Because we are no utopians we do not seek to right every social wrong or correct every perceived social ill. We believe the Nanny State that does seek to do these things merely creates a whole host of much greater evils than the evil it seeks to prevent in the form of unintended consequences.
Libertarians too seek to limit the damage things like drugs can do. But our means are different. We seek to limit them by legalizing them and putting the onus for the consequences of irresponsibly using them squarely where it belongs: the abuser.
The greatest teacher besides one's parents is that of experiencing the consequences of one's actions. This cannot happen while the Nanny State is there enabling irresponsibility and selfishness by creating the conditions of moral hazard. In such conditions the irresponsible play and the responsible are robbed by the Nanny State to pay for the sorry consequences.
No doubt there will be sad stories and even tragic ones in a society based upon personal responsibility. But that is a small price to pay for living in a free society where choice and virtue are still possible and valued.
In short, what we Libertarians do is promote and encourage the liberty of individuals and groups to live out the good (and even the bad if they are not harming others) as they see it. But we don't support the creation and funding of Nanny State safety nets that save a person from suffering the consequences of their foolishness and irresponsibility: Personal liberty and personal responsibility go hand in glove. One cannot exist without the other.
We believe consequences are very effective deterrents, while Nanny State safety net programs actually encourage fools to be even more foolish in engaging in high risk behavior. Essentially, we believe these social safety net programs have the same effect on social behavior that bailouts have on Wall Street Investment firms: they encourage foolishness and risk taking that would otherwise not take place.
Liberty requires choice; choice that results in real consequences. Choice and consequence is something those on the left and the right often find offensive, because it puts the individual in control and not the politician, and it doesn't grow the power of the state to rule and control our lives.
No, the left and the right want their game to be the only game in town and no other. It is their way or the highway; everyone must fall captive to their particular orthodoxy––or else...or else the full power of the State will come down upon you.
One of the best descriptions of America (as conceived by the Founders) and of Libertarianism I know of I read years ago and cannot recall the source. The statement I recall went something like this: America is made up of islands of intolerance co-existing in a sea of tolerance.
What this means is that birds of a feather can flock together. No bird is forced into a community he does not want to live in, and no community is forced to mitigate its ways, customs and public expressions because of the views of a few dissenting birds. All are free to go where they choose, seeking, finding and living in the communities that most suit their views.
We see this very reality being lived out early in the New American Republic. Massachusetts with its state unitarian church did not feel it must impose its church upon religiously pluralistic Virginia or Calvinist Alabama, or Baptist Tennessee. No state was outraged at Massachusetts having a state church––which they did until the 1830s. None feared the others would force their ways upon them because their sovereignty and liberty of expression was protected by the Constitution. The constraints and restraints of the Constitution did not apply to the states. They applied only to the General Government, sometimes called The Federal Government.
That some of these constrains and restraints have now been applied to the states and to local communities has caused great harm to American Liberty and the authentic diversity resulting from its exercise. The right to apply these restraints in the bill of Rights to the states and the people is not given in the Constitution. It is the application of a mere theory, called "the Theory of Limited Incorporation," another invention of the courts to suppress freedom, enforce uniformity and conformity and create what is becoming a Utopian monstrosity.
The colourful tapestry of the early American Republic is now rapidly being replaced by a despotic Central Government turning the American landscape into a gray plain of slavish conformity, to be accomplished by any and all means necessary: bribery, threats, extortion, coercion and out and out violence.
These evils and the losses of individual and community freedoms are the results of forsaking Liberty as the core American value and replacing it with an almost mindless push for equality in every dimension and aspect of American life––except the political. (Please understand, the oligarchs must sustain their lofty, elevated positions in order to rule effectively.) It is the supplanting of the mind of Thomas Jefferson with that of Karl Marx via Abraham Lincoln's "proposition nation" us down the path of tyrannical consolidation. Presently, the Marxian dynamic is steaming ahead with little resistance toward the Utopian Hell of Universal Slavish Conformity envisioned by the present ruling regime.
Thank you, Mr. Lincoln, thank you ever so freaking much!