Different Floors of the House

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Libertarianism: A non-sequitor in and of itself...but that's a good thing!

So, we automatically think of non-sequitors as being sort of idiotic, right? I mean, literally the term means something like "it does not follow". Well, not following, in the Libertarian sense, is actually a benefit. Groups are abstractions. There really isn't any such thing as a group. Show me a group. You can't. You can only show me a group of X. And therefore you are showing me X in repetition. Furthermore, every X in any given machination is different. All things are individualized and perceived as such...otherwise we would all go crazy looking at the vast infinitude of the universe all at once. Whoa.
Let's see who recognizes these words:

Ok, that's too easy. I think we all know what parchment this is we're looking at. Right? Um...right?? Yeah, I'm cheating, I'm the guy that posted it, of course I know. Here's what that little piece of paper has to say:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Of course, we all know the last little part "the pursuit of Happiness" was a curiously strange diversion from the prominent liberal thinking of the day. John Locke, to whom the phrase "Life, Health, Liberty, etc" is accredited, did not directly state the importance of "happiness", he instead used "possession" or, some cases, "property" in the stead of happiness. Curious. So what exactly does this have to do with anything? I mean, that stinky old parchment, no one cares about that anymore. We've got our Facebooks and Blackberries to tend to. No one has time to worry about that stupid ol' Declaration of Whatever Blah Blah Blah thing anymore.

Wait a second. If we don't have to worry about that document anymore, that must mean we usurped the whole of Maslow's Hierarchy right? I mean sheesh, if we have conquered things like say, food and shelter and transport and all that, certainly the use of our fun little toys like the one you're using right now to read this must certainly constitute happiness.

What you do individually, you do for self-stimulation. Think about that the next time you sit down at your computer or pick up your cell phone. My life is good!

Well, the question is: How good is it? Can it really be true that we are so satisfied with ourselves, so...what's the word...um...liberated...that we can sit in front of our Wii for two hours trying to re-sink that virtual hole-in-one? (No I don't own a Wii, but I've got many other vices). Hmm...Maslow, he woulda been a Pong guy I bet.

It's interesting that self actualization is the pinnacle of this whole enchilada:

We: the dudes in wigs writing the paper (That would be John Adams and Tommy Jefferson)
hold these truths: wait for it...
to be self evident: Aha! That means, you, the reader of this little colonial temper tantrum have no choice but to agree to the following...
that all men are created equal: so out of the gate we are all individually equal...hmmm...
that they are endowed by their Creator: Yes, that's a capital "C", no, this is not a typo...err...quillo...That Creator guy? Yeah, that's God, or the higher being, or whatever idiotic multi-cultural, non-offensive titular disrespect we're applying to Him these days.
with certain (in)unalienable rights: that means they can't be stripped from you, the individual, by any means, it's impossible to do.
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happineff: I just like the f's for s's thing in colonial English, fo fexy.

The Declaration of Independence is, more than being a mere temper tantrum, a philosophical document. Hence the reliance on John Locke. The portion we're dealing with here is a fundamental, mimetic device. The fact that Life, Liberty, etc are revered (hence the capitalization) means they are the true forms of the abstract. Not carbon copies. When John Adams says Life, he means, in the Aristotelian sense, the highest possible "ideal" of life. God-given and nothing less. The same goes with Liberty and Happiness, or if you prefer, Property, for all the people that think John Locke got robbed on this one. (Incidentally, I think slave ownership (property) may have been a good reason why this word was stricken, and have heard others suggest this as well...but I have no proof)

Yeah, yeah, now's when all the over-educated English professors get to stop lurking in the shadows and point out that other words are capitalized in the document too. We're not getting into that here, but anyone who wants me to kick their academic booty into verbal oblivion can e-mail me for a lambasting on the subject of majuscules and language orthographies in colonial English. Don't step. Don't do it.

That said, we seriously need to re-evaluate individualism...and what God has to do with it...according to our forefathers. (Incidentally, I'm a 2nd gen American...so I guess they weren't technically my forefathers...) What if I don't believe in God? What does that mean? If God endows these rights, according to this philosophy, and I don't believe in God, does that mean I don't have these rights? Maybe I just have to disagree with the founders of this nation on how I obtain these rights? If I disagree with the founding fathers, what does that make me? Unamerican? If I'm unamerican and yet, for some reason, like living here, what do I have to do to erase this little hiccup? If I erase this little hiccup, don't I have to, in essence, delete everything that comes after it? After all, the entire document, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers all hinge on these Truths (capital T) being self-evident and inalienable. Can I pick and choose which parts of the Constitution I like?

I got bad news for you if you're this person. Whether God exists or not is not the question. The philosophy of this nation hinges on our individual inalienable rights. Those rights are gifts from God. The only way to obtain these individual rights which cannot be stripped, is from the Creator. There is no argument in Naturalism which grants you these rights. Socialism's goal is to make sure you don't have access to these rights. Socialism is collectivism. Collectivism ignores the minority, it is one step removed from the mob-rule which is democracy. Democracy is an abstraction which can't preserve your rights. If the mob (majority)decides it is within their interest to take your rights, they will do so. Democracy is an evil, evil thing which punishes minorities. This is a Republic (Latin: Things of the State...or Law), we are a country of Law. And the first law is: the greatest example of the minority is the individual. That's right, it's you, no matter who you are. Once you join a group, you've sacrificed a part of your individual liberty. This is why Libertarianism is a non-sequitor. A group of people preaching individualism? It just doesn't follow. And thank God it doesn't. Because, if we were all able to agree on the sovereignty of each other, a greater esteem for our neighbor would emerge and a greater respect for opposition just might prevent crime, war, poverty, etc. Would it be some lilly-laden Utopia? Absolutely not. Utopia's suck and inevitably breed oligarchy...just like all other forms of government have in the past...including Republicanism.

We don't need some fake mockery of collective utopia. What we need we already have, it is inalienable. But that doesn't mean some won't try to rob you of it.

Now put down your Blackberry and get back to pursuing Hapineff.

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