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.)

Libertarians always lure you in with talk of small government — but then immediately start babbling about drug legalization, prostitution and 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 every question.

It was a good answer, for example, when libertarian congressman 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 registering marriages, how do you know if you’re divorced? Who gets to adopt? How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn’t recognize marriage? Who has legal authority to issue “do not resuscitate” orders to doctors? (Of course, under Obamacare we won’t be resuscitating anyone, so that one’s solved.)

Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person’s Social Security and Medicare benefits? And where would liberals get their phony statistics about most marriages ending in divorce?

It’s true that, theoretically, private institutions and private contracts could handle many of these matters — such as the right to inherit and make medical decisions. Gays don’t need marriage to leave their electric spice racks to loved ones.

But there are more obtuse Americans than there are gay Americans, so courts are going to be bulging with legal disputes among the un-alert, who neglected to plan ahead and make private contracts resolving the issues normally determined by a marriage contract.

Under Rep. Paul’s plan, your legal rights pertaining to marriage will be decided on a case-by-case basis by judges forced to evaluate the legitimacy of your marriage consecrated by a Wiccan priest — or your tennis coach. (And I think I speak for all Americans when I say we’re looking for ways to get more pointless litigation into our lives.)

If one spouse decides he doesn’t want to be married anymore, couldn’t he just say there never was a marriage because the Wiccan priest wasn’t official?

Under Paul’s plan, siblings could marry one another, perhaps intentionally, but also perhaps unaware that they were fraternal twins separated at birth. That actually happened in Britain a few years ago after an affianced couple took the government-mandated blood test for marriage and discovered there was a reason they were so uncannily alike.

There are reasons we have laws governing important institutions, such as marriage. As in landscaping, it’s never a good idea to remove a wall until you know why it was put there.

Marriage is a legal construct with legal consequences, particularly regarding rights and duties to children. Libertarians might as well spearhead a movement to eliminate stop signs. A world without government stop signs would be safer than a world without governmentally-recognized marriage.

Paul wants the government out of marriage, but not out of Social Security and Medicare. During the debate, he also said: “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.”

So Rep. Paul is a swashbuckling individualist when it comes to civilization’s most crucial building block for raising children, but he’s a government statist when it comes to the Ponzi-scheme entitlements bankrupting the country. He’s like a vegetarian who says, “I’m not a fanatic — I still eat meat.”

For anyone calling himself a libertarian to put eliminating official marriage above eliminating Social Security and Medicare is certifiable.

It’s exactly like drug legalization: Sure, all good libertarians want to legalize drugs, but the question is: Is that is more important than the ability to locate your widget factory where you want to put it? Even purists can have priorities.

Most libertarians are cowards, too afraid of liberals to take a stand on the most important issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions by pretending to be Randian absolutists, then turn around and accept the socialist state when it comes to Medicare and Social Security. If they could resist sucking up to Rolling Stone-reading, status-obsessed losers for five minutes, they’d probably be interesting to talk to.

In my book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America, I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, have all the characteristics of a mob. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but are also driven by group-think. They’re called “libertarians.”

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