Thursday, August 01, 2013
Libertarianism poses a real quandary within the GOP
The Washington Post “Debrief” column by Karen Tumulty, reports “Libertarians’ rise has the GOP boiling”, link.
It’s not clear that a lot of the supposed libertarian wing is as much so as it claim. In his book, Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia argues that the federal government doesn’t have the right to order citizens to engage in commerce or do things (like buy health care), but is OK if states do it. (Cuccinelli wants to bring back the Virginia sodomy law – only for “predators” – and wants to stop all abortions.)
But Rand Paul’s isolationism has more traditional Republicans mad, as have some of his past proposals to break promises on “entitlements”. Ron Paul was much closer to the mold in the 2012 debates.
Times have changed a lot since I grew up. There is much more that can be done for the disabled and to keep many elderly people living longer (as was the case with my own mother). It sounds troubling to use public funds to do this through taxes or through government-coerced behavior.
Yet, the possibility of helping the less well-off or even less capable also creates a lot of tension with hyper-indivduaism and “personal autonomy”. People can be helped only when others will bond with them (a point Dr. Oz has sometimes talked about). That may prove challenging in a world where family ties as weaker, as is the willingness of many people to enter into them. When one considers questions about sustainability and reverence for human life, pre-existing need for “altruism” rises to a moral issue, raising fundamental questions about personal responsibility and social institutions like marriage.