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A Moral Liberty
Contrary to popular (American) belief, real liberals are not Left (or Right), but pro-liberty.
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

I am a Proud 'Liberaltarian': Libertarian and Social Democrat Fusion

When you read that headline, did it confuse you? In much of the West, libertarians are thought of as right wingers resolutely opposed to any government wealth redistribution, and social democrats are very much pro-welfare.

I did start my adult life as a complete libertarian. I still do believe that freedom is the best, and a free competition is the best way to get great outcomes. But, even with my limited education in economics, I do know of something called market failure. Even traditional libertarians know that a country cannot survive without an army, a police force and some sort of government, and none of it is provided by the free market. But traditional libertarians have overlooked other forms of market failure - for example, loss of freedom for the disadvantaged due to market forces, media empires determined to force a particular outcome on a democratic election (see Australian election 2013 for example), and loss of freedom for people of minority ethnic groups and LGBT citizens due to hate crimes and lack of anti-discrimination legislation. I believe it is the government's responsibility to address these too, in a truly free nation. Since many of these things do cost money to implement, an obsession with small government must give way to the idea of having enough government to maintain freedom for everyone. Hence, economically, I would have to be centre-left, or social democratic.

Of course, many things about libertarianism remain valid even in this 'expanded' view of freedom and what a libertarian government should do. For example, I support the following positions which are shared by many if not most libertarians:

Citizen initiated referenda to enable people to make laws even when the government would not act (only when ruled by a court to be compatible with civil rights - every petition for referendum must be submitted to the court for ruling)
Marriage privatization - and I have a long term plan for that, rather than just talk
Opposition to 'affirmative action'
Opposition to 'antitrust laws' and other competition laws
Opposition to compulsory military service
Opposition to military expansion beyond the need of self defence
Opposition to military action not directly related to national defence
Opposition to environmental regulations and taxes not clearly supported by democratic mandate
Recall elections to ensure governments cannot act outside of democratic mandate
Removal of victimless 'crimes', including legalization of marijuana
Regular judicial review to remove all unenforceable legislation
Remove of all protectionism in international trade
End all middle class welfare, corporate subsidies and farm subsidies
Support for strong civil liberties guarantees against populism or 'security based excuses'
Support for states rights and opposition to centralism in federations like the US and Australia
Support for the government maintaining a morally neutral stance in matters including abortion, feminism, lifestyle choices, competing visions of family values, the climate change debate, etc.

I also happen to believe that once we have a strong social safety net, we can more effectively embrace the free market. Currently, deregulation has often had to be compromised, when there are potential devastating effects on people's livelihoods. A strong social safety net would mean deregulation can occur without this compromise.