My article today at The American Conservative. Here’s the opening:
A silly episode on Facebook recently underscored one of the tensions in the liberty movement: many people are attracted to libertarianism because they simply don’t like rules. This attitude stands in contrast to conservatives who also disdain big government but who don’t reject authority per se — their problem is with illegitimate authority. Although many types of individuals are united in their opposition to military empire abroad, the drug war at home, and confiscatory taxation, their underlying philosophies of life are vastly different.
A debate on all these matters started innocuously enough. I had put up a frivolous Facebook post telling my “friends” (most of whom are fans of my economic and political writing) that my office phone number was only one digit removed from that of a local pizza shop, and that the people erroneously calling me were “lucky my alignment was Lawful Good.” This was a reference to the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, which has an elaborate scheme to classify the ethical and moral views of its characters.
I was surprised to receive a fair amount of pushback, with many people surprised that I had described myself as “lawful.” They thought this meant I endorsed the actions of the U.S. government and that I was letting others tell me how to live my life. How could someone who had written a booklet on “market anarchy” be placed in such a category?