I consider all Republican debates time-fillers until New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumps in, but Monday night's debate did crystallize for me why I dislike libertarians. (Except one, who is a friend of mine and not crazy.)
They lure you in with talk of small government and then immediately start babbling about drug legalization or gay marriage.
"Get the government out of it" is a good and constitutionally correct answer to many questions, but it's not a one-size-fits-all answer to all questions.
It was a good answer, for example, when libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was asked about government assistance to private enterprise and government involvement in the housing market.
But it's a chicken-s**t, I-don't-want-to-upset-my-video-store-clerk-base answer when it comes to gay marriage.
Asked about gay marriage, Paul said, in full:
"The federal government shouldn't be involved. I wouldn't support an amendment (prohibiting gay marriage). But let me suggest -- one of the ways to solve this ongoing debate about marriage, look up in the dictionary. We know what marriage is all about. But then, get the government out of it. ... Why doesn't it go to the church? And why doesn't it go to the individuals? I don't think government should give us a license to get married. It should be in the church."
If state governments stop officially registering marriages, then who gets to adopt? How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn't recognize marriage? How about a private company's health care plans -- whom will those cover? Who has legal authority to issue "do not resuscitate" orders to doctors? (Of course, under Obamacare we won't be resuscitating anyone.)
Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person's Social Security and Medicare benefits? How do you know if you're divorced and able to remarry? Where would liberals get their phony statistics about most marriages ending in divorce?
Paul can't even scratch Social Security and Medicare off that list by taking the libertarian position that there should be no Social Security or Medicare, because he also said during the debate: "We don't want to cut any of the medical benefits for children or the elderly, because we have drawn so many in and got them so dependent on the government." (And of course, those programs do exist, whether we like it or not.)