What the French Teach Libertarians About Our Own Homophobia

 

 

We’ve got another awesome Sex and the State guest post! If you would like to submit a guest post, please fill out my contact form with an brief outline of what you want to write about.

When Pocket Full of Liberty published Mike Gannon’s paean to “familial strength” and “tradition,” I found myself implicitly agreeing with the ensuing backlash among (predominantly left-leaning) libertarians. Gannon’s argument is clearly reactionary statism masquerading as radical libertarianism: To protect individual liberty, we need to violate individual liberty? So counter-intuitive, it must be true! So why give the absurd any more thought than it deserves? Because this kind of rhetoric is not uncommon among libertarians—or anyone who espouses an individualist ideology—if we can take as another example the Harvard historian Niall Ferguson’s claim that Keynes, being a “childless homosexual,” was constitutionally incapable of caring about the economic long-term. As libertarianism becomes more and more influential in the coming decade, it will be necessary to reassess the way rhetoric at the theoretical level can influence policy, often for the worse. In short, libertarians aren’t immune to the vices of prejudice and privilege-denying—and before we can try to liberate anyone else from the State, we should try liberating ourselves from our own bad habits.

inside1

In order to see what can happen when prejudice infests free-market thought, it might be helpful to visit France. (If the juxtaposition of “free-market” and “France” in the same sentence seems somewhat jarring, it’s largely because of media misrepresentation and nothing substantial. Classical liberalism, after all, was born in France.) Like any country, France is a place of many contradictions. Some of these are rather beneficial, like the peaceful coexistence of a majority Catholic population with an officially and strictly secular government. But some are destructive and frankly a bit bizarre, like the nation’s track record on women’s rights. Abortion and birth control are government-funded, and parity laws require that election ballots have equal numbers of male and female candidates…in a country where Muslim women are forbidden from wearing veils in public. It’s therefore not that surprising to learn that French approval of marriages that fall outside the nuclear model doesn’t extend to same-sex couples. In fact, homophobia is alive and well in supposedly liberated France. And all in the name of freedom and democracy.

I discovered this odd facet of the French political landscape in the last two weeks of May, on a trip to Paris. I was drawn to the hundreds of political stickers and posters slapped onto street lamps, benches, and Métro walls. These mysterious sheets of paper advertised a dizzying and conflicting array of acronym-d organizations supporting or opposing various causes, likewise abbreviated. As a result, it was next to impossible to puzzle out the goals of the different activist groups taking to the streets. An anti-same-sex marriage demonstration was scheduled for 26 May – Mother’s Day in France – but you wouldn’t know that just by glancing at the stickers and posters. Marriage equality in France is referred to as le Mariage pour tous (“marriage for all”); and the anti-Mariage pour tous demonstrators were calling their event, la Manifestation pour tous (“the demonstration for all”). Even Parisian friends of mine were confused as to whether the Manif pour tous was pro- or anti-marriage equality.

inside2

It’s relatively easy to understand after some Googling, though: same-sex marriage was legalized in France on 18 May, and the first government-sanctioned same-sex weddings took place two days after the Manif pour tous. The demonstrators were, and still are, banking on the claim that they are the true defenders of liberté, égalité, and fraternité – the classical liberal legacy of the Enlightenment and the first Revolution in 1789. It’s for this reason that grown, supposedly straight men have gone parading around France half-naked with slogans like “Demo [democracy] dead” and “Save kids” stenciled onto their stomachs in high-camp fashion. Such flair for the dramatic was also evident at the Manifestation pour tous, where I saw no shirtless male torsos but plenty of signage, including such gems as Mariage-o-phobe, pas homophobe (“Marriage-o-phobe, not homophobe”) and Dernière Fête des Meres (“Last Mother’s Day Ever”). Passions have been so high that a right-wing historian famous for his Nazi-collaborationist apologia showed his solidarity with the anti-gay demonstrators by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun at the altar of the Notre Dame, a day after I was set to visit the famed cathedral.

So what are the similarities, if any, between the French opposition to le Mariage pour tous and American protests against marriage equality? At first glance, it seems difficult to make any sort of equivalence between the two movements. As the Mariage-o-phobe, pas homophobe sign indicated to me, the French demonstrators are not motivated explicitly by a desire to reinstate a ban on homosexuality itself, the like of which has been absent from French penal codes since 1791. This by contrast with America’s somewhat tardy repeal of “sodomy laws” by Supreme Court fiat in 2003, a decision which still rankles many Republicans. And few protesters in France would directly cite the Bible or the Qur’an to justify their arguments, though they certainly don’t turn away Catholic priests and Muslim imams who support the cause.

