Thursday, September 11, 2008


A reader, LCranston, along with Hector, has brought to my attention what a libertarian is, but not necessarily what it is not. I had been looking at some wikipedia stuff and came across this in wiki article about Thomas Jefferson:

"Jefferson believed that each individual has "certain inalienable rights." That is, these rights exist with or without government; man cannot create, take, or give them away. It is the right of "liberty" on which Jefferson is most notable for expounding. He defines it by saying "rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

This is where I stand. If you think I have crossed the line, let me know.

Thank you for reading this blog.


Anonymous said...

Probably my last post here.

Certainly Jefferson's notion in the quote you cite (for accuracy may want to cite something more rigorous than Wikipedia) is central to the notion of Civil Liberties. Translated into 21st century English I've always taken this to mean, "If you're a consenting adult, as long as you harm no one else, you should have the right to do pretty much anything you want to and that includes being left alone"

I don't see what this has to do with my former comments, however.

If this quote is meant to defend your pro-life views, certainly a pro-choice advocate could claim that since the philosophical definition of human life/personage is up for grabs and is probably at odds with the biological definition of life this means a women's right to choose is her own decision (Judith Jarvis Thompson, et al) and to deny that goes against Libertarian thought. (Please note I'm not saying I'm pro-choice, I'm merely making a hypothetical argument)

Jefferson's quote from my view again means a true libertarian would not want Crypto-Theocrats such as Sarah Palin or Steve Deace in any sort of position where their religious views would do just want Jefferson feared: restricting the free rights of others. Unfortunately history has shown repeatedly what happens when such religious extremists gain positions of power. True libertarians would resist this with every ounce of their being.

Although I doubt you and I will ever see eye to eye on the above, I would like you to know I respect your intelligence and your thoughtful and polite replies to these comments on your blog. I believe we do want the same thing economically: A minimally invasive (including taxation) governmental projection into entrepreneurism and an open free-market.


Jim Lagnese said...

Thank you for your kind comments, LCranston. Insofar as wikipedia, I was pressed for time. If this blog was my full-time gig, i would be publishing volumes, so may be it's good I have a daytime job. :) I think we do want the same things in general: the government out of our lives as much as possible no matter who is running it. Thanks again and you are always welcome back.

H├ęctor said...

I think that is the definition of almost any liberal... I mean both Rawls and Nozick woud agree on that... Maybe you should be more specific about your libertarianism. My guess, you are REALLY close to Nozick

Jim Lagnese said...

More like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, although I have great affinity for Thomas Paine. I would consider Milton Friedman, John R. Lott and Ayn Rand modern equivalents.

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