Monday, February 13, 2012

Liberty through a lens

I don't mind people seeing liberty through the lens of their own religion, until they start insisting that liberty is inextricably tied to that particular religious view.

I am an atheist. That's just me. I don't make any pretense that libertarians must be atheists. I know many who are not. I certainly don't call for any State control, regulation, prohibition, or oversight of anyone's religious views. Or non-views. Nor do I support any State endorsement or favor for any particular religious views, or non-views.

I stand up for people's religious views, and their right to hold those views, on a regular basis. Even though I think it is silly to believe in things that are beyond any sort of detection, experimentation, or objective observation.

But, I see a fairly common trend that disturbs me. It is when someone who views liberty through the lens of their particular religion demands that everyone view it the same way. Or when some aspect of the State only disturbs them when it ruffles their religious feathers. Such a narrow focus is dangerous.

Sure, a lens can bring things into focus and make you see more clearly. If the lens is the exactly correct one. There are infinite "wrong" lenses and only one right lens, and only a few that are better than nothing. Results count, and by the results I see evidence, strong evidence, that looking through liberty only through the lens of religious faith gives a distorted view.

Long ago I looked through that lens. I see more clearly now that it dropped away. But, what you see is your business until you start demanding everyone see it your way, or you'll have nothing to do with them. Too few of us care about liberty to be that divisive.



  1. "It is when someone who views liberty through the lens of their particular religion demands that everyone view it the same way."

    I don't see how they could demand this, or how it could bother you if they do. In a state of liberty, people can't demand anything, and one ignores anyone who does. Who cares if that is divisive? Move on. There are a lot of fishies in the sea.

    Anyway, maybe the person just got off the wrong side of the bed that morning.

    I don't understand this constant picking at religion. Let it roll off you like water off a duck's back. You'll be a lot happier if you do. Have more friends too. More than half my friends are religious. Whenever they get into their "amens", like praying over lunch, I just smile. I might even say "amen" too.

  2. You haven't experienced anyone who demanded that no matter what else you may have done for liberty, unless you rejected science for creationism, or demanded that The State declare abortion to be murder (and a fertilized egg to be a full-fledged human with rights equal to any other individual), they would throw you to the wolves? I don't seek them out, but they find me. How do you avoid these people?

    "I don't understand this constant picking at religion."

    Because it is the tool used most often to bludgeon me, personally. That creates a bit of hostility in me toward religion. I'm speaking of in my "real-world life", of course.

    Everything here in this local area is judged according to what the judger believes God thinks of the subject (which can diverge wildly among judgers), and The State and all its horrors are excused by claiming God (and/or The Bible) wants it that way. Unless it is Obama doing it, of course. And new (or old, as the case may be) horrors are advocated for the same reason.

    I get a little of that in online comments at various places, too, and when that happens it is time to focus on that "root" for a little bit.

    Most of the time I do ignore it. When I am allowed to, or until it builds to a critical mass. When it is shoved in my face constantly, in an aggressive manner, then I'm not going to stay quiet and let the attackers keep it up without saying something in return, if only on this blog.

    If people believe hamster faeries control the weather, and they want to sacrifice my child to appease the faeries to ensure a good harvest, I'm not going to pretend their beliefs have any validity. They have been coddled far too long.

    Sorry if it annoys you.

  3. Scientism is as equally unattractive as people forcing their religion down one's throat. And the adherents to the religion of state are the real threat anyway. And most of the people in that camp don't believe in the hamster at all.

  4. And, what is meant by "scientism"? The word is a religious attempt to equate trusting the scientific method with believing in faeries.

    The statists don't believe in the hamster? Sure they do. It's just that their hamster is The State (which is today's most popular god).

  5. I'm with Paul on this, Kent. My understanding of 'scientism'(though I've never used that term)comes much closer to the strange blend of almost-science, tortured logic, and relentless statism of those who call themselves "Skeptics". From my limited exposure, these folks don't practice skepticism at all, but rather accept dogma based on authority, and defend the same using sleazy debate tactics. Somehow they manage to characterize those opposing-or even questioning- state-accepted "science" as not just wrong but either insane or malefactors.

