Editorial – Talk Radio
September 1995, from The Quill, by
I have a favorite dream: getting to make my case for a libertarian approach to public policy, as a gay man, on talk radio – the more “conservative” the host, the better.
Our basic message is simple enough. We ought to build a culture in which individuals feel empowered to manage their own expressions and destinies, we ought to blow down the crybaby “victim” blame-game talk that balkanizes society into “loyalty” factions playing teams in a zero-sum game.
Libertarian culture would hold every person totally accountable for personal actions, regardless of “axiom of choice.” No exceptions. People would be held accountable to their promises and contracts. Such would be the narrowed definition of “morality.”
And why doesn’t this work today? People, like baseball teams in April, start the “season” with uneven rosters. Some people get what they have by immorally exploiting others, while creating debits on their “akashic records.” The trite solutions, from the “Left” and “Right,” have been confiscatory “liberal government” and “family values,” respectively. The political challenge is to make personal accountability (through private, rather than government mechanisms whenever possible) rectify this bad karma of “undeserved” wealth. The revolution in information technology gives people unprecedented opportunity to craft their own lives and, at the same time, to be held responsible for what they do. The work specialization that goes with technology hints at the new work-ethic morality, justified as “customer service.”
And there is a personal challenge. Reducing government doesn’t just make the “moral” issues go away. A wide-scoped morality might be construed as the compass by which one makes personal expression a benefit, rather than a cost, for others. This gives gay men and lesbians a good chance to act in synergy with the libertarian movement. For the competitive nature of today’s market place has done more to discourage irrational discrimination on a personality trait such as personal (and private) sexual orientation, than would any government edict. And the position of gay men and lesbians in modern culture, as its downturn “melting pot” and its unusual experiences with “responsibility” in dealing with problems such as AIDS and the military gay ban, gives the gay community a unique pedagogical opportunity to provide the rest of society a unique perspective.
The debate that “gay culture” provokes seems hardly to have started. Policy will have to face consciously, the question of balancing the needs and efforts of those whose lives center on personal expression, versus those socialized through marriage and procreation. The question goes beyond just accounting for one’s own personal actions (like raising one’s children) ; it invokes the suspicion that the values one expresses affects others in insidious ways. Gay culture, with its seemingly narcissistic focus, is accused of destroying the incentive for more “masculine” boys (of otherwise unremarkable talents) to channel their base power and self-image into expression through long-term self-giving intimacy—marriage—and parenting.
Our day behind the microphone is rapidly approaching. Talk show hosts eventually get to do other things, like run for President. Rush and Ollie—are you ready for us?
©Copyright 1995 by