I enjoyed your recent blog post on good libertarianism, as opposed to the sort of libertarianism which sees liberties as indeterminate so that its advocates can do as they please.

However, I wonder why you accept the term "libertarianism" for the licentious version.  Is it simply a matter of addressing people as they call themselves?  Given your description, perhaps its advocates should be called “libertines.”  They might even agree.



I’m glad you enjoy the blog, and you make an excellent point.  Just as you guessed, I’m calling people what they call themselves.  Unfortunately, the number of people who use the term “libertarian” in the libertine sense seems to be greater than the number who use it for the moral defense of true liberty.

Another problem is that libertarian organizations are populated by libertarians of both kinds, and the libertines have the upper hand.  The Libertarian Party, for example, says that because “abortion is a sensitive issue” and “people can hold good-faith views on all sides,” “government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”  In other words, killing unborn babies should be legal, and people who hold good-faith views on the other side should shut up.  This is a perfect example of the sort of fraud I criticized in the post “How Not to Have Clean Hands.”

Good libertarians should ask themselves why they should make common cause with libertines.  I think they are being suckered, and they need their own organizations.  I can think of a model or two.