Recently Hitchens appeared at a "secular Christmas party" thrown by the libertarian magazine Reason. Many libertarians are basically conservatives who are either gay or druggies or people who generally find the conservative moral agenda too restrictive. So they flee from the conservative to the libertarian camp where much wider parameters of personal behavior are embraced. To the sensible idea of political and economic freedom many libertarians add the more controversial principle of moral freedom, the freedom to live however you want as long as you don't harm others. Hitchens, needless to say, is at home in this group.
Let me note for the record I agree with D'Souza regarding song parodist Tom Lehrer ("a bit of a relic"); indeed, I've never been a fan.
But I just don't get the controversy surrounding "the freedom to live however you want as long as you don't harm others." If you believe in a free society, what is the alternative precisely? Doesn't the freedom to argue–either through rhetoric or by example–for particular ways of living depend upon, I don't know, the ability to actually live different lives? And what exactly is the "conservative moral agenda"? Should we turn to Newt Gingrich for tips on that one? Or Mark Foley? Or D'Souza's "priest friend…[who] once observed that wine is evidence of how much God loves us." D'Souza's comments–and his inability to see libertarianism as anything but an epiphenomenon of conservativsm (whatever that is)–reminds me of the huge gulf between cons and libs, mostly revolving around the issue of pluralism.
I consider myself not an atheist but an apatheist–I just don't care very much about religion one way or the other. I can certainly appreciate the positive and negative roles that religion has played (and continues to play) in human history. And I can fully appreciate that irony that classical liberalism, a political philosophy that ultimately separated church from state (thank god!), has its roots in the English civil war of the 17th century, which was in many–maybe all–ways a religious war over the right to worship god in whatever way you saw fit.
But beyond the caricature of libertarians as, what, amyl-nitrate-huffing poufters (not that there's anything wrong with that–there we go again!), I just don't get the idea that what sometimes gets called the pursuit of happiness is in any way controversial. And if it is for conservatives, then it's a good thing they seem to be in the shitter politically.
For a taxonomy of libertarians from Mother Jones' perspective (!), go here and scroll down to "Libertarian Theology."
Not that it matters, but I'll be celebrating Christmas the old-fashioned way: with my kids, a fake tree, and a bunch of maxed-out credit cards.