My friend Mike suggested the above video would make a great topic for Liberty On Screen, and I agree. First of all, the video is definitely funny, as you would expect from Jon Stewart. The whole point of the piece is to point out the hypocrisy of a Fox News on-air personality (in a humorous way), but to say that your typical cable news talking head doesn’t exercise a consistent set of principles is to call a rose red. In other words, no big surprise. Let’s go with Stewart’s unstated, but clearly implied, supposition that Fox News only employs conservatives, and conservatives = Republican. The average person who identifies themselves as a conservative is as statist as the average liberal. The difference is that conservatives and liberals want to use the power of the state in different ways. Liberals typically would allow for more personal liberty and less economic liberty, while conservatives typically would allow for more economic liberty but less personal liberty. On the other hand, the libertarian would emphasize both personal and economic liberty.
I know next to nothing about labor laws, but Mike informs me that the U.S. government requires that companies provide both mothers and fathers with twelve weeks of unpaid leave when a new baby arrives. Now, I’m all for companies giving new parents time to bond with their new babies, but in a libertarian society the state wouldn’t be involved. In a free society, a woman or man would work out a suitable contract of employment with their employer that is beneficial to both employer and employee upon taking a new job. If having time off with a newborn is important to the employee, they’ll look for an employer who offers maternity or paternity leave as a benefit. If enough working men and women value that kind of a benefit (and I think they would), companies would be compelled by market forces to offer such a benefit. And who’s to say twelve weeks is the correct amount? It’s just an arbitrary number. Some companies might offer less time with newborns, some more.