1997-07-23 - Re: Fight-each-other

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From: Nobody <nobody@rigel.cyberpass.net>
To: Cypherpunks List <cypherpunks@cyberpass.net>
Message Hash: 77e30c451395028ecb4604eb8cc74b3e37768c40ebed15850f6be491d7fe029c
Message ID: <97Jul22.220455edt.32257@brickwall.ceddec.com>
Reply To: <199707221715.NAA30596@jafar.issl.atl.hp.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-23 02:14:47 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 10:14:47 +0800

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From: Nobody <nobody@rigel.cyberpass.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 10:14:47 +0800
To: Cypherpunks List <cypherpunks@cyberpass.net>
Subject: Re: Fight-each-other
In-Reply-To: <199707221715.NAA30596@jafar.issl.atl.hp.com>
Message-ID: <97Jul22.220455edt.32257@brickwall.ceddec.com>
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Regarding the subject, Q.E.D.

On Tue, 22 Jul 1997, Jeff Barber wrote:

> > Grover Norquist has coined the term "The Leave-us-alone Coalition" that
> > simply wants the government out of everything they have no constitutional
> > authority to be in.  They perceive government as an intrinsic evil and the
> > only thing that should be done is to slay the dragon.  I would number
> > Eagle Forum and the Progress and Freedom Foundation in this group.
> Sure, *they* want to be left alone, but I wouldn't trust these
> groups to leave the rest of us alone.  They'll want to make sure
> that we're not ingesting any controlled substances, and that we're
> not shacking up with an unmarried partner, and that we're not peeking
> at porn or engaging in "abnormal" sexual practices, and that we pray
> to the right god at the right time, and so forth.  These groups are
> not friends of liberty.  Like the traditional "liberals", they seek
> not so much to slay the dragon as to replace it with their own.  If
> they currently happen to agree with "us" on net issues, fine.  
> Otherwise, give me true libertarians anyday.

You either missed or paraphrased my second paragraph.  My point is
precisely that the rift is between those who want to use government to
regulate the things you mention, and those who don't think it is the
government's business, whether they consider them good or bad.  The
organizations I mentioned here specifically don't want the federal
government trying to control these things.

In general, sacrificing one's own liberty in an attempt to limit someone
else's behavior when it doesn't affect anyone else, even if it is
self-destructive, is silly. 

Both France and the United States had revolutions at about the same time.
One eventually established liberty and the other a reign of terror, but
both thought they were "true libertarians".

> > The first group are deserting the Republican party as such in droves (look
> > for a Libertarian party pickup if the party avoids being too libertine). 
> Hah!  Can anyone imagine the Libertarians supporting an Anti-abortion
> amendment, or a school prayer amendment or a flag-burning amendment?
> No, I don't think these folks will be joining the Libertarian party
> anytime soon.

Political parties are defined by their members and a membership change
would result in a policy change.  I can imagine a 10th ammendment style
anti-abortion ammendment which would overturn Roe v. Wade and remove the
federal government from the debate.  I can also imagine a similar
ammendment returning us to "public schools" instead of the current
"government schools" which would have prayers or not as part of their
local policy.  And I have heard many "conservative Republicans" say that
they should trivially alter the constitution for something like flag

But I will even go further.  There is such an organization as Libertarians
for Life - where you stand on the abortion question is dependent on when
you think a human life becomes a person with constitutional protections,
not on whether you think there should be laws against murder, or whether
people who want medical procedures should be able to have them, which
there is almost unanimous agreement on.  The rift in the Republican party
will cause a similar one in the Libertarian party, between the Actonite
and Libertine and even the anarchical wings.  Even libertarinaism is not a
point, but a continuum.  True libertarians all agree that my rights end
where yours begin, but not on exactly where that line is, and rights are
only one side of the equation.  Liberty is precious and a delicate balance
which is why it is so rare.

Liberty has a cost of personal responsibility.  Ingesting controlled
substances can affect me if they drive or work for me.  Remember that the
other side of this is that I would be able to personally evaluate all
these things when deciding to hire someone I intend for a long term
position - they can have all their privacy but no job, or would have to
act under my definition of responsibility - and you would be equally free
to hire people who met your standards.

Or to update the old joke, A socialist is a libertarian who has overdosed
or injured someone during a blackout, had a child out of wedlock, or has
contracted a STD.  They probably start praying too :).