Sunday, May 22, 2005

Where Do You Draw the Line?

How far can you go down the following list before you disagree with a statement?
1. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" summarizes the American ideal.

2. America's sovereignty provides a shield behind which Americans may pursue the American ideal.

3. Americans' ability to pursue the American ideal therefore depends on the successful defense of American interests and America's sovereignty.

4. Americans, acting through the state, should defend American interests and America's sovereignty.

5. It is foolish and irresponsible to wait until an enemy strikes a blow before acting in self-defense.

6. The American ideal is subverted when, in the pursuit of specific ends that seem laudable, some Americans use the power of the state in ways that effectively deprive Americans of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

7. There is a slippery-slope effect in human affairs; the acceptance of behavior that had been unacceptable establishes a new "baseline" of acceptable behavior, from which departures then become acceptable, and so on.

8. Abortion and involuntary euthanasia are steps down a slippery slope toward the use of state power to shape human destiny.

9. Heterosexual marriage with a stay-at-home mother is the backbone of a civil society, that is, a largely self-regulating society in which the norms of acceptable behavior are inculcated within a family.


If you disagreed before you get to #5, you probably should live in a different country, or in a Blue State.

If you made it through #7 without disagreeing, you might be a libertarian realist.

If you agreed with all 9 statements, you are a libertarian realist, that is, someone who puts "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" above libertarian cant.
But there's more, for those of you who agreed with all of the statements above. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
1. There are just some things people shouldn't be allowed to say in the presence of anyone who might be offended.

2. It's all right to say anything, as long as what you say doesn't constitute a direct threat to anyone.

3. It's all right to say anything, period.

4. It's not all right for anyone -- not even the press -- to divulge information that would help an enemy harm Americans or their interests.


If you agreed with #1 you are either of the Left or Right. Game's over. You lose.

If you agreed with #2 you are half-way to being a libertarian realist.

But if you then agreed with #3 you are a libertarian idealist who is wedded to libertarian cant. Game's over. You lose.

Whereas, if you disagreed with #3 and then agreed with #4 you are truly a libertarian realist. Welcome to an exclusive club.