Saturday, December 29, 2012

Well-known Atlantic writer comes out "libertarian" lite, and it was gun rights that pushed him over

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column.

Excerpted, TheAtlantic, "The Libertarian Impulse on Guns":
Ta-Nehisi and I have been exchanging e-mails on the matter of gun control for the past few days...

my feelings about gun ownership actually track with my feelings on a range of social and political issues. This is what I wrote to Ta-Nehisi after he said he would rather not own a gun for self-protection: "You don't want a gun to defend yourself, fine. That's your right. But denying someone else that right -- someone who is screened and vetted and trained and feels that he needs a gun to defend himself or his home -- is that right?"

I went on to write that my feeling about gun-ownership tracked with my feelings about pot-smoking (people should do it if they want to do it and not be punished for it); gay marriage (pro); and abortion (I don't like it, but I'm not going to tell a woman what to do with her body). I suppose my loathing for privacy-invading airport security procedures tracks with these beliefs. On guns, I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense. I think people should be treated like adults, and be allowed, within reason, to make their choices about who they want to be with, how they want to organize their lives, what they ingest and how they protect themselves.

After I wrote this, it struck me that I might be a libertarian. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this feeling. I don't even know anyone at Reason magazine.
Editor's note - Lesson to be learned. Those on-line debates over policy issues with friends, sometimes do pay off.

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