I remember when the term “compassionate conservative” was introduced, or at least when it was introduced to me, maybe 10 to 15 years ago. In retrospect it seems what was really meant was “mildly compassionate conservatives” or “sort of compassionate conservatives”. What is being presented in this short piece is theory and opinion, and potentially subject to change and refinement.
Perhaps it is just as silly to use the term compassionate libertarian as it is to use the term compassionate conservative. Perhaps the term “authentically compassionate libertarian” is a decent one. There is no such thing as false authenticity. An art forger, no matter how skilled, can never create an authentic original. An actual forgery can never be an authentic original.
Many libertarian ideals are morally superior to patriarchal and therapeutic principles and practices. In this sense, patriarchal is in reference to the government (and/or those in power) “knowing” what is best and then inflicting that will onto civilians. This often takes on a therapeutic or authoritarian form. Democrats and republicans embrace a patriarchal and/or therapeutic element in their political positions commonly.
Ultimately, peaceful civilians who respect the property rights of others should be able to enjoy the right to be left alone. Our society does not respect this ideal right now. Locking law abiding adults up in psychiatric wards happens and should be outlawed and prosecuted.
An authentically compassionate libertarian might be someone who respects the civil and human rights of others, but also wants to live in a society that does help those who want help. In a society full of authentically compassionate libertarians, individuals may be allowed to make mistakes and is given help when they admit to and realize their mistakes. In a traditionally conservative society individuals are criminally prosecuted for shunned for mistakes like irresponsible (and even responsible) drug use. Currently, in an ideal libertarian society individuals are allowed to make mistakes but not offered any help by governmental structures if the problems become too big for individuals. In a society built around authentically compassionate libertarianism, individuals are free to make mistakes but are also offered help to solve problems when they want it. Hopefully this will become the norm for libertarian ideals.
There is a potential that my understanding of traditional libertarianism or traditional conservatism is wrong in which case, parts of this short piece are erroneous or wrong. I could spend more time refining this idea. However, I do not really feel like doing that. So, this short piece about compassionate libertarianism will be published like this, at least so that the general idea can be spread. The ideas here may be refined more in the future by myself or others. Until then, hopefully more libertarians will support authentic liberty in authentically compassionate ways.