Raised with a bleeding heart liberal and staunch conservative republican as parents, the dichotomy of modern American politics was alive and well in my household. As I grew up I developed my own beliefs with a slight trace of influence from Mom or Dad’s side of the fence. For example I have always leaned more socially liberal. I don’t really care what people do to themselves as long as it doesn’t infringe upon my rights or property, or those of anyone else. On the flip-side, I have always been very fiscally conservative, having a keen understanding for money, a nation’s treasury, and the prudence it deserves. That said, my experience growing up into an ever growing, powerful, and over-reaching state has made me embrace the empowerment of the individual. Although I ultimately support a natural balance, I believe so strongly in the individual and have such disdain for the the collective state that I would choose anarchy over its extreme alternative of slave state communism.
The balance lies in nature. We all have our convictions, but I believe as rational freedom loving individualists we can come to a natural point of harmony where we agree on the vital issues, and peacefully agree to disagree on the trivial ones. I present the following controversial subject in an attempt to get those mental gears in motion. I am also thoroughly impressed with Hugh’s reply. I feel he hits the Libertarian principle perfectly. I also resonate with his journey from conservatism to libertarianism as mine was a similar path.
The following is from SurvivalBlog.com
The below commentary is from our friends over at Survival Blog. First a quote was posted as a thought of the day. Then a rebuttal from a reader, and then the reply of Hugh, the editor of SB.
“For libertarians, freedom entails the right of people to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful. For conservatives, freedom entails the right of government to do just about anything it wants, even if its conduct is violent.” – Jacob Hornberger
Letter Re: Hugh’s Quote of the Day
First, I believe the statement is false.
Conservatives have been in the forefront of the efforts to stop ObamaCare, gun control, confiscatory taxes, Common Core, federal government growth, et cetera. Conservatives have been the leaders in the efforts to promote home schooling, protect the right to work, and organize Tea Party events.
On what planet do these efforts to protect liberty by conservatives constitute allowing the “government to do anything it wants, even if its conduct is violent.”?
Second, I believe most of SurvivalBlog.com readers are conservatives, not libertarian-anarchists like Hornberger. Don’t believe me? Just start running articles as to why all drugs should be legal, why homosexuals should marry, why members of the U.S. military are war criminals, and other bilge espoused by Hornberger and his ilk.
As someone very active in the conservative movement for years, it appears to me that you have decided to smear conservatives gratuitously.
Mr. Latimer, you owe an immediate apology to the readers of the blog that your predecessor spent so much effort to develop.
If you really believe that conservatives hate freedom, perhaps you should resign immediately. Your hateful and false rhetoric against most of the blog’s readers is defamation of the worst sort.
Sincerely, – KFB
3. Hugh Replies: I once felt as you do. I defined myself as a conservative (as Sean Hannity says: a “Reagan Conservative”) and I supported government action to enforce moral codes and mandates. However, my eyes were opened when I began to see the government use the authority that I had given them against me in favor of the very things I hated. It was a hard realization to come to– the very government I had empowered to enforce my morals had morphed into a monster that was using the power I gave them to suppress my beliefs. Working harder to reign it in meant giving the government more power, which they then turned against me again. I believe the fracturing of the Republican party that we see now is a result of many people coming to the same realization that I did. They are struggling with a new identity and hesitate to call themselves “libertarians” because of the slander that has been laid against that label in the past, but that is their true belief. They want the government out of their lives.
Let me answer your email in several steps here:
First, please refer to http://survivalblog.com/precepts to understand the direction the blog comes from.
Second, you are upset at me because you have made some over-generalizations about what a libertarian mindset is. It appears that you have bought into the slander that libertarians are all about legal drugs, free sex, anti war, and so forth. Nothing can be further from the truth. While I will not deny that there are those among libertarians that espouse such beliefs, they are not the majority. In fact, most who believe they are “conservative” are in fact “libertarian”; they just can’t quite come to terms with it.
For instance, libertarians are not against a just and moral war; they are against unjust, amoral wars (a category of which most wars this country has fought in recent decades fall into).
Third, conservatives tend to believe in government control and enforcement as long as it aligns with their core beliefs. I present to you “The Patriot Act”, “The War on Terror”, “The War on Drugs”, and these are just a few of the latest debacles in a long stream supported by conservatives. All are anti-constitutional, allowing the government to step outside the bounds that were originally created for it; all produce abuses of individual rights on an unimaginably large magnitude. Even “DOMA” set the stage for the federal government and the Supreme Court to get in on the act of marriage (which is a covenant relationship of which the federal government has absolutely no God-given authority to mess with); the result is that the tide has now turned against conservative issues.
In short, modern conservatives tend to allow the government control over areas that it has no business being in, and then they complain when the government turns that control against them.
Fourth, using a quote from an individual does not mean we agree with the individual’s entire stand on life and all subject matters. There are some individuals that we can find no redeeming quote from, but we have even run quotes from Hillary Clinton in the blog. What is important about the quote is the truth of the statement itself. There is often irony in that the individual who is making the statement is making a statement that is against their general principles (such as the quote from Hillary).
I have not smeared anyone by using this quote. I have only found a quote that states a truth. It is my earnest hope that those who are offended by this quote will re-evaluate their positions and realize that government is NEVER the solution to fixing moral problems. The problems must be managed on the individual level.
As an example, I would point you to the subject of “Prayer removed from the public schools”, which is a favorite issue of “neoconservatives”. The root of the problem is not that prayer has been removed. In fact, if the teacher was Muslim or Buddhist, would you want them leading your child in prayer to a false god? NO! The root of the problem there is two-fold. First, public school is a tenet of Marxism and represents an abandonment of parental authority and responsibility over their own children, therefore, exposing the child to the indoctrination of others. Second, the issue is not prayer but the hearts of those making the rules and leading the prayers as well as the hearts of the people. The ban on school prayer is not a “causation” of issues but a barometer of where the heart of the nation is. Conservatives involving the government to replace prayer would be rudely surprised if they won their fight and then found out that they could do nothing to stop the classroom from indoctrinating their child in a faith that is an abomination to the one true God.
The key word at the center of this controversy: FORCE. Anytime a society puts coercive force in the hands of its own government, then even the peaceable, moral, and law-abiding will eventually end up as the recipients of that force. (Most recently this has come in the form of no-knock 2 A.M. black ski mask SWAT raids on the wrong addresses, either through inept bungling or through intentional “Swatting”.)
The bottom line is that we need less government and more individual responsibility.
In short, SurvivalBlog is a libertarian-leaning blog, but we believe in moral absolutes. We just don’t believe that government is the answer to enforce those absolutes. The enforcement must come from the individual’s heart. We must change hearts to truly change the outcome.
If you must apply labels, you could call us “Christian Libertarians”.
– Hugh J. Latimer (with the concurrence of James Wesley, Rawles)