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L. Neil Smith's
Number 466, May 4, 2008

"LP Abandons Libertarianism"

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Sometimes One Size Does Fit All
by A.X. Perez

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Teenage couples have a tendency to make out between classes. Teachers are expected to be sensitive to kids' feelings while making sure their displays of affection don't trigger a fire alarm. I generally handle this by loudly announcing that true love is beautiful but not an excuse for being tardy to class. Youngsters break it up, the legitimacy of their feelings is validated while they are prevented from exceeding the "limits of decency," and everyone makes it to class on time.

A while back a couple of young ladies were expressing their affection towards each other between classes:

Perez: True love is a beautiful thing but it's not an excuse for being late to class.
Young lady A: But we're lesbians!
Perez: And that's still not an excuse for being late to class.
Young ladies get startled look and move on to class.

Straight or gay kids have the same right to display affection in public, be spared from watching their classmates display affection in public, and the same obligation to make it to class on time. They have the right to be protected by the same rules, as well as the obligation to obey the same rules and thus show respect for the rights of others. The young ladies in question expected to be censured for being gay or to be extended special privileges because they were gay. They did not expect to be told they had the same rights and obligations as everyone else, and were not sure how to react when they were told that was the case.

As long as people fear persecution or expect preferential treatment because of race, religion, nationality, gender, gender preference, handedness or whatever freedom is not safe. As long as protecting people's rights is a matter of competition between people of different races, religions, etc. instead of people living together in harmony freedom is not safe.

Currently governmental bureaucracies often favor the second viewpoint. This creates jobs for them as the arbiters of who gets which privileges or denied which privileges.

The mentality that one group can only enjoy its rights if others are denied or forced to take restriction on theirs threatens our freedom in two ways. It creates an atmosphere in which people's rights are violated and people who should be living together in harmony are forced to act like enemies. Just as dangerously, it creates a pretext for those who would enslave us to intrude into our lives.


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