Monday, May 8, 2017

No True Scotsman



Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge."
Person A: "Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."


Excerpts from a dialogue:

Jack: The God of the Bible authorized lots of barbarism and land theft.
bionic: Regarding God, well…being God I guess He can do what He wants.
Jack: That’s why principled libertarians are usually non-religious.
bionic: For this and other reasons, I have decided some time ago that I will leave theology to others, on a different website. I don't engage in debate on these matters.

In this post, I am not going to debate theology; instead I want to explore the idea of a principled libertarian, ultimately to include a specific examination of Jack’s statement regarding religion.

Now I know Jack included the qualifier “usually.”  I know this makes my title and analogy a fallacy.  Call it poetic license, and just humor me.

First, some definitions:

Principled: imbued with or having moral principles

Principle: an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct; a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived; a fundamental doctrine or tenet; a distinctive ruling opinion.

Libertarian: I will use Rothbard’s statement from the subject post:

“The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the "nonaggression axiom." "Aggression" is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.”

As I wrote that God, being God, can pretty much do whatever He wants…well, a libertarian can’t believe in this kind of God, apparently. 

The Principled Libertarian

Matthew 7: 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

I have yet to meet a true principled libertarian.  Not one.  If there is a true principled libertarian, he would be living the hermit’s life on a mountaintop somewhere; I haven’t been to that mountaintop.

Drive on the street?  Walk on the sidewalk?  Ever attend a public school or university?  You are using resources that I have paid for.  Have you received my permission?

Are you collecting social security?  You are receiving my money, not yours; the money they took from you has long ago been spent.  Medicare?  Same problem.  Receiving a tax refund?  Sorry, Charlie – that was money taken from you last year – already spent; you are receiving someone else’s money this year.

Have you ever voted for a politician?  What gives you the right to choose someone to violate my person and property?

John 8: 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Don’t say that you have no choice regarding such things; you are free to live a hermit’s life on a mountaintop.  In this non-libertarian world – off of the mountaintop – we are all swimming in pig slop.

Trip: Yeah, It stinks bad. And we all covered up in it too. Ain't nobody clean. Be nice to get clean, though.

Even Trip knows better: there ain’t no true principled libertarians; we all covered up in it.  And it stinks.

ABR (Anything But Religion)

Principled libertarians are allowed to believe and support many things and remain true principled libertarians.  Instead of going through the effort of coming up with my own list, I offer the chapter headings from Walter Block’s “Defending the Undefendable”:


The Prostitute; The Pimp; The Male Chauvinist Pig; The Drug Pusher; The Drug Addict; The Blackmailer; The Slanderer and Libeler; The Denier of Academic Freedom; The Advertiser; The Person Who Yells “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater; The Gypsy Cab Driver; The Ticket Scalper; The Dishonest Cop; The (Nongovernment) Counterfeiter; The Miser; The Inheritor; The Moneylender; The Noncontributor to Charity; The Curmudgeon; The Slumlord; The Ghetto Merchant; The Speculator; The Importer; The Middleman; The Profiteer; The Stripminer; The Litterer; The Wastemakers; The Fat Capitalist-Pig Employer; The Scab; The Rate Buster; The Employer of Child Labor.

Walter didn’t even include some of the really big ones – how about the numerous and ever-increasing issues of LGBTMNOP, sodomy, polygamy, bathroom-gender freedom?  Most libertarians would include abortion on the list; there are some who would support shooting a child (or anyone else) as punishment for stealing an apple.

Look at the list again.  Every one of these is an acceptable issue for true libertarian support.  Principled libertarians can support each of these and remain principledtruly. 

But not religion?  Because, we are told, “principled libertarians are usually non-religious.”

Enough With the Hyperbole

I am sure I am making too much of Jack’s statement; for example, if one considers that most people are not religious, then it is reasonable to conclude that this would also apply to the libertarian population.  But I don’t think this is what Jack means.