    I was once personally accused of advocating the murder of children by a skeptic-in writing to an editor of a 'zine I wrote for. Indeed, supposedly James Randi himself thought me worthy of his scorn. Why? Because I questioned what Brian Dunning claimed as "critical thinking"-which essentially was 'believe everything the mainstream tells you without question, or you are a nut.' During this, he made statements that were actually NOT true about preservatives in vaccines. Suddenly I was accused of being anti-vaccine-I'm not. The level of virulence was frankly stunning in comparison to the observations that I made(which were never disputed, by the way. They could not be, they were actual documented scientific fact, rather than pop-science-my point was about correlation and causation, and its distortion, not vaccines at all.)

    I think that science, in a less vulgar way, is often used to bolster political positions, just as religion. When this is the case, the potential for corruption of both is almost total.

    I'm not sure why you get so exercised about religion, when "science", particularly the "soft sciences", is so often used to justify onerous legislation by the state, from gun control to the drug war. This does not mean that these "studies" and so forth are valid science, but they are most certainly presented that way.

  6. In case there is any misunderstanding, I am not really talking about libertarians in the post, but "conservatives". They are the ones I deal with on a daily basis who give liberty lip-service as long as they can continue to support Sharia Law (at least, the US version).

    I get "so exercised" about religion because it is a faerie tale at best, and an excuse for genocide at worst. And, because it is the main objection to liberty I run across in my normal, day-to-day life. It is sickening.

    Now, online, I agree that I see a lot of "progressives" use fake science to try to bolster their position, but that's just it- it is FAKE science and can be shown to be fake. Science is falsifiable. When it is flawed science itself uncovers and exposes those flaws. People may still try to ignore the facts, but the facts are still there just the same. Scientists (and others) are human and make mistakes, but science can be used by anyone to find those mistakes and expose them. Science is not the problem; the people are. Religion can't make that claim since it ceases to exist without those who keep believing in it in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    When a person gets caught up in following an "authority" for his information, he isn't doing science- he is following religion. Those who insist on advocating false science because someone have told them to do so are following a religion. But that isn't science's fault.

  7. Indeed, the worst thing about religion is that it gives an "out" of the Non Aggression Principle.

    After all, it's not aggression if you're doing "God's Will".

    It is exactly the same excuse a soldier uses to explain their own actions, "I was acting under orders", that is, following their God's will.

    Religion is nothing more than finding an excuse not to take responsibility for one's own feelings/motivations/actions.

    Oh, and it's also a convenient excuse to never have to say "I don't know". Why? Because God did it.

  8. Good post. I, for one, am a person of strong faith who believes in liberty as a divinely established principle. However, I believe in liberty for all people, no matter their motivation. I simply share mine to help others, and respect (and appreciate) everyone's reasons for spreading freedom.

    I actually think that challenges to our beliefs make them stronger. Check out my post on the matter:

  9. Thanks for the link. That is a very good post, and illustrates what I call "American Sharia Law".

  10. That only means we have different point of view and beliefs. Should respect whatever we think and our opinion. :D

  11. Should, yes, but only libertarians are willing to "live and let live"; statists think it is OK to kill those who disagree with them. Makes for quite a tactical disadvantage for the good guys.

  12. Nice post which some aspect of the State only disturbs them when it ruffles their religious feathers. Such a narrow focus is dangerous. In which Religion can't make that claim since it ceases to exist without those who keep believing in it in the face of evidence to the contrary. Thanks a lot for posting.

  13. Of course, the State also ceases to exist as soon as people stop believing in it. Sure, the buildings won't vanish (although maybe they will be put to a better use), but the State- that delusion that society must be run- controlled from "above"- will be gone as soon as people stop buying that lie. Along with it will go the delusions that theft isn't theft as long as it is called "taxation", or that coercion is an acceptable way to get things done. The State is just as imaginary as the foundations of religions.