Thursday, May 21, 2015

Libertarians and Atheism

Are libertarians moral relativists? It's a fascinating question on several levels, not the least of which involves areas where they are and are not willing to pass judgement. Government run economies? Bad. Free markets? Good. But what of all the other issues which vex humanity, which gnaw at the conscience both of the person and the body politic, and are, if we are to be true to any decent sense of right and wrong, more important than economics?

Abortion? A woman may or may not have one - her choice. Gay marriage or same sex partnerships? Any couple where each person enters into the contract freely is all right with them. Freedom of speech? You can anything you want without bother about whether it should be said. In short, whatever does not harm another person (and this generally seems to apply only towards physical harm) is to be tolerated by everyone else.

But of course, there are things which do harm that are not physically hurtful. Even our libertarian friends recognize the need for laws against theft or slander. So why are they so unwilling to consider whether other things not, perhaps, immediately harmful to an individual are in fact harmful to them or society, so much so that society has the right to ban them? This we ask before we are even near the question of whether abortion physically harms another individual. Why are libertarians so unwilling to even consider whether human women have human babies, with all that that question demands of us?

It appears that, in areas which don't tickle their fancy, libertarians don't particularly care about moral right and wrong. If a guard at GITMO looks at a detainee cross eyed you would think it the worst civil rights abuse ever (this without a consideration of why the detainee was there in the first place) and libertarians, with compelling cause, condemn drone strikes. Why not address any and all moral questions, questions of man's inhumanity to man, even of man's inhumanity to himself, if you will, with the same intensity if they are really interested in doing the right thing all the time?

Then we have their view of religion. Libertarians say they are for religious freedom. Yet as a group it is not something they stress. They have been on the whole conspicuously silent over the HHS mandate debacle. They say they are for the Five Freedoms; they sure seem to fret over the four, with a decidedly shallower emphasis on the fifth. This can only mean one thing: on the whole, they don't care very much about God.

And that is their weakness. Buckley's right, you know. The battle between the individual and the collective is the battle between God and atheism on another level. Without individuals ordained with individuality, we can't make claims against the wider society. Yet doesn't ordination speak towards responsibility? If there are no individual responsibilities then there's no point in working for individual rights. Without knowing, the best we can, what we should be and working towards that, then the individual of his own right is no better than the collective. Libertarians ignore this so far as we can see merely because such thought means that the person has to look outside of himself for guidance, especially on areas of individual responsibility which social conservatives and the seriously religious demand of him.

We've said before that liberals want what the want solely because they want it. We fear that libertarians are the same way, and to an equally ill purpose. It allows them to ignore moral questions they prefer not to address.

So again we ask, are libertarians moral relativists?


No comments: