Give me liberty, but not libertarians


You can’t argue with the basic premise of Libertarianism- that more freedom, for everyone, is a good thing and an ideal to work toward. It’s a shame that most of the people who call themselves Libertarians argue for selfish irresponsibility instead.

I noticed this most recently listening to a piece on Radio 4 arising from the silly drink driving proposals from County Kerry. Sean Gabb, representing the Libertarian Alliance, argued that it’s better for people to be killed by drunk drivers than for people to be breathalysed, which catches and/or discourages drink drivers. Asked whether he thought breathalysing had saved any lives by discouraging drink driving he came back with a masterful analogy-

Sean answered that shooting drunk drivers out of hand on the roadside would be more effective, but that it would not be done for obvious reasons.
From the LA’s fanciful interpretation of the interview.

He then accused the presenter and co-interviewee of using emotive language because they dared to address the problem rather than avoid the question. Realising he was losing, GAbb decided not to use his argument winning gambit-

That states are not notably concerned about the protection of life. In the past century, thugs in uniform have been ordered by their political or military superiors to kill about 200 million people.

That’s the problem with self-pronounced Libertarians, they’re more concerned with getting their own way and indulging in their own vices than actually making the rest of us any freer. Their political philosophy is that of the spoilt child.

A proper, pragmatic, Libertarian would look for ways to raise the overall freedom of the whole country, and accept that their right to these freedoms comes with responsibilities. The right of one person to go on living, of their family to not suffer their loss and even, once they’d sobered up, for the driver to not have to live with the trauma of having killed someone, outweighs the “right” of an overconfident Libertarian to believe they’re perfectly safe to drive no matter how much they’ve had to drink.


One thought on “Give me liberty, but not libertarians

  • Kathy

    I’m sure that there must be some Libertarians who do actually think about the premises behind their belief system, and aren’t anything like the extremist idiots that seem to be the most vocal. However, they are probably too embarrassed by this sort of outpouring of nonsense to admit that they are Libertarians.

    Also, what is the deal with the most recent “debates” on Radio 4? They seem to consist of finding the two most polarised and uninformed spokesmen on an issue that is only made contentious by one or more of their guests really dying to have a fight. They might as well start hosting it from The Kings Arms.

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