No, it’s not the super-religious who are leading the charge in France – it’s the libéraux (classical laissez-faire liberals). Contrepoints, one of the most well-known online libéral news sources, regularly features articles promoting a peculiarly conservative ideology with regards to the politics of gender and sexuality. Although they don’t participate in the homoerotic flash-mobs of their more active fellow citizen, the writers and editors at Contrepoints regurgitate the same talking points painted on pasty white abdomens across France. Take “De la théorie du genre à la famille” (“From Gender Theory to the Family”) by Francis Richard, an article which advocates that queer people be treated like delinquent children: “Humanity has always had its margins. Likewise biology, where there are the archetypes and then there are the margins. [But] variance shouldn’t be the norm. For example, all children must go to school. That doesn’t mean we should make bad students the norm at the expense of all the others.”* This is a libéralisme without diversité, it seems; or where diversity has to accept the “dunce” cap and shove over for the superior elements of society.

The French arguments against marriage equality are the same classical liberal ones currently in vogue among right-leaning libertarians in the Anglophone world. Like the French activists who cavalierly dismiss the complaints of their queer compatriots by saying that a relationship “aux marges” doesn’t need the government’s stamp of approval, the very American Gannon just as ignorantly writes, “One’s sense of worth and human dignity should not be predicated on a slip of paper from the county courthouse….” Spoken like someone who’s never had his own rights denied based on his sexuality, skin color, or gender. That saccharine comfort works just up to the point that a person is denied access to their same-sex partner’s deathbed, health insurance, Social Security benefits, or inheritance because of said “slip of paper.”

But what’s most interesting about both Gannon’s and Richard’s articles is that neither of them primarily or only reference a religious text. Instead, they draw on a variety of works considered to be classics of Western Civilization, a technique which allows them to avoid accusations of being bigoted conservatives. Yet as Rachel Burger recently pointed out, Gannon’s interpretations have little to do with his sources – ditto those of his French counterparts. Gannon’s crude Aldous Huxley references aside, there is no truth to the claim that same-sex partnerships will usher in an orgiastic dystopian wonderland. And claiming to be interested in “biology” doesn’t make Richard any more than an armchair social engineer when he declares that having gay parents hurts children, despite study after study proving (to conservatives’ constant astonishment) that lesbian moms won’t corrupt the youth. Basically, it’s easy to fake an interest in “the big topics” (biology, psychology, economics, literature) to push an agenda.

So if it’s not religion, what is the root cause of this homophobic libertarianism, and what can libertarians do to keep it from spreading? One memory from my trip might prove useful.

26 May, the day of the protests. I’d woken up late and so missed the groups of people going to visit Victor Hugo’s house near the Place des Vosges. Complicating things further, my closest friend on the trip texted me – she’d gotten lost in the Marais district on the other side of the city, panicking. I rushed to the Métro on my own, unsure if I’d even be able to find her among the sprawl of bistros and curving streets. In my own panic, checking my phone for more texts, I initially didn’t glance at the crowd of people who got on a few stops after me. They were happy, even rowdy, and speaking in hurried French which I mostly couldn’t decipher. Something told me not to look up; I did anyway.

It was a mistake.

I found myself confronted by a group of gleeful young men about my age, a middle-aged woman, a teenage girl, and a woman about as old as the men – all covered in Manif pour tous stickers. One man was standing behind the young woman, as all the others chattered amiably. He stared at me, directly into my eyes. Parisians do not do this. Not in public, especially not on the Métro, not unless they want something, or notice something odd. It was rude. It was unnerving.

I looked away, redirected my attention. The older woman had lipstick on her cheek in the imprint of a kiss. The teenage girl was peeling another sticker. One of the men wondered aloud what stop they were getting off. When I looked back, the man was still staring at me. I’d never felt this watched before. I could see myself through his eyes: seated, beneath him, blank – afraid. He looked hungry. Later, I tried to explain this to some straight friends of mine, and they thought I was being dramatic. A queer professor I met for coffee back in the States told me: “Of course. You know when someone is looking at you. You know what they want. You have to.” Those of us who count ourselves among society’s F-students (per Monsieur Richard) know what’s needed to communicate in strictest secrecy.

