Am I A Libertarian?


Recently I signed up for a Facebook account because all the cool kids were doing it. When they asked political party I checked Libertarian. Which is kind of strange because I’m a life long Republican. And the next election I’m planning on voting for Fred Thompson. So why did I do it?

One reason is the influence of Michael Z Willliamson’s Freehold. The idealistic view of a truly Libertarian world. Unfortunately, as I’ve discussed with Michael via email, I can’t see that happening unless you can start a new world and limit who can come in, which Freehold does.

The main reason came out of my apologetics class and an example J. P. Moreland gave in Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. It is in the discussion on how if you know more you will see more. You’ll see things you haven’t seen before.

The example goes something like this. A politician said, “Just as the government must protect a child from abuse, they must protect a child’s right to day care.” Some political philosophers believe there are two kinds of rights, positive rights and negative rights. A negative right says the government has a duty to use force, in the form of the police, to stop someone from keeping you from doing the thing you have the right to. A positive right says the government has a duty to use force, in the form of taxation, to force those under its power to provide the thing you have a right to.

So back to the politician’s statement now. See how the rights aren’t the same? Protection from child abuse is a negative right and daycare is a positive right. Now you can see something you couldn’t see before.

Moreland says some people believe the government should only provide negative rights. And I find myself agreeing with that. It is a radical position in the world today. If some how the entire government accepted it tomorrow, we’d have a major change on our hands. For one the government would no longer provide the educational services it does today. There would be a whole new paradigm about what the government does.

I’d love to see the government only work on negative rights. It is subtly different that what I think of as Libertarianism, but I don’t see any political group that is any closer. So maybe I am a Libertarian. Both the other parties are just arguing about which positive rights they should force me to fund.

Since I don’t think the Republicans have much of a chance to win the Presidency next year, maybe I need to look at casting a protest vote for the Libertarian candidate.