Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 780, July 20, 2014

The United States government is a police state,
run by maniacs who hate humanity. The United
States government is not civilisation.

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More Misconceptions and Straw Man Arguments
by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Since I have been addressing the misconceptions and straw man arguments made by statists on the left, I think it's about time that I respond to those made by the right. Sometimes I find the logic of the right even more infuriating. One of the concepts that seem to freak conservatives out the most is the legalization of drugs. It's not to say that we don't have a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part conservatives like to treat the opponents of their beloved drug prohibition policies as if they had just been committed to a mental institution.

One of the arguments that conservatives commonly use against drug legalization is that it would encourage more people to use them, which would lead to higher addiction rates. What I always find amusing about conservatives is that for a group of people who claim that they don't trust the government, they sure seem to have absolute blind faith that they are the only ones standing between us and a society full of drug fiends.

If you ask any of the big government conservatives they would tell you that libertarians are nothing more then drug loving libertines. Not surprisingly Bill O' Reilly once called a libertarian guest on his show a libertine bonehead after quoting statistics that showed that most people who try drugs do not become drug fiends. What these people don't seem to realize is that just because we oppose using force to stop people from doing things that may be conceived as harmful to themselves, it doesn't mean that we necessarily approve of what they are doing to themselves. There are legitimate reasons to be against drug abuse, we just believe there is a better way to convoy this message without the use of force or without shredding the vital parts of the Bill of Rights. You know that document that your conservatives claim to hold sacred.

Another thing that seems to get Conservatives' panties into a bunch is our opposition to preemptive wars or intervention into conflicts that have nothing to do with us. They usually call us wimps, cowards, or sometimes use words like selfish or insane to describe our stance on foreign policy. The word they like to throw around the most is "isolationist." This reminds me of my favorite quote from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, "I don't think the word means what you think it means." We libertarians believe in this thing called free trade with other nations, which is not only the polar opposite of isolationism, but is something that actually helps prevent war. War in reality is an obstacle to free trade between nations, which ironically leads to isolationism. Frankly, I am sick of people throwing this word around without even knowing what it means.

Here is a good one from the great conservative intellectual giant, Ann Coulter. "You libertarians are so concerned with things like the legalization of pot because you want to suck up to your liberal friends. Why don't you just tell them how you feel about gay marriage why you're at it?" Personally, I have always had mixed feelings about Ann Coulter. On one hand I have always enjoyed watching her tear into the left, but then there are times when she says things that I can't believe anybody with a brain can honestly say with a straight face. One of those things is her fundamental ignorance of libertarianism, which isn't much different from her ignorance of evolution. The fact that she can accuse libertarians of wanting to appease statists on the left, shows her ignorance just as much as saying that Darwin's Theory of Evolution encourages people to smother their grandmas in their sleep (yes, she actually said something like this).

Another misconception this woman seems to have was that Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson because he was too pure of a libertarian. She brings this up in her book, Mugged, where she also calls Goldwater an abortion loving libertarian. I think I will start with Goldwater being a pure libertarian. I laughed hysterically when I first read that line. Barry Goldwater is respected by many libertarians for being one of the few congressmen who tried to turn the tide against big government, but he was far from being a libertarian. For one thing, he was a war-monger who had once advocated using nuclear weapons on the North Vietnamese. LBJ and his cronies would later use this against Goldwater when they created an attack ad that featured a pretty little girl smelling a flower, while a mushroom cloud appeared in the background. If I were a betting man, I would put more money on this being the cause of his defeat then being a "pure libertarian."

As for the part about him being an abortion-loving libertarian, as I have said before on the issue of drugs, just because you may tolerate something, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are in love with it. Even though I believe abortion should remain legal, I have never liked the idea of somebody treating it as a form of birth control or having it funded on the tax payers' dime. The reason why most libertarians believe that abortion should remain legal is for the same reason why they believe drugs should be legal. We believe that we are sovereign over our own bodies and that nobody has the right to use force to stop us from doing what we wish with them.

Conservatives also complain about the libertarian support of gay marriage, which they feel is a war on traditional marriage. In reality we actually believe that the government should stay out of marriage. Unfortunately conservatives seem to think that if we allow gay marriage, then western civilization will collapse. They also tell us that there is some big conspiracy created by the left to destroy all traditional family units in the United States and that Gay Marriage is part of it. Assuming that this is true, it still doesn't make sense. By keeping gay people from having legitimate marriages aren't they actually preventing family units from being created? Wouldn't that actually get in the way of family values? I guess the right believes that they should be the only ones with the power to define family values.

The sad truth is that many conservatives will never understand the concept of true freedom. They still believe that they have a right to control some aspects of somebody's life whether it's what we can put into our own bodies or any union between consenting adults. Despite what they claim, they believe that people are like children who can't be trusted with freedom. Then they complain when they don't get our support on Election Day.

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