But every time I returned his glance, he pulled the woman in front of him closer, kissed the back of her neck – while still watching me. She closed her eyes, smiled, as if she were suddenly back in their bedroom, alone. She wasn’t even aware of me, or what her boyfriend (husband?) was doing. With her eyes closed, his lips on her collarbone, he continued to stare. I was pinned. I was terrified. And I finally understood homophobia.

We’re trained by our culture to think that homophobia only occurs as a result of antiquated religious taboos, and libertarians (even the religious ones) would generally like to see themselves as free of such “collectivist” influences. But prejudice is at heart the fear of an Other, whose very existence calls into question any self-centered, privileged worldview. Gay people marrying scares Mike Gannon, who resists any opportunity to question his own privilege as a straight man who, if he chooses, can get the State to sanction and protect his relationship. The same thing disgusts Francis Richard, who fears having his self-conception as a “normal” member of society shattered by the presence of those pesky little margins. And it terrifies or outrages the closeted man on the Métro, who desperately wants to remain part of that privilege. As a queer man, I can understand that conflict of competing desires: the wish to be free, and the wish to be safe.

But as someone who is involved in libertarian circles, I also want to question the belief that libertarians are free of prejudice. We aren’t. Just because you condemn collectivism doesn’t mean you’re not a bigot. Prejudice can manifest itself through any medium – religion, science, and even humanitarianism have all been popular excuses to oppress and control a hated minority group. I would add libertarianism, individualism, and classical liberalism to this list. Considering the discourse of American and French libertarianism as of late – and the apparent popularity and influence of such rhetoric on French activism – this isn’t much of a stretch.

To truly advocate for liberty, libertarians need to reevaluate the ways in which their ideals – reason, individualism, and freedom – can be manipulated to perpetrate systems of privilege and prejudice. This doesn’t mean ceasing to care about taxes or the War on Drugs. Such traditionally libertarian causes are integral parts of that very illiberal phenomenon, privilege. (A fact which is confirmed every time a politician, chuckling, admits that he smoked pot in college – and never had his livelihood taken away because of it.) But real liberty, if there is such a thing, includes those on the margins, and libertarians do damage to their mission when they exclude or demonize the marginalized in the name of (straight, white, male, cisgender, middle-class) liberty. It is not enough to condemn the State in the abstract; we must be aware of the ways our own rhetoric can perpetuate prejudice. To use a phrase becoming more and more popular among left-libertarians: we need to check our privileges, and fight them.

*Translation mine. The original line is: “L’humanité a toujours connu des marges. De même, en biologie, il y a des archétypes et il y a des marges. La divergence ne doit pas être la norme. Par exemple, tous les enfants doivent aller à l’école. Cela ne veut pas dire que l’on doive faire des mauvais élèves la norme aux dépens de tous les autres.”

Brendan Moore is a current undergraduate at Coe College, studying feminism, zen deconstructionism, poetry, Amanda Palmer, and Tori Amos. He currently lives in Las Vegas, and would like to help you smash the patriarchy.

moore

 

33 Comments

        • Rani J Pabon

          Feminism is dependent on 3 things Cathy, woman, manginas and the state. Remove Manginas or the state and it’s by by! Feminism is socilism with panties.~Stefan Molyneux

          • What the hell is socilism, an STI? GirlWritesWhat is an essentialist, pure and simple. She buys wholesale into “evolutionary psychology,” going so far as to say that there’s even an evolutionary reason for women to wear high heels – forgetting the fact that high heels were originally invented for men. She gives misogynist-apologists an excuse to continue being ignorant, because they can always say they have a woman on their side, so they must be in the clear.

            And omg “manginas”…

        • Andrea Castillo

          Hateful, huh? I think she does a good job of analyzing arguments. I’m always impressed by her habits of citing her sources and what she is criticizing.

  1. There are two odd misconceptions here.

    That opposition to SSM in France comes from the left is no surprise; in America concerns with the strain placed on the welfare state by making it more inclusive typically come from the right, but in Europe it’s almost always the opposite. There is no contradiction here.

    It’s all well and good to dismiss the idea that marriage is just a legal imprimatur as an argument from privilege, and no doubt, that’s got something to do with it (though to claim no straight person can have an opinion because they’re privileged is just a totalitarian-minded way to monopolize the debate). But there are also gay people that have no interest in seeing their relationships “tamed” in this way. (See the debate between Jonathan Rauch and Justin Raimondo.) SSM is very much about bringing gay people into the bourgeois ideal, not just letting them alone on the margins.

