What Does the United States Stand For?

by Godlessons on October 14, 2013

I have been disgusted with my country for a long time about certain things.  I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t notice the palpable government intrusion in my life.  I remember the first time I truly examined what freedom truly means while I was in high school, and understanding that the United States is not the home of the free that every school tries to indoctrinate its students to believe.  This bothered me, but I believed that there is nothing one person could do, and let my frustration wane.

There is one thing that I have never been able to stomach though, and our government is doing it today more than it ever has, and we sit here fat and happy, ignoring or totally ignorant of the fact that our government is doing things to other people that it should never do, because it is unconstitutional, and the people that should be concerned are the very ones fighting to protect the practice.

We have a government that is supposedly based on the idea that all men are created equal, and among other things, that they all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That simple phrase in The Declaration of Independence is one that helped spark a revolution, yet today our government totally and blatantly ignores it, our politicians fight against it, and most people are supportive of ignoring it.

I have to ask, since when is a human being in another country less deserving of his life, liberty, and/or happiness than a human being that happens to live on a section of dirt we call The United States?  Is it okay that our government executes people without a trial, simply because they aren’t a US citizen and we don’t like them, or because they happen to be a US citizen on foreign soil and we don’t like them?  Should we be able to detain people indefinitely without a trial simply because we don’t bring them to the United States?

I recently learned that the United States has taken to hauling around prisoners on ships in international waters in order to prevent them from getting to US soil and being afforded the rights we claim everyone has innately.  It demonstrates that they know what they are doing is wrong, and that they are taking steps to keep from being held accountable.  It sickens me.  I feel it puts a stain on my name that the government that is supposed to work for me is doing these things, and it should sicken everyone else that has a decent bone in their body.

You and I are employers.  We employ the government to act on our behalf.  If your employee, while acting as an agent of your business, murdered someone and you knew about it, yet did nothing, should you not be charged with murder?  If they went around, as your agent, and tortured your competitors, and you said nothing, are you not just as guilty?

Everyone that is silent about these abuses is guilty.  Everyone that sits back and ignores it is guilty.  Even those that are ignorant are somewhat guilty, as they should be interested and involved in what their employees are doing on their behalf.

If you have supported detaining people indefinitely, or said nothing when you found your government mistreated anyone, and especially if you argued that the government should be able to do those things, you are guilty of the very crimes that you would scream from the roof tops about if they were committed against you.

You are not neutral.  You can’t be neutral.  You have no choice.  You better pick your side, and hope it is a principled one, because the may come where all those that stood by and did nothing will be held accountable right along side those that took an active part.

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Libertarians Hate Poor People

by Godlessons on October 7, 2013

When you speak to people about libertarian ideas, especially liberals, you will hear the common refrain, “Libertarians don’t care about the poor!”  The frequency that this comes up is rather disheartening, as if anyone were to truly investigate libertarianism, and especially if they speak to libertarians, they would realize this simply isn’t the case.

Typically, this notion comes from the fact that libertarians generally believe that nobody should be forced to spend their money in a way they do not choose for themselves, including helping the poor.  To someone that thinks that helping poor people is an altruistic act worthy of elevating, they may find themselves at odds with this point of view.

Often, the problem lies in the fact that the person read Atlas Shrugged, and got the totally wrong idea about libertarians.  They may have assumed that the entirety of libertarian philosophy circles around Ayn Rand, and that her general surliness was somehow indicative of how libertarians are as a whole, or even in large part.  This isn’t to say that Ayn Rand didn’t think that people should help other people.  It is to say that it is possible to misinterpret her to have suggested that.

In regard to Rand, I don’t need to defend her.  She has many people that defend her, and I have to admit I am not an expert on how she thought in particular.  All I can say is that whatever her philosophy about poor people, whether she suggested allowing poor people to die in the streets or not, that is not how any libertarians I know think, and I doubt that Rand would have as big of a following as she does if that were part of her message.

The real issue at hand is that people don’t realize what libertarians generally aspire to.  They believe in a world without aggression.  This takes different forms with different libertarians.  I personally am more a minarchist like Robert Nozik, or Ludwig von Mises.  Other libertarians are more anarchists of various forms.  Whatever way you look at it though, the philosophy of libertarianism can mostly be said to believe in this principle, and what is derived from that.

