Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ban Conservatives!

Take a moment and Google "conservatives ban." When I did there were 2,570,000 results. Many of the first few pages dealt with conservatives banning burkas, booze, abortion, gay marriage, smoking, Harry Potter!, various books and words, trans fats, song lyrics, topless sunbathing etc., I think you get the picture. Conservatives like banning things they don't like or supporting the banning of things they don't like, and the list is long.
Now try that again but this time Google "libertarians ban." There are results, but they are phrased differently, more like: should libertarians be banned? Also very common is "libertarians against the banning of....." a whole range of things, a list almost as big as the conservative ban list. It's an interesting distinction, unfortunately libertarians are often lumped together with conservatives and thought of as being similar when in fact the difference is huge.
A posting by George Bragues on the new Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada website called Conservatism vs. Libertarianism points to one thing the two share: ".......conservatism and libertarianism share a deep suspicion of collectivism. Conservatism does so because it prefers changes that are continuous with, and organically flow, from the status quo, whereas collectivism typically entails a top-down engineered break with custom and tradition. Libertarianism, by contrast, has no special attachment to the prevailing order. It opposes collectivism simply because it violates the principle of individual liberty." That's why the two sides are lumped together, but conservatives are not averse to using collective action on many things.
The chief difference is "......the libertarian is willing to tolerate behaviour that he or she does not approve, whereas the conservative finds it difficult to do the same. If the conservative cannot approve it, he or she is inclined to want the state to ban, or if that’s too onerous, restrain it." So the fact is I'm willing to tolerate conservatives - not ban them, but that does not mean I like them.

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