Previous Post
Next Post


TTAG reader TU writes:

When TTAG dropped the housecleaning question asking if it was too rightwing, there was a fury of comments.  Many said that there is no such thing as a pro-gun liberal, while self-proclaimed pro-gun liberals said that the People of the Gun were too paranoid to be allowed to have a gun for being so wary of the Democratic politicians and that they were alienating a segment of the gun community. My question to the pro-gun liberals out there: are you sure you’re not really a libertarian? Allow me to explain . . .

In political science, modern liberalism has nothing to do with classical liberalism. In fact, modern liberalism is in many ways an antithesis to the original views to use that term. For the duration of my article, I will use “liberal” and “liberalism” to refer to the current use of the word, and not the classical liberalism viewpoint that has been abandoned by the political left.

Liberalism is based upon government control and oversight of every activity. You can easily see this by going to the most liberal parts of the nation and seeing the additional restrictions placed upon its citizens. Everything from tighter regulations on businesses and how they conduct theirs, to a ban on “too large a soda” to bans on styrofoam containers for food to, yes, bans on entire types of firearms based solely on an opinion of what might be “scary”.

In other words, to a true liberal government is the force of good, restricting others for the “greater good” of society.  Individuals cannot be trusted to make their own decisions, and neither can businesses or other organizations.

By this logic, if individuals are not to be trusted, then private ownership of a potentially destructive force such as firearms is a horrifying thought.  If we assume this mindset is correct, then by extension the population should be disarmed except for the government.

Let me be clear: You cannot be a liberal and a supporter of gun rights.

Now, before you go foaming at the mouth, there are more political factions in the United States than just two. I am by no means implying that you need to pick between your guns and your gay rights, or any other social issue that has taken the side of the political left.

Enter the Libertarian Party. At its highest levels, the Libertarian Party supports all of the politically left social values such as gay marriage, drug legalization, availability of abortions, and so forth. This position may attract former left-wing voters who dislike the liberal positions of massive government. At the same time, the Libertarian Party attracts people from the right who do not feel that the government has a right to say what you do in your personal life. The Libertarian Party is all about true personal freedom, with less government intrusion into what you can and cannot do with your life.

I challenge all self-proclaimed liberals who believe in firearm rights: ask yourself, am I really a libertarian? If the only reasons you believe you are liberal have to do with certain individual rights and social issues, then you may actually have been a libertarian all along.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Moderate libertarian here, figured this out during G W Bushs last term. Nearly all elected types are power grubbing, lying lil poop stains. those that are not yet, give em a few more terms, they will get there.

    • it is personal politics, not national politics that matter, Libs/Dems are more f’d up than a football bat. Everything you believe in violates our march into tomorrow, and as soon as we degrade our relationship below “common cause” by the installment plan of “everything goes” then you will be daily compelled after “surviving the natural elements of the night before, and waking to the concern over whether or not armed conflict will be required to maintain the possession of a rudimentary shelter, and the proceeds of the days’ forage and hunt. Not to mention, the prospect of protecting the ‘possession’ of a desired mate, and resultant
      The exact distance, between those two possibilities, is often called “society.” (TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012)

      • Ya, guns – bad, but don’t infringe on someone’s (non-existent) right to flush a .2 yr old.

        If you live in a blue state, you may be part of the problem. If you have a (D) after your name, or are liberal or a rino, the problem is Part-Of-You.

  2. As I said in the last article, you can be a pro gun democrat, but every vote for a democratic politician is indeed a vote for gun control.

    Some people value other things more than guns and would be ok with doing that. That’s how life is, we can’t pick the ultimate politician so we compromise between a bad choice and a worse one. It all depends on what you define as worse.

    • This is true even if said democratic politican happens to be one of the rare ones who is also pro-gun. On being elected, he will vote for a democratic leadership that won’t be pro gun, far from it in fact.

      For example, once the recalls happened last year the Colorado State Senate had a majority in favor of repealing the new mag restrictions (one Democrat was opposed to the restrictions), but no such bill could ever come to the floor, because the leadership would simply kill it.

      This is why, in spite of my pleasure at the way the elections turned out at the national level, I am not happy that the Republicans fell just short of taking the house majority (narrowly losing a couple of races, and having the chamber be 33-32 D as a result), and fell just short of getting Hickeypooper out of office as well. Although we might very well have the votes to pass a repeal even through the house, such a bill will never see daylight over there because that “pro gun” Democrat (if he/she exists) will vote for an anti-gun leadership.

    • There are politicians on both sides that are focused on control and restriction off personal liberties. They just want to control different things. I don’t want the government telling me who I can marry or what I can smoke or whether I can have an abortion any more than I want them telling me what kind of gun I can buy.

      • First, any two dudes (or chicks) can enter into a legal contract, live in the same house, and do whatever it is same-sex people do with each other. Government has nothing to do with it. These folks simply want mass approval of their lifestyle.

