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Wednesday, August 24, 2011


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.


Mermaid said...

I thoroughly agree. I have always defined myself as a Libertarian - back before it became known as the tea party. I personally live very conservatively, as well. The problem I have with conservatives, and why I feel so unwelcome in their world, is that I am not a Christian. I have just as strong a moral compass as any good Christian. However, I want the government to leave us all alone.

Interestingly, I heard a Sean Hannity interview of Michelle Bachmann a year or so ago where he pretty much admitted that to be a republican candidate, you must pass the abortion and marriage litmus tests. I think they lose people who believe in fiscal conservatism like that. Unfortunately, I'll still vote for their RINO/Establishment nominee like McCain or Romney come general election time. It baffles me that they wear such blinders.

suek said...

I'd agree with you except for the consequences that result from societal (meaning governmental) support.

Don't have time at the moment, but basically, if there are consequences of actions that are remedied by government programs, then I think there need to be regulations. If you remove those government fixes, and people just suffer the consequences of their actions, then I'd agree.

The problem is that I don't think society today is willing to allow people to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Crustyrusty said...

As I get older, I tend to agree more with this. I figured this point of view was more "libertarian" but I'll live with the fiscal conservative/social liberal thing.

Anonymous said...

I think you are wrong. I think a social liberal believes in free health care, welfare for anyone who wants it and no borders. I think you are a social libertarian.

Anonymous said...

TOR here: I agree with you though the DUI issue is a hard one. The checkpoints have noting to do with safety (vs say increased patrolling) and are all about fundraising. However the broader DUI issue is rough from a liberterian standpoint because while an impaired driver might be able to keep it between the lines on the road and get home safely he might react slowly and plow into a mom with 12 kids in a station wagon. It's one of those low probability but high impact things. Maybe the answer is to not punish DUI's where nobody or nothing is harmed but have mandatory executions if a drunk driver causes a wreck and someone is harmed?

Dave, RN said...

Lose a loved one to a drunk driver that "might" hit someone and you'll change your tune. What are we to do, wait until someone is killed and then do something? There has to be some reasonable limit. Using your logic, let's just get rid of speed limits as well. I can go 90 in a neighborhood and not hit someone. Probably. Maybe in your neighborhood. Feel safe without a reasonable limit?

Chief Instructor said...

Mermaid, I've basically stopped voting for Ds or Rs because they are different sides of the same coin. They both are corrupt, just with different corruptions. I vote for whomever is not a D or R that is closest to my thinking. It's usually a Libertarian. I figure until a third part starts getting a significant percentage of the vote, the Ds and Rs won't feel threatened.

They need to feel threatened.

Sue, you MUST accept the consequences of your own actions - good or bad. We have this big bloated government because we've been bailing out individuals for a very long time. For instance: Gotta Drug habit? No prob! Government paid re-hab.

This crap must stop. It becomes a vicious circle. You screw up, govt bails you out. Since they bailed you out, because the cost to society goes up, they get to tell you what you can eat, or drink or shoot into your veins. That takes more government to administer. Bigger and bigger.

Crusty, it really is libertarian (small L). Levin and the lady on the radio had used the Social Liberal moniker - and I do also use it on may occasions. Usually to piss off conservatives! ;-)

Anon 5:39 - semantics. I spent a lot of electrons explaining how I view it. If you view the term differently, great. BTW, I look at universal health care as a fiscal issue primarily, and blatantly unconstitutional. Same with welfare. The border issue is why I identify myself as a small L libertarian. The Libertarian Party advocates open borders, and I could not be more opposed to that point of view. Without control of your borders, you're not a country, you're just a plot of land.

TOR, harsh punishment for infringing on another's rights is important so that individuals seriously consider their actions beforehand.

For instance, I think that if someone is harmed or killed in a car accident by a person who is impaired, it needs to ALWAYS be treated as a premeditated assault or murder. No first or second strike. You jump right to three strikes, since you know that driving impaired increases the chances you will kill or harm someone. You are responsible for the result of your actions.

Dave - sounds like Republican/conservative fear tactics.

Yes, we are to wait until someone is killed. Until that point, no ones rights have been infringed. Do you suggest we round up all gun owners since I absolutely, positively guarantee you that one of their guns will be used in a murder?

How about this - we need to fill in every pool in America. They are death traps. Every year 10,000 children under 10 years old are killed in pools. How can our society stand for this? Imagine the lives that have been wasted because someone thought it was a good idea to let their child near a pool. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!


Speed limits: I think speed limits need to be what the government engineers suggest as a safe speed. Just as with my explanation to TOR regarding drunk driving, with speed limits, it would be your "Mulligan". If you were responsible for an accident and were driving under the limit, it would be handled just like it is now. Basically, hand it to the insurance companies, or chalk it up to being just an accident.

If you're exceeding the limit, tag, you're it, and it's considered an assault or murder.

Your question implies that most people will want to speed or drive drunk. That's the belief of government bureaucrats. It's wrong. The majority of the citizenry will make the right decision. Some won't, and they'll be punished.

Life has risks. A free society has more risks than a centrally planned and controlled society.

I'll trade safety for liberty any day of the week.

Audi A3 Turbocharger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Well, that was my point. I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. I sure as hell am not a social liberal and based on what you have said in the past you are not either. I only wanted to point out that a social liberal was basically a liberal who doesn't like paying high taxes.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, again, it's semantics. I believe in total liberty for the individual in our society - with the only caveat being that while you exercise your liberty, you can't impose on another person's liberty. Sounds like "social liberal" to me, but apparently not to you. No biggee.

GunRights4US said...

Excellent post, and an excellent dioscussion ta boot! I agree with the Chief. Personal Liberty is what I desire. If only I could find the trail to LEAVEMETHEHELLALONEVILLE!