A frustrated Roger Toutant, writing for mises.ca, believes libertarians should quit fighting for social freedoms and throw in with the conservatives. Toutant claims “Libertarianism is, at its core, a fiscally and socially conservative movement.”
He then goes on to say “as far as I can tell,” most libertarians are conservative, so, enough with embracing gays, weed, and guns like the Canadian Libertarian Party does, because that’s an “absurd notion and complete rejection of true Libertarianism which is conservative in nature.” And besides, this notion of having freedom over your own body is a loser at the ballot box. “No wonder Libertarians attract about 1% of the vote come election time,” writes Toutant.
Indeed, this freedom thing doesn’t play well with voters, despite libertarians, also known as classical liberals, thinking the ideas of liberty being inherently logical. Walter Block explains, “In my view, economic liberty is unpopular due to biology. We are hardwired to be against it.” There was no advantage to liberty when people were living with caves. “I think most libertarians have some sort of genetic mutation that allows us to be open to this sort of thing.”
If Mr. Toutant wants to experience the feeling of winning on election night, instead of the satisfaction of being right, he should just be a conservative and get on with it.
Murray Rothbard, while having some sympathy for Mr. Toutant’s view, wrote, “I do not like the term ‘conservative,’ nor does any other libertarian.” Rothbard points out that conservatism “was essentially a reaction against all that liberalism stood for: in particular, individual freedom, and the economic freedom that produced capitalism and the Industrial Revolution.”
If I understand him correctly, Toutant is fine with economic freedom but not so much with individual freedom. Thus, he condones and supports the use of government violence to restrict people’s personal affairs and the use of their bodies. This is a line libertarians can’t cross, for votes, to make friends, or anything else.
If Mr. Toutant doesn’t believe me, perhaps he’ll be swayed by Mr. Libertarian, Murray Rothbard, who wrote in, For a New Liberty “The libertarian holds that it is not the business of the law—the use of retaliatory violence—to enforce anyone’s conception of morality. It is not the business of the law—even if this were practically possible, which is, of course, most unlikely—to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright. This is for each individual to decide for himself.”
If believing in freedom is truly, as Mr. Toutant claims, to “languish in the doldrums until the end of time” there would be no Mises Canada website for him to post his views, not to mention the dozens of Mises Institutes and other freedom organizations around the world.
Embrace being a genetic freedom mutant. Keep up the principled fight knowing you’re making the world a little bit better.