights (to gay rights activists). That said gays are becoming more a part of the normative community. We have to deal with the challenge of their relationships in governing their society. And bringing gays into the tent of our civilization order does us less harm then Polygamists. That is how you answer the Rick Santorums of the world.

Pornography: The government should not setup a rating system for movies, video games, etc. and should leave that to the industry and concerned consumers themselves. However, there should be strict enforcement of laws and international agreements against child pornography since the children are not old enough to consent. Whether or not school systems and public libraries should install filters and what to filter should be a local decision.

This is a problem in how Libertarians view the state.

The State: Man movies are pretty bad... I might make a law about it...

MPAA: Hey don't make a law, let me regulate myself

The State: You got it dude.
NOW lets review this conversation another way:

Studio Boss 1: Man those rubes in flyover country are upset about the filthy morality in our movies

Studio Boss 2: Hey I have an idea lets make up a ratings system. It will be awesome advertising about how we care what those mouth breathers think.

Other then the government expressing the will of the mouth breathers how is this different? (Answer: It really isn't).

What its about is a civilization using different methods to present its values through its institutions. Be those institutions governmental or big business (which is largely indistinguishable from government)

School Prayer: I do not have a problem with voluntary school prayer at the beginning of the school day and before school events.

The law doesn't with the former (so long as it isn't student lead) the later is in the matter of dispute between the courts and various levels of government

Religious Holiday Displays: This is truly one arena where atheists need to get a life. Christmas, Easter, etc. are national and/or local holidays and believers should be allowed to display the religious imagery that is appropriate for those holidays, even if it is public property. That goes for Jews for Hanukkah, Muslims for Ramadan, etc. The First Amendment was not written to banish religion from the public square, only to merely prevent the establishment of a state religion and to prevent any religion from having undue control over the government.

Kevin here continues with his conservatism thinking he is Libertarian (though this could also be a libertarian position based on how Modern American Conservatism works)

Mosque Construction: I don’t have a problem with Muslims building mosques anywhere as long as they play by the same rules every other religion has to play by.

But the rules and the lack of the rule of law is a problem (to Libertarians and Conservatives)

So if we look at these positions is Kevin expressing "Libertarian" positions on culture war issues?

On two issues (Abortion and Ratings) Kevin is closer to moderate positions and outside of the realm of libertarianism.

On another issue (Gay marriage) He has accepted arguments to justify the support for absolute liberty without asking is Gay Marriage Liberty (it isn't but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have it).

So like much of the Liberty Movement (which I used to be a part of) Kevin is confused at the crossroads of culture and politics. Kevin's culture war positions are also mostly conservative or Moderate. Only one is remotely libertarian (and its a terrible position).

Labels can confuse. Libertarianism in Culture war is a label used to avoid having serious and uncomfortable discussions about things you believe. Its about the inability to accept our state as it is, and instead trying to pretend the state exists in this fantasy state of via liberties.

We can craft a state more in tune with Liberty but first we must have a reality based libertarian view. And we must accept that their are only a few big things that can be done by congress and by the president. They need to stop squandering them.

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