Defending a man’s unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is clearly endorsing some sort of moral objectivity. This runs contra to the notion that there are no “good” and “bad” morals but only “different,” morals that vary from person to person and culture to culture.
Thus, contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not the left but the right that is most viable to libertarian appeal. “Traditionalists” and religious righters need not undergo a dramatic conversion to become libertarians. They need only be persuaded that the state shouldn’t be used to prevent “immoral” personal behavior. Indeed, by holding the state to the same standard as private society, an NAP -compliant moral absolutist would actually be more consistent in his viewpoint.
On the other hand, the hardcore moral relativists on the far-left need to undergo a total personal rebirth to become libertarians. To be a libertarian, after all, is to support a society where aggression against a man’s property is illicit for any reason.
To be sure, the libertarian needn’t take any particular moral stand on nonviolent, NAP-compliant practices like polygamy or prostitution, which would of course be legal in the free society. But countercultural types should realize that those receptive to the libertarian view of at least some “universal laws” are unlikely to personally condone such practices.
It is no coincidence that the first libertarian politician to attract a broad following was culturally mainstream. The cultural conservatives that flooded the Paul campaign wouldn’t have been receptive to a platform of non-aggression if it were delivered by a social leftist spewing moral relativism.Published in