A reader on Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism blog writes in:
Libertarians who reject Meyer’s objective moral order are, in the process, destroying the historical and logical foundations of that which they claim to cherish. Reducing irreducible virtues (liberty and individualism) to means to making “lifestyle choices” leaves libertarians defenseless in the face of the enemies of liberty. Jihadis don’t give a damn about lifestyle choices, any more than Maoists do, and a love of liberty that is based on nothing more than more or less whimsical preference rankings is not the sort of love that endures.
Of course some utilitarian/nihilistic libertarians, as individuals, would defend liberty down to the last bullet, even the last fingernail. I don’t deny that. They just can’t explain why they would defend it, much less why anyone else should.
This is completely preposterous and conservatives need to stop saying things like it!
Many conservatives have a penchant for ridiculously loaded conditions, like this one:
If liberty is worth defending, then there is an objective moral order.
I’m not sure what an “objective moral order” is supposed to be, but it sounds sort of religious. This is true for sure:
If liberty is worth defending, then there are reasons to defend it.
If “objective moral order” is just an obscure way of saying “reasons” then conservatives should stop being obscurantist.
Of course, it turns out that liberty is worth defending. So there must be some reasons to defend it. What are those reasons? The objective moral order perhaps? If that’s just a weird way of talking about good old-fashioned cause and effect, then fine. I defend liberty because it tends to promote things like health, wealth, longevity, happness, innovation, progress, creativity, and so on, and I think these things are tremendously valuable. Neither God nor Nature will cause your head to implode should you refuse to care about them. It can be done! It can be done without contradicting the transcendental conditions for the very possibility of your existence. And you’ll be a monstrously horrible person who hates life, prosperity, happiness, etc., and we will have every reason to exclude from our company.
Lord, I KNOW conservatives like the way it feels to thunder on about how if God is dead, then everything is permitted yadda yadda. But, lord knows, there’s no lord that knows. Nevertheless, if you want prosperity, happiness, health, etc. then you need liberty. It turns out that’s the way things work! Maybe that’s why we think liberty is such a good idea!