UPDATED! Did Libertarianism Kill Philip Seymour Hoffman? Conservative Ben Shapiro Thinks So at NRO

UPDATED (12 NOON): Scroll to bottom for reply by Ben Shapiro.

Who killed Philip Seymour Hoffman? 'Twasn't heroin, 'twas libertarianism.

So speaketh conservative writer Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large at Breitbart.com and a Harvard law grad who proudly works his association to that damnable liberal crucible into just about everything he writes. Writing at National Review Online, Shapiro argues

Philip Seymour Hoffman['s] self-inflicted death is yet another hallmark of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood, enabling rather than preventing the loss of some of its greatest talents. Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin; Hollywood has no such cultural force. In fact, the Hollywood demand is for more self-abasement, less spirituality, less principle, less standards.

No one knows what sort of demons plagued Seymour Hoffman. But without a sound moral structure around those in Hollywood who have every financial and talent advantage, the path to destruction is far too easy.

The whole thing here.

Shapiro's implication that libertarianism is the root cause of Hoffman's overdose isn't simply churlish and uninformed by anything resembling knowledge of Hoffman's life, thoughts, or circumstances of death (though it is that). It is plainly nonsensical.

What does libertarianism mean in this context? The freedom to walk the streets of Manhattan and buy black-market junk? A political philosophy or self-identifying phrase espoused by the likes of such Studio 54 habitues as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and, on occasion National Review's own William F. Buckley? Sure, whatever.

If Shapiro thought about it for a minute rather than calling up his outrage macro in Word, he might ask what sort of drug policy might lead to better outcomes. Generally speaking, people have enough trouble admitting substance-abuse problems without also having to admit that they are criminals too. Maybe legalizing or decriminalizing drugs would lead to an environment in which abuse would be minimized along with the ill effects of the black markets spawned by prohibition. That's something another conservative Harvard law grad, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) can grant is at least worth discussing (see video below).

UPDATE! Ben Shapiro responds via email:

Enjoyed your critique...

Although I think it's a misreading of my perspective. The point I was making regarding libertarianism was not that the war on drugs is the solution to drug use (as you know, I have openly endorsed marijuana decriminalization). The point was not to blame libertarianism either. It was to blame the false libertarianism of Hollywood, which is actually libertine. Libertarianism requires personal responsibility, as well as cultural institutions dedicated to encouraging virtuous behavior. Hollywood's left requires neither, and encourages drug use in ways both open and implied.

As Jacob Sullum noted yesterday, despite all sorts of reports about heroin use "soaring," the plain fact is that it isn't, either in "Hollywood" (a state of mind that covers all of the United States, as Hoffman died in his New York City apartment) or anywhere else in the United States.

Watch Reason TV's interview with Ted Cruz on Obama and Drug Policy. More details, vids with Cruz here.

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  • RishJoMo||

    Sounds like a pretty serious deal to me dude.

    www.AnonStuffz.tk

  • XM||

    Shapiro responded by saying that his post was more about Hollywood encouraging reckless behavior without thinking consequences, and Gillespe says "there's no upsurge in heroin use". Huh?

    There's no massive outbreak of gun crimes, but we can still note that the hypocrisy of Hollywood jumping on the anti gun bandwagon despite the fact they produce violent gun fantasies every year.

    Hollywood is notorious for their drug addled stars who ruin their lives. There's no meaningful movement to reform that culture. Woody Allen will still get to make movies even after raping his daughter.

  • Pavlov's Cat||

    Makes sense to me. In the name of LIBERTARIANISM! I pushed that needle into the arm of... What was his name again?

  • waffles||

    Your reckless ideology has gotten me high for the last time! Well there's last times and there's last times...

  • JW||

    If Shapiro thought about it for a minute

    Well, there's your problem.

    I'll say this much for the authority and control fetishists: they'll never cease to amaze me with their shit-stained pretzel logic.

  • ||

    You're just pissed off Friedrich Hayek never did the hustle with you at Studio 54

  • JW||

    He said that he'd come back for me, later that night!

    Never trust an Austrian and their promises.

  • gaijin||

    a Harvard law grad

    There must be something in the water...or the air.

  • JW||

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with the perpetual and fawning knob-polishing of the Best and the Brightest.

  • Sammy Stone||

    "Great actor’s death plunges millions of fans into pretentiousness" RIP
    http://dandygoat.com/great-act.....ntiousness

  • Sammy Stone||

    "Great actor’s death plunges millions of fans into pretentiousness" RIP
    http://dandygoat.com/great-act.....ntiousness

  • wareagle||

    and in his next column, Shapiro will no doubt kvetch about the nanny statists. Hoffman's actions killed Hoffman, simple as that. This endless desire to ascribe an ideology the author doesn't like the individual choices is a good reason why the media holds such a pitiful standing with the public.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    No, Hoffman's MIND killed Hoffman. The drugs are irrelevant to the elitist religious fuck. The drugs are a mere symptom of unbelief and 'unrestrained' mental processes. You clearly missed the Sunday school class on what sin is.

  • Killaz||

    Darwinism killed Hoffman. To the extent his genes were not capable of surviving after taking 18 vials of black market heroin his genes possessed an inferior survival trait to those of someone that can tolerate at least 19 vials of it. Make way for Homo Superior! He is going to more resemble the junky in David Chapel's comedy sketches than he will PSH. Why does Shapiro want to limit evolutionary biology? Is he afraid that treating humans like cattle by the political elites will be less possible in our next phase of adaptation? Likely so.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    What are you raving on about with this evolutionary biologicals? Home Superior is no junky and he is a Shapiro, man.

