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My favorite political post in the blogosphere…ever

Posted by Chance on January 22, 2007

I have nothing to add to Katherine Coble’s post.

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6 Responses to “My favorite political post in the blogosphere…ever”

  1. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    Well, I agree with only part of this. Choices that harm others are not legitimate choices. So, I’d have to revise Coble this way:
    The choice to smoke–except when and where your second hand smoke is a threat to my lungs. Except when you are pregnant and your smoking hurts the unborn child you claim to care about.

    The choice to eat what you want: and to be fully informed about what’s in what you are eating so you have real, informed choices.

    The choice to drink what you want–but not to drive afterword or otherwise endanger others.

    The choice to watch what you want on TV you pay for–but remembering that the public owns the airwaves and stations with FCC licenses must serve the public interest by providing fora for balanced presentation of views. And the content on TV must be rated with proper warnings so that parents and others can make informed choices over what they watch.

    I second the freedom of movement comment without qualification.

    The choice to ride in cars in comfort–but not to make such choices for underaged persons. Seatbelts must be required for everyone under 21.

    I agree with the library comment completely.

    Also the one about appropriate medicine, having long been in favor of medicinal cannabis.

    The right to do with your property as you please–as long as it doesn’t involve harm to others such as polluting the air or groundwater, etc.

    Freedom and responsibility go together.

  2. Dan Trabue said

    I’m sure we’re all glad that others aren’t given the choice of where to place their toxins. The choice of where to throw their garbage.

    Michael’s right, freedom and responsibility DO go together and that seems one of the weaknesses of the strict Libertarian line is that it seems weak on responsibility (even as most Libertarians advocate personal responsibility).

  3. Chance said

    I think we probably see eye-to-eye on a lot of these things. If you asked Coble what she thought about the things you mentioned, Michael, I’m sure she would agree with many of them as well. Any freedom I can think of comes with some qualification, even religion should be limited if it requires child sacrifices. I think the restrictions you list, for many, go without saying.

    Dan, I know many libertarians, at least in theory, are for the environment, but I know many do not believe in global warming, whether certain things pollute, etc… I don’t know if this is completely due to their bias in favor of the free market, or if there are really 2 sides to the global warming issue.

    Concerning the 2nd hand smoke, we would probably disagree, in the sense that I think people should be able to open smoking bars and restaurants, as people have a choice whether to frequent them or not. Grocery stores, maybe another issue.

    I do agree that freedom and responsibility go together. And with lack of responsibility, goes lack of freedom. I don’t think government should have the primary role in clothing us and feeding us, because government then has a vested interest in our lifestyle choices, taking away our freedom.

    If anything, I think I err on the responsible side (for oneself that is).

  4. Chance said

    I’ve been thinking about it, and you guys’s reactions to Katherine Coble’s post is very curious. What you all say is true, but I guess the way you react. She talks about the importance of freedom to do various things and you guys are quick to point out limitations to those, but Coble and I aren’t altogether dumb people, of course we realize that these have limitations. But it’s almost as if your reaction is “whoa, there, let’s not get too crazy with this freedom talk, these people need to know what type of limitations there are.” But we are smart people, you don’t need to tell us not to drive drunk (well, I was surprised at Coble’s response to that), but my point is, I’m well aware of the idea that my freedom ends where yours begins. Not that I don’t appreciate your comments, because I do, but the degree to which you are quick to point out exceptions and qualifications as soon as someone mentions the right to choose certain lifestyle issues, it just perplexes me a little bit.

    And back to what motivated Coble’s post in the first place. The movement of the “right” to have an abortion. I guess what bothers me is that the freedom she mentions you all are quick to point out exceptions, but had it been a pro-choice post, there would have been no objections, not because of any bias, but because there may actually not be any objections to the “right” to an abortion. Does this sum it up right? – it seems that just about every freedom has some limitation, but I have not known many pro-choicers to come up with any exceptions to access to abortion on demand. I mean, is this a true statement in saying that freedom of speech, press, religion, etc… should all have limitations, but “freedom” to abortion should not? I guess that is my whole problem with modern society, is that the only time you hear freedom to choose or “my body, my choice” is in reference to abortion, not to smoking, eating trans-fats, or basically anything Coble mentioned (except for civil liberties against the Patriot Act, thankfully )

  5. Dan Trabue said

    “But it’s almost as if your reaction is “whoa, there, let’s not get too crazy with this freedom talk, these people need to know what type of limitations there are.””

    I’d think of it more as, “Whoa! Let’s not forget the responsibility side of the freedom coin,” and the reason at least I’m quick to point it out is because it seems to me that Libertarians are too quick to overlook responsibilities.

    When I’m talking with a fundamentalist Christian, I’m probably fairly quick to say, “Whoa! Let’s not forget the freedom in Christ we have…”, and similarly when I’m talking to a person who’s supporting the Patriot Act or restrictions on free speech, so it’s partly a matter of context.

  6. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    Yeah, I wouldn’t say that Libertarians dismiss responsibility, but that they only see individual responsibility and not corporate or communal responsibility. I didn’t know Coble was ranting about abortion. It seemed to me to be a typical Libertarian rant “government regs bad, unfettered rapacious market, good.” So, that’s why I reacted as I did.
    After all, I find the idea of a “right” to smoke to be absurd. You can drink responsibly (though far too many don’t), but there is no way to smoke responsibly. I don’t want to outlaw it, but I do think smokers should be curbed because I see them as constantly trying to kill me with their second hand smoke. Case in point: My workplace is supposedly smoke-free. Smoking is supposed to happen only in outside smoke shacks. But, in practice smokers stand right outside the security shack that EVERYONE must go through to get to work and emit this toxic cloud that I have to traverse in order to get to work. I wonder how much of my life is shortened by their “freedom,” and if I get cancer from their freedom, will any of them volunteer to feed and clothe my kids.
    Then there’s the fact that their freedom to smoke or freedom not to wear seatbelts is something I pay for with higher insurance premiums.

    I could go on.

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