I was going to post this as a comment in Miguel’s post, but I decided instead to make a post of my own.
I used to be one of you. Really, I was. That was my crazy college politics. I didn’t go socialist, I went Libertarian.
As I got older and more learned, and I talked with Libertarians I realized I couldn’t be one of you anymore.
There are large parts of the Libertarian platform that I totally agree with. There are some aspects of Libertarianism that, while it sounds great as a thought experiment, is totally impractical. Then there are some parts that are amoral or even immoral ideological horseshit.
It is in those last two that I left Libertarianism.
I will concede all the Libertarian points on individual rights. Any regular readers of this blog should know my feelings on that.
I’m going to focus this post on the impractical and immoral aspects.
The first big issue I had with Libertarians is the “holocaust question.” It is the hypothetical, “if you knew about the holocaust in 1937, what would you have done about it.” I get a lot of Libertarians who answer “that was not our problem, that was for the Germans and German Jews to sort out.”
That is pure evil.
I agree that we should not be in the business of nation building, but if we can’t protect targeted minorities from extermination, e.g., the Jews in Germany, the Copts in Egypt, the Yzidi in Iraq and Syria, we cannot call ourselves a moral nation in any way. I cannot stand idly by and watch a minority be persecuted and say “that’s not my problem.”
We can have all sorts of discussions on how to address these humanitarian crises, but if you are of the side of “they didn’t attack us so we’re not going to intervene in a genocide” the conversation is over and your soul is garbage.
That immorality leads us to the next stage of Libertarianism, “the Laetrile question.” For those of you who are unaware, laetrile was the trade name of a compound called amygdalin. It was sold as a side effect free cure for breast cancer. Thousands of women died using it rather than getting chemo.
I have talked to many Libertarians who address laetrile with the answer “if those women are so dumb that they would take a hoax drug, let them die.”
I understand the free market idea that if a product doesn’t work, it will get a bad reputation and people won’t buy it anymore. That’s fine… when people are rational actors and the cost of people discovering it doesn’t work isn’t dying of a treatable condition.
I’ve had cancer. When you get that diagnosis, it scares you. Women who were faced with the suffering of chemo and mastectomies chose laetrile out of fear. They were not rational actors, they were panic buyers and were taken advantage of. It is the same reason I disagree with John Stossel on anti-profiteering laws. After a hurricane, jacking up the price of water or other necessities to take advantage of panicky people is wrong.
The free market works well over the long term when people can compare and contrast prices and services and supply and demand can react to the market. When there is a sudden upset in the market, like a natural disaster or something that causes a person to panic, the free market breaks down.
I apply this same principle to monopolies and trusts. Without competition, there is no free market.
Regulations to stop unscrupulous people from taking advantage of the frightened and panicking, selling fake cancer drugs to terrified women or water for $100/gal after a hurricane, are worthwhile as they add stability to society. I agree with Alexander Hamilton, America works best with a mostly free market, keeping the fraud, monopolies, and hucksters at bay.
If you are fine with letting the holocaust happen because it’s not our problem and you are fine with traveling medicine shows selling bottled morphine and piss as “Dr. McGillicutty’s universal cure-all” because the free market allows it, we’re done here.
If on the other hand, some of what I say makes sense, some regulations are good, some intervention in foreign affairs is a benefit to humanity, welcome to the world of Small Government Conservatism.
We really could use you in the Republican Party to push back against the GOP establishment that has forgotten our small government principles.
I promise you, you will do more good being a Republican pushing the party internally than being a Libertarian and being associated with the kooks who want nothing more than to smoke tax free pot while the world burns.
Think about it.