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    Jon Caldara writes in the Facebook post that he is “strongly pro-gay marriage” and fine with men wearing dresses (“that’s power over your own self”). He’s OK with men in women’s bathrooms (“I don’t care who uses whose bathroom”).

    On these topics, he is not neutral. He identifies with the left. He seems to be a libertarian. This is common. Many libertarians are in favor of Second Amendment rights and for lower taxes but hard left on social issues.

    But he draws the line at pronouns. (“But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns… violates our right of speech,” emphasis added.)

    Even on its own terms, this is not coherent. In the libertarian worldview, there is no initiation of force by the Denver Post, so nobody “rights” are violated. The Denver Post has certain rules and regulations, all perfectly legal and in their view perfectly reasonable, that they expect employees and columnists to follow. Caldara apparently told the Post he would not follow them. The Post terminated his contract. Property rights in action! Don’t like the contract, don’t sign it in the first place! This is the free marketplace at work, right?

    But Caldara is annoyed about this exercise of the property owner’s property rights. He accuses the Post, in the Westword.com interview, of being “intolerant” and “un-diverse” and of “hypocrisy” and acting as “speech police.” He seems to be grasping for the right language. He’s a trans ally! He is really, really woke! He loves gay marriage! Why must he be deplatformed over a minor deviation from progressive orthodoxy?

    He is correct to be annoyed. But his left-libertarian position is, in my view, not coherent. It ignores culture and norms.

    If you’re strongly in favor of gay marriage, that’s more than a minor cultural issue. It upends thousands of years of culture and norms.

    His “strong[]” support of same-sex marriage imposes obligations on other people: cake-baking, film-making, etc. The law is unsettled and developing state-by-state but the SCOTUS vote to legalize same-sex marriage imposes obligations on the rest of society including employment discrimination, blood donation, housing, conjugal rights for prisoners, parental rights, workplace reprisals based on same-sex marriage status. Are these initiations of force when backed by law? If so, why would a libertarian support them? It is not coherent.

    The same with men using women’s bathrooms.

    The same with men using women’s pronouns.

    Caldara is fine with two out of the three. He is not fine with the third. He draws the line there. The problem is that by accepting the compromises of one and two, he finds himself grasping for reasons to oppose the third. We can recognize that the reason he opposes the third is simple. He is defending normalcy, and what is right and true, and remembers the more sane culture that he grew up in. But libertarianism does not give him a sufficient vocabulary.

    The right recognize that culture and norms matter. We welcome Caldara to the right. There are lots of former libertarians here.