24 September 2010

A Patriot by Any Name Should Still be Free

I grow increasingly disturbed by discussion regarding "conservative" and "libertarian" as two different things. I see them as the same thing. We want maximum freedom for the individual, and the most limited government that can protect us and our freedom.
The distinction I see is between the secular libertarians (SL), who say, "I should be allowed to do whatever I want, as long as I don't hurt anyone else", and the (for want of a better word) god-fearing libertarians (GL), who say, "I should be allowed to do whatever I want, and I want to never do anything that God would not want me to do." I was taught that God's direction for us is to have as our main motivation our love for him, and by extension for all other people.

Let's look at marijuana as an example. The SL says it is not wrong to use marijuana, even habitually, if it hurts no other people. The GL says that it does indeed hurt other people. If the user is married or has children, the spouse and children may not be getting the best from the user. Even if the user is unmarried, the effects of that use may hurt his parents or siblings, or in extreme cases the rest of society. In these cases, the motivation is clearly not love for others. Therefore, both the SL and the GL would argue against government proscription of marijuana use, but the GL would promote self-directed abstinence.

Of course, the same goes for alcohol, or video games, or involvement in social media, or any behavior that can become addictive.