Sunday, June 10, 2007

I am a Bigot

I've been getting some more "friendly fire" from libertarians who don't like what I think, even if my policies are bona fide libertarian.

I'd like to think that the criticisms leveled at me by Jason Kuznicki ("Kevin Craig’s Strange Libertarianism") and Steven Horwitz ("A 'Libertarian' Candidate for Congress") would not have been written had they read my "Response to Jason" first (Obviously that was not possible.)

Nevertheless, I'd like to respond to some specifics.

Tibor Machan leaves a comment on Jason's blog in which he calls me a "bigot." Technically this is correct. "Bigot" is defined as:

One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
The greatest figures in all of history are "bigots" by this definition, and they are the people who are most admired for getting something done to diminish the power of religious and political movements which are agreed to be false or oppressive. If your own group is true, "bigotry" is the only rational position.

Bigotry against race is never rational. Tolerance (the opposite of bigotry) of evil is also insane.

The key word in the definition above is, of course, "intolerant."

Perhaps you know a parent who will not "tolerate" a child's messy room. The child will not get dessert, outside play, or time on the PlayStation until the room is brought to order. The child is not locked in a cell with a felon for 5-10 years, or executed.

Some people do not tolerate smoking. "Not inside my home, please." They do not levy fines which will be collected by armed marshals.

Libertarians are bigoted against Hitler and Keynes (though not necessarily for the latter's sexual preferences).

In all these examples, our bigoted intolerance is one of attitude, thought, or opinion, and does not extend to the initiation of force or violence. Nor does it permit misrepresentation of our opponent's beliefs or practices.

"Bigot," as used by most people, and regrettably even the esteemed Tibor Machen, is simply a slur, designed to engender an irrational emotional response. Its effect is to deter people from learning the facts and coming to a well-reasoned verdict. It is "preaching to the choir."

Prof. Horwitz says,
For someone like me, who thinks libertarians ought to be part of a broader, more cosmopolitan, progressive political movement, having LP candidates like Mr. Craig is enough to make me stop calling myself a libertarian.
I have commented on this attitude elsewhere. It changes "libertarianism" from a political postion on government policies to a social ideology or morality. Its enemy is no longer the government's initiation of force, it is various "thought crimes" which are offensive to a generally non- or anti-Christian demographic. It's not enough that I advocate the complete repeal of all government restrictions or sanctions against homosexuality, I have to like it; I have to have a positive mental attitude toward it.

The "cosmopolitan, progressive" perspective is really just an anti-Christian bigotry.

Statistically speaking, I think it safe to say that for every "cosmopolitan, progressive" voter there are 8 voters who are more conservative, and are repulsed by a "progressive" "homosexual chic" worldview. These voters might be persuaded to eliminate homosexuality from the penal code, but only by someone who admits that it is immoral. They might eventually be willing to say homosexuality should not be a crime, as long as they are free to believe it is a sin.

My policies are more libertarian than Thomas Jefferson's, because I am calling for the complete de-criminalization of sodomy. But still, I am a "bigot" because I believe (along with the first 250 years of Americans) that homosexuality, bestiality, and pedophilia are all "sinful" actions, and violations of God's commandments, and I don't tolerate any of these "lifestyles" in any sphere of personal authority (family members in my home, employees in my business, comments on my blog, the classroom in which I teach, the pulpit from which I preach, the property I rent, and customers with whom I do business), and I try to persuade others to be non-violently intolerant of these "lifestyles" as well, on the grounds both of the Bible and the historical fact that they undermine civilization.

People who are bigoted against each other's moral views can still join arms and be bigoted against a common political enemy.

If the Libertarian Party refuses to appeal to Christians who are not "cosmopolitan" and "progressive," then government regulation will increase as the LP loses political strength. Libertarianism will be confused with libertinism or "cultural libertarianism." Conversely, if the "cosmopolitan, progressive" element of the LP will become less bigoted toward conservative Christian bigots like me, the ranks of the LP will grow immensely.