Mark – Thanks much for the attaboy on the column (and for the guidance re Montreal’s odd topographical dissonance).
The failure of (many) libertarians to appreciate fully (by my lights) the need for social stigma remains one of the last areas where I am decidedly not in the libertarian camp. Cultural libertinism, I would argue, undermines economic libertarianism because it causes people to live in ways that, over time, invite government intrusion. I have great sympathy for the libertarian argument that people need to learn their lessons from their own mistakes. But I wish some libertarians would have more sympathy with the view that some lessons have been learned enough times that people can make generalizations about them and that people who point out the folly of others aren’t necessarily just a bunch of busybodies, prudes and hypocrites. Parents save a lot of time and anguish when they occasionally tell their teenage kids “that’s a stupid idea.” I see nothing wrong with society collectively doing likewise from time to time.
Oh, and some of you may have noticed that this topic was also discussed in an episode of What’s Your Problem last week. For those concerned, new episodes will resume next week.