  • Killaz||

    I don't rave. Everything I write is done in the most disciplined, scientific and moderate tone the human mind is capable of devising. You may have misjudged the tone of my entry above due to the quote from David Bowie's 'Oh, You Pretty Thing' which included an exclamation point, and the reference to comedic work. Understandable that would you do so, but then you missed the supple message underlining the post.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Homo Superior has been created. And he walks among us at Breitbart. Bowie is an unparalleled seer.

  • ||

    Your suppleties are indeed quite impressive.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    This endless desire to ascribe an ideology the author doesn't like the individual choices is a good reason why the media holds such a pitiful standing with the public.

    Are you trying to insinuate that the vast majority of people don't give a shit about what some blowhard Harvard grad thinks about anything and that most of us want them to shut the fuck up and leave us the fuck alone?

  • M.V. Flores||

    Some guys don't miss a beat. Conservatives who believed pot was a gateway drug that led directly to heroin abuse have a big problem. There has been no upsurge of heroin abuse in states with medicinal pot, etc. According to them, we should have hundreds of thousands of new addicts, we don't even have hundreds. So now they blame libertarians. Libertarian thought leads to heroin addiction. Today the U.S. government knows every opium field in Afghanistan and which ones are controlled by the Taliban. Yet the government refuses to either buy the crop and destroy it, just destroy it or ween the farmers onto another plant. After almost a century of the war on drugs, we finally could wreck the heroin trade and we flat out refuse. Don't blame us for telling you this. Blame the government from running away from the source.

  • prolefeed||

    After almost a century of the war on drugs, we finally could wreck the heroin trade and we flat out refuse.

    Where are you getting this "we" shit?

    And do you seriously think the U.S. government could end the heroin trade by bombing a few (or a lot of) fields in Afghanistan? You think that is the only place in the world that opium poppies can grow, given a high enough market price for heroin?

  • Ted S.||

    I think there's a point in that comment where the poster switches from his beliefs to his perception of conservatives' beliefs, and doesn't switch back.

  • bocomoj||

    Opium helps to fund CIA operations, especially in the Middle East. Our troops are in Afghanistan to protect the Opium, not destroy it.

  • Killaz||

    Jesus, your dumber than a turnip rooted in and growing out of your ass. Wait, turnip? Make that a tumor. You should get it checked.

  • Killaz||

    your you is dumber

  • prolefeed||

    It's "you are" dumber, and if you fail to get it right in two tries, a little humility and nonjudgmentalism would be in order.

  • SForza||

    It's "you are" dumber

    It's "ewe argh" dumber.

  • pan fried wylie||

    ...hallmark of the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood....Libertarianism....

    So he went Herointarian because the dominant leftism he was surrounded by was broken? Is there a way to read that mishmash that actually makes any sort of sense?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    If this twit had any understanding of how Hollywood views Libertarianism his entire jello-like theory on the libertine individual would collapse quicker than a deep-fried twinkie in a fat man's piehole. Hollywood largely despises freedom in much the same manner as your mainline lifelong-butthurt conservative.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That's not really true.

    People in Hollywood value their own freedom above all else (except bucks of course). They also believe marxist cultural bullshit and think that they've got to affect socialist poses to remain in favor of the masses.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Ok, then. Hollywood largely despises freedom that isn't rubber-stamped by rich Jews.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    WTF?

  • SugarFree||

    It always comes back to the Jews. If Jews didn't exist conspiracy theorists would have to invent them.

  • ||

  • wareagle||

    what do the Jooz have to do with it?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I can't name every Hollywood executive so I'll just label them Jews just so all the Libertarians can rush to defend a culture I'm in no way offended by. I guess I SHOULD have said the Jews and 5 Gentiles that run Hollywood. [smirk]

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I bet you think you're clever, but you're not.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Think what you want. If Hollywood was mostly run by rich blacks I'd say 'rich blacks'. If Hollywood was was mostly run by rich Swedes I'd say 'rich Swedes'... holy fuck- do you get the picture now?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Lies. Tyler Perry runs Hollywood with an iron fist.

    All else are lies.

    Also, Oprah did 9/11.

  • Killaz||

    The Twin Towers always reminded her of her uncle's index and middle finger. They had to go.

  • Loki||

    The Twin Towers always reminded her of her uncle's index and middle finger. They had to go.

    I'm ashamed to admit this, but that one made me laugh.

  • Killaz||

    My dream job was to be a cartoonist for Hustler magazine. I once submitted to them a cartoon with Jesus strolling out of a outhouse with a smile on his face, saying to himself, 'Ah, the shit of shits for the king of kings!' They rejected it. Apparently, I misjudged the refinement of their taste.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    They also believe marxist cultural bullshit

    Meanwhile they gladly take more money for a few weeks worth of work than most of us will make in a lifetime.

  • some guy||

    Oh if only Hoffman had just started a 20 year sentence he might still be alive! State pens are so much safer than the drugs.

    Does anyone know what Hoffman's politics were? I doubt they were particularly libertarian.

  • ||

  • Mike M.||

    He was a typical vastly overpaid, mindless left-wing dipshit, like almost all of Big Hollywood is.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Rich leftists at least hold shades of Libertarianism in their bank account balances.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    are you just babbling nonsense now?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    You tell me.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It sounds like Shapiro's not the only one who struggles with coherence.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Or you struggle with sentences designed to be sarcastic.

