Skip to comments.The Law of Unintended Libertarian Consequences
Posted on 04/01/2013 10:39:17 AM PDT by crusher
The Law of Unintended Libertarian Consequences
Over the past forty-five years since becoming politically aware, I have vacillated between conservatism and libertarian thinking in contemplating the world around me. I never feel completely at home with either camp when living out my own minarchist tendencies. It is of course oversimplification, but the former seem to think that everyone wants to be like us, and that the impulse for liberty is the yearning of the human spirit. Evidently they are not paying attention to what is happening in the nation and around the world where dependency is in full march. On the other hand libertarians seem to relish their contempt for my own deeply held Christian faith and view debauchery not as an unfortunate side effect of freedom (my attitude) but rather celebrate hedonism as the whole point of liberty.
But lately my libertarian friends views on some issues of the day suggest they cannot comprehend the practical consequences of their own ideology. Lets look at three instances.
In observing the ongoing debate over the historical nature of families, many times I am confronted with the pronouncements that, The State should just get out of the marriage business (presumably to let anyone do what they want). Such reasoning opines that by striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court will be disempowering the Federales. Au contraire.
Consider the aftermath of such an edict.
Some states would endorse any voluntary couplings as legal institutions, others would not. Do libertarians really think for one minute that this bifurcation will be allowed to stand? Horse hockey. Sooner or later same-sex duos from Massachusetts, Maryland, or Hawaii will relocate to Tennessee or Mississippi and challenge the historical precepts of marriage there, too. Once DOMA is gone, it is only a matter of a very short while before Washingtons Ruling Class will, instead of getting out of the marriage business, jump in with both feet and be MANDATING universal acknowledgement and governmental support for any intimate arrangement that strikes anyones fancy. Reduce government power and activity? Get government out of the bedrooms? Pshaw! The future will see the compliance jackboots stomping squarely in the midst of every bedroom, living room, school room, court room, and board room. Count on it. You and your attitudes about marriage will be heavily regulated out the wazoo.
Following a course of action to get government out of the marriage business will simply and shortly expand exponentially The States role in the marriage business.
The unholy alliance between The Left, libertarians, and Big Business to allow (read: encourage) alien invasions from foreign states will change forever the nature of the nation. Admittedly many of these domestic agitators do not accept the concept of the sovereign nation state, or at least do not accept the premise that any jurisdiction has the authority to regulate itself and determine who gets to be inside them or to be kept out.
The Left I understand: their Hope is to Change us into their Utopia, Cuba. Big Business I get, as economic fascists (yes, I do know the meaning of the term and am using it correctly) and Francisco DAnconias Brokers of Pull all they want is to accrue their gains, whether ill-gotten or fair-gotten. But libertarians open border posture indicates to me that their ability to follow a course of action to its logical end is shall we say, challenged. What do they think will be the inevitable result of allowing entrance to tens of millions of residents with no fealty to Western ideals or American traditions? Serious scholarship has confirmed that for every ten alien invaders normalized, traditional freedom concepts are out-voted 7 to 3. Multiply that by 30, 40, or 50 million new voters who believe that the source of prosperity and beneficence is not themselves but rather the State, and you have a perpetual and undefeatable voting bloc in favor of limitless government programs.
Regardless of their alleged social traditionalism (which again, scholarship does not confirm), the influx of the unassimilated through open borders, amnesty, or anything similar will have only one result: the unrestrained growth of collectivism.
I am not opposed to war, but I am opposed to stupid wars. Our current quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan fit that description perfectly as they are not in fact wars, they are utopian and nonsensical nation building schemes. In that I am in unison with libertarians and The Left. We should get out. Now. Those primitive hell-holes are not worth one drop of Yankee blood or one dime of Yankee treasure. And yes, if we get out now, every lost soldier will have died in vain. Guess what? Even if we stay, every life lost will have been wasted any way.
The problem with libertarians at least as encapsulated in the positions of the Paulistas is that they apparently do not believe we live in a dangerous world. Or at least, it was not dangerous until the US began flexing its muscles. This view strikes me as historically illiterate.
