Why Should Libertarians Care about Social Issues?
I remember before I knew what left libertarianism meant, I was under the impression that it was libertarians that had come from the left and were now in tune with libertarianism, as freedom on economic and social issues both, and I believed we needed more of that. I still believe that we need more of those individuals, not just those that came from the left, but libertarians that are unencumbered by a social conservative agenda that forces them to denounce social issues as unimportant, as a way of cognitive dissonance, allowing them to still hold the term libertarian while holding unlibertarian views.
I’ve heard all the excuses, that they’re wedge issues, they’re useless if we don’t have strong economic stability, the revolution or the collapse is coming so we need to focus elsewhere, all these are a smokescreen, distracting away from poor adherence to libertarian principles on social issues. I just read an article about a libertarian/conservative survey taken at a joint event by CATO and The Heritage Foundation. Some may dismiss this because CATO is moderately libertarian, usually, but the survey only reinforces what I’ve seen. Talk about taxes and regulations and libertarians are gung-ho, hell-bent, to stop them. Talk about all drugs being legalized, and you’ll find yourself in a vastly smaller group, talk about preventing regulations on abortions or even prostitution, which is an economic issue disguised as a social issue — well, you’re a party of one. Now, this being said, does one have to be a libertine to be a libertarian? No, but the mentality of a libertine does help condition you for the rigors of consistently applying libertarian principles to all issues, especially social issues.
You cannot deny the importance of social issues, because it is another sphere in which government grows, and ignoring that because you’re still burdened by the need to support regulation of private lives only leads to the idea that libertarians are just pot smoking Republicans. This is not the case. I’m not asking to rebuke the conservative/libertarian allianceto take up a liberal/libertarian alliance; I’m asking that libertarians stand on their own, away from the empty rhetoric of the old ideologies. There may be something to be said about finding common ground, but we should not do it to the point of depending on the liberals or conservatives.
Libertarianism can stand on its own, so let it.
Originally posted on the ended libertariangaming.org