Rand Paul

Rand Paul Is Right: Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism

The growing state, after all—not the atheist—is religion's biggest rival.


David Gunter/Flickr

These days, to even suggest the possibility that a fiscally conservative economic outlook is compatible with faith is a matter of hypocrisy.

"I am afraid that (Rep. Paul) Ryan's budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ," the Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University told The Huffington Post not so long ago. "Survival of the fittest may be OK for social Darwinists, but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love."

Surely, you recall this Bible passage: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Smite the supply-sider. I will utterly blot out the memory of all who back block grants from under heaven.'"

So it's refreshing, then, to hear would-be fusionist Rand Paul point out the distinction libertarian critics will not. At Robert P. George's American Principles Project last week, Paul argued that a dose of libertarianism not only would help the GOP broaden its base but also would be philosophically compatible with socially conservative values.

"Libertarian and liberty doesn't mean libertine," he explained. Paul might have added that libertarianism isn't synonymous with "being uncharitable" or "selfishness" or "social Darwinism," either. He might have argued that libertarianism would do a lot more than just help orthodox Christians politically. It may even be the most conducive political philosophy for their thriving.

Obviously, for those who measure the nation's virtue by the size of the Department of Health and Human Services budget, Rand's proposition must seem absurd. Take Elizabeth Stoker, who believes that "Rand Paul's audacious new sham" is "a phony religious epiphany." She wrote in Salon:

"If what Paul intends to say here is that Christianity and libertarianism are amenable to one another because Christianity provides the moral compass libertarianism doesn't have … the question is: Why would someone with such a commitment to Christianity ever commit themselves to a political philosophy without a similar commitment?"

Why? Because these are two distinct and often nonconflicting ideas. Though votes are often informed by a person's faith, for many Americans, a political philosophy isn't a religion.

I'm no theological scholar, but I tend to believe that one can do good works without supporting a top marginal tax rate increase. Christians commit themselves to God, which, as far as I can tell, doesn't prohibit them from supporting a political philosophy that emphasizes free will over a state-ordained "morality." No doubt, most Christians appreciate that our collective national political decisions and their personal moral compasses will not always be synchronized. That's where the religious freedom comes into play.

Should social conservatives "commit themselves" to a political philosophy that not only strives for gay equality but also seeks to impel others to participate in these new norms despite religious objections? Should they commit to a philosophy that impels them to fund contraception coverage and abortions—through either direct funding or fungible dollars? A philosophy that continues to force them to send their kids to crappy public schools that often undermine their faith-based beliefs? A philosophy that attacks parents who seek alternative means of education, such as home schooling? Or should they be more interested in wedding themselves to a political philosophy that downgrades the importance of politics in everyday life and allows citizens to work together to structure their communities without interference?

The growing state, after all—not the atheist—is religion's biggest rival. And intentionally or not, government is crowding out parts of community life that have traditionally been taken care of by civil society. It's draining resources once used by communities to implement services and take care of their own. And even more destructive, perhaps, is that government is becoming a source of moral authority for so many.

Admittedly, it seems counterintuitive to suggest that social conservatives embrace a laissez-faire political philosophy. And I'm definitely not Pollyannaish about my fellow human beings. Paul is right to advocate sentencing reform and a more judicious foreign policy, but he's also right when he says that libertarianism doesn't mean: "Do whatever you want. There is a role for government; there's a role for family; there's a role for marriage; there's a role for the protection of life." (Abortion is a debate about when life is worth protecting. Despite the misconception by many in the media, there is no single libertarian position.) As is often pointed out, Adam Smith wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments before he wrote The Wealth of Nations. One does well with the other. There is no conflict between political freedom and faith.

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  1. Any second now Rand Paul will be labeled a crazy religious nut by the media.

  2. “Libertarian and liberty doesn’t mean libertine,”

    That is certainly true. But you do have to accept (or at least tolerate) that lots of people are going to be libertines to some extent or other and seek pleasure in ways you don’t approve of. Well, I suppose you don’t have to accept it, but you won’t be very happy if you don’t unless you just want to isolate yourself.

    1. Meh. Some people will be libertines for a while. Absent subsidy, you’d be surprised how quickly it dies off.

      1. ^ This.

        Social norms and taboos were there for a reason, and that was for society to function.

        No libertarian agrees that government should force societal norms, which is where we differ from conservatives, but what conservatives don’t seem to understand is that they can get their moral society without government interference.

