A certain man went to a far country…
The trains in Tokyo are everything you’re heard – crowded but clean and on-time everytime. The LED display told me that it was my stop, and that it was 21° outside. I’m an American so I had no idea what the “real” temperature was, but I was comfy enough in a button down and Dockers. I was making my way from lunch with a buddy in Otemachi to do the tourist/shopping thing at the shrine at Asakusa.
I was light on cigarettes because I was smoking the local brands. The Japanese smoke often and almost everywhere, but after my first pack of Seven Stars I can’t say that they’re heavy smokers. It’s almost like breathing air. Anyway, as I was light on smokes, after coming up out of the tubes I started looking around for a vending machine. I found a bank of them right across the street from the shrine.
There was a group of junior high school kids in uniform hanging out, drinking their bottled water and green teas. One of them had a Coke. They moved off in a pack at my approach. Maybe they were on a schedule, or maybe they were just scared off by the heavy-set gaijin walking towards them. I didn’t concern myself about it. I fed the machine 300 yen and got my cigarettes. I noticed that the machine next to me sold two kinds of beer in addition to various other beverages. I decided on a bottled water called Pocari “sweat”. It wasn’t bad.
Wait. Back up…
Junior high students + a beer dispensing vending machine? Never happen in the US. Hell, we’re worried about our kids having too much high-fructose corn syrup, never mind putting a Coors vending machine in their path.
I asked my buddy about that later. He replied that there’s a sticker on the machine which says you should be 20 before buying beer or smokes. That’s right. A sticker.
And there’s your answer to how libertarianism works with social conservatism. When people govern themselves well, they have less need of govern-ment. Granted, Japan’s not the poster child for small government by any means. But they didn’t have cops on the street corner making sure the kids only bought kid beverages either.
The Republican Party should start by defending, but not legislating, the “family values” that the social conservatives espouse and which the social cons see as under attack, and reinforcing the idea with the libertarian wing that they’re making smaller government possible by doing so. That means in the future leaving alone things like online gambling should go hand-in-hand with leaving alone things like nativity scenes and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Republicans should bundle those things together.
“Don’t render raising your kids unto Caesar.” might be a slogan that would sum it up.
Yes, this is an oversimplification. Whole volumes could be written on the topic. And I didn’t even touch on the American underclass, which believes they are responsible to no one for their behavior but that everyone is responsible for their outcome.
But you asked where to start…
If the social conservatives can find a way to influence cultural norms without doing it through law-making, then we have less need of law-making and enforcement, freeing up a lot of tax money and allowing us to lessen the tax burden. Thus achieving libertarian ends.
Just my 2 yen.
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