I also know that I am stretching and exaggerating Jack’s statement.  I am doing it only to make a point: whatever Jack believes, from my anecdotal experience I would say that – while libertarianism can mix with any of the items from the above list and remain true (and libertarians will beat you over the head until you advocate for these) – there are sufficient libertarians who believe libertarianism and religion not only don’t mix, they can’t mix.  These are two philosophically opposite concepts (actually, I think this is what Jack was getting at).

But why?  Is the believer in religion holding a gun to your head, convert or else?  (Well, yeah, some of them…but you understand my point.)  How does this contradict the NAP if someone believes there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present God?  Who, by the way, is neither a libertarian nor an adherent to libertarian theories of punishment?

Romans 9: 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Of what bother is it to you what someone else believes?  Are we to apply the NAP to thoughts and beliefs?

Matthew 5: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Talk about a trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle.

Romans 3: As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one…”

Like I said: no true principled libertarian.

Conclusion

Me?  I like sugar on my porridge.  Truly.

32 comments:

  1. Believing in and promoting a societal condition that rarely forms and never lasts is about faith more than observation and logic. No libertarian today has a reasonable chance of living in a libertarian society. Do libertarians expect their efforts to bear fruit in the next life?

    In my book faith and religion are inseparable concepts; libertarians are religious by definition. I see no conflict if that religion extends to more traditional disciplines like Christianity, which as a libertarian I find more culturally acceptable than any society founded on atheism.

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    1. Jeff,

      Your post lends credence to one of my pet theories regarding radical libertarianism. It has, for some people, become a substitute religion in the post-religious west.

      This is only a bad thing in so far as a libertarianism is effective or ineffective for setting things right. True Faith will appear once more when man looks to the inhuman(or suprahuman) for value and meaning.

      Unfortunately (for the crowd here) I do believe libertarianism is in of itself an ineffective vehicle for the restoration of order, but it absolutely does have things to teach. So if any of you subscribe to the Church of Rothbard, apostate immediately but hang on to the literature, it may well come in handy.

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    2. Can you tell us more about the great order brought to Europe by national socialism?

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    3. Some of us are faithful libertarians not so much out of pious intent, but because our actions are limited to those of morality and futility. The moral high ground has nicer weather..

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    4. Jeff

      I always appreciate your comments. Thank you for this.

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    5. Thanks BM. Your blog has become one of my favorite reads. Especially lately, as Trumpism has short circuited the brains of many otherwise intelligent debaters on numerous forums. None of the regulars here seem to have been so affected!

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    6. ingcognost

      >Can you tell us more about the great order brought to Europe by national socialism?

      >implying Germany was responsible for the war

      Tell us more about how great jewish occupied Germany is today.

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    7. What a great philosophy you have that both allows you to destroy whole civilizations and deny that it was precisely that philosophy that lead you there. This is pot kettleism at its finest.

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    8. >still implying the forces of european renewal were at fault rather than Moscow and D.C.

      I guess if Hitler had won we might today be seeing brutal tyranny in Europe where the State is actively trying to genocide its own people and imprisoning anyone... oh wait.

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    9. Ingocnost,

      So you are a libertarian that accepts the official government narrative in relation to WW2? How convenient.

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    10. Like I said, pot kettleism at its finest.

      >Matt

      National Socialism is a dead end philosophy. You don't have to accept the official narrative to derive that conclusion.

      Nor do you have to patronize me with your hidden, unspeakable truths.

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    11. Re Jeff Bell's original point, it may make far more tactical sense to promote the spread of Christianity than liberty. One has existed for a few thousand years, and has a checkered but gainful history.

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  2. "That's why principled libertarians favor the free movement of goods and people across borders." Never mind the real-world backdrop to his principled libertarianism. To wit:

    Let's tax the serfs to bomb the wogs.
    Let's tax the serfs to resettle the wogs.
    Let's tax the serfs to provide welfare for the wogs.
    Let's tax the serfs to compel association with the wogs.
    Let's tax the serfs to quell the inevitable clashes that ensue.
    Let's tax the serfs to fund the police state necessitated by the constant quelling.