        For example, what has happened to the taboo against children out of wedlock? It has almost vanished because government will pay for your babies.

        Same thing for marriage in general. Society operates on NEED.

        Government interference removes the need for societal norms. Libertines can’t exist within an libertarian society, they would simply be outcasts, separate from society as a whole, though treated no differently under the law.

        1. “Libertines can’t exist within an libertarian society”


          1. Cant continue living a libertine existence because the government will not be a fat safety net at the bottom to catch them when they blow all their money on being stupid.

        2. But at least in the ideal libertarian society, they won’t have to fear getting arrested for what they do, as long as others are not harmed.

    2. “Admittedly, it seems counterintuitive to suggest that social conservatives embrace a laissez-faire political philosophy.”

      The problem with most organized religion is not so much that the individuals adhering to a particular faith wish to be left alone to worship in private; it’s that they wish to spread “the word” as far and wide as they possibly can and it’s much easier to do so with the backing of the state rather than privacy from the state.

      This is why a lot of social conservatives simply cannot bring themselves to jump on the laissez-faire bandwagon: they simply cannot abide by other people behaving in a way with which the conservatives disagree.

      From their perspective it is much more religiously expedient to band together and elect officials who will enact legislation agreeing with their world-view rather than politicians advocating “live and let live” policies.

  3. As a staunch social conservative, I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s sentiment. I am not naive enough to assume that I am going to agree or not struggle with every Libertarian position; what I do know is that when we disagree a Libertarian society is not going to drop some huge statist hammer on my head to force conformity.

    1. So why can’t your brethren understand that concept?

      1. Momentum. Changing one’s mind is hard.

      2. My impression is that a lot probably do, when they think it through. The left and the media (but I repeat myself), however, are bound and determined to highlight the social statists rather than the Zunalters of the world. It preserves the bogeyman of the Girlfriend’s Father from Footloose or the Preacher from Porkies to keep the impressionable minds from asking too many awkward questions.

    2. As a social conservative you must understand the hypocrisy of your last sentence.

      Social conservatives want to drop the statist hammer on the issues that they care about.

      Read my above post, though not very in depth, it may give you a taste of how misguided you are to even call yourself a social conservative.

      1. Haha, oh, well then, never mind. I guess I will just ignore what I believe and conform to the monolith you have constructed for me…

        Listen, I am a “hearts-and-minds” guy, I am not in favor of using the State to enforce my ideology – the State’s power is reserved for protecting the rights of the populace. Fascism is fascism, even if it agrees with my “ideology”.

  4. “The growing state, after all?not the atheist?is religion’s biggest rival.”

    But is a growing religion a libertarian’s biggest rival?

    1. No. Unless you’re talking about the religion of statism.

      1. Religion is very often a series of directives that YOU are to follow. As an example, there are 10 Commandments. The operative word is “commandments.” And they all begin with THOU, which means you as an individual. And they are things that you shall not do.

        And then things go on from there…directives against sexual preference, contraception, drinking, and more.

        You would have to explain to me how all that is not a big rival to libertarianism.

        1. Because if you decide not to follow the Bible, guys with guns don’t come to your house and make you.

          1. And you just saw in action an attempt at religious coercion in Arizona, did you not? And by the way, there are similar initiatives elsewhere.

            1. No, that AZ law wouldn’t have changed much. People are already able to privately discriminate against gays in that state. The state doesn’t force this coercion though.

              1. Good point.

  5. I am a Christian Fundamentalist/Evangelical. I am also a libertarian.

    I was raised conservative. But through experience and a more careful reading of the Bible, I realized that conservatives make huge mistakes in their thinking.

    I firmly believe that “A” can be wrong, deadly even, but that it shouldn’t be illegal. I will stand on my belief that homosexual acts are wrong but shouldn’t be regulated by govt. Before anyone complains, I also recognize that adultery and non-marital sex is wrong but shouldn’t be illegal. Why are so many obsessed with the former but not the latter?

    (Atheists and Agnostics may not care about this paragraph.) Other than Christ’s teaching on what govt should do (very little, if anything), there are many other reasons a Christian should stand against govt interference in our lives. If following Christ really does change one’s life, then govt interference will mask that change and ruin part of our witness. If faith in Christ is the only way to save us, then why should we use govt to try to make people “good”? Isn’t this much of what Christ’s problem with the Pharisess was? Didn’t Paul teach, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one”?

