THE WRIGHT PERSPECTIVE: Why I am No Longer a Libertarian

I think this is the most link-heavy day I have ever had. Unlike the other two, this is meant to be the first of a weekly and ongoing feature.

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wright-perspectiveThe opening of my first article for them is an introduction of myself:

I often introduce myself as a recovering libertarian. It is not an entirely serious introduction, but it is not entirely frivolous either.

Why “recovering”? Sad experience teaches that any ideology, even a sound one, like libertarianism, is intoxicating. The appeal of ideology is the appeal of elegance. Just as Newton reduced all motions from the orbits to apples falling to three expressions, every intellectual craves a simple formula to explain the human condition. Libertarianism is based on a single principle that limits the state’s use of force to retaliation against fraud and trespass.

Nearly all the natural moral rules all men carry in their hearts are satisfied by the simple rule that you may do as you like provided you leave your neighbor free to do as he likes. No neighbor may rob, defraud nor attack another.

The intoxication comes with each case that fits neatly to the theory. Natural morality agrees that wars to defend the innocent are permissible, as is killing in self defense. Natural morality agrees that a man should keep his contracts, and so on.

The theory says the state must remain carefully neutral in all cultural and moral questions: the use of intoxicating drugs for recreational use, suicide assisted or no, polygamy, prostitution, gambling, pornography, duels to the death (provided only all participants fully agree!) or, for that matter, copulating with a corpse on the roof of your house in plain view of the neighbors’ children playing in their backyards, and then eating the corpse, all must be legal.

For me, the intoxicating spell ended in three sharp realizations, each one as forceful as a thunderbolt.

Read the rest here:


ADDENDUM: I have the honor to share the paper with Col Kratman. Here is the announcement and the link:

On Monday we launched Colonel Kratman’s column, “Lines of Departure”. I’m pleased to announce that it is now the most-commented piece of content we’ve had in the site’s history. Instapundit was kind enough to provide an inbound link which definitely helped the launch.