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Liberty Requires Government

Today's Fightin Words podcast: Anarchy invites the tyranny of the brute.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

May 14, 2014 - 6:14 am

cropped-anarchy

On today’s Fightin Words podcast: It’s not about big government or small government, but government scaled to precisely the size necessary to do what it properly ought to. Contrasting anarchy with liberty. Plus, revisiting Voter ID.

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(15:35 minutes long; 15.03 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the boards of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, Minnesota Majority and the Minority Liberty Alliance. He maintains a blog and daily podcast entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of conservative Minnesotan commentary, and regularly appears on the Twin Cities News Talk Weekend Roundtable on KTCN AM 1130. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

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All Comments   (8)
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Today's faux Libertarians are not friend of Liberty. They are advocates of autonomy over liberty. I used to think that Liberty enhances autonomy but now I have come to see that autonomy is more constrained by civil society than by government. A Miriam Weeks will suffer social scorn and isolation for her personal choices whether her activities are legal or not. This social pressure severely limits her personal autonomy. She is going to find that out when and if she graduates from Duke. This is why faux Libertarians are as much at war with civil society as much as their alleged Progressive opposites. It isn’t government that limits the kind autonomy that faux Libertarians seek; it is civil society that constrains the sex rights and drug rights that see as primary. In the end faux Libertarians would rather have a country run by a Barak Obama than one run by a Scott Walker.

15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy tdiinva
I think you were right in believing that autonomy and liberty go together. The opposite seems absolutely paradoxical to me.
Every society has norms and every society has laws. Laws have the power of government behind them -- the ability to prohibit or compel, to imprison, to kill when necessary. For that very reason, laws must be kept to the barest minimums consistent with public safety and with orderly business. That border is easy to describe and terribly hard to define.
Norms have great force but you can't be sent to prison for violating norms. In my opinion, even norms should be considered with great care. If someone wants to use wine and someone else doesn't, their choices have no affect on each other. Neither law nor social norm, it seems to me, are appropriate here.
If Hutterite families choose to shop at Wal-Mart dressed differently than my family, they should be welcome. Their clothing will get them noticed but that should be all.
Norms about adultery, about maintaining one's home decently, about courtesy to others -- these are necessary for people to live near each other and cooperate. Once again, the borders are very hard to define.
Having my own customs and my own tastes leaves plenty of room to respect those of others, so long as "we" and "they" respect each other's proper boundaries.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
While civil society cannot "make" you do anything it can make is so painful to go against them that you will gladly surrender your autonomy. Man is a social creature. Deny him a place in soceity and he becomes miserable. I will give you a real world example of how this works:

I have a good friend, at one time my best friend, who quit her job in the intelligence community to become a professional dominatrix. When she got outed her life was basically destroyed. Her neighbors treat her with scorn, nobody talks to her and their actions, which are perfectly lawful destroyed her life and arguably her sanity. Civil authority could do nothing to her because being paid to abuse and humiliate someone is perfectly legal in her state of residence. About the only action they could take is under zoning laws, i.e., conducting a business in a residential neighborhood. So you see she was beyond the reach of civil authority but not civil society. She would rather have spent time in jail than have her life ruined as it was. It is the degradation of civil society by defining deviancy down that has allowed my friend and Miriam Weeks to choose to exercise their autonomy. I suspect that even 25 years ago neither would have done so.


15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy tdiinva
Or possibly "society" could have said to itself, "Well, hardly my cup of tea, but the participants are adults. Maybe I'll just stay out of it."
There are things that should be shamed, like abandoning your children and adultery. There are things you may not want to do, nor I, that maybe we should be slow to judge for others.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
But society doesn't say those things. It has norms and while people have a right to violate those norms they have no right to have people accept and validate these violation of social norms. This is what separates real Libertarians from Faux Libertarians. Faux Libertarians believe otherwise and are quiet willing to use both social pressure and government action to make sure that this validation happens. Real Libertarians are concerned with political liberty not social autonomy. You can be true Libertarian and still heap personal scorn on aberrant behavior.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy tdiinva
Yes, you can be exactly a libertarian on the terms you describe.
As one who wants to be charitable as well as libertarian, I'm going to make a personal commitment to be careful about social pressure as well as legal stricture.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the way, I'm having to refresh the page to post.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I usually have to settle for the "Fightin' Words" summaries at work. I think nearly all realistic libertarians know that government is necessary. There are evil people and selfish people who must be controlled. There are honest people who have disagreements and need a structure within which to manage them. There are enemies, foreign and domestic.
But Tom was right: "That government governs best which governs least." And his point about religion -- "...it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg..." -- makes a good rule-of-thumb for where government's role comes in.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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