    In fact, I firmly believe that many conservatives violate the first 2 commandments when they trust govt to solve problems and ignore God’s work.

    1. Third paragraph, “is” should be “are”.

      1. Don’t sweat the typos. Most people don’t catch them.

        (I do the same thing though – I hate my errors)

      2. Please go fuck yourself in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

        1. How are you so unable to give civility and basic respect?

          What exactly did this guy do to you? Its like you are responding to an image of your past, not him.

          Obviously your thinking is FUBAR.

        2. I see you’re taking an open and thoughtful path through the discussion Paul.

        3. Hey PaulW.

          Maybe we should get the government to arrest this guy before he does more harm to society by posting his thoughts.

          Seriously. What a piece of shit you are for posting that.

          Exactly how did his posts harm you to that extent ?

    2. Follow the Golden Rule and things should turn out well.

      A very long book of rules is really unnecessary.

      1. Good thing then Christianity isn’t a long list of rules. Salvation by faith, not works.

        And yes, many conservatives forget this. Being moral and good works are a result of being changed by faith; it doesn’t work the other way around.

        1. I would add, too, that real charity is an act of love, and gives both parties the Grace of generosity and gratitude. Compulsion and entitlement are very poor substitutes.

      2. Follow the Golden Rule and things should turn out well.

        Ah the old faithful, mostly useless, fallback.

        “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” -do unto others, right?

        The long book(s) of rules are as much about people having lived the experience and set examples as they are about the rules.

        A lot like we have a Constitution, BOR, but still tell stories about Patrick Henry and Paul Revere and celebrate Washington’s birthday every year.

        1. You might do that. I think that the mythology is pretty much irrelevant.

    3. Count me in with M. Hihn. Great comment. And please don’t feel the need to apologize for your faith (“Before anyone complains…”). In a free society, you have a right to it. Even if others disagree.

    4. As a confirmed atheist (with a mid-line Christian upbringing which left me with a solid although not encyclopedic knowledge of Christianity), I think you, Harsanyi, Paul and Madison have pretty much hit the nail on the head: a limited government is the most conducive for developing a strong moral (religious / philosophical) sense in each individual.

      People of good will can always work together for a better society, and this does not require government coercion.

    5. Render those things that are Caesar’s unto Caesar, and those things that are God’s unto God.

      If you are religious you would understand that those things that God cares about are none of the state’s business. If you are a moral human being, you should understand the same, but replace those things that God cares about with morals in general.

      They haven’t a thing to do with the government, and when you allow the government to force morals on the populace, it is almost always counterproductive.

      1. Even NAP is an ethical principle and I’m pretty sure God wants us to do no harm to others.

    6. As an agnostic former Catholic I agree strongly.

    7. Fair enough, Ace. I have a question for you, though. I see you don’t think some of these things should be illegal. What did you think about the bill that was just vetoed in Arizona?

      1. You didn’t ask me of course but here is my attitude towards it anyway.

        If you don’t want a particular person for a customer for whatever reason but are forced to accommodate through force of law just do a bad job and charge too much.

        You probably won’t be asked to do do business with the offending party again anyway.

        If the baker who was the focus of the jihadist gays who used government to force him to bake a cake just substituted half salt for half of the sugar and made a crooked cake he would have no future problem.

        You are a remodeler but don’t want to work for gays, just overbid the job by two or three times.

        Why you would not want the business is beyond me but that should solve your problem without courts and lawyers.

        “They” might be able to force you to do the job but “they” can’t make you do it well.

        1. Well, I kind of agree with you. This seems to be one of those issues that should have been worked out between the two parties.

          But here is the thing…in Arizona, before the bill and actually right now, you don’t have to serve that customer. Maybe they would have sued, but there is no law protecting that gay couple in Arizona, and actually no federal law either. The courts would have been forced to decide. Right now in Arizona, you can be fired if you are gay.

          That law did nothing to provide protections that the religious already have there, in regard to serving those of different sexual preferences.

          It was pre-emptive. I was just curious if ace felt it was OK for religions to use the law to protect themselves, even pre-emptively. It almost seems from what he wrote that he would have been against that.

      2. Very late response, but I just saw this.

        People have the right to associate with whomever they wish; this is not govt’s business. People have the right to fire whomever they wish as their money is theirs (“mine. Do you understand the word?”).

