Thursday, September 7, 2017

Australian libertarian conservative makes case for same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage: A libertarian conservative case for voting ‘yes’ - Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian:

September 6, 2017 - "If the High Court decides the upcoming same-sex marriage postal vote can go ahead this month, I will vote Yes. Some will say that casts me as conservative charlatan.... Yet voting Yes is entirely consistent with anti-statist, libertarian and indeed conservative beliefs that the state should stay out of our personal lives. Here is the libertarian conservative case for voting Yes to same-sex marriage.

"Voting No because same-sex marriage activists in politics, the media and beyond have overplayed their hand is not a position of principle. It’s a reaction rather than an answer to the broader question of whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry....

"As a libertarian, social change that enables more freedom for people to mark their relationship by marrying, to seek the stability that marriage can offer, ought to be recognised rather than rebuffed. Same-sex marriage will become law eventually because higher numbers of younger people support same-sex marriage than older people.

"That generational tide won’t be held at bay. Younger members of my family, my daughters in their 20s, can’t see what the fuss is about. Of course same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, they say. To their credit, they convinced me of that.

"There’s nothing wrong with being on the slow side of history, but ultimately opposing same-sex marriage rubbed up against my belief that governments have no business policing private relationships that do no harm to others. First principles of libertarian conservatives start with John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.'

"As Mill explained, a government presuming to regulate us for our own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient to warrant interference in our lives. Who is to say what is 'good' for us better than what we choose for ourselves?

“'The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign,' wrote Mill. First principles don’t have an expiration date....

"Libertarian conservatives who believe in the liberal project where individual dignity flourishes with greater freedom will regard liberty as a good reason to support same-sex marriage and an even better reason to fight against these ideological bullies and the illiberal forces."

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