To be sure, thanks to the posture of the modern meals-on-wheels-with-guns mindset, much of US policy has managed to make world situations worse. But treating barbarians nicely does nothing other than embolden them and assure their attacks. They hate us not because of what we have done, but because of who we are. No amount of internationalist pandering will change that.
This does not mean the Pentagon cannot be reduced. It can, by my judgment about 30%, as we need to wean our allies off of the military welfare teat (I would continue to support Israel militarily, but no one else). The US military needs to be smaller and more ruthless. The barbarians need to fear the consequences of their attacks on civilization. The libertarians posture of gutting the military to purposefully weaken its capacity will accomplish the exact opposite of what they want.
War in the future will become much more likely than less likely when the aggressor hordes think they can get away with it.
The ultimate outcome is that in these three areas marriage, immigration, and foreign policy -- libertarian prescriptions will result in distinctly unintended, un-libertarian consequences.
Is that ironic or what?
Talk about completely misunderstanding libertarian philosophy.......
They knew the importance of relying on God and they understood the weaknesses of man.
Today, there is minimal, if any, reliance on God.
Licentious activity is the standard.
I was making no comments about libertarian philosophy in general, but rather the implications of three specific policy propositions.
Are libertarians in favor of “same sex marriage”, Yes or No?
Are libertarians in favor of open borders, Yes or No?
Are libertarians in favor of a weaker foreign policy, Yes or No?
My observation is that the answer is “Yes” to all three, and those propositions have consequences which are decidedly un-libertarian in that they 1) dramatically increase State activity and coercion, 2) increase the voting polity hostile to liberty, and 3) make the likelihood of war greater.
Libertarians didn’t attach hundreds of benefits and penalties onto marriage, e.g., the estate tax break being considered by the Supreme Court.
The unintended consequence of these attachments is that gays are denied equal rights. My goodness, even Pope Francis, when a Cardinal, said there should be recognition of civil unions so gays could have equal rights.
Marriage pre-existed the state, but might not survive the state.
Libertarians didn’t erect a welfare program with benefits exceeding the earnings of people in neighboring countries.
The unintended consequences of these welfare benefits is to attract immigrants interested in welfare benefits.
Today, welfare as a right threatens to bankrupt the country.
Libertarians didn’t decide we should get into the business of “reconstructing” Iraq and Afghanistan. Even George W. Bush, as a candidate in 2000, said that would be foolish.
The unintended consequences of getting into the business of reconstructing foreign countries was the loss of the Republican majority in Congress in 2006 and of the White House in 2008.
We risked American Freedom on Iraqi Freedom and lost.
To misquote Rula Lenska, don’t hate us because we Libertarians are right all the time.
Excellent commentary, particularly with regard to foreign policy. I always thought there was a sensible position between Ron Paul and George W. Bush.
Your observations are all incorrect.
Open borders? Not me.
Same sex marriage? How consenting adults order their lives should not be a concern of the State at all. The only exception is using the Courts to enforce contracts.
Define “weaker” for me. If you mean having troops stationed in 60 countries when those countries should be defending themselves, I don’t think so. If you mean “screw with us and we nuke you off the face of the planet and then leave”, well that’s my preferred foreign policy. No more “nation building”
Screw with us and die.
Are libertarians in favor of homosexual marriage - none that I know.
What they say is marriage is a religious concept and the government has no business defining any religious concept.
They are in favor of ANY two people living together with a legal contract for their mutual benefit.
I do not know a single libertarian who favors open boarders.
Foreign policy, the want a strong foreign policy, but not what we are doing now.
Maybe I just know libertarians that are thinking individuals.
Does it concern you that a philosophical theory can be so malleable as to be adopted by both leftists and rightists?
Maybe there is something inherently faulty with libertarian philosophy.
If you are a minarchist, what are you doing wasting your time on FR? Why aren't you generating huge sums of money so that you can afford the security services that minarchists proclaim? You know, like the security details that have been procured by acting libertarians such as Russian Oligarchs, Soros, Obama, officers of the WTO and IMF, etc.
