While I do not subscribe to any particular religion or faith, I do not share some of my colleagues’ belief that atheism, rather than religion, is a more fertile soil for growing libertarian ideas in someone’s mind. Simply put, there are plenty of hardcore, statist atheists, and they’re just as bent toward social control and government dominion as many bible-brokers out there.
How can libertarian atheists deny that coinciding with the age of the big government, centralized, welfare/warfare state is the most atheistic age the West has ever seen?
I’m not saying atheism causes big government anymore than it causes libertarianism, but that the correlation between atheism and big government cannot be written off all that quickly. If a rejection of religion lead one to becoming a libertarian more than keeping it around, why don’t we live in a freer world? Why were the outliers in terms of totalitarianism, i.e., Eastern European and Asian communists, all profoundly against the ideas of divinity and religion?
Again, I’m not saying their atheism caused them to be tyrants, but it certainly didn’t prevent them from becoming so either.
Thou shall not discount
Queue recent story where a petty atheist tyrant decided to bring the state down on the heads of restaurant proprietors who give away a discount to anyone coming in with a church bulletin. How does Wolff, the atheist in question, explain himself?
The incoherence, irony, and brilliant display of zero self-awareness is downright comical.
I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particularly in Lancaster County… in this particular area, we seem to have so many self-righteous people, so it just annoys me.
There are so many ways to pick this apart, so I’ll just go in order to keep it simple.
I did this not out of spite…
Actually, no, that’s exactly why Wolff did it. For the rest of the quote he betrays this information to us. He didn’t like the self-righteousness of some people, so he self-righteously decided harassment by the state was in order. Wolff wanted to stick it to them because he didn’t like them. Basically, your textbook definition of spite.
but out of a feeling…
Oh, I see what’s going on here. He was being an emotional toddler who can’t handle the adult world of free association. Got it.
against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion…
And what about the prevailing liberal, atheistic self-righteousness that begets glorified political harassment against religious people simply for being religious?
Even if by “self-righteous” Wolff means the desire to control other people through the political process, it shows that his atheism didn’t stop him from playing a statist game of tit-for-tat. If anything, he’s probably one of those modern, liberal atheists who subscribes to the twin religions of democracy and a gun.
particularly in Lancaster County… in this particular area…
Government has become a means for neighbors to appropriate the closed fist of the law to harass one another for otherwise peaceful actions. Don’t like the Christian Dining Club down the street? Call the sheriff and drag those self-righteous, peaceful people away.
Again, if Wolff’s complaint is that they are seeking to control the state, he must admit he is as well.
we seem to have so many self-righteous, religious people…
So move! Instead of trying to tear apart community bonds by using political violence, why not vote with your feet? Why not simply boycott the restaurant?
Statists gonna state
Because Wolff is a spiteful atheist, no matter what he says to the contrary. It’s not enough for him to withhold his voluntary transacting from the restaurant proprietors. That’s not enough. He must subjugate them such that they are forced to feed him on his own terms, which restrict the choices of all the religious locals he so obviously despises.
It makes me wonder what sort of constraints have been cast upon him as an atheist living in Biblestan, PA. I can only imagine his desire to harm people by using the state has to be reactionary. But to do so I’m giving him a benefit of the doubt I cannot rationally impart. All I really know is that he’s overly emotional about having to go to a church to pick up a bulletin (which he’s free to do, however distasteful he might find it) if he wants a 10% discount.
so it just annoys me…
This does not seem like the words of a man who is living under religious political oppression. He’s “annoyed.” So “annoyed” he wants the state to come around and perpetrate an investigation that could cost a business owner a large amount of money and maybe even her business. So I really wonder if the religious self-righteous around him:
- Just annoy him;
- Create an atmosphere of political oppression; or,
- Make him feel extra-special-atheist-liberal bad about how self-righteous some people can be.
The self-righteous are still righteous even when they’re busy spewing hot air as long as it comes out peacefully. Sure, some people may hate proud, boastful, vain, and self-confident individuals (who does that sound like, hmmm), but that doesn’t justify the use of threats and violence against them. Only a very smug, self-righteous individual would think otherwise.
If anything, the use of state violence is the antithesis of creating an intellectual and ethical order based on scientific inquiry, human freedom, and persuasion. To chain people up for freely associating with others based on religious affiliation is no better than prohibiting the free association of those who believe in the heliocentric model of the solarsystem.
I doubt that’s what Wolff is trying to do anyway. He’s not really trying to create a better world through discourse and scientific discovery. Instead, he wants to get people for being both religious and self-righteous.
To be sure, the task of libertarians is to be skeptical, but I think we should be skeptical of the benefits of espousing the scientific method and skepticism alone. Clearly, the commitment to statism is as strong as ever in our secular age.
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