Philosophy

Debate: Libertarianism Is About More Than the State

Must we have cultural commitments as well as political ones?

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AFFIRMATIVE:

The Ideas of Liberty Have Implications for How We Live Our Lives

Matt Zwolinski

Joanna Andreasson

What should libertarians think about the appropriateness of gay marriage? Of drug use? Of the NFL prohibiting players from protesting during the national anthem?

Some think the answer to all of these questions is "nothing." Libertarianism is a political theory. As such, it tells us what the state should and shouldn't do. Gay marriage should be legal. So should using drugs and protesting. But libertarianism says nothing about whether these activities are morally appropriate. In fact, that's kind of the point. For libertarians, just because your action is immoral doesn't give others the right to use violence to stop you from doing it. As long as we respect the rights of others, libertarians believe that we have the right to live our lives our own way—for better or for worse.

There's something to be said for this approach. We libertarians are united by a (rough) agreement on the proper role of the state in society, but we can agree on that point while vigorously disagreeing with each other about a host of other moral, religious, and cultural issues. Tolerance of such disagreement arguably makes for a more effective political coalition (imagine if we had to agree with each other about everything in order to agree about anything). And it keeps separate issues separate. Whether you believe in dramatically shrinking the federal government is one thing; whether you're a cultural conservative, or an atheist, or a hedonic consequentialist are all quite distinct matters.

At least, they're mostly distinct. Libertarianism is a political theory, and not a moral, cultural, or religious one. Still, however we define libertarianism, and whatever our reasons for endorsing it, we are libertarians for some reason. And the reasons we have to endorse libertarianism will often be reasons for endorsing other values, projects, or cultural practices as well.

Take the issue of free speech, for example: At a minimum, libertarians believe that governments are forbidden from using their coercive power to censor private speech. Similarly, most libertarians probably believe that governments should refrain from using coercion to promote some forms of speech over others, for instance by using tax dollars to benefit certain views.

But does libertarianism have anything to say about speech beyond the issue of government coercion? To see how it does, ask yourself why you think free speech is important. There are lots of ways of answering that question, of course. But one of the most common and persuasive forms of argument is that set out in John Stuart Mill's classic, On Liberty. Mill argued that free speech matters because we always have more to learn from what others have to say. Perhaps one of our beliefs is wrong, and listening to others explain their contrary position can help us to detect our error and correct it. Or perhaps we're right! Even still, we can't really understand why we're right and what that means unless we know what those who disagree with us think, and have thought through the question of where they've gone wrong. Either way, a robust marketplace of ideas is essential to intellectual growth and the pursuit of truth.

This argument is probably the best explanation of why government censorship is wrong. But if you agree with that—as most libertarians do—then you should also recognize that the argument isn't merely about government. If you're a stubbornly close-minded person who never listens to the opinions of others, then you're going to have a hard time making progress toward the truth no matter how little government censorship there is. Similarly, if you're a professor of political philosophy who only teaches students to see the world through the lens of a single political ideology, you're doing them a disservice. Mill's argument, if taken seriously, has implications not just for government but for all kinds of private actors. And if Mill's argument, or something like it, is part of what drives us to be libertarians on the issue of free speech, then consistency requires us to take those implications seriously.

What is true of free speech is true of other libertarian commitments as well. Even the fundamental libertarian opposition to aggression isn't merely about state aggression. Nor is it self-justifying. If aggression is wrong, it's wrong for a reason—perhaps because it violates human autonomy, or because it tends to decrease aggregate utility. And just like with free speech, the reasons we have for opposing aggression will often have other implications too—implications for what we should value and what sorts of policies we should support or oppose.

Those implications might not strictly speaking be a part of libertarianism. But they rest on the same logical ground. So while taking them seriously might not make us "better" libertarians, it does make us more consistent ones.

NEGATIVE:

Making Libertarianism About More Than Politics Threatens the Whole Project

Stephanie Slade

On August 7, 2017, James Damore was fired by Google. Two days earlier, Gizmodo had published a 10-page internal memo authored by the software engineer, which the tech site described as an "anti-diversity screed." The document complained that a "silencing" of unpopular views—in particular, views about why the genders aren't equally represented in leadership positions and what should be done about it—had created a lamentable "ideological echo chamber" at the company.

The memo, which suggests that women are on average naturally less well-suited to careers in computer programming, sparked enormous outrage. Voices rose to assert that if it continued to employ Damore, Google would be creating an unwelcome work environment for minorities. But the subsequent decision to terminate his employment too was met with public outcry, with some onlookers arguing the move made a mockery of Google's claim to be a place where "any employee can challenge company orthodoxy."

From a libertarian perspective, which side was in the right? In fact, it's extremely hard to say.

Even among my Reason colleagues there was disagreement on the matter. Some of us observed that the First Amendment protects the right to be free from government censorship and persecution for speech, but that doesn't mean a private employer is required to tolerate every perspective. Surely trying to force a company to keep someone on the payroll conflicts with the libertarian presumption in favor of property rights and free association. Isn't it wrong to use social pressure in such a way?

But others noted that, while businesses should obviously not be prevented by the state from choosing to end an employment relationship, nothing says they can expect to be shielded from disapproval in the court of public opinion for doing so. Google exhibited a craven unwillingness to engage with ideas that aren't perfectly P.C. and a refusal to live out its alleged commitment to dialogue and debate—and it's right to shame the company for it. After all, shouldn't we favor free speech as a cultural value as well as a legal one?

This example highlights the problems with a "thick" understanding of libertarianism as a philosophy that's about more than just the proper role of the state. As this month's special debate issue of Reason demonstrates, there are a lot of different ways to be a libertarian. We aren't even on the same page about whether liberty is a good thing unto itself or just a means of bringing about other happy outcomes. Since we don't all come to our political beliefs from the same place, it's no surprise we don't agree about how to correctly extend them into other areas of life.

But notice that both positions on the Google question that I've sketched above do start with a common assumption: that humans should be free from government coercion to the greatest extent practicable. It's important for there to be a term to describe that view, which all by itself is enough to tip the mainstream, binary vision of American politics on its head. Enter libertarianism.

Trying to expand the philosophy into something that demands certain actions or commitments from us in our private lives needlessly muddies the picture and foments division. Your understanding of libertarianism might lead you to eschew meat eating; mine leads me to see abortion as something very close to murder. Among political libertarians, there are cultural progressives who don't just tolerate but celebrate the proliferation of alternative lifestyle choices; there are also cultural conservatives who want the freedom to voluntarily hew to a more traditional vision of personal morality. Some of us side with Google; others of us with Damore. How useful, really, is a term that professes to be about more than politics but can't answer any of these questions in a reliable way?

