Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Daily Snark 7/7

This is a piece by a conservative. One can tell, because the author has a limited understanding of libertarian thought. True, New York's action in legalizing gay marriage is a government action, but it is one of the few throughout history to expand personal freedom for thousands rather than continue the contraction of liberty. To the extent the author has a legitimate point, it is in that the government ought not to be in the marriage business at all.

Of course, this is not actually the author's point. He says:

New York State notwithstanding, the argument over marriage will and must continue, because it touches first principles of democratic governance — and because resistance to the agenda of the gay-marriage lobby is a necessary act of resistance against the dictatorship of relativism, in which coercive state power is used to impose on all of society a relativistic ethic of personal willfulness.
Er, no. This sums up why I no longer consider myself a conservative. I believe that there are a multiplicity of goods, rather than one concept of "the good." Those goods can be mutually exclusive. Different things will make different people happy at different points throughout their lives; there is no objectiveness in what is good for people. That said, people should be left alone to do as they like, so long as they respect the life, liberty, and property of others.

Allowing other people to do as they like does not impose anything on me, or you, or the author, or anyone else.

The task of a just state is to recognize and support this older, prior social institution; it is not to attempt its redefinition. To do the latter involves indulging the totalitarian temptation that lurks within all modern states: the temptation to remanufacture reality.

The task of the just state is to protect our natural liberties. It strikes me as insane to believe the state exists to continue social institutions. The institution of marriage as society sees it has changed to include homosexuals. It is the opponents of gay marriage who are attempting to remanufacture reality and indulge a totalitarian temptation by imposing their understanding of marriage on others.

Government exists no more to reinforce outdated social institutions and mores than it exists to impose new ideas. Government ought to impose no ideas on peaceful people but rather let them go and live their lives as they see fit.

More than anything, I am amused by the author's indignation at libertarians for not opposing this "relativism." Clearly, he has never read Hayek, or von Mises, or Rothbard, or John Stuart Mill, or any of the other leading lights in the libertarian camp. The entire reason liberty is important is because there is no objective, proven way of living life best. Liberty gives each of us the breadth of decisions to make our own lives according to our own subjective goals. Link

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