Saturday, June 23, 2007

I represent the other side

I am a libertarian and an atheist. At parties, I often find myself on the other side of discussions. People want more nanny state protections, I want less. People want more theocracy, I want less. People want to stamp out prostitution or smoking, I say people should have a right to do what they want with their own bodies, even if that means selling their services or smoking a cigar.

I've learned a few things over the years. like, real libertarians are crazy. Every time I get involved with my local libertarian organization, I run away screaming. the current batch are "pro-war libertarians". I am not even sure how that is possible. The local libertarian leadership is more concerned with petty power struggles than with addressing real issues. On occasion, they rise above their own struggles to call for the scrapping of the public school system or some such nonsense. It really is pathetic.

I cannot play with the "real" libertarians, I have little tolerance for stupidity. I address my libertarian concerns by weaving the issues into my posts... and, I talk to people. Lately I've been talking about gay rights. I cannot understand why people are so concerned about what other people do and how they live their private lives. What bothers me most is that it seems like the people who should be the most tolerant are actually the least tolerant.

Take the case of the recent gay pride march in Jerusalem. Instead of understanding the struggle of an oppressed people, some nutball religious bomber tried to blow them up with and IED while thousands of his peers protested.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted repeatedly in the past week, burning tires, assaulting policemen and damaging police cars. A 32-year-old ultra-Orthodox man was arrested Thursday morning carrying a homemade explosive device. Under questioning, the man said he wanted to plant the explosive along the parade route, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Black Churches are another example.

“In most black churches, parishioners experienced sermons identifying homosexuality not only as a sin, but with a rage that placed it as an even greater sin, as a monstrosity, a part of a wicked spirit,” writes Rev. Horace L. Griffin in his new book, "Their Own Receive Them Not: African-American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches."

Both groups have a long history of oppression and discrimination. Both groups fight gay rights as if the future of the world depended on it. What they share in common is intolerant religion and a myopic sense of history. I rail against the injustice and theocracy as an Atheist and as a libertarian. How people choose to live their lives is their own business.

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5 comments:

Johnny Crow said...

I am most assuredly with you on a majority of this. I too am the other side. In fact I play devils advocate. Sometimes even debating other atheists/agnostics about what christians or fundamentalist say. Though I usually say it on to help them build their own debate skills. I think everyone has a right to do what they will to their bodies as long as it doesn't impede on anyone else's right. I don't like smoke with my food, but I think anywhere people should be able to smoke in peace. I own my own gun and think everyone has a right to. Unless your a felon. lol. I consider myself independent because libertarians (other than yourself and a few others I have met) are often crazy people who can't decide on shit. Gay rights are the same as anyone else's they are people like the everyone else. Keep on fighting!

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear.

I also have to agree with almost everything you said; however I have to take exception at smoking. I too would support the right of people to engage in self-destructive behaviors, provided (and this is a big condition) that it doesn't affect others.

In particular, as Johnny alluded to, I don't want to be subjected to someone's fumes when I'm trying to enjoy a meal, particularly when I'm going to pay what could be a considerable amount for it. And I don't want to go through the rest of the day smelling of tobacco smoke.

Moreover, children in a household where someone smokes are subjected to these fumes without choice and to the detriment of their health and well-being. This is child abuse no less than beating, molestation or indoctrination to preposterous beliefs, and should be dealt with accordingly.

Similarly, I have no objection to drinking or the personal use of other mind-altering substances provided that the user refrains from doing anything while under the influence of these substances that could endanger anyone else's safety and well being (such as the obvious example of driving a car on public roads); and also doesn't expect the public to be responsible for his or her medical costs arising out of that behavior. One's rights end where the next person's begin.

I share a lot of libertarian values, but it does appear that the "party" that calls itself Libertarian has, to some significant extent, lost its way. The party tends to take positions that are just extreme enough to guarantee it never becomes mainstream.

Mojoey said...

I feel the same way about smoking. I never do it around children, nor do I do it im public places. One must be considerate of others.

The Godless Savage said...

I think one of the reasons we have so many rabid pro-war libertarians stems from the influence of hectoring fascist talk radio blow-monkey Neal Boortz. Sure, he's a libertarian about some things but for the most part he's a Right winger.

Sapphire Eyes said...

I've come to learn in my 23 years that being an atheist libertarian is one of the loneliest positions a person can hold in America. :) It's so nice to find somebody else on my side. Please, if it's not to much to ask, take a look at my start-up blog: www.sapphire-ize.blogspot.com

RE: Anonymous:
The whole smoking-ban issue flies in the face of the conventional understanding of property rights. PRIVATE business owners, according to a libertarian and to the constitution, have the right to determine whether others may smoke within the premises of their private properties.

-S.E.