"Government can't create wealth"
And "it is not the function of the state to impose one person's moral code on another"

In one of the most cogent explanations I've seen of the phenomenon, Evan Coyne Maloney explains why he's a small "L" libertarian:

I consider myself a libertarian for two reasons.

First and foremost: for the betterment of the human race. True, these aren't easy days to proclaim oneself an unashamed capitalist. But whatever governmental market distortions led to the current financial crisis, the simple fact remains that no single system has brought more material comfort to more people worldwide than capitalism.

In America today, people we consider poor have a standard of living that would've been thought of as middle-class a century ago. Sure, we can to do better for more people, but there's only one historically proven way to do it: capitalism. By definition, government can't create wealth. Only private economic activity can. The more economic activity, the faster the growth, and the richer even the poor become. The larger the share of the economy that flows through the government, the longer it'll take for the engine of capitalism to grow poverty into extinction.

The second reason I'm a libertarian is because I believe that the individual should be afforded the maximum personal liberty in cases where no other individual's rights are being abridged. In their private lives, people should be allowed to set whatever personal boundaries their consciences allow and require. And while I believe that people should abide by some form of moral code, it is not the function of the state to impose one person's moral code on another. If you want to convince someone else to live by your rules, you're free to do so in the private sphere. But government is too big a bludgeon to be used for such a function.

So, in a nutshell, that's why I'm a ("small-L") libertarian.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

That's just about the best encapsulation of small L libertarianism I've ever seen -- even though my vote will not be the same as Maloney's.

While Maloney is holding his nose and voting the Libertarian ticket (because Obama will win his state anyway, and it's a protest vote), I don't even have to hold my nose -- even though I've been accustomed to doing that for many years.

This is not to say that I don't have my differences with McCain (I do, and I have discussed them repeatedly), but Obama is so far to the left that my customary senses have become obliterated. Thus, any stench that a Republican like McCain might otherwise have is imperceptible.

Of course, if McCain wins, I'd welcome the opportunity to complain!

MORE: Regardless of my views or anyone else's, damn but I think this analysis by Glenn Reynolds (Whoever Wins, Chill A Bit") is good:

I'm not an Obama fan, particularly, but a lot of people I like and respect are. To treat Obama as something evil or subhuman would not only be disrespectful toward Obama, but toward them. Instead, I hope that if Obama is elected, their assessment of his strengths will turn out to be right, and mine will turn out to be wrong. Likewise, those who don't like John McCain or Sarah Palin might reflect that by treating Palin and McCain as obviously evil and stupid, they're disrespecting tens of millions of their fellow Americans who feel otherwise. And treating a presidency held by a guy you don't like as presumptively illegitimate suggests that presidents rule not by election, but by divine right, so that whenever the "other guy" wins, he's automatically a usurper.
As a veteran of the Vince Foster conspiracies and more, as well as the consequent retaliation by BDS people, I am tired of the endless cycles of presumptive illegitimacy.

Not only do I wish there were more small "L" libertarians, but I'd like to see more small C conservatives, and small L liberals. Maybe even small R republicans and small D democrats.

I guess that means staying in the kitchen and complaining about the heat.

MORE: Here's Sean Kinsell, after voting:

Polls are often wrong, but if they're right, I won't be happy with the results today. That's the way these things go. Both viable presidential tickets well and truly bit this year, but fortunately, Washington is not largely controlled by the president alone, and the states are not largely controlled by Washington alone. Whoever wins is unlikely to wreck the republic. It just remains to see who it is.

MORE: In an election day note of thanks, Andrew Breitbart confesses that he likes Bush (so do I) and says the undeclared civil war should stop:

If Barack Obama is elected the next president of the United States on Tuesday, I hope the Republican Party and conservatives take the higher road. The republic cannot handle another four years of undeclared civil war while we have real enemies out there to fight.

posted by Eric on 11.04.08 at 01:34 PM










Comments

it is not the function of the state to impose one person's moral code on another

:::sigh:::

ALL law (outside of functional codes like traffic statutes) are based on morality: murder, theft, rape, fraud, etc.

I really really wish libertarians would get over their hysterics anytime someone uses the word "morality".

Darleen   ·  November 4, 2008 5:18 PM

in cases where no other individual's rights are being abridged

The issue of hysteria aside, I think that's an important qualifier. I can't speak for Evan Coyne Maloney, but I suspect he would intend one's personal moral code to be seen in that context.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 4, 2008 6:23 PM

I think Obama should be treated exactly the way Bush has been treated. Albeit with more elegant and refined language.

Plus - we need to start collecting Bidenisms.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2008 8:02 AM

There is also the question of foreign donations. Who bought Obama?

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2008 8:09 AM

FWIW, I don't think Obama should be treated exactly the way Bush has been treated, for the simple reason that I don't think Bush should have been treated the way he was treated (in a dreadful and uncivilized manner). It is unbecoming a republic. I don't even know whether it's fair in the sense of an eye for an eye. What would be fair in that regard would be to return Obama's criticisms of Bush, criticism for criticism.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 5, 2008 11:11 PM

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speedebof   ·  November 7, 2008 2:55 PM

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