Saturday, 10 July 2010

Here's to a libertarian anti-theology

Considering that I describe myself as a libertarian and freethinker, I have been a bit lax of late in promoting the libertarian view, and especially at suggesting how the two might be linked.
To me, the two things are interlinked, and the obsession of many atheists/humanists with soft left/liberal views of the world which are (in practice) paternalistic, over-reliant on welfare-statism or (at times) just plain dead in the water is a constant frustration for me. I know from new alliances I've made in the last few years it is for many others 'written out' of mainstream humanism too, which is why we've been kicking off about it.
While I was one of the first to pop my head above the parapet, sadly, introducing the concept of ‘secular methodism’ to humanist circles might have been my only contribution to this noble struggle. Meanwhile, I see Diesel Balaam, for example, plugging away in the letters pages of The Freethinker to push us secularists beyond a wishy-washy middle of the road version of liberalism and back to thinking about the real meaning of the term.
So, if I was a young schoolie my end of term report this month probably would be saying ‘must try harder’. This I undertake to do, always providing I don't have to stop joking about it too. To paraphrase Emma Goldman, 'If I can't laugh, I don't want any part in the revolution.'
For a start, as nobody in the UK except the Spiked posse is taking on the vacuous new British temperance-nazi lobby (which, in turn, causes nonsense like the island’s ‘voluntary’ alcohol sales codes) I had to turn to the US for a spot of inspiration laced with a strong slug of humour.
I found some recently in the work of Jeffrey A. Tucker (and you do have to like a bloke who writes a book called Bourbon for Breakfast: Living outside the Statist Quo).
In Repeal the Drinking Age (see ) Tucker lays into the ridiculous nationwide US ban on anyone under 21 consuming booze. As almost anyone who’s been to the US knows, in practice this ban is ignored, except for times when it suits authority to stop other activities. For example, any attempts at a self-sufficient youth culture where kids actually discuss and do intelligent, socially progressive stuff instead of vegging out and/or reading the Bible.
He goes on to argue that: “With the two-thirds and more of people under the age of 21 reporting that they have consumed alcohol in the last year, it should be obvious that the law is doing nothing but providing a gigantic excuse for arbitrary police-state impositions on human liberty, and also socializing young people in a habit of hypocrisy and law breaking. It’s like the old Soviet-style joke: they pretend to regulate us and we pretend to be regulated.”
Writing just after Independence Day, Tucker ends his piece by saying: “The founders would have never imagined such a thing as a national law regulating the age at which beer, wine, port, and other alcoholic beverages are consumed. If we are serious about embracing their vision of a free society, as opposed to just blathering about it, let’s start with something that is supremely practical and would have immediate effects on an entire generation: repeal the national minimum drinking age law.
You say that this is unthinkable? I say that you don’t really believe in human liberty. “
Closer to home, I’d not only agree with the above but add that the last thing on the minds of the pathetic church-led, state-sponsored Manx agencies theoretically ‘concerned’ with the ‘welfare’ of young people is encouraging any sort of social set-up in which teenagers take control of their own lives, or parents and guardians are allowed to help them do so.

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