Friday, February 03, 2012

Those UnConservative Libertarians...

"[Libertarians] have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world, and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone, that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture." ~Rick Santorum

I've called myself a libertarian before, then I stopped.  You see, libertarianism is an ideology of individual liberty; so extreme is this ideology, it sometimes seems as though people are free to define the word itself as they will. That is, there are "big 'L' Libertarians," who generally belong the Libertarian Party; and there are "small 'l' libertarians," who simply identify with the tenants of libertarianism; and there are those who call themselves libertarians having a wide spectrum of personal opinions on everything under the sun.  Libertarian principles, apparently, extend even to its nomenclature.
I stopped referring to myself as a libertarian, because I felt the term "paleoconservative" (or "old-style conservative," if you will) was much more descriptive of my American opinion of law and society.  As paleoconservatism can be covered under the umbrella of conservatism, I think this term also implies my Christian faith, as conservatives back-in-the-day generally relied on the church to influence society, and society to influence government.  This is the best outcome for a government of, by, and for the people. Government founded on consent of the governed principles can only succeed if the governed are, at least for the most part, motivated and influenced by the church.  The church is God's "embassy" on earth, here to influence the world one individual at a time. (Salvation is not a collective matter.)  As God deals with individuals, and as individuals make up society, and as society creates government, the church must, as part of that society, act as an agent for change in society. 

The church received, neither in law nor scripture, extralegal status as amicus gubernare, having the authority to demand implementation of any sort of code of conduct through legislation or decree. Rather, the church was commanded to demand of individuals (thus society) codes of conduct and morality; in most respects, government is neither here nor there, Biblically speaking.

That said... I'll dissect Richard Santorum's statement piece by piece.

"[Libertarians] have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do."
*GASP* Who do they think they are?  Americans?  Very un-conservative...  *Wonders what Santorum's alternative to this would be*
"Government should keep our taxes down..."
The beasts!  They should be proud to render undo Caesar what is rightfully his! Very un-conservative...

"... and keep our regulation low..."
What is the purpose of government if not to run every area of human activity? I mean, who are these loony liber-utionaries? Very un-conservative.

"... and that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom..."
Hey, you don't know what sort of unmonitored, terrorist activity can be going on under your bed at night.  Liberterrorists could be plotting their next blog post under there.  The fiends.  Very un-conservative. *Wonders what Santorum was thinking when he said that*
"... we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues..."
Conservatives believe government retains the power to appoint American Idol judges.  Libertarians would cause the demise of the entire reality-based television genre if they had their way.  Very un-conservative.

"... you know, people should do whatever they want."
If people did whatever they wanted... then... well... government wouldn't be as powerful. Very un-conservative.
"Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world, and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone..."
Yeah, we need collective responsibility and ownership of our property.  Your family is my family, your child is my child, your house is my house, your job is my job, your property is my property.  CONSERVATIVES OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
"... that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture."
*Whispers* Hey... Rick... over here, yes... *leans in* America succeeded.  Yeah, we kinda owned the idea. Our culture was built on it, you know... yeah, so you might wanna... retract that one. Yes.

Those libertarians...


Rebecca said...

:D I'd have to agree with Santorum on this one. I see your point, but I agree with the overall stance of his statement. I will admit that I didn't see his statement in context, I've only seen what you've said.
What about gay marriage? (Unless you support it, legislation on it would be "getting involved in the bedroom.)
Leaving people totally alone to do what they want ends up in anarchy, which doesn't work (given man's sinful nature.)
If people did whatever they want, there would be no government. There would be anarchy. If they did what they wanted, they could kill whoever they were mad at, steal whatever they couldn't afford, have as many sexual partners or spouses as they felt like, and the country would fall apart sooner.
I see where you are coming from, but I agree with his stance. Do I believe in socialistic/communistic control or involvement? Of course not. But there have to be guidelines and standards in place to keep the country succeeding.

Son III said...

Ah! You and I agree, we simply have different methods of achieving goals.

I believe Christians are to change and improve the culture, you believe government should.

Government based on protecting one's individual rights (life, in your example) would punish murder, right?

So, libertarianism is not about letting people murder, it's about using principles to protect an individual's right to life.