      • Well, okay. But if you treat the marriage debate as “part and parcel” of seeking healthcare, housing, and financial stability via the state, then you might as well drop the libertarian veneer.

        And that’s where I part ways with all this privilege-checking. Self-awareness is a wonderful thing, but if you start from the assumption that only the excluded have a valid opinion on social issues or nondiscrimination laws, only the poor have a valid opinion on economic issues, and only the oppressed have a valid opinion on the wisdom of humanitarian intervention, you end up with an opressively homogenous, expropriative, endlessly warring state. I really don’t think this is that much of a caricature of what Moore is saying here.

        • Close, but no cigar. Of course I don’t think that “only the excluded have a valid opinion.” Opinions aren’t invalidated or validated based on identity, but they can be bolstered by experience. I don’t know what it’s like to be a poor black woman, so maybe I would do well to listen when a poor black woman is telling me about her experiences with poverty, racism, and sexism.

          Likewise, Mike Gannon (and other straight conservatives/libertarians) telling queer people that their “sense of worth and human dignity should not be predicated on a slip of paper from the county courthouse” entirely misses the point of what kinds of privileges and benefits being able to marry gets you. Gannon, and other anti-marriage equality libertarians, would do well to listen more to the accounts of same-sex couples who’ve had their rights violated by a state which privileges straight relationships. That’s all that I’m saying – not that there’s something essential to being queer (God forbid) that makes you more qualified to talk about certain issues – but that experience is important.

  2. MOORE=FRAUD

    Tori Amos is an interest? I should claim my primary academic
    Interest is supertramp and Hindu intersectional queer theory and claim a prize lol

  3. York Luethje

    “Classical liberalism, after all, was born in France.”

    What?

    “… shooting himself in the head with a shotgun at the altar of the Notre Dame, a day after I was set to visit the famed cathedral.”

    What? Did you have some kind of premonition?

    I am also unsure what to make of your Metro episode. The guy was presumably staring at you because you are gay. How would he know that? Do you wear some kind of special hat or something?

    You also seem to not understand what libertarianism is. It’s not an ideology, it’s a political system. Libertarians have no idea how a society should look like nor how an individual should live her life. The central tenet is to not use force to get others to conform to your ideals. Libertarians are quite aware that people are prejudiced. You are free to try to change their opinions but not to use force to do so.

    A Nazi refusing to do business with Jews is perfectly okay with Libertarians as long as he’s peaceful. So is a communist collective. So is a lesbian entrepreneur employing only other lesbians and selling only to lesbians.

    Lastly, you study zen deconstructionism and Tori Amos? Good lord.

    If you are some kind of performance artist making fun of gendertarian gibberish – kudos, well done.

    If not? Well…

    • 1. Voltaire, Diderot, Bastiat, Jean-Baptiste Say, etc., etc.

      2. No, no premonition, but I did find it a bit jarring to know that I had missed being there by just a day.

      3. You can believe me or not believe me on this count. I never said that he knew I was gay (and I never said that I was gay, by the way, just queer).

      4. Libertarianism is a political system…but you have no idea what it looks like? Of course libertarianism is an ideology. You’re ignoring my arguments and creating straw men. I never said anything about whether businesses have the right to refuse to deal with certain customers. That’s not under discussion. What IS under discussion is whether or not libertarianism as a word and an ideology can be used to justify the creation or preservation of certain laws that are oppressive to certain people. Mike Gannon’s claim that relationships shouldn’t be predicated on a “slip of paper” reveals his privilege and ignorance masquerading as a libertarian argument; Francis Richard’s rhetoric about gay people is more of the same. I never said anything about businesses, so don’t bring that in. And don’t presume to tell me about the non-aggression principle; you’re not the only one with a copy of Atlas Shrugged and access to Wikipedia.

      5. People seem to not be getting how much of that was a joke, but okay, sure, I study Tori Amos. I also study being a socialist and sterilizing straight men. That should give you some more ammo for the time-being.

      • York Luethje

        1. Sorry, no. Classical liberalism
        is a defined term and started with the Scottish Enlightenment (Locke, Smith and
        the gang). What distinguishes it from Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire,
        Diderot, Lessing or Kant is the emphasis on private property rights.

        3. I am still not getting the point of your Metro anecdote. I agree that he staring
        at you was rude but I get that on occasion too and I simply stare right back.

