Yesterday, speaking to Bill O’Reilly on his Fox News show, Ann Coulter talked about how she hated libertarians like Ron Paul, not because of the ninety percent of the cases where eliminating government was a good solution, but because of the remaining ten percent where she saw government as necessary and libertarians like Ron Paul don’t.

I could note here that a mixture of 90% mother’s milk and 10% cyanide would be 100% lethal to a baby — and that Ron Paul, himself, is only 90% libertarian compared to an agorist like me — but to avoid both analogies and grading libertarian purity on a curve, let me start with Ann Coulter’s first stated objection.

Ann Coulter hates that libertarians like Ron Paul don’t think the government should define the word “marriage.” She argued, albeit briefly, for the view that the consequences of replacing a uniform and traditional definition of marriage defined by law, with new definitions arrived at solely in the private sector, would have unknown consequences.

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

If Ann Coulter’s statement is a conservative meme — don’t allow freedom of choice because we don’t know what the consequences will be — then the mainstream political spectrum is nothing more than an argument between left-wingers who want social engineers to speed change and right-wingers who want social engineers to impede change.

Of course it isn’t that simple.

Take an article I posted here a few days ago, suggesting that arguments favoring the left-wing supported ballot issue in San Francisco to prohibit the circumcision of any male under 18 are mirror images of decades of right-wing arguments to prohibit abortions. It’s not that — as Ann Coulter would quickly point out — abortion and circumcision are in any way equivalents. It’s that in both cases a parental option is criminalized: removed from the individual and given over to the State. In the former case abortion is defined in law as a form of homicide; in the latter case circumcision is defined in law as genital mutilation. In both cases a parent loses the choice to make an individual analysis of what the nature and definition of the action is, and the State becomes the Author of the Moral Dictionary.

The control of words and definitions by the State is precisely the “newspeak” that George Orwell warned about in his novel of absolute totalitarianism, 1984.

The removal of parental autonomy from the individual to the State is what Aldous Huxley warned about in his earlier novel of absolute totalitarianism, Brave New World.

Ann Coulter — with her fear that the word “marriage” left to private definition might end up meaning something with consequences she disapproves, and that a medically-induced miscarriage is not a family’s fecundity choice but a Church-defined termination of a human life and a State-defined crime of homicide — is no less Orwellian in her demand for socially-engineered speech codes than those on the left who demand we say that there is no Israel, only Jewish-occupied Palestine.

Conservatives speak of the “teaching value” of the law, when it is used to socially engineer behavior they approve of, like sexual abstinence in unmarried teenagers, and not using recreational drugs. Then they turn around and criticize liberals for socially engineering against behaviors they don’t like, with “hate speech” laws and banning the incandescent light bulb.

We libertarians are ridiculed as unimportant gadflies when we point out that in their demand to define unapproved of personal behaviors as crimes, social conservatives and liberal socialists are identical in their Orwellian bending of language and social engineering of behavior. Both agree that they dislike what human beings are when they are free to make their own choices. It’s only what sort of Malleable Man they want to end up with that’s in dispute.

Janeane Garofalo
Janeane Garofalo

Ann Coulter, meet Janeane Garofalo. You are soul sisters separated at birth.

Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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