Libertaria Question

I took that mini political orientation quiz someone mentioned in another thread and according to the test… I’m libertarian :eek: :smiley:

not to be confused with Libertarian so I decided to do a little net research and found that I agree with the majority of libertarian principles that I saw… I did have a Q or two about my first hesitant baby steps into Libertaria.

I have seen several mentions of DUI issues but never how if at a a libertarian philosophy would address them. Would they just have different penalties for actual accidents rather than try to force people not to drink excessively (which would be inapproprite under libertarian philosophy IIRC)?

How would child support be handled. Although one should see it as their duty to help with the financial support of children how if at all would it be handled if someone didn’t.

Divorce, especially when one party does not want the divorce. How does one handle dissolution of a marital partnership without coercion to your partner, if at all possible.

That was also my 1000th post…:cool:

1,000 posts… Cool! I’ll maybe get there someday!

As I see it, Libertaria has no means to cope with “threatening” behavior. That’s because one person’s “free activity” is another person’s “threat.” I might feel threatened if my neighbor had a gun in his house; I would definitely feel threatened if he had several carboys of fluoric acid in his house! But in both cases, he may feel he has a completely valid reason (home defense, and his metal-etching business, for instance.)

(Also, feeling threatened is a subjective thing, and thus difficult to address by the “objective” standards which libertarian philosophy adheres to.)

Driving drunk poses a threat to those about you… But in itself, it is not hurtful.

Thus, I would expect that the classical libertarian answer is: threaten all you want (that’s just free expression) but the moment you hurt someone, you’re fully liable.

In an ideal libertarian world, you can drive drunk, so long as you maintain control of your car. (And, in fact, many people, such as large guys who are accustomed to their cups, can drive safely after having consumed, say, four beers, whereas a small woman who has not drunk before might have trouble steering after only one beer.)


So for example you could get cited for an unsafe lane change or reckless driving but the intoxication would be kinda irrelevant except from the perspective of it being against the “contract” between you and the state with regards to driving privlegedges. Now that I think about it more I guess because of the priveledge status it would invalidate many apparently “coercive” aspects of traffic law enforcement.

Still curious about support and divorce tho.

Heads up on those ‘tests’. They tend to be loaded.

I say this as a voting libertarian, too. The party uses some pretty desperate tactics sometimes.

Yes, you are responsible for the actions you take, not the potential actions you might take. So if you get home OK there’s no harm, no foul. And I don’t think you’d get gigged for ‘unsafe lane change’ or ‘reckless driving’ until you smacked into someone.

Support and Divorce are also easy answers under the libertarian calculus: you and your s.o. sign contracts ahead of time to cover such contingencies.

The (minimum) state exists to adjudicate disputes that arise when there is no agreed-upon contract in place. (Just as if you die without a will.)

So, in Libertaria, anyone who gets married (or forms any other sort of working partnership that involves money and property) and who doesn’t have a valid contract signed by all parties, is a major-league doofus, and a burden on society.

In Libertaria, you can only surrender your interests (money, visitation rights to children, real property, etc.) voluntarily (and you cannot surrender your rights at all.)


There are two typical answers, both of which have distinct problems. The more common one is that in an ideal Libertarian society, there would be no public roads, thus you wouldn’t have any law about driving drunk. What you would have is policy set by the road’s owner and agreed to by you in the contract you would sign to be allowed to drive on the road. So, you would have absolutely no government restriction on driving, but you would have private restrictions that could be equally or more severe than what we have today, but since it would not be government mandated you would have more liberty under the definition used by this sort of libertarian. Going into whether that variant definition of liberty is a useful and relevant one for actual people is a matter for GD.

The other major answer is to declare that creating a hazardous situation is initiation of force, and a Libertarian government acts against initiation of force and fraud, so you would have drunk driving laws. This has the problem that, as has been pointed out in this thread, ‘creating a hazardous situation’ can be used to justify a government passing a lot of laws not typically favored by Libertarians, such as anti-drug laws, anti-gun laws, safety and health standards for private property, anti-‘hate speech’ laws, or anti-pornography laws. Like the above, the details of this are probably more appropriate for GD.

Both of them underscore that, contrary to what the most strident Libertarians will say, the non-coercion principle does not provide an answer to everything.

Divorce is trivial, since ‘marriage’ in a Libertarian context is just a contract between two people, so the two people would simply use the clauses in their contract to break apart or would follow the normal procedures for dissolving a contract. Marriage is not a special institution set up by the state, but a particular contract between two people.