  • sarcasmic||

    In a libertarian world heroin would be legal, and the potency would be right there on the label.

    In today's world addicts have no idea of what the potency is, so when a particularly potent batch comes into town many overdose and die.

    In a libertarian world this guy might still be alive.

  • John C. Randolph||

    In a libertarian world, his dealer would have a vested interest in keeping him alive.

    -jcr

  • ||

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't think black market dealers have a vested interest in keeping their customers alive? Of course they do. Thing is, smart dealers don't use the drugs they sell. So they have no idea how potent the stuff is until their customers turn up dead.

  • prolefeed||

    The problem is that due to the government's attempts to shut down the black market for drugs, it is impossible for a company to openly build their reputation for accurately labeling purity.

    You go to a store and buy, for example, Knob Creek bourbon, you know that it is almost exactly 50% alcohol because they've staked their reputation on that number printed on the label being accurate.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I having only met a couple H dealers and they were complete idiotic scumbags. Completely self absorbed narcissists who cared nothing about anyone but themselves. They would screw over their customers for a quick buck instead of being honest and keeping them happy for a long term financial gain. Most people who become junkies and or criminals aren't very bright and don't think of what's best for themselves in the long run.

    So from that small example, I would say a lot of hard drug dealers could care less if their customers lived or died. As long as they didn't get in trouble for it

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I think what prolefeed just said has a lot to do with it. Because of the risk, they only think of the short term profit.

  • pan fried wylie||

    and due to the lack of potency controls and abundance of incarceration, their customers aren't a long term concern anyway.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Wait. Are you telling us that when drug dealing is outlawed, only outlaws will deal drugs? My worldview is now officially shattered.

  • Atanarjuat||

    In a sense, conservatism (the desperate clinging to the past policy of prohibition), as espoused this douchebag writer, killed Hoffman.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Thus heroin users are plucky empiricists.

  • Square||

    From the circumstances, and of course we don't have real information yet, only rumors, but this particular overdose does not sound accidental.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    This fellow's irrationality borders on evil and is progressive in nature. He states that Hoffman's mindset killed him because this form of thinking led him to a tragic OD. The way Hoffman processed information forced him into incapacity and tragedy. So according to the blank-minded Shapiro's of the world the drugs, 'sin', and immorality are the SYMPTOM of a form of thought that leads to darkness. And this form of thought is libertine in nature. Hoffman was so 'free' that he parlayed in deadly chances. Without the Shapiro's of the world standing in the gap building walls and fortresses to 'freedom' there is a high likelihood that independence and individualism will result in the antisocial, reprehensible, and deadly. The individual is powerless, ultimately. The individual requires guidance by a liberty-shunning elite who hold Shapiro values.

    ...and the right-winger wonders why the Libertarian-minded folk of the world view the lockstock conservative as no more improved than his dictatorial leftist counterpart.

  • ||

    It's entirely possible that Hoffman's "mindset" did contribute to his death, but certainly not in the way that Shapiro means.

    I made the observation that artists (in the generic sense, which would include actors and musicians)who are constantly embroiled in emotion rather than thinking, and especially those like Hoffman who live on the raw edge of emotion for the sake of their art, have a rich history of self-destructive behavior.

    The cliche that there is a fine line between genius and insanity seems to hold true in the arts much more than in the hard sciences.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    The fine line between genius and insanity can only be understood as a fine line between good and evil by a Shapiro. You and I grasp the psychological ramifications of artistic genius but to the narrow-minded Shapiro the ramifications of artistic genius should lead ONLY to the moral and deistic. Anything else equals immediate transgression which opens up the journey to self-destruction.

  • Square||

    It reminds me of how drug warriors used to say "LSD only INHIBITED Jimi Hendrix's creativity! Imagine how great he would have been if he were sober! Oh, the loss . . ."

  • TANSTaaFL||

    Also, to be really good at his craft, he completely immerses himself into the personality and mind-set of other people (fictional and historical) for long periods of time. This certainly can become a form of escapism and that probably draws them to other forms of escapism(cults, drugs, surrounding one-self with sycophants).

    More importantly, his craft is one that does not suffer as dramatically from drug use as would an office job/9-5 type career. And drug use is not a pre-requisite to immediate exclusion or termination from a job as it would be for others. Lastly, combine this with excessive money, free time and opportunity and human nature predicts increased frequency of drug use.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Conservative, eh? Conservatism is government as panacea. Apparently there's going to be no longer any pretense of small government conservatism, if Shapiro is any indication.

  • Atanarjuat||

    The lefties waited until the 2008 election to drop their pretense of civil libertarianism. Nice of this guy to show his true colors ahead of time.

    There is a subset of conservatives/Republicans who want small government. Rush Limbaugh wouldn't be railing against mainstream Republicans each day if there weren't an audience for it.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Limbaugh would rail against Jesus if he knew it'd make him 40 million a year.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But that's the point Atanarjuat is making. Railing against the Republican establishment from a small government perspective is proving profitable for Limbaugh.

  • cjelephant||

    Riiiight, because America can't have a small government and keep heroin illegal.

    The libertarian obsession with drugs is quite tragic. A movement that once had substance has become a bunch of irrational soma-addicts whining incessantly.
    If Reason had its way - heroin would be legal. So why all the sniffing indignation when someone points out how stupid that idea is?

  • Herpes Trismegistus||

    "Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin"

    I love when these judgmental nimrods start bringing up everyone else's "sins" while neglecting their own. He probably gets busted in a couple of years tap dancing for a blowjob in an airport toilet, or rubbing one out on public transportation.

