RE: [lpsf-discuss] Re: "Ron Paul, The Honest Congressman" o/"

Dear Jeanie,

In my view you answered your own questions about Ron Paul when you

said " "The cultural air of San Francisco gave me more freedom than
the change of a hundred laws ever would." For the same reason this
works for you is why states' rights (and maybe even County and City
Rights) works for those who don't share an appreciation of your
lifestyle or values.

Why shouldn't everyone have it their way as much as possible?

"Having it their way" properly means a person can live as they
choose, not that they can determine what their neighbors can choose.
This means that freedom is inevitably is bad news for those who want
a repressive culture, because freedom makes it difficult for them to
gaurantee the social hemogeneity they desire.

And not all repression is political. Patriarchy, heterosexism,
racism, class structures, sexual repression- these seep into language
and institutions and destroy human spirits in ways not always
traceable to the state. They are not 'neutral' issues, and they
involve the use of power by some over other; I completely disagree
with the libertarian claim that power is reducible to physical
force. I do agree with libertarians that we shouldn;t use force to
fight force- as a subset of believing one should not use power to
fight power. I therefore think the evils of social power should not
(and cannot) be eradicated with law. But they *do* need to be
opposed anywhere and everywhere they may be found.

With State Rights, Ron Paul can be "anti-abortion" but not use the

Feds to ban the practice everywhere nor force it on the states ala
Roe vs. Wade. It seems his governing principals strike the right
balance and are definitely in the interest of LGBT people.

I disagree. Having individual states decide to ban abortion or not
is just as anti-freedom as having individual states deciding whether
to ban free speech or not. The only reason libertarians are willing
to consider localism on gay rights and abortion laws, but not on free
speech or economic regulation, is because gay rights are treated
as 'special rights' and abortion rights are not treated uniformly
seriously. As a feminist and a cultural radical, I *do* treat them
seriously- and the notion that the 'people' of Louisiana have some
right to oppress other Louisianans, but the 'people' of Americans
don't have the right to oppress other Americans, is ludicrous.

Violations of individual rights are just as vicious whether done by
state, federal, or world governments. THe rest is a matter of
pragmatics- and I frankly think that local groups of homogenized
people are far more likely to have the cohesiveness to oprress social
dissidents than broad multicultural expanses.

There should be no 'balance' on individual rights- one freedom of
choice unhindered in implied in any true notion of the balance, which
can only be meaningful when the human spirit is free to exist to
begin with. And this includes abortion and gay rights; again, I see
the willingness of libertarians to subject these, but not other
rights to 'balance' is a clear example of foul-smelling social

Would it be OK then if I started putting the rights of big businesses
to conduct trade as suitable to 'balance' and state-level
regulation? What about 'balancing' a little governement support for
the arts? Or the poor? Or the sick? If I were to suggest this, it
would smack to libertarians of creeping socialism and a sign that I
don't take a free market seriosuly.

Yet libertarians have been willing to put gays rights to love and
womens' right not to be forced to carry pregnacies into 'balance'. I
conclude that conservatice libertarians don't personally care much
about social freedom, support a creeping patriarchy and don't take a
free culture seriously. And I might add that having one's love
declared a crime, being made a second class citizen, or being forced
to bear state repression in one's own flesh rise a bile of horror to
me that no portionate confiscation of bank accounts ever can- though
that said this businessgirl does support an absolutely free market.

Those of us whose sympathies culturally are with the Left, but who
support NIOF libertarianism on principle, tend to get the impression
that libertarians consider the rights most useful to bourgeois
conservatives iron-stone principles but the rights most useful to
counterculturalists negotiable. If you do this, do not be surprised
if the cultural left writes off libertarianism as a pawn of
consertvatism and acts just as unprincipled about mainstream peoples'

I for one would like to see everyone's rights respected, but if I get
the idea my rights are politically expendable- or, in the case of
abortion and gay rights, the rights of those who share my culture and
my values- then you can be sure that I will distance myself from
libertarians (as I have from Objectivists, for closely realted
reasons). That is exactly what most GLBTs, feminists, and
counterculturalists do and to my mind libertarianism has mostly if
not entirely deserved it, especially outside of California.

