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Why we can't be libertarian

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There is a definite allure for libertarianism within the conservative movement. It would be quite easy to become one. Honest. So why shouyld we conservatives not sign on?

A handful of critically important issues, for starters. As a group, libertarians support abortion. They don't care for an aggressive foreign policy either, and although they may quite compelling arguments it's difficult to come around on the drug questions. Further, and this will sound very odd considering the source, they seem to have too much of a distrust of government. Like it or not, there are things which only a government can do. Keeping order, for one, and keeping potential enemies at bay with the aggressive measures necessary. Roads jump into the front of the mind as well. Yet libertarians are likely as not all right, at least in essence, on those subjects. The root problem with libertarianism as it stands today is the belief that the individual is the final arbiter of morality, the one who sets the standard for right and wrong.

No individual can hold this kind of power. We are not talking about the individual's right or ability to choose for himself among reasonable options, but you must notice that even that idea, the one on which we certainly base our freedoms, implies that our options must be reasonable and that therefore what makes our choices right is in fact something beyond our wishes. But the fact is that, on a practical level, wholly or entirely individual interpretation of right and wrong invites anarchy or worse: a might makes right society. Then on a philosophic level, it begs one very important question: if I, as an individual, can make up my own mind about people and things, why should I ever listen to you? No progress can be made from such a starting point in ethics, which certainly means nothing can be done in any other area either.

If libertarians were to admit that it is not the individual (or that weak sister, consensus) which dictates what can and cannot be true, that justice and rightness exist beyond the person and having a being of their own, we may reconsider libertarianism as a creed. Until then, they are as bad as liberals: they want what they want because they want it. It is a poor substitute for critical thought on critical issues.`

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