  • Ted S.||

    Never mind the sin of wanting to control other people's lives.

  • Herpes Trismegistus||

    Authoritarianism is his religion, and the only sin in that book is minding your own damned business.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    God has a serious fucking problem with freedom that doesn't come with deified limits.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Did Libertarianism Kill Philip Seymour Hoffman?

    When after all it was you and me...

  • Drake||

    Did Statism save him?

  • TANSTaaFL||

    +1

    (BTW Gonna steal this and pretend its mine.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Shapiro shouldn't pen articles while high.

    Jus' sayin'

  • VG Zaytsev||

    +1

  • Doctor Whom||

    This directly contradicts the previous statist dogma that I was told about libertarianism and drug prohibition. I wish I could be more surprised.

  • prolefeed||

    Shapiro: "Modern liberalism, libertarianism, and libertinism all SOUND similar, so let's just lump them together in a blanket condemnation."

  • Doctor Whom||

    Thumbing through the lazy political thinkers' dictionary....

    libertarianism, n. whatever I don't like

  • Agile Cyborg||

    ...or fear.

  • Square||

    He's against all of them, so what difference does it make?

  • Snark Plissken||

    So when can we expect Bill Maher to OD?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    You know God or the universe is unjust when He/it takes PSH and leaves us Bill Maher.

    Or, via Billy Joel, only the good die young.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    Shapiro is either blatantly misrepresenting libertarians or holds the fundamental misunderstanding of libertarianism common to conservatives: that is, that libertarians equate legality and morality. If one wants drugs legal, one must think it is ok or good to abuse drugs.

    Personally, I think abusing drugs is morally wrong - but should most definitely be legal.

  • waffles||

  • creech||

    There's at least one branch of libertarianism that pushes back against libertinism. That's Objectivism. But then I wonder what Shapiro and National Review think of Objectivism and Rand?

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    NRO has a history (starting with Whitaker Chambers' review of ATLAS SHRUGGED) of despising Rand. Religion+sacrifice+endless wars to remake the world pretty much make the two incompatible.

    Buckley even wrote a novel that slams Rand and objectivisim.

  • Acosmist||

    She sucked, though, so +1 WFB

  • SugarFree||

    Egads! You read through Shapiro's bio at the article's second link and it becomes apparent he's the right's answer to Ezra Klein.

  • Tim||

    He went to Hahvahd. Who are we to judge?

  • SugarFree||

    UCLA strikes again, actually. Although Klein was a Banana Slug first.

  • Tim||

    Fuck it, links are up.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    oh good, we can see sarcasmic post Daily Fail porn and drool over it like a 14 year old with a permanent erection. That'll be a real blast.

  • Tim||

    Hence the phrase: "fuck it".

  • David Wall||

    To the extent libertarians embrace the self-destructive morality of hedonism in advocating the taking pleasure as long as it does not hurt anyone else and disregarding what it does to yourself, Shapiro's indictment of libertarianism in connection with Hoffman's death is justified. Hedonism is wrong because it ethically allows pleasures than can destroy you physically. That is the opposite result of a reality based morality. But religious conservatives who advocate sacrificing for God and cite society's moral pressures based upon a belief in God are just as irrational. For thousands of years, religion has led to the wholesale sacrificing of people's happiness on earth. Shapiro's alternative is just as evil as the cultural hedonism he seems to be indicting.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    To the extent libertarians embrace the self-destructive morality of hedonism in advocating the taking pleasure as long as it does not hurt anyone else and disregarding what it does to yourself, Shapiro's indictment of libertarianism in connection with Hoffman's death is justified.

    BS. Even if what you said was true (which it's not), the embracing of a particular worldview does not make me responsible for what someone else does. This is just lazy guilt-by-association through fancy puffery.

    Irrespective of that utter nonsense, libertarianism is a political world view AND THAT IS ALL IT IS. There are Christian libertarians, atheist libertarians, federalist libertarians, 'left' libertarians, etc. There is no moral worldview in libertarianism because libertarianism is simply a description of Man's relation to the State.

  • SugarFree||

    You underestimate the pleasures he finds in joylessness.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Herm... There are flavors of Libertarianism to be sure but some of those flavors are NOT as harmless as they broadcast. 'Labeled' Libertarianism is probably also fancy puffery. I'll go out on a limb here and provide an example: Sure, there likely exists legitimate 'religious' Libertarians who wouldn't care if drugs and sex-work were legal but in my experience the majority I've interacted with are ultimately uncomfortable with human adults having THAT much freedom.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So in other words you, like Shapiro, have no idea what libertarianism means, as I suspected.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Then, Libertarian genius of the world, you tell me what misinformed political system I've been sucked into. Someone of your stature can surely save me from myself.

  • Iron Sun 254||

    I'm religious and I believe the opposite. I have no right to force someone else to follow my religious beliefs. Faith is built on the free choice to follow God, not on the State forcing such behavior. Besides, the logical conclusion to laws against acts forbidden by religion is the outlawing of bacon and that in and of itself proves it's wrong.

  • David Wall||

    I would argue that libertarianism is not very clear as to what it is. There in lies the problem. Notice I said, "to the extent that libertarians embrace". I actually have not idea about that, but that is what Shapiro latched on to and I was addressing. It is hard to defend libertarianism when it is so inchoate. That is why I distance myself, although I agree in substance what many libertarians advocate.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    At its base Libertarianism is probably as inchoate as any political form of thought since they all appear to have rich variations on a theme that rarely seems set in stone. For example, some left-wingers are god-fearing capitalists while some right-wingers are big-government homosexuals.