        People who claim a religion have no more rights than those who don’t, though I would say that if the 1st amendment protects atheism or agnosticism (and it does), then these have to be classified as a “religion” by the text.

        At best the law seems to protect, again, a very small part of freedom of associate. But another commenter pointed out that it could be used to force a business owner to keep someone on the payroll. It seems to violate more of individual rights than it protects, so no. I can’t support a bill that violates someone’s rights.

    8. Absolutely tremendous comment!

  6. The trick here is, “Compared to what?” and compared how?

    Ideologies in general attract the philosophic. Religions attract the philosophic to their leadership, and attract the non-philosophic to fill the pews or call themselves nominally that religion. Is libertarianism especially good for philosophic Xtians or non-philosophic Xtians?

    It’s been pointed out that Jews are over-represented among radical libertarians (or libertarian activists). Not surprising, beccause Jews are over-represented as everything.

  7. Those who care about their religion should NOT be trying to force that religion’s beliefs onto others through government action. Government today may be your tool but it could very easily in the future work against you.

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  9. Ingrained in both the liberal and conservative mindset is the belief that without rules from the government people will not be able to control themselves, that they will be greedy and thoughtless towards others, or that they will let others suffer.
    I have much more confidence in people. They are smart enough to take care of themselves and make their own decisions. They are generous to others, but they want to decide when and with whom to be generous. They are charitable in the real sense, because true charity is a choice made by the giver, not a law made by others. They do not need the government to tell them right from wrong, good from bad.

    1. You don’t even have to take a positive view of humanity to oppose reforming it at the barrel of a gun. Being a self interested asshole shouldn’t be a crime.

    2. Please don’t confuse conservative ideology with the progressive politics of some of our supposed elected officials.

      1. I think what Lib-X was trying to get at was not that they’re exactly the same, but they have the same motive… power and control over the populace.

  10. Last week, Rand Paul argued that a dose of libertarianism not only would help the GOP broaden its base but also would be philosophically compatible with socially conservative values. “Libertarian and liberty doesn’t mean libertine,” he explained.

    Are those the same socially conservative values driving AZ republicans to seek Warrantless Searches of Abortion Clinics? There’s a reason they’re called conservatives instead of libertarians and it’s mostly because they aren’t libertarian.

    1. You mean treating abortion clinics like all other health care providers? Why is protecting the conditions in which a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy a social conservative or culture war issue? Is the “health” of the woman what is most important or not?

    2. I thought we all agreed to disagree on the abortion issue?

      Some of us believe it is an unwarranted, non reciprocal instigation of force, well, because it actually is. Others believe they get to chose when life actually begins and then extend that self righteous idea onwards to create an unnatural right for women “to choose”.

      But I digress, you are chosing an issue that probably half of us would think is a WARRANTED use of government force. Should a warrant be needed if you place a sign outside your door that you do illegal things? Because that is basically what Abortion clinic says to half of us. Sounds like probable cause enough to me.

      Either way, I’m happy to not discuss abortion. I just hate the fucking dipshit, logically inconsistent, libertarians who feel the need to bring it up all of the time. Guess the fuck what? Being a libertarian doesn’t mean you’re pro abortion.

  11. Why is Mr. Harsanyi contributing articles to Reason. Please click over to The Federalist website and see some of the most un-libertarian writings on social issues. Posting after posting about telling fellow Americans how we should live. Mr. Harsanyi normally writes about economic issues for Reason but the column above is just another mixing of religion and government to the detriment of true liberty.

    1. Please click over to The Federalist website and see some of the most un-libertarian writings on social issues.

      Any of them written by this author, or did you actually have some point other than guilt by association?

      the column above is just another mixing of religion and government to the detriment of true liberty.

      Ahh, I see the problem. You’re illiterate.

      1. Yes the above article and many others on The Federalist are written by this author. He’s the Senior Editor and The Federalist is not libertarian.

        Your second comment – well anyone who calls someone else illiterate, tends to have trouble making literate arguments.

        1. Harsanyi also wrote “The Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children”. I own a copy, and read it. I think it’s safe to say he’s on our side.

          1. I actually have read Mr. Harsanyi’s book The Nanny State”. Good stuff, but written in 2007. I have enjoyed his columns in the past when he wrote for the Denver Post. Then he took a U-turn and went to Glen Beck’s site and now The Federalist. Definitely drifting away from liberty toward those who believe we should tell other consenting adults how to live.

