Richard Ebeling on "Thick Libertarianism"
I have not engaged in the discussion of “thin” versus “thick” libertarianism. It took me a while even to grasp what people were talking about. Once I had understood the distinctions, I had thought I was a “thin” libertarian. But economist Richard Ebeling’s recent piece, “The Case for Liberty, Through Thick and Thin,” changed my mind.
Richard’s piece is an excellent introduction to the subject. Rather than repeat his whole argument, let me give the 5 paragraphs that convinced me that, all along, I’ve been a thick libertarian.
Here they are:
The “thick” classical liberal or libertarian also argues that the principle of non-aggression in all human relationships is the core political value for all advocates and defenders of freedom. But they ask whether that principle alone would be able to establish and sustain a society of free people.
How likely is it that equal rights before the law will be respected and maintained in a society in which many take it for granted that some human beings are racially “superior” while others are “inferior”? Will women be sufficiently respected and free from the aggressive actions of predatory men in a world in which women are viewed by a large number of males as mere sexual objects to serve the “stronger” sex?
And can a free society be sufficiently free of intolerance and aggressive behavior when a large number of “straights” take the attitude that “queers” and “homos” are fair game for ridicule and even physical abuse?
In other words, the political principle of non-violence in all human affairs does not and cannot exist in a social vacuum. The case for freedom from political power and control requires it to be situated in a wider philosophical and ideological setting of the nature, sanctity and even sacredness of the individual human being,
Many advances in freeing people from political control and the establishment of a recognition of their possessing individual rights to their life, liberty and honestly acquired property first arose out of changing attitudes about human beings and what was right and just in the conduct of people towards each other.