Some of the responses to my column from last week about bikini bars and pot seem to indicate that some readers might have been surprised by my opinion on these issues. Some liberal readers might have actually found themselves in agreement with me for once.
One example was a reader who responded to the column with this bit of bemusement: “Ugh, I can’t believe I agree with Adam Fowler.”
I have a feeling that many of the liberals, who at some time in the past have glanced at this column, have probably not agreed with any opinion that I have written. Some of you probably view me at best as some out-of-touch ideologue and at worst some right-wing fascist.
Given this, I feel compelled to share a more liberal side (I use that phrase very cautiously) of me. Because I consider myself to be a moderate libertarian, if that’s not an oxymoron, I imagine that many of my positions on issues may actually coincide with yours.
For instance, many of you progressive-minded readers (and I know there are many of you who read The Oracle, although probably less read my column) might be surprised at the following positions that I have.
There should be no teacher-led prayer in public schools.
No government money should go directly to aid religious organizations.
Government should not be in the business of regulating the private relationships between consenting adults.
There should never be a military draft.
Government-mandated restrictions on commercial-airwave speech is unconstitutional and wrong.
And as I hinted at in last week’s column, if someone wants to get drunk and high every other night, if they’re not causing harm to or endangering someone else, that’s none of the government’s business.
Take a few moments to allow the shock to wear off.
The reason I hold what many would consider to be liberal positions on these issues, and others which I don’t have space to mention, is not because I’m some raging, bleeding-heart lefty. Many readers would attest to that. But I’m not some conservative, fascist bigot, either. Many readers, judging by much of the e-mail that I get, would likely disagree with that last point.
I’m neither; as stated, I’m more of a Libertarian. That, for those ideologically ignorant readers, means I’m for the individual. I’m neither for the state nor classes of individuals. I’m a strong proponent of individual rights and freedom of conscience. I’m a liberal in a more fundamental context of the word: I’m for liberty.
Since that explanation is out of the way, here’s where I start ticking off the liberals again. Because I’m more of a Libertarian (for individual rights), I also ascribe to the following less lefty-friendly positions.
Acts involving government taking the property of one person and giving it to another, whether it be welfare, corporate subsidies, overreaching eminent-domain laws, etc. should not occur.
Abortion should be illegal because it violates the right to life of the unborn child.
Social Security and Medicare are violations of the rights of individuals because both programs are involuntary.
Racial preferences in hiring and admissions by public institutions, however well-intentioned they may be, are an affront to the idea of individual merit.
Our rights come from God. Were they to come from any other source, like government for example, they would not be absolute.
These positions, however offensive to modern-day liberals they may be, probably make me a liberal in the sense of classical liberalism — more in tune with the ideology espoused by many of the founders.
My overall message to the liberals out there — and I know there are plenty of you at USF — is that you should fully embrace the traditional roots of the word “liberal.” You should advocate individual liberty, not government power. You’re reasonably okay at embracing individual liberty when it comes to personal behavior, but not so when it comes to other areas like economics. To live up to the word liberal, you should embrace both.
Adam Fowler is a USF firstname.lastname@example.org