        Second, abortion is the murder of another, innocent, defenseless human being. If you’re pro-gun, then presumably you’re in favor of the right to life, i.e., the right to self defense, and thus cannot be in favor of the murder of another, innocent, defenseless human being.

        • Just saying things doesn’t make them true.

          There are over 1,000 benefits both federal and state that being married provides that just “living in the same house and entering into a contract” doesn’t cover, from Tax benefits, to medical power of attorney, to rights regarding children. So, no it’s not a desire for mass approval, it’s equality – pure and simple.

          Second abortion is not murder because abortion doesn’t kill a person. Whether you believe that life begins at conception or not, person-hood definitely does not. Our entire legal system and society is based upon the idea that a person has been born. But let’s say we afford personhood to an embryo.

          Now, you are requiring someone (by force) to allow their body to be used to save someone else’s life, who would otherwise die. We don’t allow that in our society, even for CORPSES. If I die, and I don’t want my liver to be donated, the law cannot force it even though it might save someone else’s life. In other words, bodily autonomy is absolute, even after death.

          • Another good reason why government should not be making a myriad of tax laws to please every special interest group that buys its influence.

        • I always felt that if your pro-gun then you must be pro-choice, after all, you believe that killing to protect your own life is acceptable. Abortion is nothing more than self defense.

        • Interesting analogy bringing up pregnancy and the right to self defense. Do you draw any distinctions between someone who would choose to have an abortion because that’s their choice and someone who would choose an abortion in order to protect their own life, such as the case in an ectopic pregnancy?

        • I’ll answer that self-defense question. I am legally allowed to shoot a man if he tries to molest or rape me. Because I have the right to not have my body integrity violated and am not forced to suffer the pains and humiliations of his unwanted touch. I’ve heard people say that this is justifiable self defense because the guy COULD escalate to violence even possibly death. But it doesn’t matter (to me) if it would escalate to that at all. you have NO right to put any part of your grubby anatomy inside MY body without my consent. Try it on penalty of your life.

          With pregnancy there is literally “no way to know” if that pregnancy will end up causing permanent disfigurement, trauma, or death ahead of time. Things can be going perfectly and then in delivery the woman dies or has a serious complication. The POTENTIAL of any fetus to cause harm should be the same legal justification for self-defense against unwanted occupation as I would have to defend myself against a rapist.

        • Alexander,

          I respectfully disagree. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Sex is often a recreational activity meant to increase intimacy between partners. Leaving aside any ‘slutty sluts’ and focusing entirely on the “virtuous” married people… (to not cloud the issue), this is basically saying that every married woman should be open to pregnancy and childbirth. She may be open to sex with her husband, but that doesn’t mean she is open to pregnancy, nor is her consenting to sexual relations with her husband some kind of statement that she is.

          While I think if people choose to have penetrative sex (as opposed to activities that bring pleasure but can’t cause pregnancy), they need to use some method of birth control if they are not wanting to conceive, no method is 100% effective and by saying that consenting to sex is ultimately somehow consenting to be pregnant and giving birth, you’re basically saying that women who never want children should NEVER have sex (unless they are lesbians.) But if a woman is heterosexual, you’re basically sentencing her to a life of either extreme risk or extreme loneliness, neither of which is compassionate or ethical IMO.

          IMO abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. (Rare because we educate people on contraception and their options and they are responsible in their sexual activities. But given that nothing is 100%, even “not wanting to be pregnant” IMO is a totally justifiable reason to abort and self-defense would IMO be a legit reason.)

          • Summer, I happen to support abortion as a choice that each person should be able to make, if need be. My comment was to simply point out that the very good case that you made in your previous comment (under that other name we won’t mention…) makes logical sense only in case of unwanted sex (rape). In case of consensual intercourse, both parties share the responsibility for the outcome (in my opinion).
            PS Enjoying the intercourse – will answer other points on the Fair Tax tomorrow.

        • @Alexandar

          Also, wanted to add, another reason I believe my thesis holds even in consensual sex is that… the self defense argument I make with regards to abortion is self defense against: “a fetus taking over my body uninvited”, NOT self defense against a rapist. (I would have already shot him before he accomplished his mission.)

          My other comment is in moderation right now, but the crux was really: Consent to sex is not the same as consent to pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood. They are so completely not in the same zip code. Any man who expected me to “accept” that I could get pregnant and would have to carry the pregnancy and give birth, would never be a man I would ever sleep with voluntarily. i.e. pro-life men need not apply.

        • Alexander,

          I still believe consent to sex is not equal to consent to pregnancy. But I’m happy to agree to disagree. re: choosing sex equals choosing consequences, why does sex have to have “consequences”?

          I know you seem pro-choice at least in some circumstances and you definitely don’t come across like you are a forced birther, but I do think this idea that sex should have ‘consequences’ is based in a “punishment for sex” model of sex. The only problem is that the “punishment” affects the woman WAY more than the man.

