Liberty and Empathy Aren’t Opposites


One of the first things I hear when people learn that I’m in support of smaller government (apart from roads..) is that I must not care about smaller businesses (even if I’ve shopped in their stores), or that I lack empathy.

Most of the time, when I talk to these people, we want a similar end result – we’d like sick people to get care, and we’d like to see people get an education if that’s what they want – but we just disagree on how to get there.  Many of my progressive friends think that the way to make things “affordable” would be to make the rich pay for the less fortunate people, because “that’s only fair.”

I think that if we had a free market, people could afford these things because they wouldn’t cost that much. If everyone chipped in to buy me a 2001 Chevy Cavalier for $30,000, it wouldn’t make the car “affordable.” It might feel nice for me to pay less for the car, but maybe if I could save up some money for a few months, I might be able to buy it myself for $2,000 or $3,000.

With improvements to technology; healthcare and education prices should only be dropping. Look at the cost of a computer in the 90s vs. today.

But it doesn’t work this way when we spend other people’s money.  We’ve all heard the story of the $100 aspirin on your hospital bill.

It doesn’t mean I want someone to die because they can’t pay their bill. It means they should be billed $99.94 less for an aspirin.  And if 40% of my check wasn’t taken, I’d be much more inclined/financially able to help them voluntarily. Also, let’s face it, very little of what they take in taxes actually helps people. This leads to the real irony of all of this.

Nearly every one of these people that say I must lack empathy because I’m Libertarian, voted for Hillary Clinton – the “lesser of two evils.”  And for all Trump bashing they do, I never see them criticize Trump’s wars…which used to be Obama’s wars….which were started by George W Bush (and despite what they said about him when he was in office, he’s a cool guy now. Much better than Trump….).

Maybe I’m the selfish, sociopathic capitalist they think I am, but it sounds to me like they’ve moved on from horrors that happen in the Middle East every day in favor of “free” college. Families overseas get torn apart, children maimed, infrastructure destroyed, drone strikes, etc., but MY white privilege is showing?

Usually I get into these discussions with friends, and I would never say they lacked empathy. Do I have a case for it? Maybe in a stupid Facebook comment, but I don’t judge my friends like that. Really, I wish we’d all just take the blinders off, and look past party lines at what is right and wrong. Maybe we have an honest discussion without someone being counted out right away because of a “lack of empathy.”

About Author

Lee has played in punk and hardcore bands for the last 20 years. He currently plays guitar in the Delaware based punk band "Disaster Committee" and bass in "Victory Boy."