Monday, November 24, 2008

Libertarians Defend Social Conservativism?

Today, American Thinker has an utterly ridiculous article on its blog called, "A Libertarian Defense of Social Conservatism".
"However, praying in public school is outlawed, based on that same Constitution."
This line alone shows how uninformed Hoven really is. Praying in public schools is not and never has been outlawed. It's too bad Hoven doesn't stop there because he only goes on to make himself look even stupider.
"Just think for a moment about the things you are actually forced to do or are prevented from doing. Seat belts. Motorcycle helmets. Bicycle helmets...Mandatory vaccines for your children...Keeping the money you earned."
Anyone who doesn't want to get their child vaccinated can simply refrain from putting their child in public school or any other program where it's required. I know plenty of home-schooling parents who do this and it certainly hasn't violated any laws. I think it's extremely stupid for them to risk their child's life in this way, but "liberal do-gooders" certainly haven't created any mandatory vaccination laws.

Likewise, if someone doesn't want to wear a seat belt or a motorcycle/bike helmet, they don't have to. On your private property, you can go as belt-less and helmet-free as you want. Both "social conservatives" and "liberal do-gooders" have decided that they want people to use these tools, so it isn't a case where only one group is responsible for these laws. If you're going to be on the roads with the rest of us, I certainly don't want your body being hurled into my car because you don't have on a seat belt and I don't want to see your brains splattered up against my car because you don't have on a helmet.

"Keeping the money you earned" is also another silly argument. If you're going to make use of the services that taxes pay for, then you're trying to get something for nothing if you don't pay for them. Is it really libertarian to believe that you should be able to use what others pay for without paying in yourself?
I can get pornography right at my keyboard, or drive a mile and get all the sex toys I can fit into my car. I can walk to the nearest casino to gamble (but can no longer smoke there). I do need to travel to Nevada for a legal prostitute. If my teenage daughters had wanted abortions, they could have had them free and without even notifying me. (However, had they taken Advil to school, we'd all be in trouble.)
Basically, Hoven sides with those who want to be free to do what they want with their body when it comes to vaccinations, but sees nothing problematic or hypocritical about those same people trying to restrict a woman's freedom to do what she wants with her body. Do the "social conservatives" think they should have to notify anyone if they don't want to receive vacinnations? "Liberal do-gooders" are the ones who think that both "social conservatives" and the rest of us have a right to bodily autonomy.

I'd also like to hear how "liberal do-gooders" are responsible for the fact that he can get pornography on his computer. Somebody should explain to Hoven how the internetz work. While they're at it, maybe they should explain to him how libertarianism works, too. Hey Hoven, it's called personal freedom. Yer doin' it wrong. If you don't want porn at your keyboard, don't put it there. If you don't want sex toys, don't buy 'em.

Hoven goes back to the abortion issue here:
Let's talk about the unavoidable issue: abortion. Who made it a federal issue? The ACLU and then the Supreme Court. Before 1973 it was left to the states; some allowed it, some didn't. Different states could adopt different criteria. Some might allow it under all circumstances. Some other none. Some at 12 or 20 weeks. Some might define "health" of the mother in different terms.

But all that flexibility was halted with Roe v Wade. Since 1973 abortion has been a Constitutional right. Do you know where that right is found in the Constitution? In these words of the 14th Amendment: "[No state shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Those words, according to our finest Constitutional scholars, mean it's OK to shove scissors through the skull of a baby and suction its brains out, as long as that skull has not yet left the birth canal.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution halted all that "flexibility" that the states exercised to restrict a lot of other basic freedoms. Anti-reproductive freedom advocates always try to use the so-called "partial birth abortion" as a way to appeal to people's emotions. We could describe any number of things that people do with their bodies in a way that might offend the sensibilities of some Americans. So what?! Does that mean the Constitution doesn't really give everyone the rights spelled out in the 14th Amendment?