Fortunately, libertarianism doesn't have to be about more than politics. Our philosophical common ground gives us a blueprint for a free society, one that carves out and zealously guards open spaces where all these other nonpolitical negotiations can happen safely. Let's not compromise the whole project's structural integrity by asking it to do more than it's capable of.

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  1. Thanks for this great debate. Thanks for linking to Charles Johnson’s essay, Stephanie, which started this whole discussion years ago. Every libertarian should read it, so they at least understand what other people are talking about. Thick libertarianism, contrary to those that incorrectly attack it, does NOT call for state intervention to impose certain values. Rather, it sees the NAP as a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to be a libertarian.

    It is in fact impossible to be a thin libertarian. This is because you have to bring in other values to interpret the NAP. Who qualifies as a person (does a fetus count)? What qualifies as aggression? What qualifies as property? So, at the very least, it is impossible to avoid thickness in application, to use Charles Johnson’s phraseology.

    So what should these other values be? Well, individualism is a must. But wait, can one not be a collectivist libertarian? Only if all conflict is avoided. But of course we would not need a theory at all if everyone agrees all the time. But as soon as a collectivist libertarian needs to resolve a conflict, they will interpret the NAP in favor of the collective at the expense of the individual’s liberty.

    So, are we individualists or not?

    1. “This is because you have to bring in other values to interpret the NAP.”

      Very true… But also the reason there cannot be a single set of morals for libertarianism. Morals lie outside of it. Different morals give different interpretations of application. So to try to force it to fit into a box, it just won’t work.

      1. Yes, morality can lie outside of it, as libertarianism, and classical liberalism which predates it concern themselves with how we organize and engage together as a society. The problem is that, for many libertarians, it’s less about society than simply how the state treats us. Classical liberals understood, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, that freedom predates the state, and the core legitimate function of the state is to safeguard that freedom, not just against the state but against each other.

        Therein lies how a classical liberal ethos can be more than about how the state treats us yet still not govern the vast universe of “morals”: The state may not be able to silence us or force us to go without work, eduction, or food for our speech and conscience, but so long as we do not infringe on others’ rights, neither should anyone else.

        1. As a non purist, I can be okay with this general idea… So long as it is VERY limited in application. Using it as a justification for equality of outcomes, as the progressives that call themselves liberals today do, is simply nonsense.

          1. It is axiomatic that any sort of equality of outcomes will necessitate that someone deemed to be ‘above’ will be reduced for the ‘benefit’ of someone deemed to be ‘below.’

            Done individually, or independent of any coercion, this can be consistent with libertarianism. Done by the state any it will never be libertarian.

            To argue that libertarianism speaks to other aspects of existence beyond the state, is libertarian.

            To decide that such arguments are utter hogwash, and also represent a significant threat to dilute the central argument and rational authority of libertarianism is also libertarian.

            1. Done by the state it will never be…

      2. Morality deals with actions and libertarianism is all about actions. The NAP or how you act towards others is the very basis of the movement.

        1. The beauty of libertarianism is that it is both a moral framework AND a rational framework about how we look at the world both at an individual level and at the state.

          It is moral because it tells us how we should treat each other. It is rational because it has the best outcomes, full stop. Some may not agree that it has the best outcomes, but they are idiots that can’t understand history, economics or statistics. Those principles that guide libertarianism are also the best indicators of prosperity.

    2. “Can one be a collectivist libertarian?”

      I don’t see why not, as long as it’s an individual choice. Say a bunch of people want to live together in a commune and pool all their earnings and share their property. Why should that be a problem if they are doing that voluntarily? They might even be libertarian and just happen to like sharing their stuff. It’s when government gets involved that it is a problem and it’s a huge problem if government tells you to live in a commune or else go to a gulag.

      1. Sure, a voluntary commune can be libertarian. There is one in Virginia that has been going strong since the 60s. And I think that they actually respect individualism to a large extent. But they are capped at 100 people and if you don’t follow the rules, you get kicked out. So they avoid conflict by kicking people out. Obviously that only works on a very small scale, and within a larger system that protects the property rights of the landowners.

        1. This is why Chandran Kukathas, in The Liberal Archipelago, makes a good case that the most fundamental right is the right to freedom of association. As the state withers, it becomes more and more essential to belong to smaller communities…and in order to remain free, it is therefore fundamental that the individual has the choice to belong to or to leave communities according to whether they reflect her values.

      2. I think one could be a White Supremicist (a real one) or a Black Supremecist and also be a libertarian.

        1. Self-correction. Sorry…spelled supremacist wrong and different two times! D’oh!

    3. Thanks for linking to Charles Johnson’s essay.

      Is that the one that’s hidden behind the subscriber paywall? It would be nice if important internal links were unpaywalled when they post articles like this. Frankly your description of that essay makes it sound more compelling than the essay here, or at least a necessary extension of it.

    4. I have to go with the altar girl on this one. KMW argues persuasively that Reason magazine can roll around in cultural controversy but the Libertarian Party is concerned with actions of The Political State. To run candidates expected to pretend to have standing to take an oath of office, the Constitution enters the picture. The religious force amendments (16th and 18th) wrecked the economy and their repeal is not yet complete. But the 14th (All persons born) Amendment does not authorize government warriors for the babies to go about shooting up Planned Parenthood, killing cops and physicians. That is the function of the Republican Party, which has since 1976 demanded an involuntary labor amendment to coerce women to reproduce against their will. Roe v Wade has stood since 1973, and forced labor has failed since 1976. Canada, never forget, has NO laws coercing women alone, thanks to its most Catholic province having faced reality.

    5. I think we are individualist but don’t have to be to support the cause of liberty. Liberty is good for the collective. The borg (yes I know fictional sci fi reference) suck because they have no liberty. They may have death rays and extremely large space cubes, but is there any art, true innovation (not counting what they assimilate), or even any fun? Obviously not.

  2. This is more of a discussion and deliberation of specifics than an outright debate. It seems they aren’t too far apart, really. My own view is that “live and let live” is the fundamental aspect of libertarianism encapsulated by the NAP. It is from that position that a person should logically prefer and personally apply those principles outside of the state. This is where we can say that a person shouldn’t engage in certain activities but they by rights are allowed to. The biggest enemy of the libertarian ethos is the state and therefore should be the primary focus. I guess my point is that libertarianism shouldn’t be limited to the state, but the start of it is to address the monopoly of force. I also think that once we get outside of the state it becomes a lot murkier about respecting the rights of individuals while also holding separate morals, preferences, ideas, etc. I see these excesses in socially applied libertarianism when it comes to sexual minorities (can’t think of a better neutral term), immigration, religion, and abortion.

