Does Libertarianism go beyond just politics? As a supplement to the brand new debate issue of the print magazine, Reason's Stephanie Slade debates Matt Zwolinski, a professor of philosophy at the University of San Diego, at the link below.
Affirmative: The ideas of liberty have implications for how we live our lives, Zwolinski argues.
Libertarianism is a political theory, and not a moral, cultural, or religious one. Still, however we define libertarianism, and whatever our reasons for endorsing it, we are libertarians for some reason. And the reasons we have to endorse libertarianism will often be reasons for endorsing other values, projects, or cultural practices as well, Zwolinski writes.
Negative: Making libertarianism about more than politics threatens the whole project, Slade writes.
Trying to expand libertarianism into something that demands certain actions or commitments from us in our private lives needlessly muddies the picture and foments division. Your understanding of libertarianism might lead you to eschew meat eating; mine leads me to see abortion as something very close to murder. How useful, really, is a term that professes to be about more than politics but can't answer these questions in a reliable way?
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