Charlie's Blog: Why I Am Not a Libertarian


Why I Am Not a Libertarian

Well, if flip answers could win victory for libertarianism, we would have been in power long ago.

Recently, the libertarians threw a state election costing a conservative the win and allowing the progressive to take office with a less than 1% margin of victory. The libertarians celebrated this. This loss for liberty was a "win" for their side and philosophy. This would be like cheering a Chinese communist invasion of the USA because it would mean the end of power in Washington, DC. Someone needs to tell these libertarians that a conservative loss is not a libertarian win.

I used to be a libertarian, and I have done what these libertarians have done. I couldn't bring myself to vote for Mitt Romney, and the four extra years of Obama made me wish that I had voted for Romney. I was all about "principle" back then, and I am reminded of my principled stand every time I have to deal with Obamacare and my health insurance. I didn't vote for Obamacare. But when I failed to support Romney, I did. I won't ever make the same mistake again.

When I voted for Trump, it was only for one reason. I didn't want Hillary to win. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat from the nightmare that Hillary Clinton had won the election. When Trump won, I felt an emotional high that lasted until 2018 when the Democrats took back the House. I was just happy that Hillary wasn't president. As for Trump, he has exceeded my expectations. He makes George W. Bush look like a Democrat.

Why did I ever become a libertarian? And why am I not a libertarian now? I have to go all the way back to the nineties to tell the tale.

In my twenties, I was a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican. I loved Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan. I was basically then what I am now. This is why I tell people that I am a born again conservative because I strayed down the libertarian path for a decade only to return to my senses. Why did I take the libertarian detour? Basically, I became an atheist, and this move unsettles other things in your worldview.

The heart and soul of conservatism is the Christian religion. This might not be so obvious because of the decadent lifestyles of some conservatives. But whether they live up to or fail to live up to what they believe, the beliefs of conservatives derive from Christianity as Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization. The political order is an extension of the moral order. Conservatives get around this glaring fact by appeals to "tradition" and the "permanent things." This is just so much beating around the bush. Those traditions and permanent things are Christian things.

Why not be explicit about this? The answer to that is obvious. Conservatives prefer not to fight over religion. Fighting over religion is a Protestant thing, and it is why so many have sought to separate religion from politics. But a conservative does not have to appeal to the Roman Catholic Church or the teachings of any particular sect because the political order merely needs a belief in God and the Ten Commandments to function. This is why so many devout Jews like Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro find themselves on the right wing side of politics. This is why so many conservatives use the term "Judeo-Christian."

I've known this relationship between conservatism and religion my entire life. I believed that a belief in God and a moral sensibility were required for a republic to function properly. I still believe that today. But when I stopped believing in God, my conservatism lost its foundation. This is how I would become a libertarian.

Libertarians are fundamentally atheist. Naturally, many libertarians who believe in God would disagree with me. Yet, you have to agree that there is a wide difference between Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Ron Paul is a passionate pro-lifer and a Christian. Gary Johnson claimed to believe in God, but his God did not belong to any particular religion. Gary Johnson is pro-choice and a known pot smoker. His personal life and politics reflect his beliefs.

Libertarianism is based upon an abstraction known as "liberty." Now, Christians believe in liberty, and atheists can believe in liberty. This is why you find both in libertarian circles. You even have traditional Latin Mass Catholics among the ranks of the libertarians. I think these people are locked in a perpetual philosophical conflict, but I will save that discussion for later.

When I lost my Calvinist faith and slid into atheism for over a decade, I was not ready to embrace left wing politics and Marxism. Most atheists do this. This is why the Democrat Party has taken on such a secular anti-Christian tone as it slides ever leftward. Now, I knew Marxism was garbage. I couldn't unlearn what I had learned as a conservative. Socialism and communism always fail and leave a trail of bodies behind them. I also knew that capitalism has created the most wealthy and prosperous civilization in human history. I could lose my faith in God, but I could never lose my faith in the marketplace. Capitalism works.

Libertarians are passionate free market capitalists. It was a no-brainer for me. I stopped reading National Review and start reading Reason. I learned all I could about economics. I just changed my mind on abortion and the drug war and other things. Libertarianism was a better fit for me as an atheist than conservatism. Plus, I felt more hip as a libertarian. I knew we were never going to win public office, but we had fun making jokes about the ones who did. On a personal level, I didn't feel the need to preach anymore against decadent lifestyles of sexual immorality and substance abuse.

The politics of libertarianism also had an effect on my morals. I went from the Golden Rule of doing positive good for others to the Silver Rule of non-aggression against others. This allowed me to ignore the plight of suffering people in good conscience. There was one problem with this. Many of those suffering people were suffering because of bad government. I was ready to fight for my liberty. But would I fight for the liberty of others? The fact that so many libertarians are against military conscription and are averse to military service should give you your answer. The reality is that most libertarians are all too happy to huddle under the protective umbrella of conservatism while doing little to nothing to support conservative efforts.

The reality is that libertarians are just a bunch of snarky smart asses good at debating over a bong. Except for economic data for their free market arguments, most libertarian arguments are theory and not practice. When libertarianism is put into practice, it fails. If you doubt this, look at the high number of opioid deaths we have today. Opioids are effectively the legalization of a hard drug. The ubiquity of pornography has led to the rise of criminal forms of pornography and human trafficking. The libertarian will argue that he is fine with immorality but opposes criminality as if the two were not joined at the hip.

One of the fundamental flaws I experienced with libertarianism is its inability to acknowledge the inherent wickedness of human nature. To believe in minimal or zero government, you have to believe people are inclined to the good and merely need the unfettered freedom to exercise that good. This would have a very negative effect on me and my relationships. I developed friendships with people I never would have tolerated as a Christian. That stupidity would help me to develop the most valuable life skill which I still practice today. I began removing bad people from my life for no other reason than self-preservation. In my thinking, I was a libertarian. In practice, I was moving back to conservatism.

