Now that we are in a post-materialist era in the developed world I believe that these easily reducible and atomized concerns are fading into the background. Though many of the basic “Culture War” issues like abortion or gay rights are framed in an individual rights context, I believe that more deeply they’re really about a collective vision of society. Individual liberty and tolerance quickly cedes ground to a collective moral vision. This is not a prescriptive model, this is for me a descriptive one.
The reality is that for a minority of humans a fundamentally liberal/libertarian moral framework is profoundly appealing. It makes intuitive sense to us. I say us because I’m one of those individuals. But I don’t think it describes most human beings. And we have to begin with the modal human being when generating an empirically informed rich moral framework. Don’t we?For the most part, human beings are made to live in community. Insofar as the libertarian vision is one that seeks atomized individualism at the expense of community, it is doomed to failure -- it's as contrary to human nature as Soviet totalitarianism was. While there are some people who seek to live apart from society (hermits, people of poor disposition, solitary monks & nuns, and a few who simply wish to dwell in the wilderness unbothered) this is not the normative condition of human beings. As the author of the Book of Genesis puts it, "it is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18).
While Mr. Khan may object to the Lord being brought into this conversation, his essential point is well-supported by Genesis. Human beings need each other, need to live in society with each other, and as such, must live under norms and values that are at some level mandatory, not voluntary. Conservatism understands and embraces this reality. Libertarianism, alas, does not. Which is yet another reason why libertarianism, while a helpful perch from which to critique government activism and statist ideology, is not itself a sufficient replacement for the things it critiques. It's view of humanity is too thin, its reflexes too distorted, for that.