The “My Sister” Libertarian

Jim Henley is a “my sister” libertarian:

I wasn’t wild about abortion either; but I wouldn’t agree that my sister should go to jail for trying to have one, nor with jailing the doctor who performed the abortion my sister chose. And if I wasn’t willing to subject my own sister to that, why should I be able to subject other people’s sisters to that?

There are all kinds of libertarians, which sort of sucks, since maybe if there were fewer we’d amount to something politically. There are anarcho-capitalists, who believe that the market can and should provide all goods including defense; Constitutionalists, who believe that the federal government must contract to fit the enumerated powers as understood before FDR browbeat the Supreme Court into agreeing that Sure, it was up to the federal government whether a man could grow his own wheat to feed his own livestock; minarchists, who support the so-called Night Watchman State, that provides for the common defense and protects against violent crime and fraud and is otherwise nowhere to be found; “pragmatic libertarians” who, when not winning oxymoron contests, argue for maximizing liberty on the grounds that experience shows that freedom makes people happier, more efficient and less quarrelsome; “principled libertarians” who argue for maximizing liberty because rights come from Our Creator or are deducible from elementary postulates of self-ownership. I am a “my sister” libertarian.

Nobody worth performing the Heimlich Maneuver on is going to tell the police they saw their sister smoking pot. Am I okay with my sister going to jail if she sells some pills or her favors? Do I think my sister or brother should be dragged into court if she drains her field or he hires too many people of the wrong color? No. So I have no business supporting a regime that subjects other people’s siblings to those things. Would I have to agree that if my sister drowned my niece, or my brother defrauded credit card companies or my mother burned down her building for the insurance, that they should be subject to arrest and imprisonment. Yes, I’m afraid. And a note to you smartypants readers: Not all of the examples in this item have been hypotheticals. So I really do mean it.

Which brings us back to guns - not the guns that citizens might or might not own, but the ones the State most definitely does. Behind every law is a weapon. That goes for all the nice regulatory laws too. Sure, it’s only “civil proceedings,” but try telling them to tie a tail and a string to their civil proceedings and run into a headwind and its the sherrifs and marshalls who come round to uphold “the majesty of the law.” Which ends up in the same place the criminal law does - jail or, if you take the armed fugitive route, death. “Contempt of Court” - dissing da judge - is the thing that judges will lock you up for indefinitely, and on their own say-so, and try checking and balancing that if you don’t like it. They don’t ask you to go politely, either. It’s sherrifs and marshalls time again. For the system to survive, resistance must prove futile. Even the most “innocuous” law has, potentially, the entire weight of the State and the State’s monopoly on the legitimate use of violence behind it. I can bitch about the Ravens’ stadium deal, but watch what happens if I keep my share in protest and get stubborn.

Damn, I wish I could write like that.

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Interesting perspective.

Interesting perspective. However, if it were my brother or sister defrauding credit card companies or, maybe even murdering bums, I'm not sure I'd be for them going to prison.

On the flip side, there are folks who definitely feel that their brother or sister should go to prison for, say, selling drugs. There are some folks who would prefer a particular brother or sister go to prison just because.

If the "My Sister" libertarian label works for you, good for you. I find it kind of shallow.

I'm more of a "golden rule"

I'm more of a "golden rule" 'l'ibertarian.

I'm more a "golden shower"

I'm more a "golden shower" 'l'ibertarian.

I wouldn't turn my sister in

I wouldn't turn my sister in for a lot of stuff that should be and is illegal.

- Josh