Just Because you Should be Free to Doesn’t Mean you Should (or shouldn’t)

I dislike authoritarian social engineering at the hands of governments.  As such I tend to be about as socially liberal or libertarian as anyone you might meet.  Among other things, I think consenting adults should be free to do drugs, hire prostitutes, marry whomever they like and as many people as you like, have consensual sex with whoever they like, and that women should be free to go topless in public.

As such I tend to clash quite a bit with traditionalist who think that the government should have a role in restricting one’s freedom in these areas.  I tend to find that often with these types there is a some confusion as to my position.  It seems that they often will assume that because I think people should be free to do these things, that I think everyone should be doing hard drugs, seeing prostitutes, or marrying multiple people.

I don’t I think you should do what works for you.  In a free society, while some people will want to do these things, many will not, and that is their own decision.  It may be that some people will want to live in enclaves of puritanical traditionalists, while others may want to be in similar enclaves of hedonistic partiers.  I suspect most people will continue to live in the types of neighborhoods they do now, with all personality types present.  What matters is that we should all be free to make these choices ourselves.  I understand that many people will want to actively promote their own cultural norms and preferences, which is fine by me so long as they do it on the free market of ideas.

That said, I do see a positive side in people doing things like buying pot on the black market, or downloading music or films on the internet, as visible wide spread resistance to unjust laws, is usually the best way to get rid of these laws.  At the same time, I’m not going to start buying raw milk, for this reason, as some of my libertarian friends advocate, because I have no desire to consume it.  I’ll also note, that while I have no objection to getting music of the internet, I do make a point of spending money on music or music related merchandize, to show the artists I love, my support.

So yes, while I do think you should be free to do a great number of things, now currently illegal, I recognize that not all of them will appeal to everyone, and that there is nothing wrong with that, so long as you do not use coercion to impose your cultural preferences on me.  I while I also see people, who skirt laws, that I think of as unjust as being freedom fighters in their own right. I recognize they should not do so with disregard for the consequences or the risk involved in their actions, nor do I think we should celebrate people who are doing this because they have little to no choice or people who are doing immoral things while skirting these laws (though I recognize this as being a problem made worse by the laws themselves, as prohibition brings out the worst sides in anything).

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