  • David Wall||

    Maybe. But Republicans started as abolishists. So at the beginning it was very clear what you were tying yourself to and what you were defending. Now not so much. Same with libertarianism and I think that is a problem.

    Libertarianism is due for a big raise in attention in the culture. I am afraid that it is too many things to too many people and that may hurt the liberty movement it is associated with.

  • David Wall||

    abolitionist

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I tend to agree with you.

  • Doctor Whom||

    I actually have not idea about that, but that is what Shapiro latched on to and I was addressing.

    Then you may wish to educate yourself about libertarianism beyond statist straw men.

  • David Wall||

    Many libertarian writers take pride in the big tent that their cause has staked out. I think that is a mistake in many respects.

    As far as educating myself, why do you think I am here reading comments on Reason's forum and occasionally contributing. Why all the negativity? I made an honest comment and put an effort in being thoughtful about it. If I am wrong why not educate me otherwise? Or are you just here for the cynical put-downs to those you disagree with?

  • Doctor Whom||

    Acknowledging someone else's right to do something is not the same thing as advocating.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Clearly- to a deep-thinking religious Libertarian. But there comes a point in a lot of sacred scripture where the collective and not the individual becomes the primary focus of deistic valuation and resulting control or loss of due to 'evil' for example. If one is a Christian Libertarian how is John 3:16 addressed without making assumptions that other lives need to line up with some form of scripture?

  • CthulhuForPresident||

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

    If I'm not mistaken, this is simply saying that God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to die for people's sins so they would not perish in hell but have eternal life.

    I don't see anything coercive about that statement that would violate the non-aggression policy of a libertarian. You either accept that belief or you don't. Nowhere does it say your life NEEDS to line up with that, or that Church or State should try to enforce it.

    There's actually a pretty vibrant group of Christians who would proudly identify as Ancaps and Minarchists and who also despise the theocratic leanings of the neocons simply because, if they had their way, they would involve the coercion of the combined Church State to try and forcibly convert people.

    In some ways, this is exactly what the Jews were looking for in their Messiah while under Roman occupation and thought that Jesus' triumphant ride into Jerusalem was a preclusion to this establishment of an earthly Jewish superpower, but as we see that was never his intention (whether you believe who Jesus claimed to be or not).

    Anyway, as a Christian who identifies as a libertarian I just wanted to put that out there. Carry on with the verbal skewering of Shapiro.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    And your answer to The Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 which is the natural follow-up to "...and God so loved the world"?

    With all due respect there exists plenty of scripture demanding that "[my] life NEEDS to line up with that [the Word of God]" I'm well acquainted with the bible.

    I can understand the relaxed Christian. Hell, I know Christians who are alt-lifestylers. But, ultimately, as a Christian you have to put the bible through a buffet table to be even reasonably open-minded which begs the question: why the need for the Christian label if you aren't, in fact, following the broad tenants of the bible which are ripe with concepts outlining societal/social conformity with some circumstances allowing for violent enforcement (the ruling rod of iron).

    I state all this within the context of Libertarian social philosophy or, better yet, 'misguided utopian idealism' as Salon writers, Jon Stewart, and hysterical progs put it.

  • CthulhuForPresident||

    Again, still not seeing the coercion or use of force in the Great Commission. In fact, Jesus told his disciples earlier in Matthew 10:14 that if they're not welcome to preach, to just shake the dust off their feet when they leave that town or home. It didn't say burn it to the ground, pray for its destruction or force baptize them (waterboarding?) anyway.

    I'm also not sure what you're alluding to when you say "the broad tenants of the bible" and how they outline social conformity. Are you talking specifically about Leviticus or other OT books when you say that, because those are the only books I could think of that would apply specifically to social engineering, all of which is part of the old covenant meant for Israel only at the time.

    What's more, and I think most thinking Christians would agree that we don't follow the bible, we follow Jesus Christ who said that the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord with all of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Also, nowhere in the New Testament does it instruct members of the Church to violently enforce anything , so again, I can only assume you're talking old covenant stuff that has no meaning since Christ atoned for our sins by his death and resurrection, thus rendering the old law null, void and pointless.

  • CthulhuForPresident||

    Wow, the tone of my post sounds kinda snotty and butt-hurt now that I posted it. Take it more in the relaxed tone of voice I intended it to be and not as it appears.

  • Raven Nation||

    A more positive conservative take on PSH:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2014/bc0203mh.html

  • ||

    Thanks RavNat, nice one!

  • Raven Nation||

    You're welcome.

  • Ska||

    One man's spirituality is another man's self-abasement.

  • rickl7069||

    I'm a roofer and that kills a lot of people every year. I don't eat very healthy and that kills people. I drive almost every day - how many people does that kill. I take drugs doctors prescribe to me, you would be surprised at that death rate.
    One thing is for certain, I AM going to die, and no drug war, or any other war, is going to save my life. I choose to live my life without worrying about what is going to kill me. I hang off the edge of roofs for a living and love it. I eat lard fried chicken and lick my fingers. I drive like there is no tomorrow. And, I smoke a joint if I'm in the mood. I DO, somewhat, keep things in my life in some kind of moderation, but that is MY choice, not some politicians'.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    You forgot about the rapture. That might take you before you die so work on that spiritual quest, roofer.

