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Two Views of Libertarianism

There exists much confusion in the political sphere about libertarianism. Conservatives often mischaracterize it as discounting human nature and disdaining morality at the same time that liberals depict it as grossly naïve and overly utopian.

One can read what some opponents of libertarianism say about it and then what some proponents of libertarianism say about it and conclude that there is no way that both groups could possibly be talking about the same thing.

Exhibit A is Tony Greco, writing for the Daily Kos the essay “Four Reasons to Reject Libertarianism.”

Greco argues that there are “four broad reasons why progressives should firmly reject” libertarianism:

1. Libertarian values are repellent – Libertarianism celebrates greed and selfishness.

2. Libertarianism is intellectually myopic – Libertarians cherish freedom above all, but their concept of freedom is constricted and myopic.

3. Libertarianism is utopian – An active state is a universal feature of advanced societies.

4. Libertarianism is politically hopeless – You might well agree with me on the three preceding points but still feel that libertarianism has to be reckoned with politically.

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Six Ideas to Keep Us Human (Part 2)

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/The_Thinker_Musee_Rodin.jpg?resize=280%2C374By Edmund Opitz, author of The Libertarian Theology of Freedom and Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies. This essay was originally published in the December 1972 issue of The Freeman, and continues from his previous article.

Part One of this essay presents a diagnosis of the present malaise in terms of a loss of contact with six vital ideas. The ideas which keep us human may be summarized as follows:

  1. Free Will. Man’s gift of free will makes him a responsible being.
  2. Rationality. Man is a reasoning being who, by taking thought, gains valid truths about himself and the universe.
  3. Self-responsibility. Each person is the custodian of his own energy and talents, charged with the lifetime task of bringing himself to completion.
  4. Beauty. Man confronts beauty in the very nature of things, and reproduces this vision in art.
  5. Goodness. Man has a moral sense, enabling and requiring him to choose between good and evil.
  6. The Sacred. Man participates in an order which transcends nature and society.

It is no secret that a great many philosophers and scientists deny free will and affirm determinism; it is also a fact that no one can really bring himself around to believing that he is an automaton. A philosopher who announces himself as a determinist presumes to offer us a conclusion he has arrived at after observation, after marshalling the relevant evidence, after reflection, and as the end result of a chain of reasoning. Each of these steps reflects the action of a free being, and these free actions can never be pieced together so as to contrive an unfree result. Man’s will is free; it is so free that it can deny this freedom!

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Six Ideas to Keep Us Human

https://i2.wp.com/www.polazzo.com/thethinker.jpg?resize=260%2C360By Edmund Opitz, author of The Libertarian Theology of Freedom and Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies. This essay was originally published in the November 1972 issue of The Freeman.

Most people live lives of quiet desperation, Henry David Thoreau told us. If there was truth in that observation, in the pleasant, spacious old New England of Thoreau’s day, how much more truth is packed into those words in these melancholy days! Events have gotten out of hand and the world lurches into chaos.

Things have fallen apart faster than any of us would have dared predict, and we are seized by pangs of guilt and self-doubt. So many promising experiments have gone sour, from the New Freedom of Woodrow Wilson to the latest ukase of the present administration. The statesmen of this era talked peace and sought to outlaw war, but they let the twentieth century break down into the bloodiest period of all the twenty-five hundred years of warfare studied by Pitirim Sorokin. “We live,” wrote this great scholar, “in an age unique for the unrestrained use of brute force in international relations.”

The threat of protracted international conflict is bad enough, but there is also the well-founded fear of domestic violence and crime. And even if we are lucky enough to escape actual robbery, we know that inflation is steadily draining our wealth. We’ve seen the race issue go from integration to Black Nationalism; we’ve witnessed the emergence of the sex and drug cult, the rise of astrology, witchcraft and voodooism; V.D. has reached epidemic proportions among the young; and then there is abortion, homosexuality, the campus crisis, the environmental crisis, the inner crisis in man himself. For is it not true, as Yeats says in a famous poem, that “The wicked act with dreadful intensity, while the good lack all conviction.”

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Militarism is not heroic

god bless troops and snipersChris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, and the U.S. military’s most lethal sniper, was deliberately and fatally shot recently by another veteran while on a gun range.

According to Star and Stripes, Kyle had been awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He is officially credited with more than 150 kills during four tours in Iraq; he is unofficially credited with up to 255. Kyle won’t say just how many people he has killed.

“I don’t care about the medals,” Kyle told the Star-Telegram in a 2012 interview. “I didn’t do it for the money or the awards. I did it because I felt like it was something that needed to be done and it was honorable.”

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