ATTN Social Conservatives: Political v. Moral LibertarianismSubmitted by grantstrust897654 on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 14:21
'Libertarianism' is being thrown around to describe Ron Paul, again.
Unfortunately, the term conflates types of libertarianisms, the political and moral varieties especially.
In order to reach social conservatives, I think that it is important to make the distinction - and frequently.
A political libertarian, such as Ron Paul, could be more accurately called a classical liberal. A political libertarian holds that the federal government should play a very limited role - if no role - with respect to social and moral issues, like marriage.
The role of the the federal government is to protect life and liberty, simply. After all, what are social and moral decisions if they are not free? Our federal constitution is an expression of political liberalism, or classical liberalism.
A moral libertarian, however, is akin to a moral nihilist or moral relativist, the positions that there are no social or moral standards, or that there are many, many social and moral standards - so, everything and anything ought to be permitted and nobody should care about what anybody else does.
All libertines are moral libertarians but not all moral libertarians are libertines, a perspective associate with licentiousness.
Now, Ron Paul is anything but licentious, and he is far-and-away from holding that there are no social or moral standards, the position of moral libertarianism. That is, he recognizes that certain behaviors - certain ways of life - are indeed destructive of a real standards of human well-being, and so wrong: indebtedness, for example. But, he recognizes the inherent dangers in using the force of government to impose one's moral and social decisions on somebody else.
Moral ideas - ways of life - must be free, like economic ideas, to compete in a "market", where people may choose to be and act in certain ways modeled and exhorted by others.
If homosexual marriage is wrong, for instance, then heterosexuality must win the day, so to speak. Obviously, rampant divorce and adultery aren't winning any hearts and minds. But, it is no proof of the goodness of homosexual marriage or the position of moral libertarianism either, which - like moral conservatism - must try to "win the day".
Whatever the case, the state - for a political libertarian - should not interfere with this moral market.
After all, morality is only possible thru liberty, including the liberty to mistakenly choose objectively immoral ways of life.
A controlled society cannot - by definition - be a moral society no matter how decent and orderly that society may appear - to wit, so much of well-ordered, totalitarian China.
If you believe wholeheartedly that your beliefs, decisions and lifestyle are best - that there are objective moral claims on our lives - the onus is on you to lead it and lead others to and in it - but not with the help of the government, a government that protects the life and liberty of everyone, moral and immoral alike.
And, if you're a Christian, this should be Gospel to your ears: "Render unto Cesar..."