          Maybe we should cause him physical pain and discomfort for 9 months then a LOT Of discomfort for however many hours labor lasts. you know… so everybody gets “consequences.”

          To me it’s like saying to a dude who plays football and gets injured… “Well, you chose to play football so the injury is a consequence.” Maybe it’s a “potential” consequence but NO ONE would tell the player that because he voluntarily chose to play football and got injured he should not just not even try to TREAT the injury because… hey… football has consequences.

          If pregnancy might be a consequence of sex, fine. But abortion is a way to deal with that consequence. Just staying pregnant if you don’t want the baby is like “just keeping Chlamydia” because… oh well… sex has consequences. This is not how we react to any other situation in life. So it makes no real sense here. Just wanted to point that out.

          • Summer, I haven’t dropped of the edge of the Earth yet; just had to work today – I will still get back on the very important issue of taxes. Meanwhile, I think that you misunderstood my previous comment somewhat. I am not saying that once pregnant, birth is not the only option; only in that I believe the responsibility for all options should be shared. As to making men suffer equivalent pains – I don’t believe in Handicapper General. Pregnancy is not a punishment for sex – it is a natural consequence, without which none of us would be here. Due to technology advancement, humans have created options for themselves, and I support those options. I also believe that those options should be a choice of an individual (or the couple), not of the State. When the State has the control, today it may restrict abortion, tomorrow it may dictate it (China, for example). I think that both cases are equally unacceptable.

    • Blue Dog Democrat here. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. NRA member. Gun Owner. CPA. I share a libertarian streak in that I hate the nanny state and believe in individual responsibilities that go with individual rights. I think no one should have to starve to death in America and that people should have basic medical care, but I don’t believe in handing out welfare checks. Make them show up for job training and get vouchers. And limit the time on the dole. I’ve seen plenty take advantage of the welfare system fraudulently. Can’t happen if they make them show up and do something (work). As my dad said, put them shoulder to shoulder with brooms to sweep the streets if need be to give them something to do for what they receive. I would vote for an overhaul of welfare as well as political contribution laws to level the playing field with the well to do well connected.

      • “No one should have to starve…” – have you personally ever met a starving person in America? With a caveat: not on drugs, drunk or just plain lazy and not willing to lift their ass? For 20 years I have asked all kinds of “charity” collectors to show me such a person. The invariable response: “I know someone who knows someone.” This “hunger” BS is Big Business. As a CPA, you should know that. But do you know how much does a sow with 3 piglets, siting on welfare (my neck) actually takes in from all the programs that are available to her curtesy of the taxpayer (me)? I’ve put the numbers together- housing, food, utilities, medical care, education, child care, tv, cell phone, entertainment, gas vouchers, car repairs, clothing- get ready – $70K/yr. Tax free. I would need to earn $100K+ before taxes to equal that. Why the hell should anyone work in your workers paradise?

        • During the Regan administration, a high-up member of an African country was asked if there was anything particularly surprising that he saw in the USA.

          He replied with a look of amazement: “Your poor are fat!”

        • Concede starving to death as hyperbole. That said my mother was a school nurse/teacher & certified nutritionist at 111th street school across from the Watts Projects. She used to buy food with her own money to feed hungry children who were malnourished which lead to learning difficulties. She would buy cloths for them too. I still give money to the food bank, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul & the Rescue Mission. I do think these organizations are better than government handouts. As I said, a Blue Dog Democrat, gun owner, NRA member & CPA.

          • Have you noticed that the people you’re so generously feeding are driving better cars than you and wearing sneakers that I could not afford?

        • Alexander,

          Sorry, I’m changing my name to something normal. I thought I was just making 1 comment, but yeah I don’t want to be known for the rest of all time as “Uterus_haver” 😛 So… Summer now.

          Did you mention already… what do you think about the FairTax? I support it. My husband thinks it will never pass, but I think it will eventually. Not because the people at Washington are so moral and magnanimous but just out of desperate necessity. It’ll come down to something like FairTax or a dismantled rule of law, enraged population, monetary collapse, and almost all big business leaving here. They’ll do it in the end to save their skins.

          Unfortunately, it might not be that quick, because FairTax would wipe Obamacare off the map completely. They can only enforce it with the aid of the IRS which wouldn’t exist with FairTax.


