Thursday, November 03, 2005

Reasonable libertarianism

I've been thinking of posting occasionally about my libertarian sympathies (and antipathies). I've occasionally cast Libertarian Party votes but can't quite take on the libertarian label, and many libertarians wouldn't accept me as a member of their club, anyway. I think "reasonable libertarianism" is a good reality-based concept of maximizing human freedom in a non-simplistic manner.

So here's a reasonable libertarian concept that I think could work: transitional adulthood. I accept that many people are rightly concerned with the consequences of conferring maximum freedom on 18- or 21-year olds. It's crazy to think that young adults magically transform from dependents to free agents on a single birthday, and it's crazy to ignore how a childhood with poor upbringing or much worse could result in self-destructive paths that are hardly a matter of free will.

Transitional adulthood gives people some time to shake off bad educational, psychological, and economic upbringing and be responsible for their own preparation for full autonomy. Any time period will be arbitrary, but I think seven years, from the ages of 18 to 25, is a good choice. Options that might not be a good idea for an 18-year old could be considered with eyes wide open by someone in their mid-twenties.

Two examples that I think would work: becoming a prostitute, and becoming a professional boxer. Both of these careers entail significant risks, and I think teenagers might fall into those fields based on other people controlling/screwing up their childhoods. It's a different story if they begin making money in those fields as full adults.

This is where reasonable libertarianism could work, I think, and actually make society a little better, in addition to being more free.

key: libertarian

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