  12. So is Rand Paul calling himself a libertarian now?

  13. EXCELLENT article. I couldn’t agree more. As a practical matter if the social conservatives lost the social statists (e.g. R. Santorum), what you find is a group of people genuinely concerned about the prospect of the state imposing values on them that they find abhorrent. While libertarians may share some of the social predispositions of the left, they differ in that they have an abiding commitment not to impose those predispositions on others. The libertarians are a group committed to preserving a world where social conservatives are free to live their beliefs.

    Moreover, a libertarian society would probably pretty quickly converge on an equilibrium that would best be defined as socially conservative. Without subsidy a lot of vices start to look really stupid. Moreover, as Hirsanyi alludes, absent the role of the state, you wind up seeing civil society play a much greater role in people’s lives. And those organizations, out of self-preservation tend to be much more demanding on their beneficiaries.

    1. The libertarians are a group committed to preserving a world where social conservatives are free to live their beliefs.

      I was completely convinced of that until I started reading the comments here at Reason.

      1. Which is to say, theoretically, yes, a libertarian society if one magically appeared would accommodate a religious social conservative, a Marxist communist, and a secular libertine equally well. Building political coalitions within our current system is a lot tougher.

      2. i would say there is an animosity towards religion in general here.

        of all political groups libertarians have the highest percentage of atheists.

        which to me is quite interesting, seeing as to which group authored the constitution.

    2. Libertarians and lefists may share the same goals on certain issues, but the reason for those goals are completely and utterly different.

      They are not our allies, just sometimes useful idiots.

  14. Does Reason think it’s going to attract conservative Christians with a good cop/bad cop approach? On the one hand there are Harsanyi’s articles urging religious conservatives to come in and be libertarian. Then Tuccile gets a tad off message and describes some of the same people Harsanyi is trying to court as “homophobic pricks.”


    So the message Reason is sending is affected by a split personality disorder: “Come on, there’s room in our movement for you…loathsome, disgusting bigoted fascists…so come in under our big tent…once you’re finished burning witches and chaining women to the kitchen stove…Christianity and freedom are fully compatible, if you just stop and think about it…not that you retarded hicks ever think…so there’s no reason for us to be fighting, and that’s why…you should go and screw yourselves…”

    1. It couldn’t be something as simple as the idea that libertarians might have different views of social conservatives, could it?

      1. It is, however, very disheartening to hear the great concepts of man–liberty and freedom–defended using irrational, faith based arguments. For instance, since men are fallen and depraved creatures, they can’t be trusted to rule, rather men must make laws so society will be ruled by laws rather than men. In other words, man, in his depravity, is not worthy of dictatorship, he is only worthy of freedom. That is but one of the horrendous arguments religionists put forward in defense of liberty.

        Yes, of course, Christians should fight for their freedom to practice their religion, but for God’s sake, do not use religious arguments in defense of freedom and liberty. This does great harm to the cause of liberty. Liberty and freedom must be defended forthrightly based upon reason (e.g., man survives and flourishes by using his mind and acting upon his thoughts; thus, man requires the freedom to act based upon his thoughts in order to survive, flourish and pursue happiness.)

        1. Christianity brings some incredibly logical arguments for a libertarian state. Look at the bible from a scholarly perspective and you’d see it.

          No need to be as ignorant as the religious, now is there?

          1. I’d like to see you present a 3-4 paragraph exposition of your first sentence. Levity for the sake of discussion of course- hit a couple of the finer points and we’ll go from there.

            1. The arguments for submission to government are within Christianity, yes, but to me it is a religion that has been perverted by the state for the past 2k years. Hence my statement of being as ignorant as the religious.

              The interpretations for submission to the state are just that, interpretations, one needs only look at the man himself, Jesus, whom in Christianity all men and women try and emulate.

              Jesus never used force, his followers chose him of their own free will. Never does he claim that people should be forced to do good works, only that they should do good works in the name of God.

              Let he who cast the first stone, render those things that are Caesar’s, my kingdom is not of this earth, turn the other cheek, love your enemies,father forgive them for they know now what they do, etc, etc.

              The Christian God is one of mercy and forgiveness, it is one who asks of its followers to lead moral lives, it does not compel them, at least not on this earth, and definitely not through government. Jesus lived his life through the non aggression principle, and even gave his life by taking it to the extreme.