          • Summer (thank you for the new name!) – I know little about the Fair Tax. Yes, I’ve read about it, but without the details, I would sound like Nancy Pelosi with Obamacare… However, the purpose of our current tax abomination (hard to call it a system) is not just to collect the money, but to have control over all aspects of society and to punish and reward as deemed appropriate by the people in power. Can anyone imagine that these same people will ever voluntarily release that control? Only a total collapse and (probably) a civil war can lead to that; it will never be voluntary. The other issue is not just the method of taxation, but what is that money being used for? Under the original Constitution, taxes (tariffs) very used only for Constitutionally limited functions of the federal government. Now they are being used to fund special interests, transfer wealth from one class to another, to fund federal agencies that have no Constitutional right to exist – basically, a government feeding troth for everyone who can shoulder their way in. Not only is this wholesale stealing, but it is unsustainable. This is a big and (used to be) rich country – the effects take a long time to become apparent. But even when you hear the Propaganda Ministry claim that we are coming out of the recession and yet 92 million able bodied citizens don’t work, most of the new jobs are part-time low wage ones, manufacturing is all but gone and even service is decrepit, that is a good time to recall an old Soviet joke – “we see communism on the horizon…”

        • The folks pushing the Fair Tax (Boortz, et. al.) believe like I do that the government has exceeded its legitimate powers, BUT they also don’t want to fight that battle simultaneously with one on the destructiveness of the way taxes are collected, so they are trying to make the Fair Tax proposal “revenue neutral.” (I think, once the transition is over it will actually make revenues increase greatly because the economy will grow rapidly.) Once implemented, they can worry about cutting the role of government in our lives (and being able, thereby, to reduce the tax rate).

          • If you judge by the deeds as opposed to the words, I think that it is reasonable to conclude that the people in power do not want the economy to improve. There are many known and proven methods to improve the economy, but the actions are always the opposite. Perhaps it is because poor people are not independent and are easier to control, as well as being more predictable?

        • Alexander,

          bwahahaha you’re welcome! I have lurked for a little while and after a while certain topics push my buttons and in the irritation I made up a “one off” name, which… ironically “depersonalizes me” in a way I would find offensive if a guy did it LOL. So… best to normalize!

          re: FairTax you can check out That’s where I learned about it. I think it’s a really exciting idea.

          And you’re absolutely right that the tax code seeks social engineering. But in the end, they’ll just have to let go of that unless they want to go down with this Titanic, too. I’m betting they’ll want to keep their protected bubble to live in rather than end up with their heads on pikes when the bread and circuses run out. But hey, I’ll sit back and watch whichever door they decide to open.

          Besides, they still have the NSA to screw us over with.

          I agree it probably won’t be voluntary and that civil war/massive unrest or total collapse would do it… but I think we are heading toward those things if they don’t get it together. But I can also see a way it could happen voluntarily. If big money interests realize how beneficial it is to them and how they don’t have to worry about keeping a politician in their pocket and the vagaries of the political tides, it might be a way to keep corporations here. Without money and an economy, the government can’t control us anyway. So they should play this one smart.

          If they choose not to, I have popcorn.

          I think people who think communism is going to be a successful “thing” here, underestimate the free spirit of the American people. We guard our guns like angry pit bulls for a reason. And good luck to them if they decide to wage war on the people. /sarcasm.

          Also… in response to your comment to Steve… certainly poor people are not independent and are easier to control… but via what funding will they control them/us? If everybody is poor and all corporate interests have moved offshore, then THEY suffer as well. They at least lose much of “the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed”. If they are that stupid… well, okay. But I think they want to preserve that lifestyle and in the end will give us the FairTax.

          Another problem with the Welfare state is… they haven’t just created poor dependents, they’ve created ENTITLED dependents. The money dries up for the EBT cards and the carnage will be insane. The issue is that our poor people haven’t been kept in crappy destitution for generations. Our poor people have been kept in Obama phones and nice sneakers and better eating than the poor of most countries ever dreamed about. Rip that away suddenly and… LOLOLOLOLOLOL good luck with that, government.

        • @Alexander, I wasn’t trying to disagree with you, but someone somewhere upthread complained that the FairTax doesn’t do anything about the *amount* of government we have or what it is doing that it shouldn’t be. So I pointed out why those behind the proposal were deliberately avoiding that issue–to avoid fighting two battles at once.

          I do think that some of the marketing of the Fair Tax minimizes the disruption that the transition would cause (they seem to simultaneously assume your gross pay won’t be cut AND the prices of things will stay the same or drop, just for instance) but I also think we’d be better off once on it than we are under the income and payroll taxes.

  3. Well, no, not a Libertarian (party member) here, because the libertarian party has some other odd and empirically false ideas on banking, gold, and insurance. But on social issues, sure. Austrian economists need not reply.

    • Sorry that we want our monetary system based on something that actually exists and not an illusion. Getting off of the gold standard has created tremendous issues concerning inflation and volatility of the stock market (more booms and busts). But don’t take my word for it. Do the research for yourself and see what you think.

      • Do a little research yourself. We were on the Gold Standard from 1787 to 1935 and we had the same problems. The Gold Standard does not bring any more stability. The fractional reserve banking system is what drives booms and busts not whether or not the currency is backed by a physical commodity. The paradox is that without fractional reserve banking you can’t have financial intermediaries and without financial intermediaries you can’t have modern economy.

