Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Inconsistencies of Boortz

Two items from libertarian radio show host Neal Boortz today struck me as so inconsistent that I wondered how Neal could be oblivious to the weakness of his argument.

1. Responding to news that United Airlines won't have to pay some pesions to retired employees, Boortz supported the decision. I can't for the life of me understand why a self-professed libertarian would support corporate welfare, and I can't think of any better description of Bankruptcy reorganization than corporate welfare. Come on, Neal, you believe in personal responsibility, don't you? Does that or does that not include the duty to repay the debts you owe? (Sorry, no link for Neal because I didn't see anything on his page about it).

2. More irksome is his brief mention of Georgia governor Sonny Perdue signing into law a bill that imposes certain restrictions on abortions (follow Boortz' link to the story, because registration is required and I don't feel like registering). First, Neal absolutely will not take callers who want to talk about abortion. Look, you can do what you want with your own show, Neal, but if you're going to hector your audience with your own views, you might want to have the gonads to get some criticism, I should think.

Second point: let's get back to personal responsibility, supposedly the hallmark of libertariansim, no? I believe in the fundamental importance of freedom of choice. If government is going to restrict my right to choose, it had better have a really freakin' good reason to do it or they're going to have an insurrection on their hands. That said, nothing about freedom of choice absolves me of the responsibility to own up to the consequences of my choices. It's such a simple point, and indeed Neal goes on and on about it every single day he's on the radio. Are you poor? It's because you made bad choices. Did you get shot trying to break into someone's house? You made a bad choice. Are your children hellions? You made some bad parenting choices. And in every case, Neal thinks you have to live with the consequences of those choices.

Are you pregnant with an unwanted child? No problem, there's no consequence there as long as you can kill that child. Why the exception, Neal? Why does a criminal get no sympathy from you, but a woman who can't keep her damn legs together for more than five minutes at a time get a pass?

Like Neal, I'm not a fan of government coercion, but also like Neal, I understand there's a time and a place for coercion. If I try to kill Neal, I think we can all agree the government should intervene and throw my sorry butt in jail, yes? But what happens when the government intervenes to save the life of a child? Ah, then it's a waste of tax-payer money, the onset of creeping theocracy, raving Bible-thumpers trying to steal our freedoms. If Neal or anyone else could explain why personal responsibility is only sometimes a necessary corrollary to personal choice, I'd love to see it.

Cassandra has more on personal responsibility here, and more on fathers' rights here.