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AlbertJayNock

Libertarianism & Social Liberalism

I have not read, or even purchased, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch's Declaration Of Independents. But I have been following the debate it has sparked. The first volley (as far as I know) was fired by David Gordon in his review of the book. He complains there, and in a later column, about Gillespie and Welch's linking of libertarianism and social liberalism. The latest person to weigh in has been tokenlibertariangirl, who posted the following on youtube:



I am squarely on the side of TLG and David Gordon in this debate. A libertarian society is one where people are allowed to snort coke and bugger each other OR NOT. It's also a society where the abstainers from cocaine and buggery are free to express their disapproval.

I admire the way TLG makes her case, but she could have gone even further. She makes a good argument  that social conservatism can be compatible with libertarianism, but she doesn't really address how social liberalism can interfere with liberty as much as  social conservativism can.

James Antle, in his review in the American Spectator, makes this point very well. He recalls a panel discussion he was in with Gillespie
about the conflicts between liberterianism and conservativism. Gillespie cited, as evidence that America is a freer country than it used to be, that it's easier now for an unmarried couple to check into a hotel than it used to be.

But what of the hotel owner whose moral beliefs wouldn't allow him to rent a room to an unmarried couple? In a free society, he wouldn't have to rent them the room. Of course, he also couldn't  forcibly keep them from going somewhere else.  But his freedom of conscience should be given as much weight as the couples sexual freedom. Antle points to the hypothetical couple and asks "When freedom and tolerance conflict, which is more important?".

This is admittedly a tough question. But not if your movement is about giving everybody more freedom. Tolerance would have to lose. If Gillespie truly believs that tolerance is more important, he should call himself a toleratarian, not a libertarian.

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