A Libertarian Thinks Outloud

I’ve always resisted defining myself by specific labels, especially when it comes to the issue of politics. American politics tends to come down to three: Republican, Democrat, and Independent. Roughly a fifth of the population is staunchly Republican or Democrat and the rest are labeled as Independent, or Undecided, and both lobby heavily for the third. I like to think that I fall happily into the third. I also like to think that, say during a presidential election, I vote for the man over the party, though sometimes, I will admit, I have voted for the party because I couldn’t stand the other persons position. I guess the reason I’m saying this is because of how I prefer to identify myself when really pushed on the issues: as a libertarian. But as such, I have to differ from those who would claim to be such, because in claiming that title, they seem to push away from what liberty really means.

A common theme among those who claim the title of libertarian, is to push for certain things under the umbrella of “consenting adults”, which often includes areas of sexuality and the decriminalization of the use and possession of certain plant products for use by the public. And while there are those who may refrain from promoting abusive behaviors of both as well as permit those who disagree to do so. I would like to point out my primary issue with the main point of the argument in both situations: the issue of consent.

Consent is not bad, so please don’t misunderstand, however it can be abused. Whenever the issue is brought up, it seems reasonable: if you consent, or agree with something, you should be permitted to do it, within reason. If that were the extent, then the argument might be acceptable. The problem comes when defining who can consent and to what. The argument then might shift to the question of harm, as to who is being harmed by the behavior. I often point out how shortsighted humans are, how often we fail to see beyond the moment. My wife often accuses me of being a pessimist, but I prefer to think of myself as a realist when looking at a situation which is why I often ask hard questions.

When asked pointedly about just who is being harmed by a behavior, it is then that I realize just how blind people really are because they have to ask. They forget who they are, they forget about the harm they inflict on themselves. Maybe they accept that as part of the deal, which reinforces just how self-destructive we, as humans, really are. But this is just me thinking out loud, so maybe it really doesn’t matter unless you really want to think about it.

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