I have always referred to myself as a conservative (in my adult life,) but lately, I just don’t seem to like the term. I believe in freedom. I don’t believe in freedom under control of wise masters. I believe in the works of the people at Mises.org - in anarchism (the lack of rulers.) I think each person should be the exclusive owner of themselves, their work, and their property. All exchanges should be voluntary and the only law should be natural law (or God’s law if you prefer): the non-aggression axiom.
Conservatives don’t believe in those things. They are against socialism, or at least what talk radio hosts tell them is socialism, but they are for government run schools, medicare, social security, foreign aid, a standing army, etc. They are full of internal contradictions.
The latest illustration of this is the ongoing drug debate and the recent developments in Colorado. This has brought out the prohibitionist conservatives and they are going on and on about the evils of drugs and the necessity of government bans, or what I call responsibility socialism. They fail to realize that the fundamental principle their arguments rest upon is the exact same thing that progressives use to argue for their government enforced programs, such as welfare, universal healthcare, and gun bans.
It’s hard to describe this precisely so I decided to just come up with some examples to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Here’s a sample conversation with a progressive:
Me: So you think we should ban guns?
Prog: Yes! Guns are dangerous and nobody has a real reason to have them. They should be banned!
Me: So you want to arrest and imprison people for the act of owning a gun?
Prog: If they don’t get rid of it, yes! We have to make society safer, for the children.
Me: I don’t think that’s morally right. People should be able to own whatever they want, even if it is dangerous. If they use the gun to then commit a crime, then we should punish that, but only that.
Prog: That sounds all nice, but are you seriously suggesting someone should be able to own a machine gun? How about a bazooka?
(on and on – I could continue but that’s not the point of this post)
Here’s a sample conversation with a conservative:
Me: So you think we should ban drugs?
Con: Yes! Drugs are dangerous and nobody has a real reason to have them. They should be banned!
Me: So you want to arrest and imprison people for the act of owning a drug?
Con: If they don’t get rid of it, yes! We have to make society safer, for the children.
Me: I don’t think that’s morally right. People should be able to own whatever they want, even if it is dangerous. If they use the drug and then commit a crime, then we should punish that, but only that.
Con: That sounds all nice, but are you seriously suggesting someone should be able to own crack cocaine? How about Heroin?
(you get the picture)
Do you see how the logic is exactly the same? These people identify something as bad, and so they come to the conclusion that the answer is then to use the collectivist force of government to remove it from society, via banning it. Never-mind the fact that prohibition never works, why do these people think it is their right to dictate to other people what they can and can’t do? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
So, I can’t call myself a conservative. I don’t think WWII and the 1950′s were the ultimate in freedom, but quite the opposite. I don’t think the government should parent people for their own good. I don’t think people should be serfs and appoint masters every so often via popularity contest.
What am I? I’m an anarchist. People should be personally responsible for their lives, in all aspects. Collectivism is the disease of humanity. You cannot eliminate immorality through collective action any more than you can eliminate hunger or poverty. If only conservatives would realize this, we might actually get somewhere.