If I’m Not With You, Does That Mean I’m Against You?

Dave Killion — January 1, 2013

During the 2012 U.S. presidential election, voters were faced with a number of measures at the state level, and in some cases they voted in a way that met with the approval of most libertarians . In Colorado and Washington, marijuana is (to some degree) legal for users. Maryland is the first state in which the voters, rather than the judiciary, directed the government to license same-sex marriage. And in Michigan, public-sector unionism was dealt a tremendous blow by voters who put down a measure that would not only have permanently protected the entitlement to collective bargaining, but would also have prohibited Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state. Ironically, the defeat was so decisive that it emboldened legislators to propose right-to-work legislation, and Michigan is now one of 24 right-to-work states in the U.S.  So, is this a win for freedom? Well, maybe.

You see, nothing spurs libertarian infighting like success. Although the marijuana initiatives seem the least controversial, the fact is that marijuana is still going to be highly regulated. Licensing gay marriage ends state-based discrimination against homosexuals, but it does so by increasing the number of people gaining access to the public trough. And right-to-work legislation encroaches on freedom of contract. You better believe there have been plenty of libertarians lecturing other libertarians on just how UN-libertarian this all is. The lecturers, in turn, have been reprimanded for making the perfect become the enemy of the good, and for opposing reforms that they should be supporting. I don’t think that’s what they’ve been doing.

Just  because I’m not with you, doesn’t mean I’m against you. I don’t go around advocating for licensing of gay marriage, decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, or laws restricting the abilities of employers to dictate their terms of employment. I advocate for the complete withdrawal of the state from marriage, the complete legalization of all drugs, and the complete freedom of contract between workers and employers. But I don’t oppose the reforms. I simply didn’t promote them, and I don’t endorse them. I’m libertarian, and I don’t cheer for any level of slavery. But just between you and me, I’m happy to see the ball moved forward. Things aren’t good, but they are  better.


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