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The Libertarian Dilemma

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Libertarianism is the fashionable political system du jour. Here’s a definition of Libertarianism taken from the Preamble to the Libertarian Party Platform:

“Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.”

The Internal Revenue Service offered the following definition during the process of granting the Advocates for Self-Government status as a non-profit educational organization:

“The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it.”

On the surface, without deeper investigation, the above definitions sound reasonable enough, especially those items related to taxation of wealth. I have a couple of questions:

  • Who says an individual is free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others?
  • Why is it wrong to harm other people?
  • Are rights innate? If they are, prove it.
  • Do lower animals have the same rights as higher animals (humans)? If not, why not?

As a theist, I can account for the origin of individual rights. The Declaration of Independence tells us that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.” I agree. But once you postulate a Creator, you must also postulate the laws of the Creator, and the Creator maintains that some things are wrong regardless of how they affect other people.

Libertarianism claims that “victimless crimes” should not be punished. Why not? The libertarian will say that no harm is done except to those consenting to the behavior. Once again, account for this fundamental right within the parameters of the materialist worldview.

An atheist cannot account for rights, laws, or even the concept of freedom since they are ideological constructs conjured up in the mind. Atheists are materialists, and for the atheist anything that actually exists must be material or physical. This means that the mind, reason, numbers, and logic cannot exist within a materialist worldview. The Libertarian has been hoisted on his own petard.     

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