e concept that turned me into a Libertarian is morality. What are morals? Where do morals come from? Do we need morals to survive? How can I be moral?
How you answer these questions likely determines where you fall on the political spectrum.
While applying Libertarian morality to most issues generally draws agreement within our ranks, some issues still require debate.
Here are a few:
Women own their bodies, and have the right to do with their property as they please.
But when it comes to abortion, whose body are we talking about?
For a Libertarian to take a principled stance on abortion, the moment personhood is inherited must be understood. We certainly do not allow mothers to terminate pregnancies after birth, so abortion is not really a women’s issue; it’s a personhood issue.
One solution is to declare personhood at the end of the second trimester. This is when a fetus’s lungs start to develop, and viability begins to approach.
Another compromise would be to ban abortions unless a pregnancy is the result of rape. Women who are raped, by definition, do not choose their fate, so they cannot be held accountable for these pregnancies.
Vaccines eradicate disease through very little coercion. And since I do not believe vaccines cause mental illness, so how could I oppose mandatory vaccinations?
It goes back to body ownership. It is immoral to force people to alter their physical selves.
My solution is discrimination. If a proprietor wants to deny access to the unvaccinated, he should have that right. And if an unvaccinated individual ignores the proprietor’s wishes, he should be charged with attempted murder in the second degree.
Stealing is wrong, and taking property without permission is stealing, so mandatory taxation is immoral.
Even so, many of the most fervent anti-taxation warriors would likely fork over a little dough in exchange for the preservation of freedom. I side with Milton Friedman in saying the only two responsibilities of the government are to protect us from foreign and domestic threats. Even for Libertarians, it is difficult to imagine our freedoms being preserved without a military.
The question for a Libertarian is how much we should be forced to pay for our security. While many Libertarians would prefer to cut entitlements than defense, we also despise the excessive military budgets Republicans tend to demand.
The solution is to keep the military stateside unless it’s absolutely necessary for our troops to be deployed. No more occupations in the Middle East, no more military presence in Germany and South Korea, and no more bases in nations all across the globe unless they pay us for our services. We could still provide a large budget for the military in case of war, but what’s left over should be reimbursed.
Man is not defined by his physical attributes or personal preferences, but by the choices he makes in life. The best man for the job should get the job regardless of his appearance or creed, and no group deserves special treatment. The individual must be judged, not the group he belongs to.
Sadly, racism and other forms of prejudice do exist, and they can lead to disaster.
Two Libertarian principles contradict when racism surfaces, the first being the aforementioned colorblind judgment of individuals. The second is the belief that business owners should be allowed to deny service to any person for any reason. Businesses are run by individuals, and individuals have the freedom to associate with whomever they please. If we force businesses to serve people they do not want to serve, we are being Authoritarian, not Libertarian.
Does this means Libertarians should vie to remove all anti-discrimination laws and regulations?
I say we give it a shot. Let us prove that we can be sensible, reasonable people. Besides, a business that accepts all customers and provides opportunity to all prospective employees will have access to a larger market and workforce than one who discriminates. Basic economics should squelch bigotry in the free market.
A large population is financially beneficial to everyone. The more people there are, the more producers there are. If five mechanics can make five widgets in five minutes, how many can 100 produce? And with each widget produced, their affordability becomes friendlier to everyone. Economics is a positive sum game, so the more the merrier.
There are also more brains when populations grow. Two brains have more ideas than one, so advancements are encouraged when more people have the opportunity to engage in the free market.
This all falls apart once freedom is removed. When centrally-planned economic policies are implemented, the benefits of population growth are washed away. As government obtains power over resources, it becomes responsible for rationing them. And since the government cannot produce without first absorbing, economics becomes a negative sum game. Instead of wondering how much we can make, we worry about when it will all run dry.
Aside from the economic dilemma, the more important moral issue exists too: why should the location of one’s birth determine where he may travel or work?
Libertarians don’t discriminate based on traits like national origin. If you’re a good friend, your birthplace doesn’t matter. We’ll be your friend. If you’re a bad worker, you’re ethnicity doesn’t matter. We won’t hire you.
If Libertarianism were the norm in the world, we could solve this problem easily with open borders. You didn’t choose to be born, so you’re not responsible for where your mother happened to be when you exited the womb.
Unfortunately, most of the world is infected with Socialism. As a result, we have to micromanage immigration for the sake of our safety and prosperity.
The Death Penalty
Neither the government nor our peers should be allowed to prevent us from pursuing our dreams, making our own decisions, or being alive. But what should be done with people who show no respect for these Liberties? Does a man who disregards the life of another retain the right to his own?
If so, the death penalty is out of the question. If a man’s life inherently belongs to him, and no other conditions apply, the death penalty is unreasonable.
Some may claim that the death penalty is appropriate for certain crimes because it will prevent future crimes. The problem for Libertarians is that we are not compelled by simple expediency. Ayn Rand would often remark that her philosophy has no intention of doing what is right for all of mankind, it just so happens to work out that way! If free markets and free individuals were not as beneficial to all of humanity as they have proven to be, she would still support Capitalism for its superior morality. Libertarians want righteousness, not easy answers.
As for a solution, this one is tough. To enact the death penalty, the crime must be heinous, done intentionally, and proven to be true way beyond a reasonable doubt.
Regardless, it is my view that a more Libertarian society would minimize all of these issues, and we wouldn’t have to debate them us much. And that’s one reason I fight for Liberty.