The difference between conservatism and libertinism lies in the dichotomy of the two camps' philosophies. The conservative believes in a "virtuous" community in which the authority vested in the state plays a part in ensuring compliance with communal norms. In opposition, the libertine believes in unreserved freedom of the individual as the sole communal purpose, regardless of accepted communal behavior. Both philosophies have admirable attributes, but if practiced in isolation, leave us either with totalitarianism and or an atomistic-individualism. Neither of these options is very appealing. Libertarianism attempts to bridge the gap between these two polar opposite philosophies with a workable model that ensures "virtue" without an omnipotent state.
In order to begin constructing a workable model, we must begin with the smallest sovereign entity, the individual human. Every individual is born of another and through this relationship forms a family, the smallest human community. It is the family, acting in its role as educator, that teaches religion, morality, tradition, culture, accumulated intellectual capital, etc. Furthermore, the family nurtures, monitors, and guides its offspring, thus becoming the first and most essential communal entity to act as a restraining force upon the degenerating forces of libertinism. Granted nobody voluntarily joins a family; however, in the vast majority of cases, one voluntarily decides to remain a member.
Human beings are socials animal that require interaction with fellow humans in order to live beyond bare subsistence levels. This is only made possible through the division-of-labor, resulting in specialization as the general rule, thus forcing humans to interact with one another through trade in order to achieve beneficial progress for everybody. This system of human interaction, also known as capitalism, has made possible the sustainable explosion in both the quality-of-life and the population numbers over the last few hundred years. Before the advent of capitalism, there was little to distinguish human living conditions in 500 BC from that which existed in 1,500 AD.
Capitalism does not just provide for the production and distribution of goods, but also for both the supportive and regulative institutions necessary for the system to flourish in, and the moral underpinnings of civil community. Capitalism, which places the consumer as supreme, regulates itself through incentives. If the consumer is unhappy with the product then the producer will fail. This provides the necessary incentive for the production of reliable products at the right price for the enjoyment of the consumer. Some of the supportive and regulative institutions capitalism devises in order to accomplish this are the establishment of financial organizations to facilitate trade, trade organizations to regulate best practices amongst members and the development of contract dispute organizations in order to settle disagreements. Again, we see voluntary communal entities forming in order to regulate its members. Moreover, though, is the promotion of the bourgeois virtues prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, in the individuals who practice capitalism, as without these personality traits one would face failure and or ostracism by fellow market participants.
Once humans begin interacting with one another, there is an immediate realization that there are certain common bonds amongst like-minded people. Amongst themselves, these people invariably will establish religion, clubs, civil communities, etc. Each in turn regulating the conduct of their members; thus, acting as further restraints on libertinism. Furthermore, this sense of being part of a greater community instills in its members a sense of charity when faced with human suffering.
It is important to note again that the smallest divisible sovereign entity is the individual human. The right to secession from the larger community is sacrosanct, both for the individual and for the entity to which it is a member. With this right also comes the responsibility to accept the consequences of secession such as the ostracism and outright boycott that entity might suffer from actions of the larger community. There should be no doubt on the influence suspension of both communal and trading bonds with a larger community can have on entities. These lawful noninvasive reactions by the larger community are acceptable; coercive activities backed by force are not acceptable.
The state in contrast to the voluntary community tends to politicize and polarize the community. Therefore, leading to the aggrandizement of centralized power in dispute settlement, the destruction of subsidiarity in the regulation of community activities and its substitution with state coercion through the threat of force. If one were to extrapolate out this process over time, the logical and experiential conclusion of this model is the omnipotent state.
Every removal of subsidiarity from the regulation of the community, by the ever-expanding state, displaces the human being from that which grounded them in wholesome relationships. This loss of wholesome relationships has unleashed the atomistic-individualism of libertinism. Thus, the state is responsible for the degeneracy of today's community. The state has neutered the role that the voluntary community plays in the natural authority that regulates human action, and replaced it with the unnatural authority of the omnipotent state, its political shenanigans and relativistic moral center based upon pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. The irony of the entire experience is that in working towards the virtuous community through the mechanism of the state, the conservatives have in actuality, ensured the supremacy of libertinism.
September 22, 2005