        You write “Of course. You know when someone is looking at you. You know what
        they want. You have to.” What’s that supposed to mean? What could he possibly
        want from you? If he was being a dick to you for being queer he’d first have to
        know that you are queer, right? Why don’t you consider him a random dipshit to
        be ignored or punched in the face? Why do you think he was expressing some
        underlying privilege?

        4. I have indeed no idea how a truly libertarian society would look like.
        That’s the point. It would be a bottom-up self-organizing system with perhaps a
        bare-bones framework for administering the few laws that would still exist (if
        you’re not an An-Cap like me). The framework would be different from all other
        ideologies in that there would be only negative normative rules, i.e. ‘Don’t aggress
        against X unless being attacked’. This is in contradistinction to positive
        normative rules that compel state power to enforce a specific position, i.e. ‘Marriage
        is a union between a woman and a man’.

        What irks me about your piece (and what perhaps explains my ill-tempered reply)
        is that you seem to propose that libertarians adopt a specific position on a
        matter that ought to be outside the purview of any remaining state.

        The libertarian position on marriage is that there is no position.
        People should be free to form relationships however they please. Traditional,
        same sex, poly amorous, polyandrous, whatever. It doesn’t matter. The state
        shouldn’t be involved at all.

        You also write ‘But as someone who is involved in libertarian circles, I
        also want to question the belief that libertarians are free of prejudice.’

        Anyone who believes that does is an idiot. Prejudices are part of human
        nature. Again, a libertarian realizes that humans are imperfect but that this
        is not the problem. Libertarians are not on a human perfection trip. The
        conflict arises if we use force to make our prejudices the law of the land.

        Let’s say that I’m an asshole (surely you’d agree). Me hating group X is
        a-ok under libertarian principles. Only when I employ force or compel others to
        use force against group X am I wrong. Similarly group X is free to call me out
        as an asshole as long as they remain peaceful.

        The Gannon piece is just dumb. Calling the traditional family a bastion
        against the state therefore the state must defend the definition of marriage is
        almost comically fallacious. I can understand why that gets your gander up. It
        falls under the fallacy that not wanting the state to underwrite institution A
        is akin to wanting to abolish institution A. To wit, wanting the state out of
        the education business does not mean no one should be educated. But to
        re-iterate, a homophobic family-values conservative can most certainly be a
        libertarian if he eschews force.

        5. Looks like you got me. Well done and Respect!

        • 1. Sorry, yes. The French influence on free-market philosophy is monumental, equaling if not excelling the influence of the Scottish and English political philosophers. In the world of Continental Europe and their colonies, French philosophy is more decisive than anything Locke wrote. You also conveniently leave out the pro-property philosophers in the French tradition. In any case, this is a moot point – I concede your point that the UK had a significant influence on the birth of classical liberalism; but you cannot reasonably deny the equivalent French influence, stemming from French economists, philosophers, writers, etc. (Also, Voltaire wasn’t in favor of private property or commerce? Okay, yeah, sure: http://www.constitution.org/volt/phltr_10.htm )

          2. I didn’t write that, it’s a quotation, but maybe that’s just quibbling. In any case, it’s difficult to explain if you haven’t experienced it yourself. That was my point by saying that my straight friends couldn’t quite understand what I was talking about. There’s something about knowing that your desires are illicit that helps you develop the skills to communicate by a glance, by an otherwise innocuous word or phrase. How else do you think gay men in the U.S. managed to develop the handkerchief code? By coming to a collective consensus at some kind of a conference? The point I was trying to make was that I could sense the desire in the looks from this one guy, while he was also trying to reaffirm his heterosexuality. You can believe me or not believe me. Your choice. I’m relaying my particular experiences.

          4. This is exactly the problem I’m talking about: libertarians who say that in their utopian libertarian world, there would be no regulation of marriage, and therefore we shouldn’t vote in favor of same-sex marriage. I agree, marriage should be a private affair with, at most, the government certifying contracts. But using that as justification to oppose marriage equality is complacent at best, and prejudiced at worst. People are having the rights violated, even dying, and every vote counts. So when there’s a referendum and libertarians refuse to vote in favor of marriage equality because they’re waiting for their purist fantasy of a world where the state doesn’t interfere in marriage (something which won’t be a reality in the next ten years), they’re getting in the way of the very same individual rights they claim to defend. So, yeah, I am proposing that libertarians adopt a position on marriage equality instead of making pie-in-the-sky claims about a one-day libertarian society that may or may not ever exist.