        • False. You’re confusing a stable purchasing power of the official coin/currency of the realm (at the time silver and/or gold, either directly in the form of Ag/Au coinage or Ag/Au backed certificates) with the banking panics, which were recurring collapse in the value of private bank notes, effectively private currency (which one could opt to refuse if you were a merchant, just like a check). The Federal Reserve was instituted ostensibly to address the latter, and in so doing (eventually) drove out the former. The purchasing power of the first silver dollar minted, buried in a mason jar, would have the same purchasing power if dug out of the ground in 1913. Now, the same cannot be said of any of the numerous private bank notes that came and went in the meantime. BTW, the federal reserve note is a private bank note, with one difference from before: you are forced by law to accept it as payment for debt, something the prior private bank notes didn’t have.

        • Do some better research. The government effectively dropped the gold standard by 1917, with the changes to the Federal Reserve Act. In 1913, the original FRA forbade the Federal Reserve from monetizing federal debt. They revised the law in 1917 to allow the Federal Reserve to extend loans to the federal government.
          Those bills were not on the gold standard. They did not say “Gold Certificate” on the bill, they said “Federal Reserve Note”. They were not redeemable for gold from the Treasury.
          That is when the dollar began its century long collapse.

          Also, the worst panics prior to 1917 all involved bank notes not backed by gold or silver, either private notes, or in the worst case the greenbacks the Union and Confederacy forced on the people during their war.

        • @mikep:

          You clearly do not understand the way the gold standard and fractional reserve banking worked. Banks issued script that was redeemable in gold. Banks figured out rather quickly that they could issue more script than they had gold because hordes of people would not show up at the same time demanding gold unless of course they did in which case you had a panic. One of Jackson’s gripes about the Second Bank of the United States was that they had this thing about showing up at the local bank to redeem the script to keep a check on the issuance of currency.

          We did not have price stability during the era of the Gold Standard. There were periods of inflation and deflation but the principle problem was deflation which was deadly in an agricultural economy. Remember the “Cross of Gold” speech? Events like the discovery of new gold deposits caused rip roaring inflation as the money supply exploded with these new finds. Your claim that we effectively left gold standard in 1917 is absolute nonsense. The pattern of persistent deflation punctuated by shorts periods of inflation continued on until 1930s. The collapse of the banking system in 1931-33 was a direct result of the need to comply with the gold standard. The Federal Reserve significantly tightened the money supply to stem the outflow of gold when other countries left the Gold Standard. That brought the house down. Stop reading Rothbard and Ron Paul. They are full of it.

          Edit: Here is a little historical footnote for you. Spanish Power was not defeated by the loss of the Armada. It was the massive inflow of gold from the new world that cause a hyperinflation that did them in as world power.

        • @ tdiinva

          No, I understand fractional reserve lending quite well. You’re still confusing the coin of the realm at the time with private bank credit/notes. There is no such thing as “fractional reserve” in physical commodities, such as a silver or gold coin (or a barrel of whale oil, or an animal skin). And the physical commodities that are precious metals were the coin of the realm. Physical things need a layer of abstraction, such as a derivative (claim check for a deposit of a real thing, for example), in order to be lent multiple times over. But the actual, physical underlying asset cannot be in more than one place at one time. Which is precisely why we have derivatives of physical things: there’s a lot of money to be made collecting interest by “lending” the abstraction of the real thing into the market several times over. It’s basically the concept of leverage.

        • Exactly. The Austrian economic model is predicated on the idea that value is subjective. Things become valuable when we decide they are. Value, like reality itself, is not intrinsic. We make it up as we go along. Bitcoin, for example.

    • Hahahahahaha Austrian economics is the only logical economic system. But enjoy your modern system that’s riding the success of the free markets in the ground.

      • I know I’m a guilty party (just see above), but who here bet good money that some day a TTAG thread would spin off into a debate about the merits/demerits of Austrian economics and monetary policy?

        • See, this is why I keep comming back to TTAG. The completely off topic arguments that spin way out of control. It’s pure gold and actually pretty interesting, and I’ve actually learned allot about topics far away from guns.

      • Austrian school of economics is the only one that explicitly rejects the scientific method, and uses pseudoscientific methodology such as “praxeology” instead. In effect, that makes it religion, not science.

        • I don’t think that science means what you think it means. There is no such think as social and economic science. Science means it can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Tell me how that works for social and economic phenomenons. Economic and social sciences are merely a set of opinions. Some closer to truth, some less.

          • It works in exactly the same way as it does for, say, thermodynamics or quantum mechanics. You may not be able to precisely predict the behavior of one element (in this case, human) in the system, but system as a whole still has statistically significant behavioral patterns that can be observed, predicted, and have laws derived.

        • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHA! HAHA ha ha …. ha… Whew… you had me going there, that was a good one. Economics as an actual science? Using the scientific method? Now THATS some funny shit right there. As an actual scientist who does actual science using the scientific method, you just brightened my day. Imagine the absurdity of the statement… economics as a legit science

          • I will take your comment at face value and ask you to explain why would you consider a discipline, where if one were to carefully take into account all the relevant factors and systematically reproduce the predicted results, not to be science? Don’t highlight a bunch of uneducated activists working for the administration or currently employed in liberal colleges as examples of the opposite. There are quak “scientists” in every profession (global warming?), but how does Milton Friedman not fit a definition of a scientist?

      • Austrian economics…..sure if Peter Schiff says so. Problem is it’s still central bank model, same end result, maybe slightly different path getting there.

    • Yup, pretty much this. I self-identify as “left libertarian”, which basically means that I largely agree with traditional libertarians on social and political issues, but I disagree with them a lot on economic ones.

      If you have seen the 2D “political coordinate grid”, you know that there are four quadrants there, not three.

      • And when you actually realised it’s a 3D “political coordinate grid”, it just makes way more sense to everything.

        The X axis is about Social/Economical Liberty:
        Communism/Globalist to Capitalism/Individualist

        The Y axis is about Personal/Political Liberty:
        Libertarian/Anarchy to Authoritarian/Totalitarian

        And the Z axis is about Ideological/Cultural Liberty:
        Laicism/Progressivism to Religious/Traditionalism

        Just think about it 🙂

        • Proggie-inspired misuse of the word “libertarian” to apply only to social issues.

          A libertarian (properly understood) wants liberty on all three of your axes, as well as any other axis anyone else might suggest. (He will also believe you are responsible for the consequences of your actions.)

          • Furthermore, social liberties cannot exist without economic liberties. If one is to examine the details carefully, it will become obvious that without economic freedom a Police State ensues which may dish out temporary liberites as it sees fit, and take them away at will. Anyone wanting to test this theory, try saying something (openly and loudly) that is not politically correct at your place of employment…

        • Your “ideological/cultural liberty” axis doesn’t really make sense to me.

          Liberty requires tolerance of other beliefs that do not inflict violence (or the threat of violence) upon others. Whether you believe in one god, or many gods, or no gods, is irrelevant as far as liberty is concerned.

          As Jefferson once said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” A belief in a particular god – or a lack of it – does not determine whether one supports liberty or not.

          As far as other beliefs and their relation to liberty, the question is not whether or not one supports a particular idea, but whether or not one supports government involvement with that idea. For example:

          * One can support expanded healthcare options for people without supporting government involvement in healthcare.
          * One can support the right of people to collectively bargain without supporting the government mandating collective bargaining.
          * One can support persons receiving a good education without supporting government involvement in education.
          * One can support standards for products without supporting the idea of mandatory standards imposed by government.

          This is not the approach the “progressives” take – they are perfectly fine with government mandates for all of these things. But one does not have to support government violence in order to support these ideas.

          The basic issue is what a person believes violence should be used for in a society. Libertarians (and other liberty-minded folk) tend to believe that violence should be used as little as possible. Big-government folks (whether they call themselves Democrats, Republicans, or whatever) think it should be used whenever needed and/or as much as possible.

          Supporting government involvement in something = supporting violence (as necessary) in order to make things the way that some people want them to be.

        • I am aware of that scheme, and personally prefer it, but 2D is still a reasonably accurate approximation that much more people are familiar with.

      • So, let’s understand your position clearly – you want to force me (through the State, which does the dirty work for you) to slave labor and have the yield of my labor taken away to pay for your “social justice”? And you call that social justice?

        • I want you to pay taxes. If you have some silly notions, such as “taxation is theft”, that’s your problem. For an example of how it usually goes in practice, go find some video of a “sovereign citizen” or “freeman on the land” trying to argue in court.

          • I believe that you have missed my point. I don’t have an issue with paying taxes. Taxes for something that benefits me, of course I’ll pay. The legal system (courts), police, defense, perhaps a few more items that I can’t think of now, but I object to taxation without representation. I don’t want to pay for someone else not working or for someone else’s education or healthcare or a gender change operation just because you (or someone else) believe that those things are important to them. If you believe that they are important, by all means, please pay for them. And you’re welcome to ask me to pay for them; but don’t force me.

            • That was exactly the point I was making – you do have a list of things that you’re not only okay with paying taxes for, but you’re also okay with forcing others to pay their taxes for – unless you’re saying that I can voluntarily refuse to pay taxes for, say, defense, on the grounds that 90% of the spending doesn’t actually benefit me and possibly even makes me more safe; or maybe the black citizens might want to stop paying taxes to fund police.

              If that’s not the case, then our sole difference is over what things go onto that list.

        • int19h,

          Why is it a problem to think that taking something by force that belongs to someone else is theft?

          Just to be clear, we’re talking about income tax, right?