Marriage is a formalization of recognition of a biological fact of life wrought by millions of years of evolution. Only luddites and flatearthers could imagine otherwise. So, no, it’s not originally a religious practice.
The sensible policy “between” Ron Paul and George W. Bush was expressed by G. Washington, T. Jefferson, D. Eisenhower and R. Reagan. They warned us against entangling alliances, proposed a foreign policy of peace and free trade (but kicked ass against the Barbary Coast States when necessary), opposed the military-inustrial complex, and re-deployed the Marines off-shore rather than get sucked into a no-win situation in Lebanon.
Your observations are all incorrect.
Perhaps so regarding your own views, but I think you would agree that I have fairly represented libertarian thinking as enunciated by most libertarians. It certainly represents the views of the multitude of libertarians in my circle.
Excellent, but again you deviate from most libertarians I know.
If you think this is going to wind up merely in the enforcing of contracts, then you have been seeing something different in the public square than I have been seeing. I hope you are right. But, I do not believe you are.
A concise elucidation of crusherian foreign policy.
Marriage is a religious concept. The grouping of one make and one female is biology for the raising of off spring.
In either case the government has no business re-defining either.
It's undeniable that the Founders saw themselves under the different States vision (they were Virginians and Pennsylvanians) and wanted people to mind their own damn business (see Franklin's Fugio Cent) and yea, that we should rely on God. But nowhere in the Const did they give the fed govt powers to force that reliance.
I think republicans and democrats (and you) agree with the 1 nation version that anything we dont agree with is automatically either unrepentant hedonism or theocratic autocracy and you're willing to completely ignore the Const so you can force your version of what's good for America.
Are libertarians in favor of homosexual marriage - none that I know.
Interesting. I know none that are not.
Again, I do not know a single libertarian who does not favor a borderless world.
Maybe I just know libertarians that are wrong-thinking individuals?
As I read your post, you sound like a Libertarian. Marriage pre-exists the state. If you are a conservative and not a Libertarian on marriage, would you please answer the following:
Why does marriage require the state to define it, regulate it, tax it, subsidize it, give married persons certain rights and obligations not available to non-maried persons?
Why aren’t these matters left to the parties involved?
What is the state interest in, for example, giving a larger S.S. benefit to the survivor of a marriage in which the spouse worked regularly, than to the surviving partner of a gay relationship?
And, what is the state interest in giving two S.S. benefits to gays in a relationship when both worked, and giving only one S.S. benefit to a married couple when both worked?
Or, do you think all or most of these discriminations were never intended, and have simply accumulated into a really complicated mess over the years?
Will there be a equally scathing diatribe on the unintended consequeces of "conservativism" forthcoming?
The biological origin of pair-bonding is recognized. Exceptions to it are not considered 'momentary pair bonding', for example.
A modern state should certainly be able to formally recognize pair-bonding between members of opposite sex while excluding other arrangements without a clear biological origin.
Ergo, the folks advocating gay marriage, and even polygamy, are luddites and flat earthers.
LOL, libertarians are not for a Christian definition of anything, Christian America is what they are fighting to defeat.
Here they are on gays in the military, adoption, marriage etc.
“”Section 1.3 Personal Relationships:
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the governments treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws.””
Here they are on immigration.
The Issue: We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new Berlin Wall which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. governments policy of barring those refugees from our country and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects.
The Principle: We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. Undocumented non-citizens should not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age or sexual preference. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons.
Solutions: We condemn massive roundups of Hispanic Americans and others by the federal government in its hunt for individuals not possessing required government documents. We strongly oppose all measures that punish employers who hire undocumented workers. Such measures repress free enterprise, harass workers, and systematically discourage employers from hiring Hispanics.
Transitional Action: We call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally.
I am supposing you intended to insult me by calling me a Luddite, or perhaps this was unintended. Just like piling all kinds of benefits unto those who copulate and denying them to others who don’t, wasn’t intended to discriminate against gays, but just did.
