Liberal and conservative smears of libertarianism are legion. Libertarians are said to be naive, utopian, idealistic, materialistic, and nihilistic. They disdain religion and reject tradition. They are disciples of Rousseau. They are too individualistic. They have nostalgia for a fictional past. They have no compassion for the poor. They don’t believe in social justice. They are weak on national security. They are pacifists and isolationists. Libertarianism aspires, like Marxism, to reduce social life to economics. It treats children like adults. It believes that man is inherently good. “Libertarianism,” according to conservative Jonah Goldberg, “is an ideology best suited for young folks. It compellingly tells kids everything they want to be told.” Libertarians “fetishize change, assuming it to be always and everywhere good.”
But above all, liberals and conservatives like to characterize libertarians as libertines and hedonists who celebrate alternative life-styles and don’t believe in moral principles or absolutes. The trump card they play has two sides: libertarians are all moral relativists and libertarianism is immoral.
Nothing could be further from the truth.