          • We’re talking about any kind of tax. By definition, taxation of any kind is involuntary, be it income tax, sales tax, property tax or something else. But it is also necessary for a functioning society. Even the Founders understood it, seeing how they didn’t abolish all taxes, and argued only against no taxation without representation, not against taxation in general.

        • No matter how you parse it, income tax is still theft.

          A sales tax is voluntary. Let me be very clear, here. I believe that the FairTax ( would be the single best thing that could happen to this country. It is voluntary. Basics are not taxed (look up the FairTax prebate). I can choose not to buy a new car and other things that are not necessities. I will not be taxed. There are numerous significant problems in this country that the FairTax solves. If you’re interested, you can do the research. Start here:

          • What do you mean by “sales tax is voluntary”? Whenever goods exchange hands between two people, you have to pay a fee to the state under such a scheme, what’s voluntary about that? Or are you saying that you can avoid paying it by not purchasing anything? Well, you can similarly avoid income tax by not earning any income. In practice, of course, neither is viable, so both are involuntary.

          • The method of taxation is one issue, which the entrenched bureaucrats will never yield on (why would they voluntarily give up power and control?). But the biggest issue to me is the forced redistribution (theft) from those that earn to those that don’t. Not only is it legalized theft, but it is unsustainable and it is only a matter of time (short time, I believe) before we take our rightful place in the middle of the Third World and probably end up with a civil war.

        • I see you didn’t doing any reading on the FairTax.

          If you want to eat and not live on the street, you have to work (ignoring our massive welfare system), so that’s a ridiculous analogy. Under the FairTax, there’s a lot that I can buy and not pay any tax.

          • I know what FairTax is, thank you very much.

            It’s still a regulatory scheme. Here’s a list of things that you have to stick to to avoid tax. Go outside of that list, and you have to pay the tax.

            And the same exact thing can be said of income tax. Say, if the lowest tax bracket is 0%, why, then you clearly have a choice: just don’t earn more than that, and you don’t have to pay anything!

            It’s all BS. Taxes are involuntary by definition. Voluntary tax is called charity.

        • @int19h

          No, apparently you DON’T know what the Fair Tax is. There’s NO specification of certain items being tax free. What happens is every household in the US gets a check every month, a rebate on the sales tax for poverty-level spending. Every item has the tax on it, but you got rebated the tax on poverty level spending.

          • So same exact thing then. You can “opt out” from tax by not spending more than X. And you seriously think that this counts as voluntary taxation?

        • Actually @int19h, I was responding solely to your statement that you knew what the tax was, then claimed it exempted certain classes of products.

          I too find it silly to call it voluntary, though you do have *some* control over how much you pay (if you choose to save or invest instead of blowing money on another bigscreen TV, you pay less tax).

          Jay Williams, who just claimed you could spend LOTS of money and pay no Fair Tax, is full of it. The proposal advocated by Boortz et. al., imposes the tax on EVERY good and service, but prebates a fixed amount of tax each month.

        • Not so much that I don’t know anything about the tax more than int19h (I did understand the prebate) but that I had simply forgotten about how used items are treated. (I don’t buy many things used.) My bad.

          To be sure some things you just can’t buy used (like food). Unless you find someone who’s unloading a bunch of food they don’t want anymore. And services will always be taxed since there’s really no way to sell a “used” service.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d a million times rather have the fair tax–or any sales tax for that matter, so long as it doesn’t exempt a bunch of politically favored items–over property or income taxes, because the latter two can pop up and hit you with a tax bill you can’t pay (e.g., you’re retired, and your property now has a huge market value for some reason–maybe the city grew out to where you are–so you lose your house because you can’t afford to pay the property tax on it. Or (another example) you inherit the family farm and have to sell it because you can’t pay the inheritance tax.)

          Of course what I don’t want is the Fair Tax in addition to the income tax we have now. Neither do its proponents; I realize that the people who wrote the legislation made it contingent on repeal of the 16th amendment.

        • @Steve We all have to buy food, but most of us could eat tax free with the pre-bate. and probably pay most absolute necessity bills. I think previous purchases/debt are grandfathered in, so like if you have a mortgage I don’t think a new tax is assessed, so that would be tax free.

          If you bought your car used from a private citizen, that would be tax free. You could utilize a lot of used purchases. I think it would allow an option for some to opt out of taxes (or pay much much less) in an ethical and legal way. It would require some sacrifice but there would be an ‘option’ for those who wished to live according to their conscience.

          These could also be temporary ways to save money to help you move ahead financially which the current income tax system doesn’t really allow. It pretty rigidly enforces a class system that most don’t recognize or want to recognize is there.

          In most cases there would be some sort of “conscious choice” to pay taxes. People will always buy new stuff, and most people if they have the money do NOT have the self control to buy everything used except food which would probably be afforded easily tax-free with the pre-bate. But those who did have that self-control or genuinely desired NOT to enrich their govt slaveholders would have a legal/ethical way to “opt out” for the most part while still surviving.

