Conservative, not libertarian

On Facebook last week I sent a message to 100 or so politically-engaged FB “friends” along the lines of, have you ever noticed that on the Internet there’s almost nowhere to breathe if you’re a conservative but not a libertarian? In fact I did a search of “groups” on Facebook using the word “libertarian” and there were over 500. For some reason, libertarians and the Internet seem to be a very tight match; it may have something to do with dating options, but I could certainly be wrong.

In any event, I’m not a libertarian, as readers of my blog are constantly reminded. I figured I could be alone — maybe cultural conservatives, or others of what I would call a secular non-libertarian conservative bent (i.e., personally religious or secular, but not signing onto the Evangelical political agenda per se), don’t really know how to use computers. But I also figured it’s just possible that maybe there are more of us out there and we haven’t quite figured out how to connect effectively via social networking.

So just before the weekend I started a Facebook group called Conservative, not Libertarian. I used the following as the group’s “description”:

“Why isn’t it that you go all the way in this respect with the libertarians and maintain that there should be really a categorical imperative against state interference with the individual’s liberty?”

BUCKLEY: Because I don’t believe in categorical imperatives, except in the matter of saving one’s soul. I believe compromise is genuinely necessary in order to sustain social relationships, even at the most intimate level, for instance, between husband and wife. And under the circumstances I would certainly believe in it as regards hostile neighbors who have a fence between them. . . .

The most important word in my own cosmology is the word presumption. I believe in the presumptive right of voluntary action. If I didn’t believe that it was presumptive, I would for instance be required to say that I did not believe in conscription in cases of national emergency, but I do. I believe in the presumptive case against the state. I want to be absolutely satisfied it can’t otherwise be accomplished.

— The late William F. Buckley, interviewed by Reason magazine, March 1983

And if this concept is of interest to you — if you think, for example, that the state does indeed have something to say about marriage, and what marriage is and isn’t; if you believe the promulgation of pornography is of legitimate interest to policymakers; if you believe that many of the very problems of big government that libertarians decry are the result of policy choices or abstentions from choices that affect education, culture and society — you may want to check it out.

Ron Coleman of Likelihood of Success is back on Facebook, after all, for a conceptually limited engagement. This post cross-posted on Dean’s World.

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