My Change pt I


I don't usually talk about my own personal politics because they are so often intertwined in such unhealthy ways with our faith.  But I think this is a spiritually helpful line of thought, so here goes...

Over the past 10-15 years my understanding of politics has changed significantly. I used to be a self-avowed Libertarian.

Most people would consider libertarianism to be 'ultra-conservative' and in some ways that is true, but in other ways Libertarianism is fundamentally opposed to conservative politics. The explicit underlying philosophy of Libertarianism is 'initiate no violence.' This is applied in the international sphere, the national sphere, and the interpersonal sphere; which means no preemptive war, no government regulation of personal sexuality or drug use, strict demarcation of individual rights, as well as no taxes. Many of these positions look scandalously conservative, but many look scandalously liberal.

Libertarians would argue (and I would still argue) that they are the party that consistently applies a political philosophy to our political system in order to craft a platform. Republican and Democratic platforms are a hodgepodge of contradictory impulses. Republicans are clamoring for government intervention and taxes on some issues (lets say, military expenditures and reproductive health) and simultaneously decrying government heavy-handedness on others (business regulation and fire-arms restrictions). Democrats are the same.

In many ways I continue to hold to the explicit Libertarian philosophy of 'initiate no violence,' and the underlying distrust of collective policy-making that goes along with it. But there is an implicit philosophical commitment within Libertarianism that I have come to disavow.

That implicit commitment is this: the sanctity of individualism as an ethical and political philosophy.

The individual and his/her rights to life, liberty, and property, are untouchable; there is no reason whereby any of those rights can be impinged upon, except where the exercise of those rights infringes on the rights of other individuals.  This means that projects for the common good cannot be promoted at the expense of individual good, nor at the cost of limiting the exercise of individual rights.  Again, the only common good that this political philosophy will work toward is the maintenance of inviolable individual rights.

1 comment:

Joshua Hopping said...

it sounds like you are fighting a similar internal battle as myself. Namely, the battle of wanting a small non-interference government while also wanting the government to help the poor and hurting. Seeing how both are fueled by opposite ideological views, it makes it hard....

Yet somehow God has given humanity personal freedoms to do what they want while joined holding them accountable for not helping each out. The tensions of life... =/