‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ is the often misinterpreted saying of one Aleister Crowley. He did not mean ‘Ah sod it, just do what the hell you like’. He meant, roughly, ‘Attempt to achieve those things you feel you should achieve’. Maybe that’s not the best way of putting it. Maybe the original quote was the best way after all.
Modern Pagans (some versions) have something similar – ‘An’ it harm none, do as thou will’, which is perhaps a little clearer. Do whatever you want as long as you cause no harm to anyone else.
Mainstream religions, as far as I can discover, have no equivalent to either of those sayings. They are all based on a great big sign saying ‘Obey, or be damned forever’.
Which is Libertarian? I doubt anyone needs it explained.
The last few random and often wandering babbles have been skirting around an underlying point. One hinted at in the middle by the mention of Alex Jones, the groaning fighter for everyone’s freedoms – except the ones he doesn’t like. In Alex Jones’ Libertarianism, everyone should have freedom except smokers. He doesn’t like smokers. They are not real people in the eyes of the antismoker so do not deserve even one single meeting place where they can have a drink and a smoke and not be forced into another lifestyle.
God, Allah, whatever you want to call him, is not a Libertarian. Okay, even Libertarians can agree with some of those commandments. No killing, no stealing, no fraud (‘false witness’), that sort of thing. All perfectly legitimate and justifiably enforceable rules. We might want anarchy but we don’t want to live in bloody chaos. Letting everyone make their own decisions can only work where there are real consequences for those decisions that cause harm to others.
Religion demands much more. You must live as directed, down (in some cases) to minute details such as how you wash and how you dress. Who you associate with and what foods you can eat. All those not of your religion are Wrong and must be shown the error of their ways. That is not libertarianism.
Neither is the Dawkins version of ‘atheism’ which really should come down to ‘You believe it if you like, I have other stuff to do over here so if you don’t mind, just leave me alone, okay?’ but that is no longer what atheism is. Now it is big signs on buses, and books and meetings and derision aimed at those who beleive differently and a determination to convince the world that all religion is Wrong because they do not think the atheist way. That is why I no longer refer to myself as atheist. I am an apathist.
In the past I have defined ‘apathist’ as ‘there may or may not be a God, I don’t care’ but it is perhaps more accurately defined as ‘I don’t care what you believe and have no interest in changing your mind’.
Evolution does not disprove God. All it disproves is the 6000-year limit imposed as the age of the Earth. There are no dates in the Bible. None. The 6000 years was the invention of a man, working with an incomplete manuscript. We know the early Church edited the Bible and took out quite a few books it didn’t like. Some of those books are found but how many more were there, that have not been found? Adding up all the ages of the Biblical past is going to have some very large gaps in the sum.
Also, I cannot fathom why the religious will insist that Adam counted his age from the date of his creation. He had no knowledge of numbers until he ate of the Tree of Knowledge. He lived in a perfect garden with no seasons so had no means to keep track of years. He was immortal so had no reason to keep track of anything. If his age counts from the date he learned about age and years and seasons and the rest of the world, and was then summarily expelled into it, there is no limit to how long he would have been in Eden. That alone would demolish the 6000 years argument and end the bickering about evolution.
Is Science better? In theory, yes. In practice it is exactly the same. You won’t believe the trouble I had publishing my work on oxygen levels in the intestine back in the 1990s. ‘There is no oxygen in the intestine’ was the mantra. There isn’t much, it’s true, and it declines to zero in the middle of the intestine, away from that vast surface area of the blood-infused gut wall, but it is there and it is measurable. And it matters. In terms of gut bacterial metabolism and the location of species within the digesta, it matters a lot. Yet I came up against idiot reviewers who tried to convert my mmol/l figures into Pascals and claimed that my trace detections were greater than atmospheric oxygen. One particularly daft professor claimed that oxygen could not possibly transfer from the blood to the intestinal contents because haemoglobin bound oxygen too tightly for it to be released… which makes blood pretty damn usless for supplying internal organs with oxygen.
I won in the end, but that’s all in the past now.
Incidentally, one of my PhD supervisors came up with a real outside-the-box gadget for measuring nanomolar levels of oxygen. A membrane-covered tiny cell filled with a culture of Vibrio fischeri on the end of an optical fibre linked to a photomultiplier. V. fischeri is one of the bacteria that makes the sea glow at night. I’ve seen that and it’s amazing. It produces light depending on how much oxygen is around, and it’ll produce light in direct relation to how much oxygen there is – even at extremely low levels. There were many brilliant people in science in the past. That was before the political grant-suckers took control.
Science should be a perfect example of libertarianism but it is infested with control freaks and idiots and dogmatic fools. In some parts it still works but a lot of it is now no better than religion. Believe in the Established Way and do not dare question the Hallowed Ones.
I try to be Libertarian, ever since I heard about the concept on Devil’s Kitchen and realised that mostly I was already there anyway. I really don’t care if people want to believe in Salvation after death. It does not harm me. It does not even harm me when various religions want to chat with me at my door or in the street. If I have no time I just say ‘No time, sorry’ and carry on. If I have time I will hear what they have to say. None have convinced me but to my mind, they should always be free to try. The Dawkins Cult would not allow them that freedom.
Science can claim that living this way or that way is bad for us and should be free to say it. As we should be free to ignore it or to take it on board, judge the risk and either change or carry on as before. Science and especially political pseudoscience should have no power to impose their way of life on the rest of us. The Scientific Inquisition is now a reality in almost every GP’s surgery. Is that what we want?
That is the result of selective libertarianism. ‘Everyone should be free to live as they wish except…’
Libertarianism is an absolute. You are or you are not. There is no middle road.
I do not agree with UKIP’s curbs on immigration. There is no need. All we have to do is stop paying them to come. The problem is not immigration, it is benefits and free healthcare for any bugger from anywhere on the planet. Someone comes here for a better life and is prepared to work for it, fine. Someone comes here for a free house, free money and the right to force us to live like the place they ‘escaped’ from, stop giving them freebies and they won’t come. It’s not rocket science.
I do not rail against religion because I cannot prove that religion is wrong. I do not believe but am I right to not believe? I don’t know for sure. Can anyone provide absolute proof that I am right to not believe? Nobody can. One day I will find out and it will either be oblivion or a very, very red face.
Even antismokers have the right to be sanctimonious gits. When they impose their views by closing all options to us they violate that ultimately libertarian ‘An’ it harm none…’ principle and shift into totalitarianism.
So what’s it going to be then, droogies? Are we libertarians or are we ‘libertarians except for the ones we don’t approve of’? Are we humans or are we Nazis? No in between there is, young Jedi.
Either we accept that other people are different and might sincerely hold beliefs we might personally find mad, or we try to force others to believe as we do.
There is no in between.
Which world do you want?