Liberal vs. Libertarian
There is a certain philosophical or theoretical consistency in
being laissez-faire on social issues as well as economic issues.
Thomas Jefferson, the architect of American democracy, was laissez-faire on all religious belief AND disbelief, saying: The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Conservatives William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman favored drug legalization, or at the very least -- with nearly 75 percent of the drug war directed solely against marijuana, which is safer than alcohol and/or tobacco -- an end to marijuana prohibition.
And polls show a majority of Americans (52 percent) now favoring an end to marijuana prohibition.
Jim Frey of Berkeley Pro-Life claims he's a libertarian and not a Republican.
He graciously accepted back issues of James Dawson's pro-life, animal rights, libertarian 'zine Live and Let Live from me, as well as contact information on Libertarians For Animal Rights (LFAR), which is pro-life as well as pro-animal.
When I told him someone wrote in to Live and Let Live in the late '90s, referring to libertarians as "Republicans who do drugs," Jim merely reacted with mild amusement, saying it's a common misconception to equate libertarians with Republicans...
...whereas Rachel MacNair, a vegan, Quaker pacifist, past president of Feminists For Life, and a political liberal, broke up laughing when I related these words to her!
And Rachel didn't understand what distinguishing abortion from arguably victimless crimes like drugs and prostitution had to do with nonviolence or peace towards animals and humans...
On the other hand, Carol Crossed of Democrats For Life could appreciate the distinction: many on the religious right link their opposition to abortion to a religious agenda (e.g., school prayer), and to many of us on the secular left, this makes abortion look like a "religious" issue, rather than a secular human rights issue.
Conservatives oppose the "nanny state," or "big government" intervening in the bedroom and/or bathroom (electronic surveillance), but religious right issues like school prayer indicate they're anything but laissez-faire on religious belief AND disbelief!
I'd already written extensively on political issues: in letters to my local newspapers, the Tri-Valley Herald and later in the Oakland Tribune; in Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a "consistent-ethic" periodical on the religious left, and in the Stanislaus Connections, a monthly peace and justice newspaper out of Modesto, CA.
Conservatives led an effort to remove pro-choice Democrat Gray Davis from office as governor of California. A recall election to replace Gray Davis took place in 2003.
I thought about running for office in the 2003 recall election (only a small fee of a few hundred dollars was required), and mentioned that in passing to my friend Ruth, and her response indicated among the porn stars and other celebrities others running for office, I'd be a virtual unknown!
I voted for Daniel Ramirez, a pro-life Democrat out of San Diego in the 2003 California recall election. He came in 45th place out of 135 candidates. Not bad.
On the other hand, Jim Frey was pleased when the California recall election in 2003 pushed pro-choice Democrat Gray Davis out of office, and replaced him with pro-choice Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
If pro-life Republicans and/or conservatives (e.g. libertarians) prefer pro-choice Republicans over pro-life Democrats, this strikes me as mere partisan politics.
If pro-lifers *really* want to end abortion, opposition to abortion is going to have to come from across the political spectrum (Democrats, Greens, etc.), and not just from the far right.
I personally find the libertarian position distasteful, because while laissez-faire on religious beliefs and social issues, it would abolish many things Americans take for granted:
...like public education, schools, roads, state hospitals, environmental protection, occupational safety, etc. and abandon them to a heartless individualism...
I stand by my words.
I would refer you to Tom Hartmann's 2003 book, What Would Jefferson Do?, which is a response not just to the religious right (which is too often tied to the economic right), but to economic conservatives as well.
Rose Evans, editor and publisher of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a "consistent-ethic" periodical on the religious left, specifically cited the example of libertarians wanting to abolish public education as an example of libertarianism being an extremist philosophy...
...whereas at a Berkeley Pro-Life meeting about a decade ago, Jim Frey and the beautiful pro-life activist Teddi Ivey (I'm thinking she's a Republican?) said abolishing public education was a good idea!
Bill Maher is on the board of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), says he's libertarian and not liberal, and as an atheist, he attacks all religion...
Whereas PETA websites like www.jewishveg.com,www.jesusveg.com, and www.islamveg.com are clearly aimed at the Abrahamic faiths, courting the religious community for inspiration, blessings and support.
A Christian wrote in to www.jesusveg.com around 1999 or 2000, asking PETA: how can you focus on some parts of Scripture while ignoring other parts?!
I dunno. Christians do this all the time!
Like revering the apostle Paul for dismissing his previous adherence to the Law as "so much garbage," while ignoring verses from the Pauline epistles like "flee fornication," and "do not make provisions for the flesh to gratify its cravings," etc.
Boy, they "believe"!
Dennis Mikinzi, an agnostic schoolteacher in Ohio, published Biblical Errancy, a newsletter debunking the Bible by pointing out its flaws and contradictions, during the 1980s, while giving equal time for biblical apologists to air their views.
(unlike pro-lifers, flooding the airwaves -- no pun intended! -- with anti-veg and anti-animal sound bites, without giving equal time to animal rights as a serious moral, political, and theological issue.)
At one point, Dennis told a Christian who had written in, "It's possible to discuss one's cherished beliefs with one's opponents without resorting to personal attacks... Just ask Reagan and Gorbachev!"
Quite true. I've had many friendly conversations over dinner, and at the Berkeley Pro-Life meetings with Jim & LIza Frey and the beautiful Teddi Ivey!
And if we're all opposed to abortion, we shouldn't be opponents, but merely advocating different strategies to end the crisis!
Democrats For Life of America, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, South Building, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004 (202)220-3066
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