I was listening to Mark Levin on the radio on Monday. He had had a caller who stated she was, "a fiscal conservative and a social liberal." He noted that he didn't understand what that meant. It was a foreign concept to him. He proceeded to abuse the concept and the caller.
Just as liberals denigrate the Tea Party as terrorists and heartless baby-killers, many conservatives berate us social liberals.
By my definition, a social liberal is someone that believes that the individual will generally make the right choice about their own life. All by themselves. We believe our personal moral compass is superior to that of a bureaucrat in DC, in a state capital or in a city council chamber.
We don't want to be told how to live our lives.
We also believe that if our personal choices negatively impact the life of another citizen, punishment should be meted out by the government. THAT'S the role of government: To ensure all citizens are able to live their lives as they see fit. If we negatively impact another, we pay the price. Government is NOT here to compel others to live their lives in some proscribed manner. Well, it's not supposed to be here for that purpose.
I live my life as a social conservative, but won't impose my personal moral code on others. I expect the same courtesy from others.
When conversations arise about my political beliefs, I give the "fiscal conservative, social liberal" spiel. I usually get something along these lines -
"What!? You think pot/heroin/meth should be legal?" Yep. Just like they always were prior to the turn of the 20th century. If you want to ingest poison, go right ahead. As a country, we did pretty well up to that point.
"What!? You think prostitution should be legal?" Yep. Two adults want to have sex. Let 'em. What's the difference between a $100 dinner or a $100 bill paying for it? I have no desire to buy a hooker, and if you want to do so, my life is unaffected.
"What!? You think gays should be able to get married?" Yep. How does their marriage negatively impact my life? It doesn't.
"What!? You disagree with DUI checkpoints?" Yep. Could there be a more in-your-face affront to the fourth amendment? What part of, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized," is ambiguous?
To add insult to the unconstitutional injury, you can be arrested just for having alcohol in your system. You haven't harmed anyone in any way shape or form and, just as importantly, you haven't given law enforcement any probable cause. You're not swerving. You're not speeding. You're not side-swiping parked cars. You're simply on a public road that the government has chosen to perform an illegal search. It is presumed that if you have alcohol in your system you will harm someone. You might do it. How can someone be punished for an act they MAY perform?
Many people are able to get at least a little miffed when some level of government does something stupid, such as banning a fat, or prohibiting a "dangerous" food like unpasteurized milk, But when the government passes a law that matches with their personal moral beliefs - even when it goes against the Constitution - they look the other way.
That sword cuts both ways. This is no better than when a liberal supports a law banning cigarettes or giving all who ask a big chunk of my tax dollars because they are, "under-served" or "disadvantaged".
Painting with a very broad brush (I know not all conservatives or liberals think alike), conservatives support laws restricting social behavior, liberals support laws assuming the poor have no gray matter between their ears.
I support neither. I support personal liberty.
The underlying belief of both conservatives and liberals is that everyone else is too stupid to run their own lives. The concept of liberty is just that - a concept. In practice, well, it's just too much freedom for all of those poor saps who are too stupid to make the right choices.
If we don't have drug laws, everyone would be a strung-out heroin addict or rotted-teeth meth head. Really? Let me see a show of hand of ANYONE out there that would suddenly try heroin or meth if it were legalized tomorrow.
It's an obviously ridiculous concept, considering I can get both of those drugs TODAY if I wanted them. I can also get pot, cocaine, Ecstasy, 'shrooms, - whatever I want and which are all illegal - in whatever quantities I want.
Yet for some reason - seemingly incomprehensible to conservatives - I don't do it.
Conservatives such as Levin tend to use fear as their hammer. As their justification for imposing their morality on others.
"What about the children?" the conservatives wail. "If we make it legal for adults to snort coke, more kids will do the same thing."
Uhm, not so much. If a parent has not taught their child that abusing any drug - legal or not - will harm them, simply making it illegal to do so will make no difference. If the kid has no parent, it's the same deal: Just because it's illegal won't stop the kid from using drugs.
Kids learn by example. If their parents abuse drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to do so themselves. But, if a kid sees his favorite Uncle Bob dead in a gutter from a heroin overdose, that has a chance to make a difference. The legality of the substance is irrelevant.
The total failure of, "The War On Drugs" is yet another proof-positive example that vice laws don't work. Just as during the US alcohol prohibition period, the prohibition of drugs has done nothing to stop availability, and has created an enormous crime underworld. The drug producers and sellers use violence to protect their product and territory.
Count the dead bodies on both sides of the Mexican border. Count the number of dead bodies in inner city neighborhoods. How many of them are directly related to drugs being illegal? Not just related to drugs, but to drugs being illegal. The VAST majority.
Unconvinced? How many murders occurred last year that were related to the business of buying and selling alcohol? If there were any at all, it would be statistically immaterial.
It has also created a drug-induced cottage industry for the government. Prisons are bulging with offenders. We have entire government agencies tasked with nothing other than eradicating drugs. Local police departments include drug-related property seizures in their annual budgets.
Obscene amounts of money, pissed away, chasing some utopian vision of a drug-free society. Sounds kinda like Obama's "Hope and Change" campaign, no? "Hope" takes no effort, but is expensive as hell.
If your moral teachings dictate that homosexuality is a mortal sin, will the fact that two guys down the street are married to each other increase the likelihood that your kid will "turn gay"? I didn't think so.
You don't have to go to their churches. You don't have to go to their bars. You don't have to associate with them in any way whatsoever. YOU decide how to live your life, not them.
There has NEVER been a law prohibiting a substance or private act which has successfully eradicated that substance or act. Never. Why spend time and resources trying to control the life of someone else whose acts or beliefs have no impact on your life?
Right now, the conservatives embrace the Tea Party. They walk in lock step that less money should be spent by government. They're pals.
I don't think this relationship will last. Eventually, social liberties will be Top O' The List, and the liberals will embrace their new Tea Party brothers and sisters.
Personally, I have a simple litmus test for any issue: Is it Constitutional? If it's specifically allowed or prohibited by the Constitution, that's how I vote. If it's not mentioned, it's a state or individual issue.
Drugs and alcohol, prostitution or gay marriage are not mentioned - or reasonably inferred - in the Constitution. The country recognized this when they changed the Constitution to prohibit alcohol, and again when they repealed the prohibition. They had to Constitutionally prohibit alcohol, since no federal power previously existed.
That makes these state or individual issues, per the ninth and tenth amendments. As such, California could allow Hookers-R-Us franchises, and Georgia could ban them. I can move to the state that has laws more closely aligned to my personal ethical code.
Accept The Challenge
When a law is proposed, give it the old Constitution test. If it doesn't past muster, fight to defeat it, even if it meets your personal moral beliefs.
Government control of how any of us live is bad. I don't want a liberal taking my cigarettes any more than I want a conservative arresting my neighbor for his Swinger Club membership. Even though cigarettes are physically damaging, and swinging is morally bankrupt, we're both adults and have accepted the consequences of our actions.
Leave us the hell alone.
Exercise your liberty.
Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com