The Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has adopted the horrific mantra “Libertarianism is about being fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”
Libertarianism is no such thing. Libertarianism is about “radical freedom from government.”
“Fiscally conservative” in no way reflects the radicalness of the libertarian desire for freedom from government.
It is noteworthy to consider the Wikipedia entry for “fiscal conservative”:
Fiscal conservatism is a political-economic philosophy regarding fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt.
This explanation of fiscal conservative is probably a good working explanation that reflects what people think about when hearing the term. Let’s consider how far away this is from radical freedom from government.
Nowhere in the definition do we find what is meant by low taxes. I don’t want to get into the debate, here, with regard to no-government libertarians and extremely limited government libertarians, but the term “fiscal conservative” in no way reflects the radical nature of what either such libertarian group would consider “low taxes.” I would suggest for starters an income tax rate of 1%, is a low tax, where over time it could be cut down to more reasonable levels.
The idea of government debt is repulsive to a radical freedom lover. As a starting point in cutting government down to size, a true libertarian would call for the immediate default on all outstanding government debt and the prohibition of government ever issuing debt again.
Are any of these radical freedom positions reflected in the term “fiscal conservative”? Absolutely not, in fact, the term does nothing but suggest tweaking the system at the edges. To a true libertarian, it is calling for nothing but an aspirin taking regime in a battle against cancer.
As for the term “socially liberal.” It is even more repulsive than “fiscal conservative.”
Let us turn once again to Wikipedia to get a sense for how the term is generally viewed:
Social liberalism…is a political ideology that seeks to find a balance between individual liberty and social justice.
The great Nobel prize winner F.A. Hayek wrote in Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice:
It is not only by encouraging malevolent and harmful prejudices that the cult of ‘social justice’ tends to destroy genuine moral feelings. It also comes, particularly in its more egalitarian forms, into constant conflict with some of the basic moral principles on which any community of free men must rest. This becomes evident when we reflect that the demand that we should equally esteem all our fellow men is irreconcilable with the fact that our whole moral code rests on the approval or disapproval of the conduct of others; and that’s similarly the traditional postulate that each capable adult is primarily responsible for his own and his dependents’ welfare, meaning that he must not through his own fault become a charge to his friends or fellows, is incompatible with the idea that ‘society’ or government owes each person an appropriate income.
In this day and age, social liberal advocates also demand that all curtesy to certain “victim” groups, e.g. gays, transgenders and blacks.
This is why Johnson came down in favor of coercing bakers to bake cakes for gays. He, when all is said and done, is a social justice warrior.
This, of course, flies in the face of radical freedom. where in a world of radical freedom one would be free to love or hate gays, blacks, blondes or those wearing tattoos, to say, on one’s own property (or where permitted by another property owner) anything pro or anti gays, blacks, blondes or those wearing tattoos . Or be free to permit or ban anyone, for any reason, from one’s own property, including from diners, buses or hotels—and be allowed to serve on one’s own property anyone one chooses to serve.
This is radical freedom. This is libertarianism.
Gary Johnson is a fraud when it comes to advocating true libertarianism. He must be used as a foil by true radical freedom lovers. He must be intellectually attacked mercilessly for his misleading characterization of libertarianism and exposed for the statist hugger that he is.
Liberty isn’t at the root of the term libertarianism because it is a sometimes option. It is an always, and only, option within the framework of a private property society.
This is the message that must get out. Radical freedom forever!