    1. I dunno man… Most morals are subjective. MANY bad things don’t violate the NAP, yet almost 100% of people could still agree they’re bad. A society that applies no social pressure to suppress bad behavior will get more bad behavior. Period. We can see this in a lot of things that have happened in the 20th and 21st centuries, or societies of the past.

      To eliminate ALL standards because some people don’t meet the standards is simply absurd. It’s basically saying that because some people are fuck ups, we shouldn’t have any standards, because it will make the fuck ups feewl bad 🙁 Alternatively, because some people are unintelligent, we should have no grades in education. See how silly that is? Having grades pushes people, even the not so bright ones, to try to do better sometimes. Other times it causes them to break and feel like shit… But that’s life. Not everybody makes the cut for being an awesome person.

      I think 99% of people can agree that being a heroin junkie hooker is a HORRIBLE life choice. As libertarians it should be legal… BUT you’re basically saying nobody should judge that person, and nobody should apply pressure to people before they get to that point to avoid trying heroin or being a hooker. There’s no reason for that. Pressure is fine, judging is fine, and can in fact create positive results for individuals and the society overall.

      1. I agree. My leanings are conservative but I see logical persuasion and some social pressure as the means to guide society and individuals into beneficial choices. I don’t see libertarianism as an inhibitor of personal morality but as a rejection of unyielding force to impose it. I personally take issue with bdsm and believe people shouldn’t engage in that activity. That moral stance doesn’t mean I have any right to prevent others from the activity. Likewise, I don’t believe their desire to do it requires me to facilitate their needs for doing it. In short, it doesn’t matter how you feel because you don’t have to bake the damn cake.

        1. I think we’re approximately on the same page. Perhaps we disagree with how judgey people can/should be. I suppose, absent the state, I’m fine with being as big of assholes about things as they want. Some things I surely won’t agree with, but others I likely would. I agree that trying to convince people of the “right” way is paramount. If 99% of people decide the “right” way is something kind of harsh, so be it. Hopefully there is some logic behind their choice, like in the case of socially forcing marriage on people it has lots of statistically beneficial things go along with, but if not I guess that’s the breaks…

      2. I don’t know man. I land much more on the non-judgemental side. I would agree that being a heroin junkie is a bad life choice, but no worse than that of a neighbor I used to know who was diabetic and always had at least one sheet cake in the kitchen to snack on. Both were definitely damaging their health and likely milking themselves, but it is not my business.

        As for a hooker, I don’t think it’s a very respectable profession. But it’s far from the worst job choice, either. I have more respect for a career booker than a career politician, or a policeman who uses a badge to bully and intimidate people who have done nothing wrong, or even one of those ambulance-chasing shyster lawyers who just want to shake down anyone that might have money to pay to make a nuisance lawsuit go away.

        1. *killing themselves, not milking! Eww

        2. Meh. It was just an example! I could have just as easily used a bad cop or shitty politician as an example! The fact remains that people should be free to, and perhaps encouraged to, shame heroin whores, bad cops, politicians, unscrupulous lawyers, and EVEN shame fat people for being fat!

          It applies pressure in a positive direction. All those people might shape up if people were hard on them.

      3. Yes most morals are subjective but some are objective. Morality deals solely with actions. Since there are two types of actions that are two types of morality. Objective morality deals with actions between individuals. Subjective morality deals with actions that only effect an individual. The NAP falls within the realm of objective morality. Everything else is subjective and is no one else’s business.

        1. Ish. Is it objectively bad for somebody to call somebody else a useless, drug addict piece of shit? They didn’t shoot them or anything… So no NAP violation right? Maybe a Golden Rule violation, but not NAP.

          I am a big believer in shades of grey versus black and white. I don’t have a problem with winging it on issues, and just going with what SEEMS right-ish along Golden Rule lines, which go beyond strict NAP.

    2. It probably all comes down to negative rights vs positive rights. It seems to me positive rights are illiberal and shouldn’t even be a consideration within libertarian thought. The old principals vs principles issue is how the NAP is most easily violated. It becomes a conflict where a person asserts a right to something (positive rights) that violates another’s rights against something (negative rights.)

      1. Positive rights require the initiatory use of force and are therefore immoral.

  3. IMO, the second you go to MUST HAVE views on anything other than the government not being involved… You’ve lost it. Because for MANY issues there is no right or wrong answer. It’s all subjective. For some things there are logical/scientific/statistical arguments to be made, but even for these many of them come down to subjective morals.

    I used to be very “anything goes” when I was a young libertarian. I’m only in my 30s now, but I have become FAR more conservative in my views. A lot of this is actually because of logic/science/statistics, I’m math brained.

    I used to think there was nothing wrong with some theoretical woman getting screwed by 200 guys. It’s cool dude! Then I read psychological studies that showed that women literally CANNOT pair bond with another person after more than a few sexual partners, statistically speaking.

    I also learned how important marriage is to not only the success of children, but in fact to the happiness and success in material ways of the married couple themselves.

    Feminism has been good for women though right??? Women are statistically less happy than they were in more traditional gender roles, probably because playing at being men doesn’t please them in the same way that being a successful mother does. Evolution is a bitch!

    So does this mean I’m objectively correct that we should tone down feminism, not accept no fault divorces, and slut shame too? Science says probably so… But I suspect some would disagree perhaps? Haha.

    1. There are outliers on all these things of course. However, it made me realize that traditional morality is, by and large, a VERY good thing for having a functional society. I mean, it’s scientifically factual for fucks sake! I’m no puritan even now, but I skew more that direction than when I was younger.

      That said, I don’t want to have LAWS about this stuff. However, I don’t have a problem with applying social pressure. This is consistent with libertarianism. Left-Libertarians have been pushing bad actions/values as good, just like the left. This just doesn’t make any sense to me. That many of them portray it as a moral imperative is even more ridiculous, AND a serious turn off. Especially when they’re not making the appeal personally, but as a DEMAND of being a good libertarian. WRONG WAY TO DO IT.

      Hence, all this kind of stuff should be left to personal choice. Libertarianism should not push any particular view points, because it is mostly subjective, even the things where you can try to make an objective argument.

