28th June 2009
Jonah Goldberg is always worth reading.
To say you are an economic conservative is to say you are a libertarian on 95% of the relevant issues. But to say you are a social liberal isn’t anything like saying you are a libertarian on 95% of social issues.
Social liberals are often quite aggressive advocates of using state power to impose their preffered versions of “liberty.” Most libertarians are disgusted by thought-policing political correctness, by forced “sensitivity” training, by so-called Hate Crimes tribunals and racial and gender quotas. They detest smoking bans, forced volunteerism and the whole panapoly of Nanny State outrages. They may detest religious incursions on government, but they also detest governmental incursions on religion. Most libertarians are localists who believe that the federal government doesn’t have an all purpose writ to make everything better. They believe in the autonomy of business and other institutions to do what they want — within obvious limits — even if what they do is bad. For example, most libertarians I know may be in favor of gay marriage, but they’re against the state forcing eHarmony to provide services to homosexual customers against their will.