If I want to handle snakes in my church, if I want to smoke cigarettes, if I want to pierce and flay and burn and tattoo my body, if I want to have a hysterectomy, if I want to live out in the woods with no electricity or phone lines, if I want to wear a loin-cloth and carry a cross around on my back, if I want to use birth control, if I want to wear skirts even when I'm jogging, if I want to give birth to a dozen or more children, if I want to let someone gag me and spank me and call me a very bad girl, if I want to go un-washed and un-deodorized, the Constitution says I have the freedom to do that, too. One would think that a libertarian would agree with such an interpretation of it, but when you're not interested in libertarianism and what you really want is just the freedom for you to do what you please, I guess Hoven's comments make sense.

Hoven also decided to venture into the subject of gay marriage.
I am not dead set against gay marriage. I'm mildly against it, but if it comes to an honest vote in my state and passes, I can live with that. But so far, every single time the issue has gone to a popular vote, the people voted it down. The only reason it is legal in two states right now is because of the courts in those states; a mere handful of robed Merlins made the decisions.

I also think it a bit risky to redefine such a fundamental institution that has been defined as between one man and one or more women in every successful civilization I know about, for the last 6,000 years or so.
Once again, Hoven throws out libertarianism. Libertarianism doesn't assert that what freedoms a person should have depends on what others feel about their decisions. Either the Constitution dictates equal rights for all or it doesn't. Even if the majority of voters disagree, the Constitution is the deciding factor and the courts are there to interpret it. If he doesn't like the fact that the courts are the institution we've established to play this role, then his problem is with the Constitution itself and the American people who insist on using it as the basis for our laws.

Furthermore, Hoven is exposing his ignorance when he makes the claim that gay marriage is the redefining of a fundamental institution. For the majority of recorded history, marriage has been a private agreement with no need for approval from any state in order for it to be considered valid. People started coming together as couples and raising families long before any government decided to start dictating whose relationships should be legitimized. Hoven also neglects to mention the fact that plenty of societies that did define marriage as between "one man and one or more women" eventually proved unsuccessful. Evidently, how marriage is defined plays no role in whether a society thrives or flounders.

Hoven's comments about God are a complete red herring.
I am not religious myself, but I kind of like the idea that whoever makes and enforces our laws thinks that some invisible being knows his every move and will judge him accordingly in eternity. I would not be offended if the being he prays to is the one who gave the Sermon on the Mount.
Over 75% of Americans describe themselves as Christians of some sort. This majority includes many that Hoven might describe as "liberal do-gooders". However, "Liberal do-gooders" aren't the ones who claim that only those politicians who subscribe to one particular interpretation of Christianity should be allowed to govern. In fact, "liberal do-gooders" are the ones who think that people like Hoven have the right to be agnostics or deists or lapsed-Catholics or atheists without others trying to force them to follow other people's religious beliefs.

I wonder how long it will take for the real libertarians on American Thinker to step in and correct Hoven. I won't be holding my breath. These days, the unpopularity of the Republican "social conservatives" have a lot of them trying to re-label themselves as libertarians without really being willing to adopt libertarian principles. Many libertarians have such a Napoleonic Complex after being such an insignificant presence in the American political scene for so long that they are willing to accept the poseurs without blinking an eye. Ahh, the things that political desperation will tempt people to do...


matttbastard said...

Today, American Thinker has an utterly ridiculous article on its blog... .

Outstanding smackdown, B. But when doesn't American Thinker have utterly ridiculous posts up? I mean, this is the venue where the Ayers = Obama's ghostwriter smear was born.


Eric Dondero said...

Ayers was Obama's ghostwriter.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Excellent job, Bint, of smacking down wingnut "libertarianism".

