Freedom to live a moral life

In previous posts [here and here] we reviewed misconceptions about the nature of a libertarian society and how businesses could better serve us. In a free society, private property would enable people live in an environment of their own choosing. No longer would we be forced to pay for the immoral conduct of government and those it subsidizes. Freedom of association is a fundamental human right and this would be reflected in a variety of communities which could arise.

Such communities would come about through the use of civil contract law, which has a long tradition in the use of covenants that run with the land, binding subsequent owners by voluntary agreement. These are enforceable under contract law and impose duties or restrictions that follow the land when it is sold to a new owner. This works without criminal laws because residents agree to bind themselves in various ways. Both homeowners and their guests would be required to follow the rules. Those who do not could be removed as trespassers.

Property-based rights would enable groups of like-minded people to buy land for the purpose of establishing communities according to their favorite principles. A group of distributists might establish a city of small businesses where property agreements provide that each landowner must own the means of their livelihood and which prevent the massing of property in few hands. Every square inch of the city would be under the covenant, which all buyers would agree to when they bought the land.

A Catholic entrepreneur might have a vision of a Catholic city where public morals would reflect Catholic moral teaching. Residents and visitors alike would abide by the covenants, which would apply everywhere. In that society, guests might be hard-pressed to buy recreational drugs, pornography, contraceptives or abortion pills. On a Sunday, nothing would for be sale. One might search the yellow pages in vain for a “gentleman’s club,” abortion clinic, or escort service. Drunkenness, public lewdness or taking the Lord’s name in vain might result in fines or expulsion.

Monks and nuns would still live in voluntary community in personal poverty as they always have, but without the harassment of government. As in social communes that exist today, the assortment of these arrangements would be vast, and one can imagine Mormon towns, “no corporal punishment” towns and vegetarian towns.

In fact, socialists, even communists, could band together to undertake voluntarily what has failed so miserably under the guns of government. No one would stop them from trying. Surely, there would be some real oddballs out enjoying the freedom, but we are not talking about utopia, just the exercise of free will restrained only by the universal prohibition against initiating force against others.

In the end it may be that most people would gravitate to less controlled living arrangements where the ideal is simply to be left alone and to live their lives in peace.