On the most important issues, libertarianism is no better than rank liberalism, and sometimes liberalism is better. Case in point above. Here is the relevant exchange:
Rachel Maddow: “Do you think that a private business has the right to say, ‘We don’t serve black people?'”
Rand Paul: “Yeah…I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race. But I think what’s important about this debate is not getting into any specific ‘gotcha’ on this, but asking the question: What about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking? I don’t want to be associated with those people, but I also don’t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that’s one of the things freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized.”
Notice the logic here. Paul essentially says, “I’m personally opposed to racial discrimination, but I do not support federal laws to eliminate racial discrimination.” You may recognize that statement as the very same logic that Cuomo-style pro-choicers use in favor of abortion rights. All you have to do is substitute “abortion” for “racial discrimination.” It goes like this: “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I do not support federal laws to eliminate abortion.”
Do you see the problem here? The absolute privatization of morality is something that none of us can live withâ€”especially when that morality has to do with the inherent dignity and value of human beings created in the image of God. Our laws will either honor that value or they will not.
Conservatives and liberals agree that the law is inherently moral. What they disagree on is what is and is not moral. Libertarianism is not concerned with this question, and that is why I think libertarianism is untenable. The public good is fundamentally a moral question, and libertarians cannot see that reality.
The inability of citizens to tell the difference between libertarianism and conservatism is most frustrating. And I suspect it’s what made Rand Paul’s victory on Tuesday possible.