Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Half a Libertarian

I describe myself as a liberal with libertarian leanings. I am attracted to the libertarian position on civil liberties and most cultural/social issues based on the principles of freedom and privacy. What stops me from entirely becoming a libertarian is the other half of it, where they find common cause with conservatives; their embrace of laissez-faire capitalism, their lack of support for safety net provisions for the less fortunate members of society, and the lack of support for universal health care for all citizens, to name a few examples.

It's a shame really, because the libertarians pretty much share my view of legal marriage, which differs from both the liberal and conservative views.

Conservatives believe: Marriage is a sacred covenant for life between one man and one woman only.

Liberals believe: Marriage and its attendant legal benefits should be available to all consenting adults as a basic human right.

Libertarians believe: Marriage is a personal and private relationship between two or more consenting adults of various gender combinations that the government has no business defining or regulating.

The Libertarian Party platform states:

I.9 Sexuality and Gender

The Issue: Politicians use popular fears and taboos to legally impose a particular code of moral and social values. Government regularly denies rights and privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Principle: Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have legitimate authority to define or license personal relationships. Sexuality or gender should have no impact on the rights of individuals.

Solutions: Culture wars, social friction and prejudice will fade when marriage and other personal relationships are treated as private contracts, solely defined by the individuals involved, and government discrimination is not allowed.

Transitional Action: Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state laws and amendments defining marriage. Oppose any new laws or Constitutional amendments defining terms for personal, private relationships. Repeal any state or federal law assigning special benefits to people based on marital status, family structure, sexual orientation or gender identification. Repeal any state or federal laws denying same-sex partners rights enjoyed by others, such as adoption of children and spousal immigration. End the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for sexual orientation. Upgrade all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned solely for such reasons to honorable status, and delete related information from military personnel files. Repeal all laws discriminating by gender, such as protective labor laws and marriage, divorce, and custody laws which deny the full rights of each individual.

Recently, in the context of the same-sex marriage issue, Ron Paul also made a comment that is quite similar to my own position on marriage in general:

"I would like to see all governments out of the marriage question. I don't think it is a state function; it is a religious function. There was a time when only churches dealt with marriage and they determined what it was. But 100 years or so ago for health reasons, they claimed the state would protect us if we knew more about our spouses and did health tests and had to get a license to get married. I don't agree with that."

I agree with him here. It's too bad that I can find little else to agree with him about.



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D.K. said...

I have no problem with government run health care, safety nets, and the amount of government revenue required to provide it, so long as it's kept at the state level.

The problem with having such measures at the federal level is that many people who do not want such government intervention and control of their money and lives would be forced to have it and pay for it.

How do you condone such force?

That's the beauty of keeping such things at the state level. We have 50 state governments that can provide 50 different possibilities and levels of government.

Any number of those governments could provide the kind of universal care and safety nets you are talking about, and they could do it easier if the feds quit meddling in their affairs and controlling their funds.

That kind of focus on the states is something that Ron Paul supports, as well.