          So you agree with me – libertarians can be bigots, and we have to acknowledge that and criticize libertarians who think they’re above prejudice or privilege. Perfect, then I don’t know why we’re arguing. Job well done.

          • York Luethje

            1. I am not denying that the French
            were very significant. Bastiat is my bestie. I am simply denying that they were
            the origin. Maybe you can get the esteemed Ms Reisenwitz to host a shoot-out.
            In keeping with her theme I’ll supply lurid quotes from the venerably Marquis
            and from the notebooks of Casanova.

            2. Ah, I see. I took away that he was
            threatening you or facing you down and that this was him displaying homophobia.
            Hitting on you makes a lot more sense. Why is that a bad thing?

            3. I do agree with you. Libertopia isn’t
            around the corner so we have to work with what we’ve got. Increasing liberty is
            a good thing even if it means moving the slider from 100% oppression to 99%.

            What I did get from your original post is that you appear to think that
            any upstanding libertarian ought to support gay marriage.

            The point I am trying to make is that you can support the right of free
            association without personally condoning a specific manifestation. And yes, libertarians
            can and will be bigots about pretty much any kind of subject. The very
            important issue is how you and I address this.

          • Rani J Pabon

            Brendon, Libertarians are not going to trade their principals in for a pie in the sky idea that government is somehow a force of equality in any circumstance! People like you naming people bigots because they don’t prescribe to your sexual orientation or because they might not think highly of it makes you into a consummate moran and a bigot yourself! libertarianism is in no way >Utopian<. Equality is a myth and Utopian!

    • Autarch

      According to Collins English Dictionary, ideology is “a body of ideas that reflects the beliefs and interests of a nation, political system, etc and underlies political action.”

      This is how I’ve always used the term, so it doesn’t make sense to me to say libertarianism is not an ideology.

      That said, I agree with the things you describe as being libertarian.

      Mark Read Pickens

      • York Luethje

        Yeah, that was a bit heat of the moment. I just want to draw a distinction between a political system that posits purely negative rights as opposed to ideologies that posit all kinds of positive rights.

        • Do you understand, though, that it’s possible to frame certain positive rights (like the right to legally define marriage for everyone) as “libertarian-approved” negative rights? Take the conservative insistence that gay people are trying to shove same-sex marriage down their throats. It’s a great way of reframing what is actually a fight to be treated equally as a fight to take something away from someone else. It’s like the slave-master calling his slave the oppressor.

          • York Luethje

            No, and again sorry. I positive rights at the end of the day mean someone with a gun shoving it in your face and then its either obey or die.

            That is not libertarian.

            What I can say and perhaps should have said earlier is that we are living in an imperfect world. I support gay marriage rights because I don’t see any way to get the state out of marriage at this point.

            This is similar to my views of drug use. Ideally, Heroin would be available OTK at your local pharmacy. That’s unlikely so I support medical marihuana.

            It’s better but it doesn’t come close to being good.

          • Autarch

            You might be interested in Libertarians Concerned on FaceBook. Jim Peron, President of the Moorfield Storey Institute, runs the page and posts a lot of information regarding marriage equality.

            He’s been researching the historical roots of marriage for years and probably will be writing a book on the subject.

            Mark Read Pickens

          • Autarch

            I’m confused. If you go to Facebook.com and then enter “Libertarians Concerned,” it should take you to the page.

            Are you saying that didn’t work?

            Mark Read Pickens

          • Autarch

            It’s not a restricted page, so I don’t think you need a Facebook account to observe, although you would to participate. It’s not much more trouble than setting up a Disqus account.

        • Autarch

          It’s a lot of work, isn’t it?

          You’ve hit the nail on the head. The distinction between positive and negative rights — critical to understanding libertarianism — is blurred in most people’s minds.

          Sometimes it feels as though we’re tilting at windmills trying to get people to grasp this most elementary concept.

          I joined the Libertarian Party in 1978 and became an ideological libertarian about six months later after reading For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard. I’m sure it wasn’t the best work on the subject, but was good enough to radicalize me.

          I ran for office five times as a Libertarian Party Candidate, and always stressed this distinction.

          Mark Read Pickens

  4. Autarch

    These people don’t exhibit fear of homosexuality, but rather hatred. Isn’t “bigotry” a better description than “homophobia?”

    Mark Read Pickens

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.