  • rickl7069||

    That is a big one and I was raised Holy Roller, Pentecostal - used to do jail ministry. I do talk to God every day and He bugs the heck out of me - we have a relationship, but, yes, I'm not spending enough time with Him right now and I need to work on that.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—"

  • ||

    Some day, when I'm over 90 (hopefully), and dying of a terminal illness, I want to become a heroin addict. I think a heroin overdose sounds like probably one of the most pleasant ways to go.

  • Killaz||

    I want to go like I did once in GTA 3. With a car blowing up behind me, instantly killing me and four cops as we were engaged in a shoot out.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    I always wanted to go out getting a blow job from a suicidal hooker, stoned on some really good weed while driving a rented V12 Ferrari off a really big cliff. With some precautions for not having my dick bitten off...wouldn't want to suffer.

  • ||

    I can't see how this would be moral unless the hooker has a terminal illness. Or is a progressive.

  • ||

    Heh, i tell my aged mother to go ahead and blow my inheritance on a drug habit and a fancy man - she deserves it.

  • Jon Lester||

    And here I thought Shapiro was just an unscrupulous plagiarist. Is he really saying more Americans should govern their lives with an irrational fear of going to hell, or something? This would make him an enemy of freedom.

    What killed Hoffman, beyond his own choices, was the fact that, no matter who you are, you can't really know how much your coke or your tar's been stepped on. This wouldn't happen in a regulated drug market.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Is he really saying more Americans should govern their lives with an irrational fear of going to hell, or something?

    Does it really surprise you that someone said this?

  • Jon Lester||

    Of course not, but it's not exactly keeping a finger on the pulse of the current state of conservatism and the waning fortunes of the socons.

  • ||

    Wasn't this Ben Shapiro the little dickhead who was writing boilerplate TEAM RED bullshit at World Net Daily 10-12 years ago when he was 13 or something?

  • Jon Lester||

    One and the same. You might say he was mentored by Joseph Farah.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Wasn't this Ben Shapiro the little dickhead who was writing boilerplate TEAM RED bullshit at World Net Daily 10-12 years ago when he was 13 or something?"

    Yeah, and the quality of his argument hasn't much improved over the intervening period.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Socons ~= Progs

  • David Wall||

    Yep.

  • AgrarianBarbarian||

    I've heard Hoffman comment on politics once or twice. He didn't sound like a "libertarian" to me. More of a mainline entertainment- industry / enviro-lefty.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    This is our concern, Dude.

  • Trials and Trippelations||

    Gahh I can't stand Shapiro.

    When I moved to LA in the fall I tried to find a morning talk show, and happened upon a three person show with a liberal, a conservative woman, and Shapiro who I could've swore one time said he was the libertarian of the bunch. After two weeks, I came to the conclusion there is no good morning talk show in LA.

    On-air Shapiro is quite the nanny. Nearly always in favor of government intervention when it fit his agenda. As a member of Team Red, he spent a lot of timing making himself into a pretzel to legitimize stupid Republican policy.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What did I learn from this?

    Ben Shapiro is a dumb cunt.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I just O.D'ed on backpfeifengesicht.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Have a care, Citizen, or some High Priest of Libertarianism will come and scold you for your crimes against Nonaggression.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    As an Assistant High Priest 2nd Class of Libertarianism, I outrank most of my critics.

  • John||

    That may be the dumbest thing I have ever read. Since when is Hollywood much less Hoffman Libertarian?

    Beyond that, degenerates have been killing themselves with drugs and drink since such stuff was invented. Is this clown so stupid he hasn't heard of the opium wars? Did he miss the memo about Charlie Parker and Lenny Bruce and about a million other junkies who offed themselves by ODing on heroin over the years?

    What killed Hoffman was the fact that he was irresponsible and stupid. That and maybe the drug war if he died from unknowingly injecting himself with a bad dose of the crap.

  • John||

    And one more thing, being a "Libertine" doesn't necessarily mean you are irresponsible. I am a bit of a libertine myself. But whatever my views on fun and impure experiences, they have nothing to do with my underlying views on responsibility and my duty to those around me not to kill myself, sponge money or generally be a burden on those unfortunate enough to care about me.

    And plenty of very prudish people have been degenerate gamblers, drug users and drunks. No one would call Bill Bennett a libertine. But that didn't stop him from being a degenerate gambler who stole his kid's college fund and inheritance to lose at the craps tables.

  • Killaz||

    Very well put. That also describes myself to a great extent.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Shapiro often strikes me as what I'll call a "Santorum" conservative. Essentially these are guys who can take any argument on their side and reduce it to imbecility. A case can be made that, without a strong moral foundation, people are subject to vices that can destroy their world. Heck, a case could be made that this might have applied to PH Hoffman. To try to go from there to "libertarianism killed Hoffman" is just retarded.

  • John||

    You can make the case that people without strong moral foundations tend as a group to do more immoral and irresponsible things. That is true as far as it goes. What is not true is the link between law and people's moral foundations.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Didn't say there was.

    But, I think it's pretty clear that there IS a link between the culture and people's moral foundations. In that regard, Shapiro is conflating a legitimate cultural argument with an idiotic political one.

  • John||

    I was agreeing with you Bill. I was pointing out the problem with Shapiro's argument. Sorry not to make that clear.

