Libertarianism and Me

You may perceive in my recent essays and remarks a tendency to argue against libertarian positions. If you’ve known me very long, this may surprise you, since I’ve long taken libertarian arguments very seriously. I’m sympathetic to the libertarian instinct because I share many aspects of it in my personality: I’m very independent, have always liked to go my own way and do my own thing. (To a fault: if something’s popular, if everyone who’s hip is wearing it, listening to it, eating it, etc, I have a strong instinct to immediately run off and do the opposite, since cliques, to me, since childhood, have represented oppressive communities that, in their own way, demand deference to their codes, behaviors, and aesthetics just as thoroughly as the dogmatic and hierarchical religious community I was brought up in. My libertarian instincts are so strong, in fact, they tend run amok, and I have to chase them down to rein them in constantly! Pesky things!)

Yet, as I’ve studied and closely examined my positions and beliefs, I’ve found that many of those arguments I took seriously and even espoused, such as the position that morality is a personal matter and not a societal or governmental one, or that individual considerations are separate from and always take precedence over the desires and needs of the many, are flawed or entirely incorrect. My recent tendency to argue against libertarianism, then, is not based on a desire to pick on this philosophical and political viewpoint, or that I think it’s worse than all others. Rather, I’m sharing with you aspects of my own journey, and where I am so far when it comes to my endeavor of seriously considering each philosophical school and each argument, on its own merits, before I accept it, discard it, or keep in in mind for future consideration if I don’t have enough information on hand to make a sound judgement.

So there you go. I’m very fond of you libertarians in many ways, and agree with you more in instinct and sympathy than I do in logic. It’s a mark of my affection and respect that I wrangle, so often, with your arguments.

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