              One can argue that he was a strict pacifist, but from my limited knowledge I do not think he was against self defense, he does say that his followers should have a sword. I think his teachings really imply that we should only use violence if it is instigated against us and that said violence was not pointless in the end.

              1. But I digress, though Jesus asks of his followers to do good deeds, not once does he say that those good deeds should be done through the state, in fact, the Caesar quote seems to imply the opposite of such. Morality is the realm of God, not Ceasar.

                I’m sure there are other people that could make a better argument than myself. I am neither religious or a theologian. I simply have a respect for the teachings of Christianity.

        2. At this point, states-rights federalism and following the constitution is being conflated with libertarianism because it is the best libertarians are going to do on the national scene. Who says libertarians can’t compromise?

    2. But libertarian voters and candidates have made clear that they are willing to accept more regulation, taxation, and government intrusion, in order to stick it to social conservatism.

      I think the guy you linked is a couple apostles short of a sermon.

  15. Abortion is a huge sticky wicket. I think it’s important for people to know Libertarians are not monolithic on this issue. To that end, I honestly think it should be off the party’s official platform.

    1. Abortion is a woman’s individual right–(its her body, goddamn it) whether it is off the platform or not. Yes, L’s should take it off their platform if they are moral cowards.

      1. Abortion is a woman’s individual right–(its her body, goddamn it)

        Wow, that was so easy! How could anybody fail to see the self-evident argument in that premise? 5,000 years of philosophizing on when life begins and when a person has rights, and the whole time the answer was sitting in a sentence fragment on the internet.

      2. David’s mother called, and she is wondering if an abortion can be performed retroactively.

        In other words, fuck off, you sanctimonious piece of shit.

      3. Abortion is a woman’s individual right–(its her body, goddamn it)

        What does the “its” refer to here? The fetus/baby?

    2. Not bitching at you (Kevin), but just tired of the abortion being the great divider in our discourse. Are the vast majority so simpleminded that they can’t understand a duality that one may shudder at the thought of what an abortion really is but also recognize it is not their place to tell a woman in that position how to make a life altering decision? Many of these may be the same people who just the same claim to believe in a religious deity who is not just a duality but a trinity.

      1. The problem is that if you believe a fetus has human rights, killing it is as much a NAP violation as killing any other human being, and you can no more chalk it up to personal choice than you could murder. It’s an issue where the first principles make compromise impossible. It’s irrational to ever oppose abortion if a fetus has no human rights and it’s unethical to ever allow abortion if a fetus has human rights. It is necessarily a divisive issue that comes down entirely to when rights (or life, which is different way of saying the same thing) begin. Which is a question beyond the scope of libertarianism. Because of that, libertarianism can accommodate people of either viewpoint.

        1. ^This

          I say its an aggressive act, no matter what your ideas of the rights of a fetus. I also say that the “right” to abort a fetus is not a natural right, and is not conducive to libertarianism’s moral foundation.

          But I’m willing to disregard the subject because most pro abortion libertarians are no where near as retarded on all of the other issues.

      2. You are bitching at me, just to be clear.

        1. No, I’m discussing.

          One is to try to figure out a common ground, the other is to hear hear one’s self talk.

          The standoff doesn’t work. How do we find common ground between two well founded absolute rights?

          1. We focus on our common ground.

            Limit the number of abortions through use of contraception and education.

            This allows us libertarians to come to grips with each other.

            However, we still have the leftists to deal with when they would like to use government for said contraception and education.

  16. As someone that isn’t very religious, but definitely not an atheist, could Christians be, to some degree, correct about their belief in the “Antichrist”? Could the Bible actually be telling us that the Antichrist is in fact government and those effects that materialize themselves later via the unintended consequences of public policy/legislative/laws? Is the “Mark of the Beast” actually those that are on welfare or suck on the tit of government?

    1. Regardless of whether they are correct, the scriptures very clearly paint the anti-Christ as a government power. From a Christian perspective, waiting for some sort of video game mini-boss to come up and destroy us is about as absurd as God’s chosen people expecting the earth to shatter when their prophet would arrive.

      Fortunately (for those who believe the scriptures, and who are also Libertarian) Jesus is going to come back, swords blazing.

  17. And even more destructive, perhaps, is that government is becoming a source of moral authority for so many.


    Fucking a right, it is more destructive than anything.

    It is the most destructive force on the planet. Always has been.

  18. Christians are going to have to realize that when they become the minority (and they are heading that way), they are going to need a libertarian state to allow them to live according to their values.