  • David Wall||

    But isn't there an element within the libertarian movement that does advocate a fairly hedonistic philosophy? Recreational rugs are okay since they feel good and they don't hurt anyone else. The hedonistic drug culture is immoral because it is self-destructive to life an destroys one's ability to live a full happy life. This kind of thinking is not exactly mainline libertarian thought, is it? Yes, Shapiro is a light weight, but even a lightweight may occasionally hit on something that should be addressed seriously.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Frankly, I'd say that widespread hedonism seems to transcend political philosophy, as John suggests. There are no shortage of socons and proggies destroying themselves in any number of ways. Libertarians get stuck with the tag because they advocate allowing these things to remain legal. But, that doesn't mean the vices are "libertarian" in any sense. While I won't presume to speak for mainline libertarian thought, my sense is that many libertarians acknowledge that these things are potentially dangerous for just the reason you point out. But, vices are not crimes. And the decision to do or not do something potentially stupid and self-destructive, isn't the government's to make.

  • Square||

    No. Libertarianism as a "movement" simply advocates free choice. Whether or not I believe recreational drugs are okay is not the same as whether or not I think the government should take charge of other people's moral decisions.

  • SteveC||

    Anyone who spouts the tired libertarianism/libertinism cliche (just google the phrase) deserves to be ignored. Libertarianism is a political philosophy about the legitimate use of force, namely in the interest of justice, traditionally the sphere of government. Libertinism concerns the philosophy of the good life, how one *should* live, traditionally the sphere of the church. One might expect conservatives to be less willing to cede church territory to government.

  • Davidson Freeman||

    Everyone here is missing his main point, and I think on purpose.

    Gillespie's claim that Shapiro says libertarianism is the "root cause" is untrue, I think Nick's fishing here.

    Shapiro is claiming that Hollywood's immoral culture, one that doesn't frown upon drug abuse, is the root cause.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Shapiro is claiming that Hollywood's immoral culture, one that doesn't frown upon drug abuse, is the root cause."

    Then why bring up libertarianism at all, Davidson? Libertarianism is a political philosophy. If his critique is a cultural one (and the cultural one has some element of truth to it) a critique of a political philosophy is a complete non-sequitur.

  • Davidson Freeman||

    I don't know why he chose Libertarianism. My guess is because he believes libertarianism is a legal/economical philosophy and not one with morals. Most conservatives will argue that libertarianism is worthless without a moral culture to support it.

  • John||

    one that doesn't frown upon drug abuse, is the root cause.

    And that is just as or even more stupid. Hollywood frowned on drug use in the past, but that didn't stop entertainers from killing themselves on the stuff.

    I would say pretty much every parent of an addictive kid frowned on drug use and did their best to not encourage it.

    People who for whatever reasons want to be addicts are going to be addicts regardless of the culture around them.

  • Iron Sun 254||

    Then, if he's not actual claiming it's the root cause, he's just bringing it up to be a dick.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    Agree.

    Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a cultural force pushing back against the penchant for sin; Hollywood has no such cultural force. In fact, the Hollywood demand is for more self-abasement, less spirituality, less principle, less standards.

    Man-child's socon preachiness aside, he's correct: Freedom does become unmoored libertinism if there's no social force to teach self-discipline. Libertarianism--and to a lesser degree, mainstream conservativism--holds that discipline originates within social institutions like the family, the church, or the voluntary community rather than the monopoly of violence. Central planning can't provide those values, as the failure of the public-school system and endless state social programs intended to promote good citizenship has demonstrated.

    Shapiro isn't targeting libertarianism; he's targeting advocates of critical theory who are intent on destroying the traditional social structure that teach discipline and self-worth.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    In other words, as I said, Shapiro took a legitimate cultural argument and turned it into a big, steaming, pile of idiocy.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    I didn't seek out or reply to your argument, Bill.

    This is a lazy blanket party by people who haven't read the article and an editor who needed to fill space.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    The law of 'actions have consequences' and personal accountability (if i don't do things necessary for survival no one else will) require social force??

    While Social institutions can help speed up the acquisition of important information, they are not the only and not even the main way that people learn to act responsibly.

    Its like you actually believe a medieval Catholic church was the only thing keeping human beings alive (and teaching them how to survive and not OD on poppy juice) before centralized states emerged from the shattered remains of the Roman Empire.

    Even the religious folks who mean well, have an incredibly tough time seeing human civilization without the religious-colored lenses.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    And for your belief to hold ANY sway there would be roughly no such thing as Athiests/Agnostics that act responsibly and don;t drink/inject themselves into a coma.

  • Thomas O.||

    I don't wish to destroy any institutions teaching discipline and/or self-worth... but I DO take issue with those who wish to ban things and jail people for doing those things, even if it harms no one else... all for the sake of "the greater good". Addicts to drugs/sex/gambling are one thing, and they should get help without being forced to... but a good many of us are clean, straight-laced, church-going, hard-working members of society that maybe want to let off a little steam and go crazy every now and then. And if we choose to do that by throwing naked pool parties with loaded bongs (as long as it's not in sight of any kids), that's our prerogative and we don't deserve to get in trouble for it.

  • G.M.||

    I'd favor drug legalization provided the monies generated from taxing them or the savings garnered from policing, courts, & prisons is used to establish comprehensive drug education in our schools from very early on with a corollary public information campaign on the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse (featuring a long list of testimonials from musicians and actors). There also needs to be easily accessible and affordable drug rehab programs for the many who fall prey to the lure of drugs & alcohol. There's also the issue of employer rights. Does an employer have the legal authority to refuse to employ someone who could be using any number of intoxicants, or the right to test them for such?

  • Killaz||

    So, you pretty much want control, right?

  • Killaz||

    Sounds like you want to siphon even more privately held monies to the law enforcement and social worker class in the guise of advancing a concocted social good (that corollary public information campaign on the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse bullshit) than they are stealing from us currently.