The Supreme Court has differentiated the discrimination suffered by gays (and by women and immigrants) from the discrimination suffered by blacks, saying discrimination against blacks was invidious, while discrimination against gays (and women and immigrants) didn’t reach that level. The discrimination against gays was mostly, if not totally unintended. Still, there it is.
Conservatives sought to improve on what nature gives us as marriage and wound up - possibly - violating the 14th Amendment (we’ll see what the Supremes say), and destroying marriage.
Conservatism is the only thing standing in opposition to the left.
Here is the leftists agenda hidden behind the Libertarian Party curtain.
Throw open the borders completely; only a rare individual (terrorist, disease carrier etc.) can be kept from freedom of movement through political boundaries.
Homosexuals; total freedom in the military, gay marriage, adoption, child custody and everything else.
Abortion; zero restrictions or impediments.
Pornography; no restraint, no restrictions.
Drugs; Meth, Heroin, Crack, and anything new that science can come up with, zero restrictions.
Advertising those drugs, prostitution, and pornography; zero restrictions.
Military Strength; minimal capabilities.
I don’t view the treatment of different conditions differently to be ‘discrimination’ ~
NONE of that has anything to do with how you copulate, or if you copulate at all. You should read up on the issues
Libertarianism is a quasi religious cult. It has its Holy Prophetess,(Ayn Rand); it has its revealed Holy scriptures(Atlas Shrugged, etc.)It has divided into various sects, it has its paradise where libertarians go to upon experiencing a type of Rapture, leave the world and then return again to rebuild paradise after the demons destroyed the earth as we know it. It has its devils and demons, see the “Looters” in Atlas Shrugged. It has its “Sign of the Cross” in the dollar sign John Galt blesses those going with him.
Actually, it has ‘ruptures’ ~
Again with demeaning language. But Pope Francis - who, as a Cardinal, supported equal rights for gays through civil unions - says we should turn hate into love.
The ‘privileges and immunities’ clauses, one in the main body and the other in the 14th Amendment, do indeed do whatever they do. Thus, Justice Scalia asked the attorney for the homosexual side, when did gay marriage come to be protected by the Constitution, upon the Constitution’s adoption or upon the adoption of the 14th Amendment? Or, when?
I think the attorney missed the ball. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment kicked in as a result of the accumulation of many rewards and punishments to marriage, in the tax code, in Social Security, in the common and statutory law concerning inheritance and guardianship, in the regulation of housing, and I could go on. Exactly when the scale was tipped is unclear, and not particularly important. But, in broad terms, it happened after the government started getting into income taxes (the 17th Amendment), the regulation of adoption (the turn of the 19th into the 20th century), the enactment of the Social Security system (1935), and so forth. In other words, well after the adoption of the Constitution and of the 14th Amendment, when America started down the road of big government.
Getting back to the original point of this discussion - unintended consequences of libertarians - it wasn’t libertarians who lathered in all these rewards and punishments into marriage. I tend to think the lathering in was nobody’s fault, but something we just backed into because we didn’t think it through.
But, now that we are where we are, what is clear is that the libertarian - live and let live position, of not having the government regulating our private lives - would have avoided the mess we’re in.
Ive read your review of libertarians. What’s your take on what the republicans have accomplished and produced since Ike was a general?
The ‘cause’ of disconsolation is simply the federal estate tax and the federal income tax. Eliminate both and the balance of the heavens is reinstated.
Self described Libertarians are turning into the 21st century version of the useful idiots of Stalin’s time.
They just want the government to “get out of” health choices and aka unfettered abortions and open marijuana use, international relations aka gut the military, and personal behavior aka legalize hard drugs all while ignoring christian influence in our founding and stripping God from public life.
They place self worship over God just like the left places Obama worship over God and it’s all to the same ends.
At one time, I could have been on board but I grew-up, stopped hanging around people that just wanted to smoke dope, snort lines, get laid and have abortions. Those people used to be called democrats. I now understand that there are consequences for our actions and no matter what anyone says, I will have to pay for all the great “freedoms” the libertarian democrats dream-up sooner or later.
Because there is no evidence of invidious discrimination, the Supremes should not overreach. Rule narrowly. I’m with you. Don’t overturn Prop 8, but grant the exemption from the estate tax. We can do this. Uphold marriage as one man and one women, and treat all of our people fairly.
