The social conservative roots of libertarianism

American Spectator calls it in http://www.spectator.org/blog/2008/11/26/defining-libertarianism-down#comment_9117 “Defining Libertarianism down”. It’s a snarky commentary on a Reason article – http://reason.com/news/show/129993.html – that curiously is declaring victory for libertarians in the midst of possibly the greatest retrenchment towards socialism and biggest expansion of Governmental power expansion since, er, the New Deal; after all, the new powers-that-be are all making 1930s analogies.

The snark is well-deserved, since the advance of freedom is basically proxied by the advance of prosperity, the advance of individualism, and cultural trends that Bork called “slouching towards Gomorrah”. Never mind that China’s one party state is more prosperous. The glorification misses the Elephantine Government in the room: Global UN Government; larger Federal powers; no abatement of socialism; education that is worse than ever and consists of further indoctrination into left-multi-cultural follies; ongoing racial spoils. As AmSpec put it: This means that when Obama-Daschle bring socialized medicine to America, I’ll still get to order a chai latte and update my Facebook status to read: “We’re screwed!”

As one key indicator of the tin-ear of libertarian self-congratulations, the Reason article celebrated the legal abortion-on-demand as one of those ‘liberating’ experiences that signalled the advance of libertarianism:

By the end of the 1970s, the Civil Aeronautics Board was in the dustbin of history, sharing much-deserved space with price controls, the reserve clause, and back-alley abortions.

So in their book, liberty is advanced by denying the most fundamental right – life – to the most helpless of humanity, the unborn. Well, doesn’t that beat all. Get thee to a declaration of independence, libertarians!

I’ve come to understand that (l)Libertarians who go around hating social conservatives are like teenagers who diss their parents. Thirty years later, they will find out that they are actually rebelling against the roots of who they really are. I was a teenaged libertarian once, thanks to a well-timed reading of Ayn Rand and others, but as I grew and matured, I understood that freedom unmoored from its foundational moral roots is like a house built on sand. (Matthew 7:26 in case you didn’t know.)

The common complaint from the libertarian side, in discussions about the Republican party, is to get rid of the social conservatives and to view them not as ideological siblings, but as something entirely different, an alien and hostile force. For example, this comment was made at AmSpec on line:


“In fact, Republicans today, especially at AmSpec, seem to relish the cultural conservatism of the religious right.”

And why not!?! The most reliable conservatives in Congress are invariably also social conservative Christian members. Check the pedigree of men like Tancredo, Coburn, etc. The Catholic church is standing up for the one fundamental and un-compromisable right – the right to life – while the Libertarian Party wallows the pitiable folly of ‘choice’ to kill humans.The church also was instrumental in standing up against Communist rule in Poland, helping Solidarity, and thereby putting the cracks in the Soviet empire that made it crumble.

Meanwhile, here is what 30 years of Libertarian Party activism has wrought: Liberal Democrats winning some close elections they would have lost and NOTHING ELSE.

The Natural Law, a concept that grew out of Christian philosophy, is the moral foundation of liberty. Christian underpinnings of conservatism inform us that man is a creature of God and life is sacred, that there is a higher authority besides Government, that there is a right and a wrong and a difference between the two, that the ends do not justify the means, that rules/laws must be followed (“render unto Caesar”), etc.

Libertarians are right to love freedom, are on the correct side of history when it comes to the power and prosperity-generation of free markets and free enterprise. Yet they are wrong to miss the necessary context of freedom for civilization to survive – the moral context. They are wrong to disavow the ancestral values and moral temperment that birthed that concept and gave it shape. The roots of libertarianism are social conservative roots and the soil it grew in was Christian soil.

Also posted at http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/