Libertarians and Culture
By Bionic Mosquito
You won’t need a link; this week the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage. All are welcome.
It apparently needs to be said that the only proper libertarian position is that marriage isn’t any business of the government – at any level. From a solely libertarian viewpoint, marriage is nothing more than a voluntary contractual arrangement.
This isn’t the view of many so-called libertarians. They are praising the decision. They only desire a world of subservience and dependence, in which they suck on the pig’s teat for their succor.
Like gaining legitimacy from a government that has violated the life and property of countless billions of individuals is something to be desired. “Oh great god government, destroyer of nations, destroyer of life and property, I look to you for legitimacy, please send your blessing upon me; bring me salvation and make me whole.” This is the prayer of those libertarians who praise the ruling.
Don’t believe me? Just ask the bleeding hearts:
Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the same-sex marriage case makes clear that what is at stake is equal access to liberty, the freedom to marry. (Emphasis in original)
There is also praise for the ruling at Cato, see here and here.
What “liberty” and “freedom” does one gain by having their marriage blessed by an illegitimate government? I find none. Yet this doesn’t mean there is no gain to those individuals so blessed. There is certainly a gain for those so blessed via access to services and the like. From the government, benefits such as Social Security and Medicare are now available; from private employers, various state-mandated (and, without doubt) voluntary benefits are now available – whether the employer wishes it to be so or not.
Of course, these benefits could also have been made available via contract. All such benefits are nothing more than contractual agreements – I know the statement is fuzzy when it comes to government benefits, but the principle is the same; it is more easily explained when using the private example:
I work for the Hard-Nose Conservative Company; no matter how much I insist, they will not provide medical benefits to my “partner.” I find another opportunity with the “Welcoming Company.” We agree that they will provide these benefits. I change employers.
See how that works? No force required; no judgement in a 5-4 decision. It’s called a contract.
The “freedom” that these so-called libertarians proclaim is the freedom from voluntary relationships.
But none of this is the main point of my post – the point is culture. As a libertarian, I say smoke pot, snort coke, visit a pro, choose your gender, marry whomever you want, whatever. As long as you impose no cost on me, I have no standing to intervene.
But this doesn’t mean I am obliged to celebrate such rulings – even as a libertarian.
However, culture matters. I suspect there is not a single example in history where a growing libertine culture has not destroyed the previous, prevailing culture within a few generations. Decadence comes with a cost.
Every thriving – even surviving – society requires governance; not government as the term is currently understood, but governance. The lowest level, closest to most voluntary, most decentralized level of societal governance, is the family. Destroy the moral foundations of family and you destroy society. Of this there is no doubt, and history has enough examples.
This Supreme Court ruling is not the beginning of this destruction; the road to decadence began long ago. I need not provide a list of examples (this would make for too-long-a-post on its own): just consider every act that chips away at the family, consider how these are now acceptable – and even praised; many by libertarians.
The libertine libertarians celebrate decadence. They are cheering on the doom of us all. They ensure that those who might otherwise be attracted to the libertarian message but at the same time are mature enough to understand that culture matters will not consider joining the libertarian cause.
Call me thick and you would be wrong; this isn’t a libertarian issue. It is an issue of culture, and culture will determine the future of this society, far more than any narrowly defined libertarian theory. Libertarian theory speaks to nothing more than the legitimate use of force. Everything else is what defines a society.
I see no reason for this destruction to be praised. A libertarian need not praise this decision to remain libertarian.