Government should have a specific list of necessary responsibilities, in a written constitution, and the church and family should take over the rest.

It is usually government that causes the decay of the culture (evolution taught in schools, for example).

Son III said...

I mean, did Paul rail against the Greek government because Christians in Corinth were engaging in sexually immoral behavior?

Of course not! It is not the rightful place of government to enforce morality, and it is unspeakable that the "church" has, at times, even encouraged homosexuality. (Such a "church" is not a real church, I know, but still...)

The church needs to do its job, and the government needs to back off.

Rebecca said...

At the same time, I have heard people who study and teach and breathe history, who say that the national embracing of homosexuality is detrimental to the country. Once a civilization had embraced homosexuality fully, it was not long before that nation collapsed. Based on that and on other morals-to-survival facts, should the government stay out and let people have their way, or legislate harmful practices such as these? If those in government know history, know science, know ethics, and know logic, they can make better decisions about what to make laws about. The entirety of the nation is not going to be educated in all these things, and after a while, this knowledge of general morality, logic, and history is gone. Should government give in to the people at that point, or use what they know to keep the country alive?

Son III said...

The government is not the nation! The government is not the country!

You and I are the nation! It is our job as Christians to solve these problems, not the men in government! We can't continue to pass the buck, especially when the Constitution does not permit it!

It is our job, not theirs. They can't even run a blithering post office.

Rebecca said...

So the government should stay out of all things moral? (The government should be a-moral)

Son III said...

Okay, let me take the example (because it's easy) of murder.

My morals direct that it is wrong to kill, regardless of the law; the law directs that it is wrong to kill, regardless of my morals.

Islamic morals allow anyone to be killed who does not conform, Christian morals do not. So, if we suddenly had a Muslim majority in America (hey, it could happen), would they elect a government sympathetic to Sharia? In theory, sure.

Could this Sharia-loving government kill me for "being too western?" No, because the law is not based on morality, it is based on my right to live.

It requires the (Christian) point of view that all people everywhere have the right to live, and no one may take that right away.

An exception would be killing in self-defense, but even that is a Christian perspective.

Christianity and libertarianism go really well together; Islam and libertarianism... don't.

See what I'm saying?

Rebecca said...

So should the government make any legislation on murder at all? You say you have the right to live. Muslims say you don't. You're not Muslim. You can claim the "right to life" but they say anyone not Muslim has no right to life.
Whose morality should the government legislate?

Son III said...

YES! Exactly! Now you get it! It's not a matter of morality!

It is a matter of all men being created equal and being endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, one of which is life!



Rebecca said...

But the Muslims don't believe that. You're imposing your religious views on them.

Son III said...

Imposing my religious views? No, preventing them from killing me is preventing them from violating my right to life; I'm not imposing anything.

My right to life is self-evident, it does not require belief in my God or any god or no god at all. This isn't a major revelation. That is how it has been since time began, the imposition being on their part.

Libertarianism is the natural state of things; Islam is an imposition. This is self-evident, and I doubt anyone but a contrarian would disagree with that. Their morals (when acted upon) impose on my natural state of freedom.

I don't care if I offend their god, because I have neither picked their pocket nor broken their leg; they can try to offend my God till Kingdom come (literally), but the only thing it will get them is eternity in Hell, a trip I have no right to hasten.

Son III said...

I don't care how justified a person feels they are, they cannot kill another person for something he does in his head.

It doesn't take a degree in philosophy or modern technology to conclude I am not imposing my religion when I say you can't just up and kill me, as the contrary would be true in the case of Islam.

It's an absurd and unreasonable argument.

Son III said...

What is more, how could they possibly claim any infringement of religious liberty for not being able to kill me when they were trying to kill me for saying there is such a thing as religious liberty?

Rebecca said...

I'm wondering who says you have the right to life. By whose law do you have the right to live? And how do you know that the Muslims are the imposers?

Son III said...

Common sense says I have the right to live.

It is my natural state of being.

More directly, assuming the opposite of my right of existence would be my unnatural death, it would require that I be killed.

So, really, it comes down to my right not to be killed. If I don't have the right to live, nobody does. As all men are created equal, all men have the equal right.