      If you turn it into a situation where you MUST push certain views that many people will disagree with, it will do nothing but turn people off. Better to just try to convince people of your views, without demanding they do, or calling them evil if they don’t. Especially don’t make it a REQUIREMENT to be a libertarian. Let people bitch at the NFL players for kneeling, or people not wanting to bake gay wedding cakes, it’s okay to argue.

      1. I don’t want to have morality laws, but we definitely need to have a constitutional amendment criminalizing marxism if we want to survive as a republic. Even here, where communism is anathema to all the libertarians, there are many useful idiots stepping up to defend the freedom of speech of those actually directly planning to overthrow our republic and it’s constitution when the correct response is to push for the destruction of those marxists.

        1. Well, a best case scenario would be that society just becomes less retarded again… And anybody who is dumb enough to have Marxist views gets shunned out of polite society. The bitch about free speech, etc is that if you stop having it 100%, all it takes is the wrong guy to take over the levers of power and it can be used on the people with good views.

          The MSM, social media censoring, etc are all great examples of this happening right now. If Zuckerberg died and was replaced by a hardcore right winger somehow, even though it’s a private business, it would still be troubling in the long term if they started censoring leftists. Let social pressure deal with them… Or if they start a violent revolution, they can always be shot/arrested 🙂

        2. That doesn’t make any sense. Have you ever read Marx? Not to say he’s right, but he is a philosopher and that is what they do. History is a series of class struggles… Blah, blah, blah… Oh, and if we have happy anarchist paradise, and all work together and help each other out, the world will be Super! Ok, he doesn’t say that exactly, but he kind of does, and obviously the idea is overly naive and stupid. Teenagers may think that makes sense, but anybody who has lived a few years knows better,

          “Good job for doing what we asked. Here is your new assignment.”
          “Wtf? My reward for working hard and doing a good job is less resources to do it next time and more work? Are you serious?”

          Now there are slackers who want to just “get by” and loaf and feed from the public trough, and I am not saying we should enable them, but to illegalize expression and speech contradicts what Libertariansim is about. At least according to me, but maybe I am just a fool. Our disagreement is the whole point of debate and free speech.

    2. FINALLY, think this one through: If libertarianism MUST accept a certain set of beliefs outside government action/NAP stuff… What if your side loses?

      I think most people who feel the need to push morals as a requirement seem to be kinda lefty leaning now… But what if that shifts? I mean, I have lots of objective and factual reasons for my beliefs in most conservative leaning things… The counter arguments are… ? Morality plays based on nothing basically. Just that you shouldn’t be mean to people who do bad/dumb things because feelz. Not a strong argument. Not when I have facts AND moral arguments to make too.

      So what if your side doesn’t win. Should libertarianism preach that feminism is bad for female mental health, so you MUST support it because it’s good for women? That’s an argument that can be made.

      Nah. I think it’s better to leave personal morals in the personal realm. Libertarian writers should be free to make their personal pleas, but it must be clear that they are NOT requirements for being libertarian.

  4. For American Libertarians, we should just stick to tiny limited government, free market, maximum liberty under the Constitution, and property rights.

    Everything else is personal opinions.

    1. In all fairness, the American constitution is pretty shitty at protecting individual liberty. I’m not saying that the framers didn’t try (except for that slavery exception), but a written document is essentially worthless – it’s social mores that drive legislation, not that poorly written piece of paper.

      1. It’s probably all in the way the constitution is interpreted. If the Due Process Clause is regarded as more than just a judicial guideline and is taken as a general “no killing/stealing/false imprisonment” law, then it WOULD be seen as protecting individual liberty.

        But I do agree that social mores do play a part… especially since there’s a lot of morality-challenged people in the police force.

    2. We should stick to applying the NAP to the government.

  5. I don’t see morality as linking to libertarianism except as it relates to the NAP. So, for example, I don’t have any moral issue with gay marriage unless one of the people involved is being forced to participate against their will. As for my own personal morality, that also doesn’t matter. I don’t have any desire to marry a man not because it goes against my own moral precepts but because I’m simply not interested in men that way.

    Even in cases where there might be an injured party, u less there is a clear case of violence or theft going on, I think it is best left up to the individuals involved to decide. For example, if a married couple are having affairs, I don’t presume to know whether one or both of them are doing something morally wrong or if they have an open marriage and they have mutually agreed on that. Either way, it’s really not my business. It is also not the government’s business.

  6. mine leads me to see abortion as something very close to murder.

    Then don’t have one and leave your fucking government out of decision me and my wife make Boy libertarianism sure is a great philosophy that can mean almost anything to anyone.

    1. Abortion isn’t about you or your wife, besides your irresponsible desire to murder.

      It’s about the human individual that you want to murder.

      You are just an old fetus.

      1. Sorry, I left my sarc tags off the post. I agree with you. When I have a strong moral conviction against something i’m For having the government legislate my opinion on others when I feel strongly about something. That’s the libertarian position as we all know. Sorry about the mix-up!

      2. You can’t murder something that isn’t alive. Fuck off, slaver.

        1. It’s ironic that a self proclaimed libertarian denies the liberty of another living human preferring to treat them as slaves without rights.

      3. So Misek is Robert Dear’s sockpuppet on the Federal penitentiary library PC?

  7. Does putting yourself in a box with only people that think like you make you feel better. Your ideas must be pretty fragile.

    Wrong ideas bring conflict. Right ones peace.

    Multiculturalism, flawed as it is, forces us to look at our own paradigms from the perspective of people with different ones.

    I’ve found that we all share truth and all our conflicts come from lies.

    Religions are a large part of many cultures and they are in conflict when the truth of their religious practices and beliefs need not or cannot be proven with logic or science.

    The peaceful truthful solution is to say “I believe but don’t know it’s true”, and to act in accordance with truth.

    If a person has faith, they don’t need to claim the unproven as truth.

    1. You seem to have a bigoted and ideosyncratic notion of “truth”. If faith is unrelated to truth, so is “science”. Science can point you in the direction of some part of it but never take you there because of the complexity of reality as viewed through limited sense perception and other empirical tools. (The reason is fundamental to the scientific method, and it will be clear to you if you understand why a general negative cannot be proven.)

      There are indeed “wrong ideas” but “right ones” will never bring peace because they too can be all over the map.

      1. Science and logic bring us the closest to truth we can be.

        Your rationality depends on your acceptance of this.

        1. What about when objective reality contradicts moral beliefs? Like “All men are created equal” which was never intended to mean what people think he meant anyway… But going with the modern interpretation, it is a bold faced lie… And everybody knows it.

          Being excessively tolerant is not always a virtue. Sometimes pragmatism and being a dick are HIGHLY useful in the real world. This is why purist libertarianism can never work. It’s too easy to say “Well, it’s cheaper to just execute this minor criminal, or enslave him for the rest of his life, versus lock him up… So fuck it, let’s slave him!” or “Well, it’s easier to just let this crippled baby die, so let’s just do that instead of support it its whole life.” or whatever other moral dilemma you want to cook up.

          1. I am not for always being excessively tolerant. John Brown?Harpers Ferry raider?probably was a nutbar, and definitely got his whole family killed. He was not tolerant, he felt slavery was an abomination and needed to be fought with fire and blood. He was a pragmatist, raiding the armory was a good idea though it was poorly implemented, and he killed innocent people which makes him a huge dick. And he did get something done, like helping start the Civil War. I like him. Maybe that makes me a dick too. At least he picked something worthy to fight all of society for, and those sorts of things come around rarely. But, I am not for being a rebel without a cause.

            I have read some of your other rants in other comments, and so need to point out that “all people are created equal is a bold face lie” is not exactly a news flash to anyone over the age of 30. Ok. So is the fundamental nature of democracy flawed? Should voting only be allowed to those who pass a test? Or join the military? Or make a certain amount of money? I own a house, so I like the whole voters need to be landowners, though that is old school, and I must point out, I think every citizen should be able to vote, though I despair as to their collective wisdom, even if you show me a “wisdom of the crouds” video. Liberty is allowing the choice. Usually the choice is stupid and idiotic, but sometimes it is transcendent.

  8. Multiculturalism, flawed as it is, forces us to look at our own paradigms from the perspective of people with different ones.

    Uggg… who keeps letting these dirty proggies on this site. Multiculturalism is a fascist philosophy invented by George Snorzos to violate the free speech rights of libertarians like Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos

  9. “What should libertarians think about the appropriateness of gay marriage? Of drug use? Of the NFL prohibiting players from protesting during the national anthem?”

    Whatever they damn well please. Acting on these thoughts, however, especially as such action relates to the role of the state in enforcing one’s preferences at the expense of others’ liberty, is where libertarianism stops and authoritarianism in all its myriad forms begins.

    Just because something is a bad idea doesn’t necessarily mean it should be illegal.

    1. I’m all for personal liberty as long as there is corresponding personal responsibility.

      I draw the line with reason.

      Some irresponsible cretins would murder the unborn simply because they don’t recognize their personal liberty or think their own liberty takes priority over others.

      Does that also describe you?

      1. Idiot, I think you’re looking for Breitbart. This isn’t it. Here we believe in liberty.

        1. Where you’re from does everyone have the liberty to murder?

          If so, you should watch your back.

        2. I’m for legal abortion… But remember the entire principled argument depends on when a person becomes a person, which is essentially an unanswerable question… So have fun arguing that one buddy!

      2. No, it doesn’t. It’s interesting that someone who claims to be so devoted to reason, logic, and science would make a wild-ass, off topic assumption and immediately jump to a false conclusion, though.

        1. I intentionally don’t mince words.

          I didn’t jump to any conclusion, in fact you did, I just asked you a question.

          1. Not mincing words is fine. Being an asshole is okay, too, if you don’t mind being called on it. Are you an asshole? Just asking.

            1. I don’t think I’m a textbook definition asshole. Vile, stupid and contemptible describes many of the comments on this website, including your own.

              But if I was perfect, you’d worship me on Sunday.

              1. The question was rhetorical.

                1. Mine wasn’t.

                  1. Maybe so, but somehow, I remain skeptical.

                2. Ask the baby warrior what “All persons born” means at the start of the 14th Amendment.

  10. After all, shouldn’t we favor free speech as a cultural value as well as a legal one?

    Um, Stephanie here makes the same mistake many make all over the map, as if “free speech” was the same thing as the First Amendment. It isn’t. Free speech is a free standing “natural” right irrespective of the First Amendment, the latter of which only protects against government encroachment of it. This is according to the understanding of Mill, Smith, and the Declaration of Independence. So, the fact that it is a “legal” one does not by itself restrict it to only protection against government infringement.

    This distinction is fundamentally why I have never been able to call myself a “libertarian”, and remain a “classical liberal”, because American libertarians seem to see freedom as highly constrained, as if only government could infringe against it, at least outside of murder and some other narrow contexts.

    1. There is only one human right, to not have force initiated against you.

      1. That is silly. We all have one inaliable right. Some day we will all die, whether it is from force used against us, or natural cause, or hazard, or self inflicted… But we can argue that we deserve more. Freedom from random harm, freedom of speech and religion, freedom to protect ourselves…

  11. “Libertarianism is a political theory, and not a moral, cultural, or religious one.”

    A right is the obligation to respect other people’s choices, and rights, therefore, arise naturally as an aspect of agency. A comet hurling towards the earth has no rights because it has no agency. It’s only a victim of the physical forces acting upon it. People aren’t like comets. Because they have agency, we are obligated to respect their freedom to make choices for themselves, i.e., they posses rights.

    When we’re talking about agency, we’re talking about ethics.

    This argument I made above is a moral philosophy with political implications, not a political philosophy with moral implications.

    1. Agency is not synonymous with rights

      Animals have agency but only the rights we give them.

      We also determine human rights and different nations define them differently.

      Narcissists make shithole nations.

      1. “Animals have agency but only the rights we give them.”

        I suppose two distinctions need to be made. One is between the law and ethics, and the other is between agency and moral agency.

        Our rights exist independent of and separately from the laws and governments that protect them. Wasn’t it Hannah Ardent who observed that Eichmann, in his execution of the holocaust, never did anything against the law? He violated those Jews’ rights regardless of whether what he did was against the law. Rosa Parks had the right to sit in the front of a public bus–regardless of what the law said.

        I suspect that here in the U.S., because things like the First Amendment do such a good job of approximating our rights, it’s easy to get confused between our legal rights and the real thing. Your right is to choose your own religion. The First Amendment is just a law.

      2. In regards to agency, Comets have no agency whatsoever, but homo sapiens has the moral agency necessary to choose to do other than what they’ve done. There may be animals that can pass the mirror test and make something like moral choices in a limited way, and I would argue that our obligation to respect their rights in whatever limited way comes from and is limited by the same thing–the extent of their moral agency.

        We punish children and the insane in a limited way because of their diminished capacity to understand the implications of their choices on others. They still possess rights. If Chimpanzees have less moral agency than a human being, that isn’t to say they have no rights. Maybe we’re obligated to respect their right not to be tortured to death. I maintain that whatever rights they have arise naturally as an aspect of their agency.