I happen to believe that people are mostly altruistic.  They will help people they think are in need if they can help them.  They will protect those that are being harmed if they feel they are able.  I believe this because I am this way, and I suspect that most people have much more in common than they have differences.  This is evidenced by the fact that most people want some sort of welfare programs.  Most people want some sort of health care for those that can’t afford it.

Here is where one needs to ask the question, “How does belief in the non-aggression principle prevent people from helping poor people?”  It’s that simple.  Whatever your answer to that question is, if it logically follows from the idea that people should not use force or coercion against others, will be exactly the answer you need.  I’ll give you a hint.  There is only one answer – it doesn’t.

Libertarians are not opposed to people finding ways that don’t use force against people in order to help other people.  You would not be prevented from working in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter.  You would not be prevented from giving money to charities or churches.  You would not be prevented from donating food to food banks.  In fact, you would no longer have the ability to pull off the “I gave at the office” argument to yourselves by thinking that your tax dollars are doing the job you should be doing yourself.

Libertarians are just as caring about poor people as anyone else.  In fact, libertarians are actually quite generous.  You will find that people that ascribe to an ideology are quite willing to support that ideology in action.  For instance, Linux users will donate more money on average to people that release software for their platform than Windows users will.  They are also willing to spend more money on closed source software like games for Linux than people using Windows will.  This is because they believe in the idea of Linux as a desktop software, not because they are forced to pay in order to use their operating system.

Libertarianism doesn’t require altruism, but if you look at the example of New Hampshire, and the “Free State Project”, you will see altruism in action in spades.  This is due to the shared belief in an ideology.  It is not forced upon them.

If you think that libertarianism is an ideology that promotes selfishness, you have totally missed the point.  It is an ideology that promotes selflessness.  While it may benefit me to force you to spend your money on something I want, that is selfish.  You aren’t making that person selfless by forcing them to do so.  You are assuming that you know better how to spend someone else’s money than they do.  You are assuming that your method of doing things is better than the method other people would choose to do given a system that doesn’t do things for them.

The hight of selflessness is not to force other people to be how you would have them be.  It is to allow them to be how they would naturally be, and assume the responsibility of helping others yourself, and have enough faith in your fellow man that they will do so as well.

Don’t assume that you are the only generous person on the planet.

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Is There Truly a Social Contract?

June 20, 2013

As a Libertarian, I have been drawn into many political discussions.  People drag me kicking and screaming into political groups on Facebook.  It is rough though, as there aren’t very many libertarians, and everyone wants to debate them.  It makes it so there is a virtual gangbang whenever I go to these groups.  Liberals hate […]

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What is an Atheist?

September 22, 2012

I have some trouble with the commonly held belief that being an atheist is simply the lack of belief in a god.  I have waffled on this for a while, and I may have even made a blog post about this already that contradicts what I am about to say, but I have become more […]

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The Ontological Argument Revisited

July 3, 2012

I thought I had put this to rest in my other article on this subject.  The hundreds of comments, and the hundreds of replies I thought would be enough, but I recently got into this argument on facebook where the person didn’t seem to grasp some concepts that I thought were rather simple.

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Well, it finally happened.

June 26, 2012

I had some issues with my hosting provider, and because of that, all of my sites were taken down and completely removed.  Me being silly, I never backed up the actual wordpress installation, only the database, but things could have been much worse. I have lost all my images and my site layout, but that’s […]

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Reddit Announces End to r/atheism

April 1, 2012

For the longest time on the internet, atheists have been given fairly free reign when it comes to social networks of all different types.  Atheists have dominated in every place where free speech has been allowed to flourish.  It’s as though the only way to keep religious thinking is to stifle free speech. While that […]

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Fallacy of the Day – #1: Ad Hominem

March 30, 2012

I have decided that too many people make mistakes when they claim a fallacy has been committed.  This will be the first installment of what will necessarily become a long list of explanations of what fallacies are what. You have probably been sent here because you have called out a fallacy and were wrong about […]

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