The word liberty is rooted in the word *libertarian—makes sense, right? That’s the cause for which we always fight. But believe it or not, while it may often not seem like it, Democrats and Republicans fight for liberty also.
For instance, Democrats often push for it on social issues such as gay rights and abortion, but they push just as rigorously to deny fiscal liberties to those achieving the American dream of unfettered wealth.
Republicans strive for liberty on financial issues such as lower taxation and corporate rights, but they attempt to deny social rights to people via legislation such as the Defense of Marriage Act or The War On Drugs.
Libertarians like myself of course, take liberty to the brink of anarchy and fight for both. We generally believe government’s role should be restricted to protecting our rights to life, liberty, and property as enumerated in the Constitution.
As we libertarians watch Republicans and Democrats squabble over which liberties are important and which liberties are expendable, we wonder why those parties don’t agree that liberty for all is best. It’s in our pledge of allegiance after all.
To be fair to the GOP, there is a new sect of libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rand Paul and Justin Amash to whom this rarely applies, and their rise in popularity is encouraging. I cannot recall a libertarian-leaning democrat, or I’d mention them too.
In matters of issues like assisted suicide, recreational drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, and gambling for instance, these acts rarely involve a party whose rights were violated. But all of these practices are still often considered socially unacceptable despite the fact that if you’re not an active participant, they don’t affect you in the slightest.
Legislators tend to look at a behavior they don’t agree with and determine it is their civic duty to legislate it away in order to elevate our collective moral compass. Their proposed legislation being a mirror image of how they would choose to live their own lives. But when it comes to fighting for liberty for those who don’t share their views, they often can’t find the will to do so. Instead, they insist on making futile attempts to socially engineer our great nation.
I say “futile” because anyone who has ever been told they aren’t allowed to do something they really want to do and wouldn’t harm anyone doing it, knows that the simple act of telling them “no,” often incites them to do so even more—making a special effort to not get caught. So these laws don’t prevent such acts, they merely add a new element of danger for those who will likely do them anyway.
I want liberty for everyone, including the people I have little to no respect for. If you’re a member of the Ku Klux Klan or the Black Panthers and want to open a white/black only business establishment; go for it! I think your bigotry and hatred make you a vile human being, but I’ll still fight for your rights to be the biggest piece of trash you want to be and let the market sort it out.
Want to go on a crack bender until you fall off a twenty story building because you thought you could fly? I think you’re an idiot, but go for it! It’s your life, live it or end it how you see fit. Just be sure not to land on someone on your way down, thus violating their right to life.
I want to fling poo like a zoo monkey at Westboro Baptist Church members every time I think about those hateful bastards. As I’m writing this, I wish them all the worst possible outcome in life. But if I were a legislator tomorrow, I wouldn’t dream of putting my pen to paper to draft a bill denying their right to spew their massively bigoted and ignorant rhetoric.
So why would I support these people’s rights to be this way?
It’s important for us level-headed people to know such demons exist. We can choose to either encourage them to change, or marginalize them and ignore them. But believe it or not, I feel they do serve a purpose. It is hard to explain “good” when you don’t have a “bad” standard-bearer to compare “good” to.
It is human nature to want the freedom to do the things you want to do and therefore fight for the liberty of people like you—it’s why all three political camps do so. But the minute you try to quash the liberty of someone you don’t agree with, you have stumbled your way into the land of legislative hypocrisy. It takes a much stronger conviction to fight for the rights of those you despise, but it’s the only way to legislate without being a hypocrite.
So my request to Democrats and the non-libertarian Republicans is simple. Give me one good reason your liberty is important but the liberty of others who don’t share your ideology isn’t. If the answer to this question renders you stumbling for an answer that makes any logical sense, welcome to the libertarian camp—we’re happy to have you. Now stop writing so many new laws; you’ve done enough damage already.
*Libertarian with a capital L represents the Libertarian party. But with a small L, it represents people who just champion liberty regardless of party affiliations. For instance, Gary Johnson is a Libertarian and a libertarian, whereas Rand Paul is just a libertarian.