Libertarianism’s Moral Fulcrum; Why Other Philosophies Are Wrong

by | Jun 19, 2017

Christianity’s core theological paradigm presents one single object of life: to be reunited with Divinity.  Metaphorically, this means nothing more or less than harmony with ineffable meaning.  Life is nothing without this; meaningless life is arbitrary life.  The quest for power, wealth, love, or anything else “for its own sake” is just an appropriation of meaning.  You can’t have purpose or desire, and deny the importance of meaning.  To deny the importance of meaning, but also get up out of bed in the morning, is to express an example of Ayn Rand’s stolen concept principle.

Though the various branches of Christianity differ on the details, the path to union with the Divine – or salvation – follows a general pattern.  Faith in saving power, the receiving of God’s grace, and the cleansing of the soul so that it can bear the presence of God are essential elements.  It begs the question, however, of how faith is achieved?  What can give a person faith?  How is grace experienced, and faith validated?  All Christian faiths rely on the same agent to facilitate the resolution to these questions.  This is called in Greek the Paraclete, or in English: the Holy Ghost.

Something remarkable about the process of Christian salvation, despite the creed, is the individualistic experience essential to it.  The Holy Ghost speaks to the individual heart, and salvation is extended to the individual soul.  The individual is baptized.  Christ, the archetype of perfection, suffered for humanity’s sins alone, even without Abba – the Father – to comfort him.  In Christianity, Christ is the intermediary who effects salvation.  The sinful man must suffer alone, in pain of repentance before, through Christ, grace can save him from his alienation from God.

The modern state has adopted many doctrines to justify its existence.  Utilitarianism, progressive technocracy, bureaucratic social organization, and the like have been upheld as the path to the best possible life for the greatest number.  But to what end?  Comfort, provision for physical needs, and so forth have been upheld as nearly universal values, but are they?  If comfort alone is the end of all existence, why not carefully and painlessly euthanize all humanity?  If anxiety concerning fear of death interferes with the elegance of this program, then provide humanity with pleasure inducing opiates as part of the process.

I have a cousin who is a bright intellectual, a moral person, but who generally follows the currents of progressive modernist scientism.  He once remarked that as we explore the universe, we’d surely encounter robotic probes sent out to explore by the “responsible” galactic civilizations.  I suppose he meant that an irresponsible civilization is one who optimized its technology and then uses it only for gratification of pleasures, whereas the peak of responsible technological use would consider that which is outside the self.  I found the sentiment to be remarkably telling.  For clarity’s sake, I’ll say that I’m sure that he was relying on the classic moral paradigm of American establishment (post-Puritan Yankee/Judaic) thinking.  This is that moral life is a dialectical clash between those who prioritize ego, and those elect who are capable of considering that which is outside themselves.  I’ve always asked: if ego doesn’t matter, what is it that makes you conclude that something else does?  In truth, this isn’t a provably invalid moral paradigm.  What matters is that it clearly invokes some sort of conclusions about the meaning of life, and yet these seem to go unspoken and unaddressed.

Any expression of purpose requires an invocation of meaning.  No ideology or government can claim any sort of legitimacy without establishing some exegesis about ultimate meaning.  State legitimacy works because the state lets the public “fill in the blanks” on meaning.  We are deceived into associating what we find meaningful in life with the state’s reasons for existing.  This is how the state maintains our consent, for the most part.  If the state clearly stated some specific reason for its existence, it would surely alienate many people.

“God inspired the constitution.”
“Government facilitates public-mindedness (because ego is a black hole).”
“Those other countries are poor and miserable, so at least our country is okay, so don’t criticize it.”

But what if the government said the following: “God wants society to build a Mars base, which we know because God’s prophets, who work at Columbia University, told us so.  So we’re going to tax you out of the life you want, and kill Iraqis, so we can make God’s wishes come true.”  How well would that go over?

Using Christianity as a metaphor, we can say that only the individual can hear the whispers of the Holy Ghost.  Only the individual can respond to the Holy Ghost, and exercise genuine faith.  It is the individual soul, alone, that can through faith and grace enter into God’s presence.

In other words, only individuals can experience a sense of meaning.  Only individuals can determine what is or isn’t meaningful – to them.  The mystery of human existence can only be addressed by the individual mind which elects to regard it as something other than arbitrary.  Individual human actors give meaning to life, by their choice to do so, and that meaning comes from nowhere else.  The state doesn’t create meaning, neither does the church for that matter (which one might say is created and sustained by the Holy Ghost and its effect upon the human heart, not the other way around).

I have relied on religious language, but my purpose has been entirely metaphorical.  There’s no provably correct answer about meaning.  Religion, specifically, exists to address the question.  But everyone has different beliefs about the answer.  The only universal principle is the reality and importance of the question.

Only Libertarianism respects this reality.  Libertarianism, alone among political ideologies, admits that meaning in life is defined by the individuals living it.  Only Libertarianism considers the consequences.

 

About Zack Sorenson

Zachary Sorenson was a captain in the United States Air Force before quitting because of a principled opposition to war. He received a MBA from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan as class valedictorian. He also has a BA in Economics and a BS in Computer Science.

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