by Mike DiBaggio

      When arguing against gun control laws, The War on Some Drugs, and other  laws that interfere with private choices and consensual relationships, libertarians* are quick to point out the immorality of such laws because they understand the fundamental difference between such things and say, murder or rape.  In the former, no one is getting hurt (at least not involuntarily), where in the latter, someone is definitely being hurt. In a better world than the one we live in, that argument should be enough for everyone.  Since it is not, libertarians also can point out the impracticality of such laws, that they do not, cannot, accomplish their goal of preventing real crimes.

        It's worth pointing out, then, that all laws are inherently
flawed, crippled, if you will, for pretty much the same reasons.  This observation will no doubt send up a chorus of nay-saying even from many libertarians, so it behooves me to explain how Iíve come to this conclusion.

        Fundamentally, laws are based on a moral code -- even ours. Now, admittedly, it may not be a good moral code, but thatís besides the point.  So ostensibly, laws are predicated on the concept that there are certain things that everyone can agree are undesirable.  The problem is that not everyone does agree, and Iím not just talking about things like crack and hookers, I mean things even as ghastly as murder and rape, otherwise, we wouldnít have people doing such things in the first place.  A murderer might even agree that murder, in general, is wrong, but might think that in their particular case, it was justified.  So we have a problem -- if people canít even agree that something is wrong, why should they obey a law forbidding it?  Should the threat of naked force alone be our rationale?  I expect that as libertarians, we will be more enlightened than that.  Besides, the threat of punishment after the fact is hardly a fail-safe deterrent.

        Now my point here is not to defend heinous crimes or push some ridiculous assertion of moral relativism.  Iím also not suggesting that a tender hand be used in punishing such monstrous individuals.  Rather, I want to suggest that the problems we as libertarians are fighting against are symptomatic of a faulty morality. Even more so than fighting bad laws and counter-productive 
policy, we need to take the fight against bankrupt morals and weak
ethics, because they are the real reason people act as they do.  Attacking the corruption of the state is valuable, but it only deals with an admittedly severe symptom of a deeper illness.  If we can restore even a modicum of respect for the value of life, individual liberty, and justice to the public at large, we would inflict a bigger wound on the Permanent Regime than centuries of our hopeless lobbying and microscopic voter opposition.  And with some luck, that wound just might turn out to be a mortal one.

*I understand that non-libertarians make such arguments too, depending on the subject, but we are essentially the only group that argues against ALL of those attacks on our liberty.