As a libertarian, my approach to most political issues (to steal a line from activist and occasional talk show host Ernest Hancock) is, “Freedom’s the answer–now what’s your question?”
Opposed to this approach is, well, just about everyone in the two major parties.
Particularly illustrative of the theory of “freedom’s the answer” is the rather silly debate over gay marriage.
Republicans and conservatives typically say the almighty state should only “sanction” heterosexual, monogamous marriage. Democrats and liberals typically say the almighty state should “sanction” both heterosexual and homosexual marriages.
The libertarian asks, “Why in God’s name would you want the state to have any say in who gets married, at all?”
Isn’t it rather creepy that we feel compelled to apply to the state for a marriage “license,” (yes, an actual “license”)so that we may live with and start a family with the person we love? So, the state has some sort of special wisdom, unavailable to the rest of us, as to who should and should not get married?
The very notion of having the state “sanction” any type of marriage should make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The Fox News folks today have obviously sent out the latest talking point on this non-issue: if you “allow” or “sanction” gay marriage, what’s to prevent you from sanctioning “triad” marriage? Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and a host of local Fox radio hosts, all brought up the topic of “triad marriage” over the past few days.
And what is “Triad Marriage”? Well, it’s any combination of three people who want to marry. Two guys and a gal, two gals and a guy, three guys, three gals–you get the idea.
This abomination, says Fox News, is the final, crushing argument against the society-destroying gay marriage! After all, if the state must “sanction” gay marriage, then you can’t make an argument against the state “sanctioning” triad marriage! And where, Fox asks, does it end? Why not “quadrad” marriage? “Quintad” marriage? Heck, why not have a thousand people all get married?
If you had a thousand people get married, I might point out, you would have reached the marriage relationship of great King Solomon, who had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines. And he’s one of the most revered figures in the Bible, renowned for his wisdom and sense of fairness.
But consistency never was the strong suit of religious nut cases. Actually, most of the great kings of Israel and Judea were polygamists. That’s just how things were done, back then. And God didn’t seem to have any problem with it. Interesting–don’t you think?
The libertarian view is that the government should make no laws regarding the sexual behavior of consenting adults (so long as it doesn’t create a public nuisance or scare the farm animals).
Honestly–if your neighbor lives in a “triad marriage,” but doesn’t impose it on you, and makes no special demands of you, what business is it of yours?
I can’t resist pointing out that Glenn Beck is a Mormon, a church that originally sanctioned plural marriage, but gave it up when it became politically inconvenient (their prophet had a revelation on this matter just in the nick of time, to ensure Utah’s acceptance of statehood). But now, Glenn Beck is shocked–shocked!–that anyone should practice such obviously immoral sexual behavior!
Libertarians stand for the separation of state and marriage. If you want to get married, that should be a decision between you, your spouse, and possibly your church (if you belong to one), and your family (if you wish to respect their opinions). The state should have nothing to do with it.
One small detail: as a legal convenience (and nothing else), the state makes it easier for married couples to do things like transfer property upon death, or make medical decisions if a spouse is terminally ill, and so forth. Those legal conveniences can exist either in marriage, or outside of it. In a free society, one would simply grant those powers (commonly called “power of attorney”) to whomever they wish. This is also a non-issue.
But wait! some liberals and “feminists” will say. What about jealousy developing if you have a husband with two wives, or a wife with two husbands? Or, for that matter, a king with a thousand wives and five hundred concubines?
The libertarian approach (pun intended): “You made your bed, now sleep in it!” And need we point out that jealousy of course never exists in monogamous marriages? Nope–never happens.
But wait! say both “conservatives” (who allegedly believe in less state intervention in economics) and “liberals” (who allegedly believe in less state intervention in personal affairs), what about the children? Aren’t children harmed by living in a “Triad” home? Aren’t children harmed by having more than one father and mother in the homes?
No, they’re not. Polygamist societies across the globe have demonstrated that they can rear children just as well as monogamists. By the way, monogamy doesn’t have a lot to cheer about, in regards to raising children. Especially if you consider the US divorce rate.
Freedom’s the answer, folks. Now what’s your question?