  • Irish||

    There's also the issue of employer rights. Does an employer have the legal authority to refuse to employ someone who could be using any number of intoxicants, or the right to test them for such?

    Yes. What does that have to do with whether or not drugs should be legal? If you do them and an employer doesn't hire you...well, you rolled the dice and lost.

  • Volunteer||

    The quoted comment doesn't say what the writer here seems to be outraged about. "Libertarianism becomes libertinism without a moral compass" is about like saying "liberty becomes libertine without a moral compass." Shapiro isn't condemning libertarianism; he's condemning Hollywood for having no moral compass that guides people in their exercise of personal responsibility. Christians believe in the necessity of free will, but that doesn't mean that they believe people don't make bad choices. Liberty is inherently good in the same way that democracy is good -- not because voters will always make the right choices, but because the alternative is tyranny. Denying that a libertarian society needs a moral compass is like denying that voters should be well informed.

  • Christophe||

    Except that "X becomes libertinism without a moral compass" is valid for all X.

    The fact Shapiro filled the blank with libertarianism tells a lot about him.

  • Sevo||

    He doesn't know the half of it!
    I'm personally to blame for several super-novas, the sun-spot cycle and Krakatoa!

  • Iron Sun 254||

    You must work in Hollywood.

  • John||

    Its all of them negative waves you Libertarians are always putting out.

  • Sevo||

    C'mon, John, at the last world-wide conclave, I heard you were to blame for the earth's tilt.

  • Jon Lester||

    Are socons and liberals equally fearful that Americans want to reclaim their freedoms? Today, Salon has a piece by a guy who seems to be telling progressives just what they want to hear about it.

  • Irish||

    That's an old piece. Salon runs one of those every month though, so I assume there should be a knew one coming up.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "So what accounts for my transition from orthodox libertarianism to an unremarkable liberalism?"

    He then CONTINUES to berate himself for once being a Libertarian until the article ends still berating Libertarianism.

    If the moron would simply provide an answer to his own question the article might have avoided being yet one more among a million similar articles written on Libertarian Utopianism by continually-befuddled and emotion-fraught Leftists.

    What the living FUCK is 'unremarkable liberalism'?

  • Christophe||

    - Jailing people for thoughtcrimes.
    - Bombing brown people.
    - Ever increasing intrusion into private life.
    - Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State

    You know, perfectly reasonable, unobjectionable stuff.

  • Hey, you!||

    That dude or moderator, deleted my comment at his article. What a big government, Constitution-thrashing douche.

  • Hey, you!||

    This is all about marijuana being legalized. Now they're trying to find another way to keep the War on Drugs and police state going.

  • Volunteer||

    Shapiro's reply in the updated article explains that he was saying exactly what I thought he was saying, not what the article got outraged by imagining he was saying. It's nice to have proof that I'm smarter than people who write for "Reason."

  • Calidissident||

    It's not Reason's fault Shapiro has no idea what the term "libertarian" means. He shouldn't have used it if he didn't want people not getting his point

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Sorry to have to break this to you, but it isn't the fault of the staff or readership of Reason that Shapiro is such a sloppy writer and such a sloppy thinker that he needs people to translate his writings from stupid into English. I'd gotten what he was trying to say. It's just that he was so godawefully terrible at expressing what is really a fairly mundane point ("Without a moral compass, you're likely to screw your life up.") that he embarrassed himself. He's not 13 years old anymore. It's time for him to grow up and start making arguments that the rest of the world doesn't have to make excuses for.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "It was to blame the false libertarianism of Hollywood, which is actually libertine."

    Hollywood is a progressive hive that generally mocks Libertarians. How can they be 'false Libertarians' in this regard?

  • Jon Lester||

    Some people just don't have enough artists and freaks in their lives to give them helpful insight, although results would be better if they had some of that in themselves.

  • Volunteer||

    Is there something about the word "false" that you don't understand? People are small-L libertarians in that they claim to believe in personal liberty, but what they really believe in is freedom from religion and traditional morality while championing government control over peoples' economic and political lives.

  • Calidissident||

    How can they be "false libertarians" if they don't even claim to be libertarian in the first place?

  • Christophe||

    Because some conservative author wants to tar us by association. Surprise!

  • taker||

    He holds a JD from Harvard so consequently has no credibility. No one graduating from that mess does. Or with that "degree" in general in my not so humble opinion. (Full Disclosure: I hold an MBA from an middle America Catholic University.)

  • boomslang4||

    How can you tell if someone graduated from Notre Dame? Just wait five minutes, they will be sure to tell you.

  • judeoconnor@mac.com||

    Just another druggie that OD'd; Somehow I cannot find sympathy for these souls that know they are playing with fire. Neither can I find sympathy for the people crying poor mouth that smoke, drink, and get tattoo's and play with drugs begging for sympathy from the public and calling themselves victims.

  • JW||

    The point was not to blame libertarianism either. It was to blame the false libertarianism of Hollywood, which is actually libertine. Libertarianism requires personal responsibility, as well as cultural institutions dedicated to encouraging virtuous behavior.

    THEN, WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY THAT TO BEGIN WITH? At least now we know that it's "Somebody, somewhere, is having fun." Puritanism never rests.

    Oh, and FTFY.

  • MCGIRV||

    I think Ben has some good points.

  • Scott H||

    Shapiro would have a better argument blaming the US Military. Prior to US intervention in Afghanistan, the Taliban had virtually eliminated all opium cultivation. Now, under the protection of American forces, Afghanistan produces 75% of the world's opium supply.

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