By Kevin Boyd – LibertyChat.com Contributor –
Libertarianism has always attracted those whose beliefs and lifestyles are unconventional to say the least. Libertarians have always supported things such as an end to the war on drugs, decriminalization of sex work, and legalizing sex acts between consenting adults. Libertarians have also consistently supported things such as free speech and freedom of religion, giving a home to those whose beliefs are outside the so-called mainstream. However, liberty isn’t just for the libertines and is just as much for those whose lifestyles and beliefs are more conventional as well.
The libertarian internet has exploded for the past couple of weeks since libertarian writer Pamela Stubbart quit the Students For Liberty backed media placement organization Young Voices Advocates. Stubbart resigned because she did not feel comfortable with being associated with Miriam Weeks, who is the porn star known as “Belle Knox” who also attends Duke University. This brought much criticism from more socially liberal libertarians over Pamela’s decision. Now, would I have made the same decision Pamela did, probably not because I dont care who else the media placement company that I would work for promotes. However, I applaud Pamela for taking the stand she did and for standing on her principles.
The criticism of socially liberal libertarians appears to be that Pamela is wrong for not accepting pornography. However, my left-libertarian friends mistake tolerance with acceptance. All Pamela and others are required to do in a free society is tolerate something, ie. not use the force of the state to suppress viewpoints she does not agree with. Just because Pamela does not want the state to ban pornography does not require her to accept it. Pamela, and others who don’t buy into “sex-positivity”, are as much entitled to their beliefs as those that they criticize.
Another example, marijuana is a drug that I would not be interested in trying or using. I do not believe it is as harmless as many of those who support its legalization would like you to believe. However, I do not believe it is an appropriate use of the state’s power to throw people in prison who choose to use it or sell it. Opposing throwing people in prison for using marijuana does not require me to socially accept the use of the drug, it just simply requires me to oppose using the state’s power to enforce my own personal beliefs on marijuana. That is all that anyone has the moral right to ask of me. You are entitled to me tolerating your beliefs, so long as you do not harm others. However, you are not entitled to me either accepting your beliefs or lifestyle, let alone to celebrate it. To say otherwise is thought control at its worst.
The only moral position that is required for anyone who believes in liberty is for one to simply to believe in “live and let live.” You do not have to adopt either a socially libertine lifestyle or a socially conservative lifestyle to believe in liberty. Any message that suggests otherwise is a not libertarian message. All that a libertarian must believe in is that they will not use the power of the state to punish acts which are not injurious to others. It does not require them to accept any moral beliefs beyond that, nor should it.
In order for liberty to become mainstream in American politics, it must be diverse. Diversity should not just be in just race or gender; but it must become more diverse in lifestyle as well. Liberty is not just for the libertine, but also for those who are more socially restrained. To imply otherwise is to ultimately destroy what libertarianism is all about, which is to achieve the maximum freedom possible in order for people to live their lives as they see fit.