Many of you know I've taken the moniker Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, and I'm sure that many folks chafe at my oft-libertarian leaning diatribes. Today, I'll switch the tables and show why I can't just take the pure libertarian view.
In a recent post on the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education website, Steve Horowitz takes a swipe at those of us who advocate buying locally. His timing coincided with Small Business Saturday, an effort put forth the day after Black Friday.
He makes the case that nationalism Trump style is akin to localism locavore style. Noting that big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target often employ 400 people per outlet and purchase goods made by income-increasing folks in China, he chides anyone who would dare to offer a moral argument for shopping locally. "It is not clear why people more near to us geographically should have moral weight than those further away," he says, using improper grammar. I think this sentence is missing a second more somewhere between have and moral, but that's beside the point.
He equates "Made in the U.S.A." with Trumpism, which is the same argument as buying locally. And since he apparently can't stand Trump, he feels obligated to impugn the entire notion of geographic considerations when purchasing anything.
I wonder what he would say if instead of working from the top down we worked from the bottom up? For example, would he say my son or daughter is no more deserving of my care and protection than a child living in Shanghai? The Biblical injunction to care for your family first has a reasonable and moral imperative that we help those closest to and most known to us before helping those in distant lands.
To say that my next door neighbor bears no more concern or care from me than someone I don't know in China is simply anti-relational. Paul Harvey used to say that freedom is best when we're free to do what we ought, not just what is easiest. Otherwise we're as free as a driverless car or a train without a track. He was right, of course. Freedom without responsibility doesn't work. And freedom without morality doesn't work.
My libertarianism is tempered by a neighbor-centric mindset, and I suggest that's a better way to build functional and secure communities than a who cares morality. The imperative to care more for those close to me, those I know, lies deep within the compassionate breast. Libertarians, such broadsides do not give you credibility.
Are you glad I finally took a swipe at libertarians?