James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Unhyphenated Libertarianism

I think I have settled on the description/slogan for this blog, which has been up for almost a week: “For peace, privacy, and economic liberty.”

By peace, I mean that there are innumerable reasons to live, very, very few causes to die for, and even fewer causes to kill for (resisting attack and … ?).

By privacy, I mean the freedom to buy what you want, do what you want in your own home, and associate with whomever you please, without anyone’s (especially the government’s) knowledge or harassment.

By economic liberty, I mean the freedom to make as much money as you want and can - again, without anyone’s (especially the government’s) knowledge or harassment.

It is not just because I “believe” in these things intellectually, it is that I want these things, for myself and for others. Intellectual resources from philosophy, economics, and law aid in fleshing these things out. Natural rights theory and utilitarianism both provide invaluable arguments. Maxims like the non-aggression principle, and doctrines like subsidiarity, secession, and Just War Theory are things to embrace. History and logic demonstrate the incompetence and corruption of the State.

But such resources and arguments are means to the end. My libertarianism is not founded on an exact philosophical definition of “liberty” or “rights,” from which all my policy positions flow. Neither is “Liberty” a religion for me. I’m not a crusader for it, for whom “Live free or die” is not a motto but a threat (going to war to advance any religion always contradicts the ethics of that religion, and most of all when the “religion” is Liberty). Nor, as my PO article today demonstrates, am I all that concerned the other way, on fighting over every matter of principle or doctrine. Compared to war, the police state, and socialism, the NEA and the Ten Commandments in courthouses don’t look like very big deals.

So, in the end, I call myself a libertarian because I want peace, privacy, and economic liberty.

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