Though brought up by conservative country people, I was always taught that it takes all kinds to make a world, don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins, and there’s nowt so funny as folk.   The immigrants and barely-born-heres in my family were strongly patriotic about America, and passed that on to us, along with the fact that accommodating difference is the only fair way for all to get by in life.  Always, always, do as you would be done by.

Country neighbors rely on each other.  You let my horses graze in your field, I’ll plough your drive without being asked, and we’ll both help the widow up the road.  Part of being a good neighbor is knowing when to turn a blind eye.  If a neighbor isn’t abusing or neglecting his charges, human or animal, leave him be.  If he’s not endangering you or yours, let him alone.

Not everyone is good at this, and some turn a blind eye when they shouldn’t, but the principle is sound.  If you don’t let them be, they won’t let you be.  It ain’t nobody’s business if you do.  Pull the shades and let the neighbors wonder.  Stick your nose in the air and walk on by.  Because anyone who is inordinately interested in your business has no right to be.  I don’t smoke, but I don’t care if you do.  I drink, but I don’t care if you don’t.  I am a taxpaying citizen and I mind my manners, so you run your mouth, and I’ll run my business.  There’s a lot to be said for it.

So I grew up identifying as a libertarian, in the absence of the Libertarian Party, and was a senior in college before I met big-L Libertarians.  Whoa.  And over time, I have met in this party people who think Genghis Khan was a pinko softie, many live-and-let-live types, hard Left gun owners, hard Right gay marriage supporters, and generally a broader spectrum of self-contradiction than I’ve found in the Blue or Red parties.

If anything, this charms me.  Politics of conformity worry me more than do people who are actually engaged in the the process, learning about law and government, and figuring out where they stand — even if they stand opposite one another, shouting.  Go for it, friends and neighbors.

Democracy is the best way, in my opinion, because it’s the fairest — not because it’s at all efficient.

But if there is one thing that worries me, it’s authoritarian theocrats masquerading as libertarians.  I have met more and more people who are anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-science, anti-charity, and are borderline anarchists, who call themselves Christian Libertarians.  They believe in “freedom of religion…so long as it’s Christian”, and that Creationism is sound science that must be taught in schools, and that forcing women to stay pregnant against their will is perfectly ethical.  They can, if they choose, support all kinds of prohibition, restriction, censorship, wiretapping, torture, and religious dictatorship — but they can’t call themselves libertarians if they do.

This is the Liberty described by Orwell and Burgess and Atwood.  Robert Bloch told lullabies in comparison.

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