Thursday, March 06, 2003

Erik Root of the Carolina journal writes a piece bashing libertarianism, or perhaps just libertarians.
Michael Bragg of Liberty For All rebuts.

Mr. Roots assesment of libertarian ideas & their conclusions is not unlike recent bashes of libertarianism that I've seen. It argues from a very shakey position, in that it is based upon generalizations that are not accurate in their assumptions or conclusions about libertarianisms or libertarians.

The most striking one, & the one I see most often from republicans, is the assumption that libertarians disregard virtue & morality, while the republican ideal of government promotes them.
I cannot speak for all libertarians but from my understanding of the libertarian view, morality & virtue are essential. There is no questioning their importance in society. The difference between libertarians & republicans is their source: libertatians feel a person should evaluate & perfect his/her own morals & virtues, while the republicans feel that it is impossible for the individual & thus the job of the government.
The founders of this country believed that a society without morals was doomed, & I tend to agree. But I also feel that they realized that government could not & should not dictate morality. Government is ineffective at doing this & becomes very dangerous when it tries.

To quote Mr. Root, "A government that does not uphold some sense of eternal right, thus fostering private morality, will produce a decadent citizenry." That is, in & of itself, the credo of 'the nanny state'. To assume that an individual & thus society is the product of government & not vice versa is to take the first big step on the road to statism.

Mr. Bragg does a decent job at refuting a few of Mr. Root's points but by no means is it as thorough or complete a refutation as it could be. Perhaps if time permits I will get around to finishing the work that Mr. Bragg began.

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