Tim Nerenz explains the difference among libertarians in the headline:
Libertarians are often described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but many of us prefer the term “neutral”, especially when liberals are prone to go fascist over things like someone expressing a personal opinion they don’t’ like. Our attitude about social legislation is the same as most other legislation – we don’t like legislation.
This is often wrongly construed, especially by conservatives, as an endorsement of vice, but the libertarian objection to criminalizing choice is not about sin, it is about crime. Specifically, it is the rejection of the notion that government can invent a crime when there is no victim.
Who is the victim when I possess a firearm, or if I carry one without a government permission slip? That is a victimless crime – and we oppose laws that restrict our right to keep and bear arms.
Who is the victim if you offer me work at $7.00 per hour and I accept your offer of my own free will? That is a victimless crime – and we object to minimum wage and all other laws that restrict our right to work.
Who is the victim when a farmer sells milk directly to a consumer? That is a victimless crime – and we stand against laws that prevent choice in the market.
We have come down to prosecuting lemonade stands and roll your own shops, banning chicken sandwiches, hounding hair braiders, fining the uninsured, and programming aerial drones to seek out insurgents holding large cups of pop. Ok, that last one was exaggerated, but you get the point.
The list of victimless crimes can go on for pages without ever having to get into the juicy stuff, but it is when we confront the lurid that liberty’s mettle is sorely tested. Freedom to choose demands the courage to let some people choose badly some of the time.
If prostitution is the price to pay to have free markets, we are better off to tolerate the whores. If pornography is the price we have to pay to insure that we can always buy “Atlas Shrugged”, then the presence of smut merchants is oddly comforting. The risk of addiction is preferable to government choosing our intoxicants for us.
Tolerance of vice is necessary because the alternative is intolerable – when government can concoct victims at will, or assign victimhood unto itself, then it can justify any action it takes. It has, it does, and it will.
As is often observed, everything Adolf Hitler did was lawful; the millions he killed were criminals according to laws he enacted to “protect the German people”. The only reason a maniac like Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t ban everything he doesn’t like and force you to buy everything he does like is because he can’t. Any reasonable person should like to keep it that way. …
The growing power of the Tea Party rests upon its focus on economic liberty, fiscal responsibility, and allegiance to our Constitution. Those priorities unite conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists, free-thinkers, independents, Republicans and many Democrats who believe in individual rights and individual responsibility – and yes, there are many of them.
It is an unbeatable electoral coalition that can only be defeated if it is divided – and social issues are the liberals’ only hope of dividing us. That’s why they keep fabricating one phony civil liberty “crisis” after another as the election approaches – abortion, contraception, gay marriage, illegal immigration, chicken sandwiches.
There are as many different beliefs about virtue and vice as there are Americans to hold them; that is the diversity that makes us a great nation, not some arbitrary herd assignment based on skin color, genital configuration, or ancestry. God decided to gift us with moral free agency, not the Libertarian Party; His is the higher law we are commanded to follow and His is the judgment we must accept when it comes to sin and salvation. Secular government should stay in its lane.