I find it interesting how right-wingers are attempting to appropriate the "libertarian" label in the same way that the Religious Right did so much in stealing the "Christian" spite of the basic fact that these same folk were so busy opposing what they call "liberal-tarianism" (that is, more classical libertarianism). Funny that all these folk who are talk such smack about being "rugged individualists" and grand opponents of "big government" are so willing to use the power of government (including state and local government, not to mention the power of the Church and Big Business) to impose their ideology on others.

And these fools would be horrified at the original Jesus Christ, whom was a thousand times more liberal and compassionate than they could ever be.

This form of "libertarianism" is simply a cover for the same old nonsense of White Power draped in "anti-statist" rhetoric. Once they get even a taste of state power, however, they will become the biggest wielders of state power you have ever seen. So, so typical.


bint alshamsa said...


please feel free to take off your tin-foil hat at the door. Welcome to the world of evidence-based claims.

Do you have any evidence that Ayers was Obama's ghostwriter? For that matter, do you have any proof that Obama used any ghostwriter for his books? Go on, give it a try. I can't wait to see your proof.

bint alshamsa said...


Yeah, that was pretty dern ridiculous. For the sake of truth in advertising, that site ought to be re-named "American Non-Thinkers".

bint alshamsa said...


I find it interesting how right-wingers are attempting to appropriate the "libertarian" label in the same way that the Religious Right did so much in stealing the "Christian" label

Too true! These folks never change. They've been here appropriating other people's shit ever since the day they "discovered" the "New World".

Héctor Portillo said...

Wow! You really destroyed that article... And I'd say you went easy on that "libertarian"...
Since when do individuals' rights have to be in the Constitution in order to exist. I thought that one of tha basic libertarian premises was that Individuals had rights, period. If someone thinks the Constitution needs to aknowledge those rights, maybe they should join the Constitution Party.

Really nice blog, by the way. Love the layout.

bint alshamsa said...

Welcome Héctor!

Yeah, you're right. Libertarian principles don't require the adoption or acceptance of the U.S. Constitution in order for one to have rights.

matttbastard said...

Eric Dondero is a blistering douchebag.

(Whee--argument by assertion is so much easier! Thanks for showing me the error of my fact-based ways, Eric. From now on I'm solely relying on fallacious reasoning when engaging in debate.)

Queers United said...

libertarianism is a joke, the republican party is supposed to technically be libertarian they are all a bunch of nuts

libhom said...

Even genuine libertarians have no practical sense of the consequences of what libertarian policies bring. Without the general public being able to prevail on the government, libertarian policies result in plutocracy.

dmarks said...

I agree generally, except on abortion (which has nothing to do with reproductive freedom, since abortions are done after the biological process of reproduction occurs, and has nothing to do with controlling a woman's body any more than laws against gun violence have to do with controlling the trigger puller's body)

Ayers as Obama's ghostwriter? This hasn't a ghost of a chance as being true.

Libhom: Socialist/Marxist policies quickly lead to plutocracy, too. I guess this is probably true of any such "ideologically pure" political movement that ignores pragmatic realities.

I've also noticed some Libertarians as being extremely anti-immigration. These Libertarians end up turning out to be no different from Pat Buchanan, whom, last time I checked, was a National Socialist who believed in government control of economic matters in order to preserve "the nation"/race/culture.

Renegade Evolution said...

(eyeballs a few comments and ignores them)...

sometimes people who claim the same political label as me also embarass the fuck outta me. That is all.

stevethehydra said...

There are people who... call themselves libertarians... and... are anti-abortion?

This breaks my brain.

(Admittedly not much more than those who call themselves libertarians and support capitalism... but i've come to accept that those include the vast majority of "libertarians" in the US, and indeed probably the English-speaking world...)

dmarks said...

I know some who are libertarians and anti-abortion. But it does seem to be a minority.

Libertarianism fits in more with capitalism (an economic system with minimal state environment) and is diametrically opposed to socialism. I just can't imagine a libertarian who favors the ruling class having total control over economic matters. Those type of libertarians are "liberty for the ruling elites only" libertarians.