Child support is another really fuzzy area; the standard small-L libertarian response is that child support would be mandated by law, and would work something like it does today (though it would be simpler). When you get into cap-L Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, child support gets really weird since the non-coercion principle doesn’t objectively define ‘child’ anywhere (is it someone over 14, 16, 18, or 21? “18 and not in college, otherwise 24”? or some other definition), and a child by definition would not be able to enter a contract with any agency to protect their rights; thus the parents would be obligated to pay child support, but this would only be enforced by whatever government/private protective service the parents signed on with, which leads to obvious problems.

My takes on the OP:

Drunk Driving — How that is handled is entirely up to the owner of the road. (NB: He may not represent his road as safe if he allows drunk driving. That would be fraudulent misrepresentation.)

Child Support — A child is a rights bearing entity who is not capable of giving meaningful consent. The relation between parents and children is contractual, but unary. The parents therefore bear the responsibility of providing for the child. Failure to provide is a breach of contract, which is a coercion, which violates the rights of the child, which breaks the law. A parent may be forced to provide for his child since such force is responsive and not initial. (The breach was the initial force.)

Divorce — Like any other contract, the marriage may be ended by mutual agreement or by one party standing in breach. In the latter case, a crime has been committed (as explained above).

Potentially messy but it makes sense in a way.

In the case of married couples it could be a clause in the marriage contract… nuff said. Unmarried couples and casual sex could get ugly in a hurry tho…

Oh baby I want you now…but I need you to sign this agreement first stating you are aware that this action could result in a child therefore you agree to assist with the support…yadda…yadda…[erection fades]

Makes sense

The relation between parents and children is contractual, but unary. The parents therefore bear the responsibility of providing for the child.

So would there be a kind of “standard contract” in place for any minor? Establishing paternity could be difficult since there would be difficult to force someone to take a DNA test without their consent.

I hope that divorces don’t rate jail time… that could be scary, might make some people work on their problems rather than run from them…

I still like the overall idea of a libertarian world just trying to look at some of the potential pitfalls before I get crow served to me on a platter with baby red potatoes and cornbread stuffing on a silver platter in an office debate.

…and learning to preview might be helpful too…

Okay, so in a perfect Libertarian society, there are no public roads. I can see that as possible for freeways where you can control the access and charge the users. But how could a street like New York’s Fifth Avenue ever be privately owned? Why would a private entity want to own such a street, and how could they make money off of it? Would there be tollbooths at every intersection or at every place where roadway ownership changes? Seems to me to be completely unworkable in the practical sense.

Do Libertarians believe that the ideal “Libertaria” is possible? How long do you think it would take to convert a nation such as the United States over to this ideal state if your party was to become dominant?

This one doesn’t think it’s possible. But I don’t believe any form of ‘perfect’ society is possible. I spent too much time on the Hill for that.

Humans have too many conflicting impulses. Some sort of compromise is called for.

Wouldn’t Libertaria’s permissive attitudes towards sex, drugs, etc negate alot of the scandal?

Vistied a hooker? So?
Smokes Pot? So?

Many politicians would not have to conceal many of their “vices” for fear of upsetting voters or getting into legal trouble.

What makes you think that scandal is limited to illegal behavior? libertarians aren’t permissive, they’re non-coercive. If the moral climate says that smoking pot or sleeping around is bad, those who do so are still subject to moral suasion and the court of public opinion - in politics, that’s the more powerful court, even now.

Ah, but too many people don’t want hookers near their homes. Therefore they’ll band together to prevent it. And that requires the use of ‘force’ (in a philosophical sense) to prevent it.

And too many people want to control others actions to some extent. And therefore a representative government places restrictions on behavior. You’ll never do away with that human impulse to control others. The best you can do is to minimize it.

That’s where I think the ‘hardcore’ libertarians fall off the ol’ reality train. Suddenly expecting human nature to change so an ‘ideal’ world can come into existence is foolish. Prepare to be frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong…I agree with many libertarian policies because I think they’d be effective in dealing with the world as it exists. But some of my fellow travellers don’t get it.

<end of serious post>

Try this

It’s funny. But God protect me from my friends.

I think this topic is more appropriate to Great Debates so I’ll move this thread over there.

moderator GQ

Drachillix wrote:

It rates jail time (plus restoration of property, if applicable) only if it is breach.

For your edification, here is the best place on the Internet to begin finding libertarian resources: Free Market. The policy papers at the Cato Institute, a prominent libertarian think-tank are informative. And you can read Ludwig von Mises’ entire Human Action free online — it is the free-market bible.

Ah. It has moved.


As you know, I have great respect for your views. But regarding this:

If we expected human nature to change magically, we would just advocate anarchy.

Jail time?? For a civil case? Are you saying Libertarians want to see breach of contract criminalized???

That’s f***ing nuts!!