Freedom vs. Responsibility

I’ve been having an ongoing discussion with a libertarian who seems convinced, as most of them seem to be, that there’s some grand conspiracy to keep everyone from acknowledging the supremacy of the libertarian position.  This is crazy conspiracy theorist talk.  You’d think they could see how ridiculous it is.

But it’s also funny, he keeps saying that libertarians respect freedom, I keep pointing out that freedom is meaningless without responsibility, and he keeps going right back to freedom.  He doesn’t want to talk about an individual’s responsibility to larger society, he just wants to be left alone to do whatever the hell he wants to do, regardless of the potential negative impact it might have on society.

Of course, this is nothing new.  I’ve posted before about libertarians who, for example, don’t want to pay property taxes that  go toward public schools because they don’t personally have children.  If it doesn’t directly better their own lives, they want no part of it.  Never mind that having an educated populace makes society better for everyone, they get no direct benefit so screw it.  The same goes for roads.  If they don’t personally drive on those particular roads, they don’t want to pay a red cent for them.  The problem with these people is they have no interest in being part of society, they are fiercely individualistic to the exclusion of all else.  And as we all know, when you become a fanatic, regardless of what you are fanatical about, you become a problem.

What’s worse, no matter how much you point this out to them, they keep their eyes clenched tightly closed.  They just don’t care.  They’re blinded by their own political ideology.  Everyone else can see the problems inherent in their beliefs, they simply are unable to acknowledge it.  That’s why they have to keep pretending there’s a conspiracy and that nothing in their ideology could possibly be to blame.  They can only point fingers outward, never inward.  That’s why their party, after 45 years in existence, continues to fail miserably at the polls.  And instead of admitting that there is a problem with their own platform, they just make excuses for why they fail.  It reminds me a lot of the fanatical Christians who would rather pretend that the world is out to get them than to admit that they have had an unfair social advantage for centuries and now are being treated just like everyone else.  They want to be special so when their special status is taken away, they pretend to be persecuted.  It’s the same mentality.

Here’s the reality.  Personal freedom is great, but it has to be tempered with personal responsibility. Nobody lives in a vacuum.  Whether you like it or not, you are part of a larger society that has needs and you, as a beneficiary of said society, need to be willing to sacrifice some of your personal freedoms for the good of larger society because in so doing, your life is made better, directly or indirectly, by the health and well-being of society.  There is a balance that has to be struck and this is something that a lot of libertarians simply can’t get through their head.  They want all freedom, no restrictions.  Reality simply doesn’t work that way.  Chaos lies down that path.

But then again, these people are often closet anarchists.  They see themselves as Lord Humongous of the wasteland, when in reality, they’re nothing more than Toadie, the pathetic loser that everyone laughs are and who doesn’t know what a waste of skin they actually are. These pseudo-anarchists wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the wasteland but they’ll never admit it, just like the libertarian ideology can’t make it in the real world, but delusional libertarians can’t get that through their heads.

It’s all quite sad when you think about it.

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