If you wish, you could say I don't want to be murdered (killed against my will (yes, I have a will)). If I don't want to be murdered, it would be illogical to think I have the right to murder others.

The right to live is a self-evident fact that literally no one disputes. If one person has it, all people have it. You can't escape that.

Just because all these foregoing statements are true does not mean there aren't evil people who really don't care. People have therefore instituted governments to punish (prevent and exact justice) those who want to disrupt the peace.

Now, for all of the foregoing to be true, it requires the realization of several things:

1.) A natural world (that is, a physical place with physical laws)
2.) Human beings
3.) Human will (cognition, discernment and decision making)
4.) Evil
5.) Justice

I believe with all that I am that it is God who instituted this, because God created the world and all in it. The chronicle of how this all came about is found only in the Bible, but that doesn't mean only those who believe the Bible understand or believe in natural law.

It is self-evident.

Muslims are evil. They must be stopped from violating the law. The originators of libertarianism started many wars to bring about an end to systems contrary to nature and reason. It lends no credence or relevance to Islam that they disagree, because they are wrong. If the only thing that will stop them is war, if they wage it, we will defend ourselves, because self-defense is right and just.

It is for this reason that governments are instituted among men.

If you, as a Christian, want a scriptural example of how governments come about, I can provide them.

Kyla Denae said...

/randomly jumping into the conversation

All cultures have a few basic "morals", no matter where they are. One, that it is wrong to steal from another. Two, that it is wrong to kill another. Three (though this one could potentially be disputed), that it is wrong to constrain someone else to do something against their will. These are universal tenets: no matter where you go, people know that it is wrong to kill others. Period. End of story. What we can draw from this is that there is a fundamental right to life, that it is a quality far beyond the jurisdiction of man. This is how everyone knows that murder is wrong. That is why we can make laws about it, even outside our Constitution. Basically, laws can only be made about things that would directly harm someone's life, liberty or property--with the important distinction that it must protect said life, liberty, and property from the depredations of another that does not own it. To simplify somewhat, the purpose of the law is to protect from plunder.

For instance, if I go shoot up my laptop, it's my business and nobody can do anything about it. If I want to go sleep around, even with other women (which I wouldn't do, but bear with me), it's my business. Why? Because I have not harmed another's life, liberty, or property, and no one has been "plundered". Now, if someone else came into my house, stole my laptop, and shot it up, then they would have harmed my property without my consent and the law would be brought to bear. If someone forced me to sleep around as a prostitute or what have you, the law could also be used. Why? Because my liberty and property were harmed, were plundered in some way.

In the area of gay marriage, no one is being directly affected except the people who choose to live in that manner. No one's life, liberty, or property are being directly harmed or infringed upon. Now yes, we could make laws about things that don't directly touch upon those three things. And we have, and we've seen how well they work. (Case in point: the drug war.) In some cases, those things are even somewhat enforceable. But that does not mean that they are right.

Governmental law is supposed to be strict black-and-white. It is not a moral area. It is not an area that can be used to enforce moral ideas--and, after all, that's really all homosexuality is. It is a moral belief. Held by a very many people, yes, but still simply a moral belief. And the law cannot touch those things, because being a fallible institutition, overseen by an even more fallible government, it will inevitably get out of control. Yes, right now, they might just tell homosexuals they can't get married or whatever. But eventually the government will take a few more steps toward control of other things--like what you can talk about in your own bedroom, or determining who you can marry, or determining how you can educate your children. And then what will there be to protect you?

A good thing to read on this subject is Frederic Bastiat's The Law. He deals with the nature of the law, legal vs. illegal plunder, and a bunch of other stuff that's really good.

And that got way longer than I intended.
If you read all that, you should be my best friend.

Son III said...

The Law opened my eyes wide open. Made perfect sense of what I could only barely grasp about the nature of law and order and society.

The big thing I take away from all of this is the importance of the church in society. If we let government decide church and familial matters, it will replace them entirely.

Look at the bloody, soulless history of Europe. Liberty works for the people, statism works for the state.

Son III said...

And I guess we're best friends. LOL

Kyla Denae said...

Indeed. That was my main point--that the church and individuals should step up to supplant governmental control/charity/what have you.

I think the main thing we can take away from Europe's history is that wedding church and state never works.


Son III said...

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

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