    "You oppose open borders? What kind of libertarian are you?!"

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    1. LOL.

      >Make the serfs fund their replacements.

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    2. Yes, giving their masters the bullets by which to get shot.

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  3. "You believe in God?" the Atheistic Rights Theist asks.

    "Yes, I believe in God."

    "Whose God?"

    Uh-oh. Faith smashed!

    "The same God Who is the Author of Natural Rights," I answer.

    Ha! He thought I was going to ask, "Why do you hate God?"!

    "Rights," the Atheistic Rights Theist solemnly intones, "are logical constructs governing the behavior of moral agents. How those moral agents came into existence is irrelevant."

    Nothing faith-based in that statement!

    "So you believe in Rights?" I ask.

    "Of course."

    "Whose version of Rights?"

    "What are you talking about?" The Atheistic Rights Theist sounds annoyed.

    "I'm making a statement of fact. There are competing versions."

    "Rights are objective, rational, and discoverable."

    "I agree. Whose version of 'objective, rational, discoverable'?"

    "You're a mystic," the Atheistic Rights Theist parries.

    "Because I believe in God?"

    "Yes. Theism is irrational. It poisons your thinking."

    "That may well be, but atheists subscribe to competing versions of Rights." Again, I’m stating the obvious.

    "They can't all be right."

    "I didn't say they could."

    "Why do you hate Rights?"

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  4. >principled libertarians are usually non-religious

    A lot of them are ethnic jews as well.

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  5. It's really not that hard. God is a libertarian... he by definition owns everything, the universe and all that is in it- including us, so he can do anything with his property as he sees fit. There is nothing to contradict libertarianism here; Christianity according to the Bible is fully compatible.

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    1. Very good, and I am embarrassed that I missed this!

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    2. Except God granted us free will. My will is not God's property. The very core of libertarian theory is derived from self ownership, and the rights imposed upon us as a result.

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    3. Not arguing here, my friend, but asking for learning. So, God owns us and we are His property, but by Lockean Natural Rights we own ourselves, and this is supposedly derived by logic that God gave us to do so. That we can logically discover... if we are to accept objective ethics in the Locke or Rothbard, or even Randian 'schemes'.. Darn I hate to put schemes in quotes, as I don't mean anything negative.

      Please trust me that I am an earnest student, not a 'bomb-thrower' but have a serious interest in this topic.

      I would enjoy any dissertation that addresses these topics, as they are topics of which I am extremely interested.

      Please assume that I may not have phrased everything properly, but am earnest in my desire to learn.

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    4. Jeff / gpond

      I will offer a short statement on these. I do so because to do more becomes a significant theological discussion, which I tend to avoid.

      Jeff: "Except God granted us free will. My will is not God's property."

      There are some strains of Christianity that do not buy into this. After all, if we are damned from Eden, then what free will do we really have? If God does the choosing... well, not much free will in that. No alter calls for the dead bones of Elijah (if I have the right prophet off of the top of my head); Lazarus didn't raise himself from the grave.

      Most Christians don't agree with this view (and if anyone here doesn't, I won't debate it with you), which brings me to the second point:

      gpond: As relates to other men, I own myself; as relates to God... this is a different matter entirely.

      Besides the fact that I believe this, it has a further benefit: it can work for everyone - those who believe in God (the one I believe in) and those who don't.

      As, on this earth, I am (and the NAP is) only concerned about man's relationship with man (and not with God), I own myself.

      In other words, in no form of theology that I can derive from the Bible does another man own me. This is enough for everything that flows from natural rights, the NAP, etc.

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    5. Thank you, Bionic misquito.

      "As relates to other men, I own myself; as relates to God... this is a different matter entirely." Yes. And as for free will, I don't see any contradiction, I'm not sure I would say it's "not God's property" but he has given us the power to make choices and deal with the consequences and does not indicate anywhere that he will take that away from us.