    See: gay wedding cakes and contraception.

    In a libertarian society, you can’t be forced to shoot photos of a gay marriage, you can’t be forced to pay for someone else’s contraception.

    It’s a lesson they ought to have learned sooner.

  19. The SoCons will never embrace legal abortion, prostitution and drugs. SoCons are just a different stripe of authoritartians than the standard commies.

    1. There’s a lot of authoritarianism in the pro-choice stance as well. Hal a billion dollars a year goes to Planned Parenthood in direct violation of libertarian principles. In addition, overturning Roe v. Wade (the focus of many pro-life causes) would return the decision to the states. Hardly a statist position.

      1. As far as I am concerned, the government, state or federal, has no business interfering with any economic activity, so long as no individuals rights are violated, and even then, there are better ways to protect one’s rights thasn the use of state coercion.

  20. You often hear the narrative that in the Republican Party, its the Libertarians vs. the Social Conservatives. But often times the problems with these Social Conservatives doesn’t have to do with their Social Conservatism, but their Fiscal Conservatism. If Libertarians were to list their problems with the Senatorial legacy of Rick Santorum (for example), their problems with him wouldn’t include his being pro-life (as many libertarians are pro-life). The problems would be that he was a rubber stamp for the Bush Administration’s big government policies. Social Conservatives like Santorum like to use their Social Conservatism to make up for their severe lack of Fiscal Conservatism.

    In addition, it’s not as if Social Conservatives are the only opposition to libertarianism in the Republican Party. Pro-Choice Republicans like former Senators Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe and current Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are not libertarian in the slightest. But you never hear about the inter-party feuding between libertarians and pro-choice statists do you?

    1. Libertarians, by definition, cannot be for passing laws that infinge upon the right of a woman to do as she pleases with her body. If they do, then they are not libertarians.

      1. Unless by definition you are defending the greatest and most important right of them all, which is life.

        I could say just as easily that you are not a libertarian if you refuse to defend that right.

        But I don’t say that to you because it is pointless and we probably agree on far more than we disagree on. Try to not be an asshole to the pro-life crowd. It is a well documented stance among libertarians that fits nicely within the ideology. The only difference is where one defines life.

        I admit if life starts at birth, you are correct that abortion should be allowed. If it starts at conception, you are obviously wrong from a libertarian perspective, because then the act of abortion becomes an unjustified act of aggression on another human being.

      2. Only it is actually not her body. It is her child’s body. You can only make the “it’s my body” claim when there is no victim. With abortion, there is clearly a victim, so this point is mute.

      3. Huh. Guess someone forgot to tell Lawrence Vance.


  21. Yeah read the comments here:

    The amount of BS is incredible. Apparently, large swaths of the religious right think that if you don’t believe in God, then there is no basis for a belief in individual rights, and that you are automatically a liberal, communist, or socialist.

  22. So Christians cant be compatible with Libertarianism
    Jesus Christ is who taught me to be a libertarian
    because he…
    Hates taxes
    Likes helping others rather than waiting on the government to do it

    Enjoyed freedom of speech, and would talk about how rights were inherit in us and not granted by the government

    Stood up for a prostitute even though he did not agree with her choice, he defended her right to make that choice with her life.

    Stood up for his beliefs when the police state came for him

    Do unto others, is the moral philosophy

    Talked about creating a constantly improving world by working together and bringing tolerance and love into it.

    Sounds like a libertarian idealist to me but I’m sure the socialist whose never read the bible probably knows best…..

  23. “These days, to even suggest the possibility that a fiscally conservative economic outlook is compatible with faith is a matter of hypocrisy.”

    That may be true for some, but I’m surprised that Reason.com would not recognize the diversity of opinion among American Christians.

    In an era when Christians are so often pigeon-holed as being in lock-step with the GOP, maybe Reason is just being contrarian by suggesting that we are supporters of social welfare spending. In any case, I can at least report on the (conservative) Christians I’ve shared pews with over the past decades. Their views (for good or ill) tend to run the gamut between the Tea Party and the rank-and-file Republican. Not much support for the welfare state that I’ve seen.

    I would agree that libertarianism holds many attractions for people of faith. Unfortunately, it seems that both sides tend to poison the dialogue with counter-productive assumptions and suspicions about one another.

  24. A better question might be if Libertarians can accept Christians into their ranks. The amount of hostility on this forum doesn’t give me much hope.

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