They are winning the GOP. Romney was a full supporter of the homosexual agenda and ran on a pro-choice platform, and all current discussions in the culture war seems to be about surrendering conservatism and adopting libertarianism.
Ive read your review of libertarians. Whats your take on what the republicans have accomplished and produced since Ike was a general?
The last century and a half we’ve seen one great president (Coolidge) and one good president (Reagan). The remainders have been so-so at best (Ike) but mostly actively perfidious on behalf of collectivist tyranny.
Political actions/actors accomplish and produce nothing. The best they can do is get out of the way.
Actually I still have pretty strong libertarian tendencies. I was simply arguing that in these three arenas in particular, their prescriptions result in the opposite of the desired outcome.
My sense is that this has never been about “rights” or even contracts. A legal arrangement is fairly easy to establish between any two (or several) competent adults. All they have to do is go in to a lawyers office and draw up contracts declaring each to be the guardian of the other with power of attorney. If I had to formulate a guess, it might be that the practitioners see their own behavioral choices as morally repugnant, biologically irrational, socially malicious, spiritually vapid, and psychologically narcissistic. They are trying to assuage these feelings by mandating that their behavioral choices receive the imprimatur of the society via state sponsorship.
A more principled approach would be to abolish all estate taxes, period. When “gay activists” argue that position, I will indeed change my reactions toward them.
They could even use the Kennedy trick where everything is handed over to a foundation and then they are hired back as board members and employees.
As for foreign policy, understanding that we have to have an exit strategy, that we can't just shoot up foreign countries and then leave, is something that might make us less inclined to intervene abroad.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry when people say we had to go into Iraq to take out Saddam because we didn't do so the first time, but we didn't have to hand around for "nation building."
If we did what they said and just left, they'd be the first to cry for a third intervention to "finish the job" when the next thing went wrong -- and they'd conveniently forget that it was their advice that we'd heeded earlier.
When has intervention by the Fedgov fostered liberty? It only seeks to grow and impose their ideals on the masses while excluding themselves from the consequences.
Also, you speak as if once a "conservative" victory is accomplished, like DOMA, it's settled for good. No, the Fedgov is living in a swamp with ever changing ideals since they, with the blessing of Republicans, have thrown out the bedrock of the constitution (Nixon's New Federalism - EPA, OSHA, etc, Bush's compassionate consertativism - Medicare Rx, DHS, Patriot Act, etc).
So, libertarians want to weaken the military's capacity, but their gutting of it will actually produce a stronger military? I think your straw men are full of weeds.
Usually libertarians astutely see the “thug” aspect of government- it’s a protection racket.
So now they want “freedom” from government’s most ancient succor of marriage but what they will get is less responsibility from government- Chief Og gives no protection to the “property” and still takes the money- and even more money! More welfare and law enforcement is needed in the new society of meaningless ‘marriages’.
Thesis: the breakdown of the family in the last 40 years has resulted in less dependency and government power in America- so finish marriage off!
Who can believe such foolishness?
Like the Hydra- you cut off one power of the government and it grows two more.
I don’t call what will happen an ‘unintended consequence”, I call it what it is- the result of stupidity. Meaning well just doesn’t prevent one from being stupid.
Libertarians want a society of strong families raising strong self-reliant citizens, and as usual do everything they can to prevent it.
A desire for more individual liberty for everyone is a basic human feeling. But it’s very, very hard to realize in this world.
Libertarianism seems to fail because people seek ‘easy’ answers from it. “cut this power of this insitution and we’ll have more freedom!”.
A society of many institutions with powers is, ironically, their best hope. An extreme federalism. Keep the institutions fighting against each other.
That’s what people on FR do, misunderstand libertarianism.
So nobody ever notices that you leave property and RKBA rights off of that list?
That didn’t make sense, the list is complete unto itself.
Why don’t you put some effort in defending the libertarian support for unlimited abortion and open borders and homosexualizing the military and marriage and adoption?
Because that's what you want me to do.