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    6. BM,

      So God threw humans out of Eden, his property. We do tend to make a mess wherever we settle. The choice still remains whether to follow God's commands, be a good servant, or seek one's own destiny. Most religions I've sampled seem to focus on showing the latter choice as always leading to ruin.

      But I have not encountered any mention of a compulsive force from God or anyone else that prevents one from choosing to do the wrong thing. The RIGHT to do so, and whether not having that right is compatible with libertarian theory, was the original focus of my post.

      "As relates to other men, I own myself..."

      I find this stipulation consistent with living on a prison planet. I was invited here, no different than an unborn baby being invited by the parents. I don't see how those two conditions can in any way be compatible with libertarian theory, regardless how much of the universe is owned by God.

      I see mapping theology to a theory of governance as wrong headed and dangerous, as minor interpretations of right and wrong - as pertains to theology - have often lead to mass slaughters throughout history. Those slaughters may be perfectly compatible with certain theological interpretations, possibly even a requirement, but would be a gross violation of the NAP.


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    7. Thank you, Jeff. I have said more than enough regarding theology. I will leave it here.

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  6. And it seems that having bathrooms with doors is not hint enough about privacy.

    By all appearances, under PPS we must all carry a briefcase full of the different contracts required for every instance of human interactions. In the future, contract with non-human inter actions?

    Is there a way to approach anther person to ven be able to exchange the papers, without some kind of common understanding, mores, culture, on how to do so?

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    1. The transaction costs of daily life in living in Wenzel's PPS will be so high that life will be intolerable. PPS = dystopian nightmare.

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    2. Wenzel can't seem to grasp that culturally speaking, a PPS would never survive in most of the world today. You can't "logic" your way to a functioning society without regard to a moral system that is heavily influenced by culture. Rothbard knew this as evidenced by his statement that libertarianism is not a system of morality.

      As soon as some Dahmer type hustled young men onto his property and ate/sodomized them, Wenzel's PPS would rapidly fall apart.

      The "mob" that Wenzel despises(in many cases, rightfully so) would simply enforce their cultural moral standards above and beyond any "logical" notion that it was Dahmer's property and his right to do such a thing.

      Wenzel is really off the reservation on this concept and anyone with any sense of rationality can see how any attempt to base a society strictly on property rights without regard to cultural norms would fail very quickly and dramatically.

      In fairness to Wenzel, maybe he could gather a group of like minded Dahmer types to agree that whoever they can lure onto their property and sodomize/eat is "fair game" and within the strict property rights guidelines set out by a PPS- but I have my doubts.

      :)

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  7. BM’s double talk can easily be countered, but doing so in his personal dog and pony show would be foolish, so I won’t be.

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    1. Your post is reminiscent of various "personalities" that appear on Wenzel's sites to fervently argue on his behalf, then disappear- never to contribute anything else.

      One of these personalities carries the name of a character in a fairly obscure book that Wenzel commented on some time ago in a positive manner.

      In the end, your comment doesn't mean anything because you offer nothing except that you refuse to rebutt his argument because it's on his site- he has only restricted commentary on the basis of it violating the cultural norms of "decency" in terms of wording. BM has been very "liberal" in allowing alternative viewpoints to be debated here, even in regard to topics that are "verboten" to mainstream society as long as they are presented respecting decorum.

      You haven't just fallen short, you offer nothing other than a minor and meaningless insult directed towards BM without basis. Sad.

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    2. Your post is reminiscent of various "personalities" that appear on Wenzel's sites to fervently argue on his behalf, then disappear.

      One of these personalities carries the name of a character in a fairly obscure book that Wenzel commented on some time ago in a positive manner.

      In the end, your comment doesn't mean anything because you offer nothing except that you refuse to rebutt his argument because it's on his site- he has only restricted commentary on the basis of it violating the cultural norms of "decency" in terms of wording. BM has been very "liberal" in allowing alternative viewpoints to be debated here, even in regard to topics that are "verboten" to mainstream society as long as they are presented respecting decorum.

      You haven't just fallen short, you offer nothing other than a minor and meaningless insult directed towards BM without basis. Sad.

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