Friday, August 20, 2004

Libertarians are better than me

A number of factors have me thinking about Libertarianism lately. Seattle Weekly just published an interesting article on the Libertarian presidential candidate, The New Ralph Nader? by Knute Berger, and I'm preparing to receive my copy of Bullshit! from Netflix. That's, of course, the series by Penn & Teller exposing things they think are, well, bullshit.

All of this leads me to my point, most people in this country - and this is one of the few things that I will agree that I myself and President George W. Bush most assuredly have in common - lack a cohesive philosophy to guide us in our political and life decisions.

Now, people with IQs or educations too small to put together a logical thought will disagree about Bush. His philosophy is guided by Jesus, right?

No.

Looke, I'm a very non-dogmatic, non-Christian deist and my philosophical, spiritual and political beliefs are a thousand times closer to those of Jesus.

Is anything about Bush guided by the man who said, as I quoted earlier today in another context, "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Fuck no!

However you go about reading those words, they will always be 180-degrees from the actions and stated beliefs of President George W. Bush. Period.

No, Bush's philosophy, such as it is, comes from some much more secular source. My guess is that it's simply the philosophy of power.

The Libertarians, on the other hand, have a general philosophy that they can apply to any problem and make sense of how it fits with that core philosophy. Certainly I would find myself disagreeing with some of the conclusions that most - or many - of them draw from this philosophy, but it is valid, it is real and, most of all, it is tangible.

I've certainly thought through my beliefs, but I find myself lacking for that kind of grounding in something basic. Even being able to draw exception and reason them as such would be comforting.

It's an uncomfortable thing to lack. We, Americans, are a people in need of something to ground us. We are easily led and hungry. We don't, as a people, have a place to stand, that's why, I suspect, we fell from the post-9/11 unity so quickly and so terribly to place I think may be lower than where we were before.

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