Liberal vs. Libertarian

Often we libertarians think of making common cause with liberals on social and civil rights issues while making common cause with conservatives on fiscal and regulatory issues.

But these are rules of thumb, as often those we think of as allies on a certain issue abandon us in favor of statism.  Certain conservatives do when they give up capitalism for corporatism.  And Ken at Popehat has a fabulous example of a situation -- protection of defendant's rights in a trial -- where expected liberal support does not materialize.   He discusses the case of an accused child pornography creator

In real life, the accused has the right to review the evidence against him. But how you feel about that scenario can help to determine whether you lean liberal orlibertarian — whether you are suspicious of state power in all instances, or whether you trust the state and look to its firm hand when it comes to hot-button issues, like OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

We’ve been conditioned by the culture to expect that “liberal” and “supportive of due process and fundamental fairness to all people accused of crimes” go hand-in-hand. It’s a lie.

I think the same holds true in other circumstances, like rape trials.  Rights liberals would normally fight for, say, in the case of an accused black murderer in Mississippi were totally tossed aside for white college students accused of rape at Duke.


  1. Zach:

    Drunk driving is another. Being pulled over for DWB is an affront, being pulled over while DTAC (Driving Toward A Checkpoint) is perfectly legitimate. Think of those innocent families driving at 2:30 AM!

  2. Doc Merlin:

    Its a mistake that we often make. We think the center-left is ideologically motivated. They aren't. They are intrest group politics motivated.

  3. Mercy Vetsel:

    This has been exactly my point all along. When libertarians go to the trouble of tracking the actual behavior of members of Congress, the mean score for Democrats on PERSONAL liberty ranges from about equal to substantially worse than the mean score for Republicans.

    The left is horrible on free speech, horrible on the right to bear arms and horrible on property rights as in Kelo. Which supreme court justices sided with the little guy trying to protect his property from the schemes of a big-money, politically connected developer? It was 5 - 4, straight down the line.

    Traditionally the only areas where the Democrats have been better on civil rights have been sex and drugs, but even there it's the William Buckley's and the George Will's who talk about legalization rather than being vouchsafed some token exception like "medical marijuana".

    When it comes to sex, let's be real. Except for child pornography, the threat from Republicans regarding porn is zero and I don't think there is a single state or town in this country where consenting adults don't have complete and absolute sexual freedom. The Texas sodomy law? That was a bizarre anachronism.

    So when it comes to sex you can go to the most religious place in the country and do whatever you please with whomever you please as long as you're all adults. When it comes to non-sexual rights there is not place on the entire continent to escape to where we can experience the freedom Americans once enjoyed.