        1. Hypothetically, all truth already exists, we just don’t have the science and logic, perhaps physiology, to perceive it all today.

          That truth would define all rights, but we would still need to perceive and more importantly, value them.

          So I discern truth with science and logic as best I can, and I perceive rights from that. Then I don’t mince words when I tell about it.

          I’m not responsible for the state of anyone’s rationality, which is predicated on the recognition of the truth demonstrated by logic and science.

          1. “I discern truth with science and logic as best I can, and I perceive rights from that.”

            I used logic and science throughout. Care to point to where I didn’t?

            Don’t really see what you’re getting at with your whole comment.

            Maybe you’re unfamiliar with the mirror test or the scientific studies of altruistic behavior among animals?

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm…..MC2838693/

            Other than that, I don’t get it.

            1. Maybe you’ll get this.

              You have shown no logical correlation between agency, moral agency and rights. You simply insist that one exists.

              Agency simply results from choice. That’s why a comet has no agency. Nearly all forms of life demonstrate decision making not explained solely by the forces acting on them.

              How does that behaviour correlate to rights?

              1. I maintain that a right is the obligation to respect the agency of others.

                Inanimate objects without agency possess no rights.

                Human beings possess rights–because they have moral agency. The fact that an obligation to respect the choices of others can only exist if others are capable of making choices isn’t an assumption on my part. It’s a simple fact.

                If the presence of a liquid is a necessary precondition for being wet, then being wet must arise as an aspect of the presence of a liquid. If the presence of agency is a necessary precondition for the obligation to respect the right of other people to make choices for themselves, then possessing rights must arise as an aspect of agency.

                1. I have no obligation to respect your “bad” choices. I can witness, ridicule and in some cases use force to prevent you from exercising your choices that affect others.

                  Logically, because I have the right to not be negatively affected by your choices, choices are not rights.

                  Some rights afforded by law may regard choices, unwisely, but neither you nor anyone else has demonstrated logically that all choices are rights.

                  Hence, there is no correlation.

                  1. “I can witness, ridicule and in some cases use force to prevent you from exercising your choices that affect others.”

                    Everything we do adversely impacts someone else in some way. Buying something from one business is harmful to all the others. According to the scientific consensus, every time I exhale I’m adversely impacting other people. By your standard, there are no rights the government shouldn’t violate–so long as they justify it by saying that your choices adversely impacted other people. That’s just “might makes right”.

                    Meanwhile, the government has no business stopping people from doing things plenty of things that harm each other. Criticizing and ridiculing people harms them–especially if they’re running for office. Sleeping with somebody’s wife harms somebody, should the government criminally prosecute adultery? People should be free to harm each other by competing with each others’ businesses. Your formulation of what justifies government force is bizarre and irrational if it justifies criminally prosecuting these activities on the basis that they’re harmful to other people.

                    The correct formulation isn’t that we should be free to do as we please so long as we don’t harm other people–certainly not if everything we do (or don’t do) can be construed as harmful to someone else in some way. The correct formulation is that we should be free to do what we please so long as we don’t violate someone’s rights.

                  2. “I have no obligation to respect your “bad” choices.”

                    Not only do you have an obligation to respect the choices of other people, you also have no standing to make qualitative judgements about whether other people choices are good or bad.

                    By what standard do you imagine you can judge whether other people’s choices are qualitatively good or bad?

                    1. It’s becoming clear that your position is based on your own inability to determine right from wrong and your resulting need to have a “greater power” define rights for everyone.

                      Fortunately few suffer your affliction.

                      We have laws and regulations to define conduct and they change. What’s legal today might not be tomorrow or vice versa.

                      If you exhibit a bad choice you risk your life and liberty. That’s reality.

                    2. “It’s becoming clear that your position is based on your own inability to determine right from wrong and your resulting need to have a “greater power” define rights for everyone.”

                      I’ve made a very clear case that your have an obligation to respect the choices of other people–and not only that, I’ve made a clear case for why you have that obligation. I even made the case that the government doesn’t determine right from wrong. You actually responded to my original statement arguing that libertarianism is a moral argument with political implications rather than vice versa.

                      I’m the one who needs a greater power to define rights–when their rights are simply an aspect of their agency?

                      I’m unable to determine right from wrong?

                      You seem to be impervious to rational argument.

                      There is no caring about ethics or other people without taking people’s agency into account. Even utilitarians feel compelled to find ways to account for agency. If you imagine a moral person can somehow ignore other people’s right to make choices for themselves, then you’re the one who seems to be ethically challenged. I suspect it’s more about your positions being locked in–and them being impervious to reason. You’d simply pretend you can ignore people’s rights and freedom of choice and be moral rather than be persuaded by rational argument.

                      Shame on you.

                    3. “We have laws and regulations to define conduct and they change. What’s legal today might not be tomorrow or vice versa.”

                      You still seem to cling to the idea that the law somehow determines morality–even after I pointed out that the law sometimes sanctions the holocaust and Jim Crow.

                      If the law sanctioned rape tomorrow, do you imagine it would suddenly become ethical?

                      Again, the First Amendment does a pretty good job of approximating our rights, but freedom of speech and freedom of religion are the real thing. The First Amendment is just a law. We’d still have the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of speech–even if the government violated those rights within the confines of their laws. That’s because our obligation to respect each other’s choices arises as an aspect of our agency–regardless of what the law says.

                      People who imagine the law defines reality or morality are living in a dream world. The Soviet Union and its laws ended up on the ash heap of history–in reality–because they imagined their laws somehow defined people’s rights (especially in regards to property). Wake up to the real world. In the real world, outlawing cannabis doesn’t somehow make its consumption immoral–or stop it from being sold and consumed. It merely enables the government to violate people’s right to make choices for themselves–with disastrous consequences. That’s the real world.

                    4. My irrefutable positions that you call “locked in”, are always based on the truth discerned by people and demonstrated with logic and science.

                      They represent reality, the way it is, they stand up to all rebuttal.

                      I don’t need no stinking greater power to determine right from wrong. I’m rational and can judge good from bad myself.

                      If you ever accidentally speak the truth, demonstrated by logic and science, I will agree, accept and value it as my own.

                      Until then I won’t accept and will at least ridicule your publicly made bad choices.

                      You can consider it natural selection. It is your right to make choices that result in your demise.

                    5. “My irrefutable positions that you call “locked in”, are always based on the truth discerned by people and demonstrated with logic and science.”