Your choice to "put cultural tolerance ahead of removing unjust

laws" is a practical one for you. Ron Paul is working on a political

You may not share his personal values or those of his constituency,

but a strong States' rights environment encourages diversity in the
places that people can call home.

It encourages a diversity of intolerances. San Francisco is
intolerant to smokers and gun owners; Virginia to gays and drug
users. Neither has any rights, and I applaud a strong concept of
jusidical review banning any state law that conflicts with a propoer
Bill of Rights, and that means striking down violations of rights by
everyone everywhere.

The fact that it's not in Ron Paul's back

yard shouldn't bother you or me. I suspect neither of us wants to

live there and we couldn't lobby the Feds to force them to accept us
any more than we can demand the Castro to accept them.

But we *should* demand that the Castro accept Ron Paul's right to
live as he wants, and we should demand of Texas the absolute
protection of the rights of gays and lesbians, and that means Ron
Paul is not going to have a choice but to have his traditional
culture changed as more and more GLBTs and other nonconformists come
out in the open. THis means ending the absurdity of state rights to
violate individual rights.

In my view, Ron Paul's fight for States' Rights is in the interest

of LGBT people as it is for the people in his district. I believe Ron

correctly gives the issue the attention it is due as the States'

rights approach transcends culture and provides an environment that
can accommodate the greatest amount of freedom for all.

I disagree, because I think that the beginning of freedom is dissent
precisely from the culture in which one in raised- the spirit to not
be as one was given and destined. The principle of states rights is
closely wedded to the principle of localism, whereas I think liberty
is unalterably on the side of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism and the
loosening of inherited attachments. Ultimately, my interest in
liberty is not political but spiritual, and a formal liberty
conjoined with rooted communities of everyone living alike and
feeling comfortable with one another is not my ideal.

And there is the difference even within that between Texas and the
Castro. Gay male culture does not shun and exile those who disagree
nearly to the degree than Christian conservatives do (although I
readily admit that intolerance is everywhere to some degree). Some
ideologies and social structures cannot abide difference and
nonconformity, and simply make life miserable for people who think
differently. Ron Paul's social values are an example, and I am
ultimately as much against his social claues ad I am against statism,
and refuse to give the slightest aid and comfort to what I consider a
posionous social agenda in anb effort to wipe out the different sort
of poision that is statism.

Essentially: no, I don't think repressive cultures are the same as
unrepressive cultures, even if both have an equal degree of political
liberty. In a free society, people have a right to live themselves
in a traditional Christian or Muslim manner, but they have no right
to protect by law (or 'States Rights') their traditional Chrisitan or
Muslim communities. Freedom is simply not neutral when it comes to
promoting pluralism, reason, and passion vs. obedience, tradition,
and restraint.

Ultimately, I think culture determines politics, and those who preach
a culture of unfreedom along with political freedom will probably do
more damage even on a political level by the culture they encourage
(which will in the main suppress freedom regardless of the Ron Pauls
of the world) than they are doing food politically.
Counterculturalists, feminists and gay rights activists who are not
politically libertarian have loosed up de facto controls much more
effectively than libertarians have because they go to the cultural
roots that make people slaves in their own souls and obedient to
authorities, whereas libertarians aim for abstract laws that are very
difficult to change directly and don't have the impact that values
and culture do. I still think libertarians are right- but I think
that libertarian poltiics, while perfectly valid, do not understand
the bases of social change and do not approach the basic political
questions. Libertarians se3e repression in artifically narrow
formal, legal terms and ignore the real social issues... or worse,
cut deals with social oppressors who want some inconvenient political
restriction out of the way. There I do not go. When Libertarians
support repressive culture in pursuit of political liberty as the
only real value, I cross the picket line.

Michael Denny
Libertarian Party of San Francisco
(415) 986-7677 x123


Jeanine Ring )(*)(
Salon Total Freedom

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