Like Reason’s Nick Gillespie, I agree “that economic and civil liberties are conjoined at the hip,” yet this libertarian finds that the Barney Frank is desperate to distinguish the two. In an interview with the Conservative News Service (CNS), the unhappy Massachusetts Democrat shows that on personal freedom, he’s like a character from a comic book, call him Barney Two-Face:
I would let people gamble on the Internet. . . . I would let adults smoke marijuana; I would let adults do a lot of things, if they choose. . . . But allowing them total freedom to take on economic obligations that spill over into the broader society? The individual is not the only one impacted here, when bad decisions get made in the economic sphere, it causes problems.
Well, Mr. Two-Face, if you’ve bothered to read some of the arguments opposing legalized gambling and drug use, you’d hear those putting them forward say that the bad decisions made by gambling grownups and toking adults spill over into society. (For the record, while I neither use drugs nor gamble on the Internet, I do favor legalizing (or keeping legal as the case may be) both practices.)
There is this strange dichotomy among liberals like Barney who favor unfettered personal freedom in the social sphere, but wish to severely constrain our choices in the economic one. But, then again, there is a strange dichotomy among social conservatives who favor unfettered personal freedom in the marketplace (except when it comes to buying certain products of which they disapprove), but not in one’s own bedroom.
In Barney’s eagerness to dictate how an individual conducts his economic affairs, down to so much as regulating the salary corporations should set for their executives, he’s nothing more than a marketplace version of the social bluenoses he so regularly derides. While they wish to regulate different sorts of behavior, neither trusts individuals to run their own lives and the private associations they enter of their own accord. . . for their pleasure or their profit.