          Another benefit is… the govt could only increase taxes according to what the market would actually bear. So it would have a naturally limiting effect on govt. which would force them to make choices about what they can and cannot spend money on, just like the rest of us.

          • My views on the Fair Tax – lukewarm. Obvious pro’s – it promises to disband most of the IRS (along with many of the related professions, like CPA). Aside from that, it appears to be business as usual. It does not reduce government spending and does not re-direct the spending (stealing, really). It simplifies accounting (a big plus in itself, of course), thus lessening the burden on the economy, temporarily eliminates or reduces special interests and re-focuses spending from consumer goods to savings or industrial investment. However, there are problems with all of the above. Let’s take re-focusing on savings and away from consumer goods. Sounds good? Or does it? Our economy is mostly consumer and service oriented. Not because there’s nothing to produce (China doesn’t have that problem), but because US regulations, high labor rates and inefficient production due to falling qualification of the workforce make industrial production uneconomical. A change in the tax code will not alter this situation. What it will do is collapse the consumer spending sector, which will be catastrophic for the economy. Do we need more industrial production and investment – of course, but we need to make a profitable environment for the production and the production will come, as opposed to forcing it with tax schemes.
            The fact that welfare remains the same, spending on all government projects and agencies (except for the IRS) remains the same, regulatory asphyxiation of the industries and of individual ingenuity remains the same, means that even the best tax scheme is nothing more than a band aid.
            Finally, the special interests will be back. For example, there will be a 23% tax on a new car, but 0 tax on a used car. How long will it take for used cars to be re-marketed with new engines, new seats, new … etc, etc., and new lobbyists carving out what is taxed and what is not?

        • Sunny,

          I don’t disagree with much of what you’re saying. The two things I’d like to see done with the Fair Tax are to add the tax at the checkout (don’t hide it!) and pick a lower rate and get rid of the prebate. I realize the prebate was put in to attempt to defuse charges the tax would hurt the poor more than the present tax system does. and I’ll certainly accept it if necessary to see it happen. All that having been said, the prebate proposed is probably the best way I could imagine to do it–it doesn’t involve wrangling over what should and should not be tax exempt, and the government doesn’t need to know *a thing* about you other than the size of your household. [For anyone reading this unfamiliar with the prebate, it’s a check for the poverty line income for a household of your size, times the tax rate, so you can spend $(Poverty level) basically tax free.] (I can imagine the IRS continuing to exist if only to make sure people don’t lie about the sizes of their households.)

          PS As a semi-aside your description of how you defend yourself against rapists convinces me that your husband chose well.

    • Two words for the Austrians: Milton Friedman.

      Austrian economics mostly is a tautology wrapped up in hard to pronounce buzzwords. It’s hack pseudoscience. There are libertarian-leaning economists whose work is grounded in solid research. But if you really want to understand the gold standard, the role of the gold standard in the great depression, you start with Friedman.

    • Let’s just ignore the odd/stupid positions taken by the R and D parties –all parties are wrong on some counts, but you prioritize them on how much importance they have to you, and try to change them by contacting reps in the party. Gun control is a hell of a lot more accurate tyranny litmus test than mandated equal pay, tax cuts, or a gold standard. The R’s consistently get the most votes while being the least hostile to my gun rights.

    • dwb… I’m genuinely curious about your comment. Do you have an example or two of what you find to be empirically false about libertarian fiscal or monetary ideas?

        • Mike, thanks for the recommendation. I hadn’t run across that source previously even though I’ve been working rather intensely for a quarter century now to understand this stuff. My question was more about what a specific person finds to be objectionable about the Austrian viewpoint rather than general information.

    • There are lots of libertarians (LP and non-party) who fall more on the monetarist/Chicago school side of things. “Hard currency” is not part of the litmus test, just promotion of free enterprise.

  4. To be clear, not all libertarians are created equal either.

    For example, abortion: Many (maybe most?) libertarians, including Ron Paul would say that an abortion infringes on the rights and autonomy of the unborn child, and as such does not fall in line with the idea of individual freedom.

    • I second that.
      Abortion depends on what your definition of a child is, not exactly the left-right spectrum.

        • I was told a decade or so back that the New Mexico Libertarian Party (then actually on the ballot at times, as were the Greens) refused to take a stance on the abortion issue, for that very reason: if the unborn child is human, then the government legitimately can protect it from murder; if the foetus is merely tissue inside a female, then the government has no cause to interfere in the female’s decision. (The weakness of libertariansim (and I recognize it, being pretty much a small-L libertarian) is that it has trouble dealing with family issues (marriage, inheritance, etc.), because marriage/family is by definition something voluntarily entered into (for adults) which creates mutual obligations and dependencies: “the two become one” in many ways.)