                      And yet your “irrefutable” positions were refuted in this thread with logic and science.

                      I’m not sure you really understand what that word “irrefutable” means.

                    6. P.S. Anything that’s irrefutable isn’t “science”.

                      “Criterion of falsifiability, in the philosophy of science, a standard of evaluation of putatively scientific theories, according to which a theory is genuinely scientific only if it is possible in principle to establish that it is false.”

                      http://www.britannica.com/topi…..ifiability

                    7. “I don’t need no stinking greater power to determine right from wrong.”

                      Not only have I not claimed a greater power was necessary for morality, I refuted your feeble attempts to suggest that the government was somehow this power. In fact, I’ve argued the exact opposite of what you’re suggesting I argued.

                      Again, either your positions are impervious to logic, or you didn’t understand what you read. I suspect one is leading to the other. Because your positions are locked in, you don’t want to understand the arguments that show them to be a house of cards.

                      Your suggestion that agency can be simply ignored would be laughed out of any freshman philosophy class. You’ve got a gaping hole where your knowledge on this should be. If you can’t account for agency within a discussion about ethics, then you don’t know anything about ethics. Maybe you think you’re knowledgeable because your argue with creationists or gun nuts elsewhere?

                      Your repeated commitment to logic and science is a joke. You’re impervious to reason. That doesn’t make your arguments irrefutable. It just makes you unreasonable.

                      http://www.flamewarriorsguide……cranus.htm

                    8. Which argument of mine do you think you’ve refuted?

                      None by my analysis.

                      While I regret the time I’ve wasted with you, I’m pleased with the optics of our dialogue.

                    9. The problem with your discussion is that neither of you is separating objective and subjective morality.

                    10. There’s no reason to do that in my argument. Our obligation to respect other people’s ability to make choices for themselves arises as an aspect of their agency regardless of whether or how you split objective or subjective morality.

                      And I wouldn’t really call this a discussion. It’s more like me making an argument. He’s just making random contradictions that don’t seem to have much to do with what I’m writing anyway.

  12. Just a few thoughts. Public health and safety issues seem to always be a sticky area.

    Say I want to build an addition to my house. Is there a role in government inspectors and plan approval to ensure that it is built to code?

    What about vaccines? Medical community has a solid foundation in the autonomy principle. It will not force anything. However the state can use coercion in not allowing access to schools for example. On the individual level one unvaccinated child is not a problem because of herd immunity, yet 25% less vaccinations would result in increased risk to others. It is a risk not a direct harm so how do you balance all that out?

    Licensing is another. We could all agree that required florist licenses are preposterous but airline pilots are another matter.

    One other rant. We talk about drugs as they were one thing. They are not. Pot is fairly benign so whatever. How about the stuff that does not get you high, powerful antibiotics, blood thinners or heart drugs? Should just anyone be able to order those online or dispense them to others?

    1. “However the state can use coercion in not allowing access to schools for example”

      I don’t see that as coercion. The school may even have an obligation to protect the rights of other children. Regardless, you can still choose to send your child to a public school–however reluctantly. You can choose to home school your child, too. It’s up to you.

      Maybe you’re being coerced to educated your children, but you’re not being coerced to send you child to a public school. Maybe your means are such that you can’t afford a private school, but not being able to afford something isn’t coercion.

    2. Building codes? No although you may be liable if your shitty wiring job burns down your neighbor’s house along with yours. A contractor who lies about building to code or a realtor who misrepresents a property as built to code is committing fraud.

      Vaccines. You should be free from all government-coerced medical treatment and have the right to refuse for your children as well. At least until your child is old enough to choose to be vaccinated on his own.

      What airline is going to employ a pilot they believe can’t safely fly an airplane? Planes are expensive, so is a business’s reputation, liability for killing passengers even more so,

      Anyone should be able to buy and use any substance so long as their is a willing seller. If you have a proprietary (I’m not going to say “patented”) therapeutic drug you may have an interest in controlling access and distribution through contract. If I’ve invented a new antibiotic that is effective in treating antibiotic-resistant infections I’m going to limit who can buy it to responsible doctors and set terms on what it can be used for. I don’t want ENBrown recklessly using it for VD prophylaxis.

      1. Liability is after the fact. It the crappy wiring next door results in my death what is liability going to do? The existence of the crappy wiring is a threat in itself. Ok in real life it happens anyway so maybe not the best example.

        Airlines do unsafe things all the time. Short term profits are tempting. Since there is no way for me to know the pilot or if the plane has had proper maintenance I have to rely on something more than reputation of the airline. I will not even know that this one is unsafe until how many hundred killed. So you are saying that is fine because eventually enough planes will fall out of the air and the market will correct for it. I remain skeptical on that as well as drug companies self regulating.

        The illegal drug trade which is non regulated is some evidence of that. They have begun adding fentanyl which boosts profits even though it kills off some of the customers. Part of the argument to legalize is the product will be regulated and therefore safer.

        The vaccine conundrum has been discussed for a long time. Vaccines are not 100% effective. If someone gets the disease because they were not vaccinated they can spread it even if you had the vaccine. They only work if a large percentage of the population is vaccinated. I suppose it is not so much a government problem unless we are talking about spending for public health programs. More of a moral dilemma which may be not relevant to libertarians.

        1. I think the best argument for these things is this:

          People in the modern world WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over estimate the problems not regulating these things would cause. Airlines wouldn’t need to start crashing planes all over the place to have good maintenance and pilots. They already go over and above government regulations in those regards because they don’t want problems.

          House issue, my house isn’t up to code. It’s 110 years old IIRC… And it’s fine.

          In short there may once in awhile be some issue that could theoretically be avoided by insane numbers of regulations… BUT the HARM done via those regulations is greater than the harms from not having them in 99.999% of cases. THAT is the ultimate argument for almost all of these issues.

          You cannot regulate utopia into existence. That is fantasy. BUT you can regulate bankruptcy of a nation into existence, and regulate citizens being little more than slaves into existence. If you want to take a slightly more inflammatory approach, you can also simply say that you prefer dangerous freedom to safe slavery!

    3. Schooling can be private. Licensing can be private. Taking drugs can be your private business.

  13. To the extent that libertarianism appears to be primarily a political ethos, it’s because statists of one stripe or another run the world and they’ve made every goddamn thing a political issue. Legalizing drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, you name it, are all political issues simply because the government sticks its nose in where it doesn’t belong and these personal choices really have no place in the political sphere. Is choosing to wear blue socks a political issue? Of course not – right up until the moment the government passes a law requiring or prohibiting the wearing of blue socks. And if you think I’m joking, consider that, up until a few months ago, the idea that choosing to slurp your Slurpee with a plastic straw was somehow a political issue would have seemed absurd – but here we are.

