Monolithic authority and the libertarian error
September 8, 2013 § 33 Comments
Progtastic hipster liberal Christians have told me numerous times that stopping unjust war takes moral priority over stopping abortion, because unjust war is something that the government does itself whereas abortion is something individuals do. Abortion is simply something that government refrains from forbidding, and even someone as venerable as St. Thomas Aquinas has affirmed that not everything that is immoral must be illegal. The key difference then is that with unjust war the government is actively doing something evil in our name, whereas in the case of abortion government is simply declining to prevent evil perpetrated by others.
Many used this structure of reasoning as a way to justify voting for Barack Obama. This looks more than a little ironic in retrospect.
But I thought I’d take a moment to unpack a false assumption at the root of this leftist nonsense: the assumption of monolithic authority.
Backing up for a moment, many of us no doubt recall the spectacle of police troopers surrounding the hospice where Terri Schaivo was being, uh, “allowed to die”. The reason those troopers were there was to actively prevent Schaivo’s family members and others from attempting to give her food and water, even by mouth. It was therefore an active act of murder, perpetrated by government. It is one thing to fail to rescue someone who is in danger of dying, a passivity which may or may not be justifiable depending on the facts on the ground, other priorities, etc. It is another thing entirely to actively prevent attempts at rescue by other parties. The latter is murder, pure and simple.
Similarly, there is more going on in the abortion regime than a passive choice not to prevent and prosecute a certain kind of wrongdoing. It involves a choice by one authority – the federal government, specifically the Supreme Court – to actively interfere with efforts by other legitimate authorities to prevent mass murder. In the leftist view government is a single monolithic authority; back here in reality, we have always lived in a world of various and hierarchical authorities, each legitimate in its own right.
Libertarian/liberal/leftist ideologues are always trying to maintain frame, such that their active murders and other atrocities can be viewed as mere passivity: a ‘more rights less government’ passivity resting on the principle of equal freedom.
But it is all a big lie. The US government has actively murdered 50 million or more children by its deliberate and direct actions. Those deliberate actions weren’t unjust wars, and liberal supporters of falsely-framed-as-passive “hands off” abortion policy are – at best – accessories to mass murder, formally cooperating with that mass murder.
I think if Godly men knew how to maintain the frame (based on truth) things would be different.
There are huge differences between libertarians and leftists, so lumping them together is not useful. As Social Pathologist pointed out, cognitive misers are often found among the ranks of conservatives.
Abortions are a sacrifice to the god Molach.
Libertarianism is basically leftist larvae.
Libertarians don’t meddle in the lives of others. Leftists (and women) live to meddle.
In your conclusion you seem to assume a libertarian standard. Many of the worst moral evils in this country are due more to radical individual autonomy than government per se. To work within the libertarian paradigm confuses the issue. Of course even the most doctrinal libertarians become pro-government when it comes to protecting certain economic principles.
It is a myth that libertarians don’t meddle. As with all liberals, they frame their meddlesomeness as passivity; but as I explain in the OP and other places, the pretense to hands off passivity is a lie.
Still, I wish more women were libertarians so that their meddlesome ways would be passive. This would mean that more men that were divorced by women would be involved in the children’s lives.
The passivity of trad-con men, the meddling of trad-con women and the pandering to any woman (falsely) claiming to be a victim is destructive to families. I’ll trust libertarians to not meddle in my family before I trust well- intentioned trad-con Catholics/Christians.
Actually most women behave in line with libertarian principles when they have abortions.
Also most women behave in line with libertarian principles when they look in their closets in the morning and decide what clothes to wear.
Good point. The consumerist culture that libertarians exalt is a very necessary component of feminist culture much more so than the welfare state.
@Ita Scripta Est
Yet my tax dollars are used to support the welfare state but do not go to support libertarians.
Can you provide some proof that libertarians are exalting the consumerist culture? It seems to me that libertarians have little respect for Bernays or Keynes. The ideas promoted by those two are embraced by the establishment and the neo-cons are clueless about the implications.
Actually your tax dollars go to support big corporations that than subsidize “think” tanks like the Von Mises and Cato Institutes. So in a sense you do and many libertarians at these outlets continuously shill for big business while claiming to be against “Crony Capitalism.”
Here is all the proof you need:
“Business propaganda must be obtrusive and blatant.”
Zippy muddles a debate that should be clear.
@Ita Scripta Est
So if I buy something from a business owned by a person that supports homosexuality and that person subsidizes gay rights groups, would you also accuse me of supporting gay ‘rights’?
I would say so.
I remember years ago when Lawrence Auster tried to get me (“Matt” in those discussions) to concede that there is a good kind of liberalism. Good times. Those discussions were far more elevated than the kind of stuff I see people engage in these days.
Zippy I’d say you’ve played an important role in lowering the discussion these last few years.
Someone had to say it.
@Ita Scripta Est
I advise you to turn off your computer since someone involved in producing the electricity to run it, or some programmer, or some manufacturer is supporting something you disagree with and thus you are guilty of supporting evil. From now on you must vet everyone involved in any purchase you make (from the CEO to the janitor of the sub-sub-sub supplier of components).
Do you think of the implications of what you believe?
This is because leftists, and libertarians in particular, are cowards. When you are a coward, viewing government in this way removes any responsibility from your shoulders for doing anything about active mass murder (abortion).
I wonder how much more “allowing” by the government it will take before people wake up. The government “allowing” a bookie to repossess the losing gambler’s Lexus? “Allowing” the whore to collect from her John?
Libertarianism is a political philosophy for children living off of a patrimony they don’t understand, the existence of which they simply take for granted. They actually seem to think it is possible to enforce property rights without “initiating force”, and this passivity becomes the central moral justification for everything in their politics.
A leftist is just a libertarian who realizes that property is a form of traditional patriarchal lordship or authority (perhaps after reading a little Marx: the Marxist critique that classical liberalism is no true liberalism is quite trenchant). The relation between libertarian and leftist is similar to (and likely a modality of) the relation between modern and postmodern: in each case the idealogue realizes a fundamental problem with his philosophy and, rather than abandoning his philosophy as false, he “maintains frame,” ups the ante, and embraces the incoherence.
[Note: this comment edited and turned into a new post].
[…] to enforce property rights without “initiating force”, and this “live and let live” pseudo-passivity becomes the central moral justification for everything in their […]
I remember years ago when Lawrence Auster tried to get me (“Matt” in those discussions) to concede that there is a good kind of liberalism.
Zippy, I’ve just been reading through part of that discussion. Excellent! I had been working my way to the conclusion you did re: ‘equal rights’, but very inchoately. Your argument in that thread clarifies things for me. Thanks!
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