Thursday, April 24, 2003


A reader writes: What perplexes center-left types like myself . . . who are often sympathetic to Libertarian attitudes on cultural questions is why most Libertarians privilege issues of tax policy and economic regulation on which they are more closely aligned with Republicans over issues of privacy (sexual and otherwise) and free expression

About 15 years ago, I heard a pretty good answer to this question, from a fellow named Charles Fuller. As I recall, he put it more or less this way, of course as a broad generalization: The Republicans want to control my sex life, and the Democrats want to control my economic life; these days -- perhaps not always, but these days -- it's much harder for the government to control my sex life than my economic life, so the Democrats are the bigger threat.

Two quotes from PJ O'Rourke can help with the analysis:

"Republican politicians are better than Democrat politicians because they don't support gun control so if you don't like them you can just shoot them."
[The following is not a quote but a restatement, I can't remember the quote.]
"Republicans want to control my sex and drugs while the Democrats want to control my money which means that they want to control my whole life." [Since money touches on all of life.]

I would also deny your correspondent's claim that the Reps are worse on Free Expressions than the Dems. The Reps have been much friendlier to Free Expression in conflicts over broadcasting deregulation, commercial speech liberalization, corporate political speech, speech on campus, campaign finance, union dues/forced political contributions, and even street picketing (abortion clinics) than have the Dems. And the Republican dominated Supremes are more liberal than the Warren Court on Free Expression.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003


More importantly, the question is not whether incest, or for that matter homosexuality, is "acceptable" to "a higher power above self," or whether one should say about it, "if it feels good, do it." Rather, the question is whether people should be sent to jail for engaging in this behavior. Even if, as a Christian, you believe that (1) being rude to your father or mother, (2) taking the Lord's name in vain, (3) engaging in premarital heterosexual sex, or (4) committing incest are immoral, there's still the further question of whether coercive secular force (as opposed to, say, moral suasion, or divine retribution) should be used to punish those who engage in this behavior. Simply saying "this is immoral" or "this violates the Biblical rules" by itself says nothing about what civil government should do about it.

Indeed Christ, himself, in his major disquisition on Jurisprudence in Matthew 18:15-17 says what punishment should consist of:

15: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16: But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Apparently, he favored disfellowship to imprisonment or execution as the ultimate punishment for transgressions. I wonder if the unbelievers (heathen) and the IRS agents (publicans) realize they are being punished.
Read Prof. Volokh on the "Santorum Scandal":

Good stuff.

As for the Santorum quote itself:

"And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

I'm not that hot for incest or adultery. I'm hoping to privately practice consensual firearms ownership, teaching, practice of medicine, and the general buying and selling of goods in my home without any control by the Criminal Law.