    1. Really, after all that, your argument boils down to the “virtue” of disposable plastic products?

      Is that what Libertarians are ” going all in” with?

  14. If your primary goal is human liberty, then you have no choice but to realize that government is far from the only threat to it. If your primary goal is liberty from government, then naturally you accept the consequences of anarchy as good in themselves.

    1. Tony, the primary threat to human liberty is people like you.

      1. That’s actually true!

        Whiny, bitchey, complainers, who stick their nose in others peoples business is exactly why people have never been able to be free.

    2. All liberty from government would take is to prohibit it from initiating force.

    3. Define “human liberty.”

  15. I have not been hanging out in the comments here very long. I have to say that the article and discussion here is what I was hoping to find. Would be great if there were more like this.

    1. I’ve been around a long time… And if only that were the case! Reason publishes a lot of dribble nowadays, but they still do some good stuff once in awhile!

  16. Libertarianism is a moral philosophy. The NAP is a moral philosophy. The idea that humans as sapient beings have a natural right to liberty is a moral philosophy. Philosophy is the science of proper living. Libertarianism is philosophy.
    There is only one problem, the government initiating force. Stop that and all will be well.

  17. Interesting article, I’m looking forward to more of these. While I 100% agree with Stephanie that Libertarianism is a political big-tent philosophy that does not require an ethics component, I also admit that my ethics no doubt play a role in my attraction toward it. I was raised Christian (loosely speaking, Sunday school and church early on but not a focal point really). After years of studying theology and ethics in my 30’s, I came away as an atheist who decries attempts to define objective morality whether theologically or via “natural” anything. That said, my own choosen morality was some version of the Golden Rule (Treat others how you want to be treated) and extended that rule to myself i.e. don’t treat yourself in a manner that you wouldn’t want others to treat you. Certainly my early days of Sunday school influenced this choice but it’s a rather universal notion among most major religions. Libertarianism certainly aligns quite well with that for me given that how I want to be treated is to be left the hell alone. In my mind at least, both are very much focus on the individual. Quite interesting to me that Matt went with a more collectivist ethics influence like utilitarianism. The difference, once again proving Stephanies point IMHO.

    1. The NAP is a definition of objective morality. Morality deals solely with actions. Since there are two types of actions there are two types of morality. Objective morality deals with actions between individuals. Subjective morality deals with actions that only effect an individual. The only objectively immoral actions are those involving the initiatory use of force. In regards to that I have composed what I call the Platinum Rule: All actions are allowed except those involving the initiatory use of force, threats of force or fraud.

      1. That’s pretty clear.

        Would you support laws that criminalize the initial use of force according to your platinum rule?

        Since lying is fraud, you support the criminalization of lying.

        That in combination with the right to voluntarily record everything we witness would do more for social justice than the biggest socialists pipe dream.

        1. Technically fraud is lying for financial gain so regular old lying would still be legal. 😉

      2. Good rule, not sure I understand the distinction between that and the NAP. I’m not sure we’re using the term Objective the same way. Certainly my morals concerning individuals can be different than someone else’s which makes it subjective. If I claim my Morality is Objective, in saying it scientifically true, which I do not believe is possible to prove without building ones conclusion into their premise.

        1. Your actions concerning individuals can be different but not your morals. You either initiate force against them or you don’t.

          1. Your presumption that the only true morality is whether one initiates force or not is in itself subjective. You may feel that it’s objective because you’re so sure about it, but it is still subjective because it is based on opinion.

            1. Only if you think a human’s right to liberty is subjective.

              1. Well of course we believe in freedom and liberty but clearly most people don’t. Even those who say they do, don’t really when it comes down to it. That would make our believe not just an opinion, but a minority opinion at that. Certainly opinions can be objective if they can be proved ie the earth is not flat, but morals cannot be proven true or false.

            2. Well, one area where one could get into disagreement here is what is having force initiated against you… And what amount of force might be legitimate in return.

              If somebody insults you in a very harsh and somewhat threatening way, and you slap them is that cool? If somebody steals your bike, and you shoot them in the head is that legit? Etc. I’m being a bit half assed in making good examples, but I think you should get the point.

              Some applications of the NAP still come down to somewhat fuzzy wuzzy subjective lines IMO.

  18. Libertarian government is no guarantee of a decent society, but it’s a good start.

    Whether the extra is considered in or out of libertarianism is one of those stupid debates for control of the use of language. Call them what you want. Different commitments are *different*, and can be conceptually packaged in different ways.

  19. Sure, it may not be reasonable given schedules of the writers, but it would be great to see a round 2 and beyond, after each has seen the other’s argument!

    1. A back and forth series on some “big issues” would actually be pretty interesting.

  20. Libertarianism is about more then just the state?

    Depends, is it still “economic terrorism” if I refuse to go to a bakery because the owner is a homophobic asshole? Is it still “censorship” if I quit a job because I won’t work for someone that sought to forcibly divorce gay people against their wills? Do y’all still sneer “statist” at gay people who dared to get married and accept their “marriage subsidy” even as you ignore all the straight people that get married every day??

    If so, then yeah, libertarianism is about more then just the state. And that “more then” might be part of the reason a lot of folks that might politically agree with you find you detestable.
    ________
    ?All things I’ve been told here in the comment sections.

    1. So…all things you’ve “been told here in the comment sections” is how you define libertarianism? You might want to dig a little deeper than that.

  21. I don’t see what the problem is with the Danmore decision by Google. Google is a private entity and can fire Danmore. People can complain about it and try to shame Google. Both actions are consistent with libertarian principles.

  22. The problem with many libertarians is the conceit that their politics springs out of nowhere, fully formed and sustainable in and of itself.

    How do they know what their rights should be? Why should certain activities be illegal, and what are they? What an appropriate level of punishment is? Feelings? Consensus?

    Politics is the end result of deeper thinking about the human condition. But it’s a lousy place to begin.

    1. “Politics” is the “end result” of “deeper thinking” about the “human condition”? Really? That sentence makes one dizzy.

      1. To avoid dizziness, breathe slowly and remain calm.

  23. Stephanie pretty much nailed it. Creep outside of the boundary of politics and NAP and it all falls apart. In the extreme, a (modern day) NAZI and an passive (if possible) ANTIFA person can both be libertarians abiding by NAP and co-exist, even if they despise each other.

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