One of the questions i had been struggling with for some time before, is why liberals seem to detest libertarians so much, despite the apparent fact that they share so many social values. After all, libertarians are often described as “fiscally conservative; socially liberal”, so ought liberals not at least hate libertarians half as much as they do conservatives?
Well, this article explains concisely what i’ve known for some time but had yet to find words to express clearly.
Here is the truth about it:
Here’s where the English language fails us: “Liberal” and “libertarian” come from the same linguistic root, meaning “liberty,” and many libertarians will describe themselves among friends as “classical liberals”—political heirs to the Whigs and the Manchester free-traders. But “socially liberal” and “socially libertarian” today mean almost precisely opposite things. If there is one thing our “social liberals” hate, it is liberty. In their view, you’re free to do as they please. (emphasis mine)
Simply put, libertarians aren’t ‘socially liberal’ at all; they are socially libertarian. Liberals do not support social freedoms, because the word ‘freedoms’ implies that one can have the social values one prefers most. Of course this is not what liberals want at all. They want people to have the social values THEY prefer most. And it will use the state to impose these values where it can. This is the hypocrisy behind their vaunted “tolerance” and “diversity” bromides.
When one takes this fact into consideration along with the fact that the conservative in general is fiscally libertarian about as much as the liberal is socially libertarian – that is to say, not at all – then we can conclude that maybe it is time to stop using that mantra “libertarians are fiscally conservative; socially liberal”.
Because no; we are not. Libertarians are fiscally libertarian, and socially libertarian. It is not mere rhetoric for libertarians as it is for conservatives and liberals. Unlike conservatives, libertarians really do support the free market, and unlike liberals, libertarians really do support social liberty. There are exceptions to this of course. Some libertarians are pro-corporate shills or pro-central banking hacks, and some others are culture warriors more occupied with trying to sermonize politically correct, liberal cultural values down toward the ‘brutalist’ libertarian masses than with opposing the state.
Most of both conservatives and liberals are supporters of the corporate/welfare state and prefer to serve as the self-appointed thought police on social and moral issues. The difference between them and libertarians on these issues are apparent in libertarian class analysis. They are the class of state violence and force; we are the class of peace and freedom.