I’ve decided to reply to the responses on my previous article “in-line”. Issues of personal choice and personal liberty are at the very heart of libertarianism. It is not a matter of whether you agree with a behavior or not. A libertarian society removes from you the “right” to use force and coercion, whether by self or by state proxy, against acts you do not like. You may either mind your own business or you may spend your own time and money to advertise and campaign to change people’s minds one at a time. If you are Bill Gates or Ted Turner and spend every last pence you have to make people stop being part of Group X and all but one person does – that one person may still freely go about their business as before and there is nothing you can do about it.
You could be an Imam convincing everyone to accept Shari’a, and if one person doesn’t you are stuffed1. Tough. They can shoot back if you annoy them too much, and likely large numbers of others who agreed with your initial ideas will turn on you for breaking the Meta-rule of non-coercion.
There is no libertarian argument which could support the status quo of the Drug War. Drug usage – THC, Ethanol, Nicotine or stronger – are issues of personal choice. The results of those personal choices are personal responsibilities. If someone drinks themselves into a gutter, it is not the State’s responsibility to pull them out. If someone injects heroin into their veins and kills themself it is likewise not a public issue.
The minimal libertarian position is the Minarchist state. One which is responsible for Defense, Police and the Courts – killing terrorists, shooting down nuclear missiles, rescuing hostages where possible… and finding, trying and locking up snipers.
There is no room in that description for “outlawing a behavior of Group X that Group Y does not like or that Group Z thinks is unhealthy”.
In a free society, you do what you want so long as you don’t directly harm others… and the consequences of those actions are fully your own to deal with, whether it be getting laid and having a great time or morphine addiction, lung cancer and liver cirrhosis.
T’ain’t nobodies business but your own.
1 = For some Imams in certain Medieval nations, the very ideas expressed here are a heresy. That’s why we leave the Minimal State with Defense. So we can get them first if they try to “Kill Infidels in the Name of Allah”. A liberal society assumes everyone accepts a very minimal social pact of non-coercion.