Morality and freedom go together because of the fundamental observation in The Federalist Papers that there is no liberty without self-government. Immoral people can't be free. I tried to deny this as a libertarian, but my experience taught me that this is true. And those who are in power find their jobs are made easier by religion. Vladimir Putin is no saint or even a good guy, but he gets it. Putin has claimed that Christianity is the foundation of Russia, and he has done a lot to promote Orthodox Christianity among the Russian people. This is quite a turn considering he was a former commie and KGB guy.

When I was a Calvinist, I had a profoundly negative view of human nature. I think it was overdone, but it did prevent me from ever becoming a libertarian. People were too wicked to ever be totally free. But this negative view of humanity served to protect me from a lot of bad people even if it kept me from making friends with a lot of good people. When I lost my faith, I lost my Calvinism and became naive as a consequence regarding human nature. I was changing in my thinking, but human nature does not change.

When I converted to Roman Catholicism, I was still a libertarian. I hadn't thought that far ahead. I just learned where I was mistaken as a Protestant, a Calvinist, and an atheist. Those mistakes were corrected when I was received into the Church in 2013. I've done a lot of reading and study since then.

I was aware that there are Catholics who are libertarians. There are also Catholics who are Democrats and even Marxists. What can I say about these people? They are idiots and hypocrites. They practice the bifurcated Catholicism of Mario Cuomo who didn't let his personal beliefs interfere with his politics. Libertarians who are Catholics practice a similar sort of mental bifurcation.

The fundamental belief of the bifurcation is that Catholicism does not apply to reality or to other people. It might be wrong for me to view pornography, but I am supposed to think it is perfectly alright for you to view pornography and even defend your right to do this. In essence, you have the natural right to do that which is wrong. This is insanity.

One of the greatest mental hang ups I had as a libertarian was trying to defend the inherent right to liberty. Libertarians boldly declare the inalienable and natural rights to life, liberty, and property. But without an appeal to natural law and God, this amounts to building a house with no foundation suspended in mid-air. Libertarian atheists like Stefan Molyneux try to rebuild on a secular foundation of "universally preferable behavior" except that it is nonsense. I first heard this argument as an atheist libertarian, and I knew that it was nonsense then even though I was hoping that it wasn't.

Human liberty is a human right because God exists. When God's existence is denied, you get Stalin. Atheistic materialist libertarianism is just a pit stop on that path to tyranny. This is why leftists will champion free speech until they get into power where they always rescind this free speech as they are doing on college campuses now. Once human rights are reduced to human preferences, they are subject to change. The universal human preference is for tyranny and evil. Stefan Molyneux is laughably wrong.

The logic of it all is very simple. To believe in human rights, you must appeal to morality. To appeal to morality, you must appeal to God. And when you appeal to God, you must acknowledge your need for obedience to God. Liberty is simply the freedom to do what God allows and commands. Unfortunately for libertarians, this does not include viewing pornography, paying for prostitutes, or smoking dope.

This fundamental logical contradiction in libertarianism is what makes it the fringe idea of a group of armchair academics who are condemned to never having power. This is why libertarians will always poll in the single digits and never gain high elected office. People know a logical contradiction when they smell it. You can either embrace God and have liberty as a conservative. Or, you can reject God and embrace tyranny as a progressive. But you can't reject God while embracing liberty.

The God question is why you see many libertarians defecting to either the left wing or the right wing. Bill Maher is an atheist and was a libertarian once upon a time. He is now effectively a progressive and a Democrat. As for Ron Paul and his son Rand, they are Christians and fundamentally conservatives. In theory, they defy Russell Kirk but embrace him in practice. Both men are pro-life.

There is no liberty without God. Once you acknowledge this fundamental truth, this makes you a conservative. Christianity is what makes liberty possible because it gives us the basis for liberty while giving us the virtues necessary to practice it and preserve it. We need God in order to be free. And the laboratory of human history and experience validates what I am saying while both libertarians and progressives live in fantasy worlds of paper utopias.

The reason I am not a libertarian is a simple one. I made contact with reality. Conservatism is reality based politics. Anarchy leads to tyranny. Order leads to liberty. A religious society is an ordered society. A society of atheists descends into anarchy or tyranny. Libertarians argue for the anarchy. Progressives argue for the tyranny.

I am a born again conservative. For those readers who are libertarians, I would encourage you to embrace reality. Put away Ayn Rand and read some history books. Those cultures and societies that enjoyed the greatest liberty and prosperity were Christian societies. The Enlightenment and libertarianism were late on the scene and lived on the borrowed capital of what preceded it before giving birth to the tyranny of Karl Marx. If libertopia ever comes to be, it will come from conservatism and will immolate itself as soon as it denies its paternity. That is essentially what happened to me in my personal experience as a libertarian.

I share my tale of defection from libertarianism and a return to conservatism because I detect that some people might be tempted by what libertarianism has to offer. Libertarianism is growing in numbers and influence, but this only serves to help progressives and Democrats while hurting conservatives and Republicans. The appeal of libertarianism is fundamentally a sex appeal. Why be a boring conservative when you can be a hip libertarian? For many, the politics as fashion thing wears off when you leave college, start a family, take a job, and start paying on a mortgage. Adulthood has probably done more to damage libertarianism than any argument I can make.

I will be a conservative until the end of my days. It can be a tough sell because conservatism isn't what you prefer. It is what you accept. There is no utopia in conservatism. There is only harsh reality with a hope for Heaven after you die. But if you can accept that reality, you can keep this country from turning into hell. And that's all I am working for today. I am trying to keep this country from going to hell.