Pagan “Libertarians”?????? (revisited)

There is a small minority of Pagans and Druids who are attracted to the ideals of the Libertarian Party and who fancy themselves Libertarian. I understand this. I don’t like paying taxes any more than anyone else, and I certainly would like to see marijuana legalized. But aside from those things, am I really a Libertarian? I don’t think so. My Paganism demands a certain amount of tribalism, a certain feeling of obligation to the collective. My Druidry demands that I do all I can to protect mother earth.  Neither of these tendencies can be met by Libertarianism.   But lets take this further, and look at the logical effect of a Libertarian dominated government of the future:

It’s 2026. The Libertarian Party has become the dominant political entity in the US, occupying the White House, the Supreme Court and the majority of seats in both the House and the Senate. This has been true for the last 20 years. What is life like in the US?

There is still an income tax, but it is very minimal – 5%, with no deductions, exemptions or credits. Everyone pays some tax. But that’s the only tax. There are no state or local taxes; no property taxes, zip.  There are few laws. Marijuana and all other drugs are legal now, and can be purchased in drug and grocery stores. Prostitution, and for that matter, all other “victimless” crimes are legal now.  The government no longer meddles in the affairs of business or of individuals.

As I said, there are few laws. In fact, the only laws left on the books are those concerned with the protection of property and murder.

 

To the American family, life is different.  There are no Public Schools, Parks, Libraries, Zoo’s or museums. There is no public transportation. Even the Post Office is owned by private interests.  Is your house on fire?  You’d better have insurance, because all the private fire service will do is make sure your house doesn’t start fire to your neighbors (who will be paying a considerable sum for this service).

 

As I said, there are few laws. There is no minimum wage, and employers may work you as many hours and as many days in a row as they like. There are no mandatory breaks, even for lunch. Your employer may offer such if they like. Or not.  There is no unemployment insurance, no disability insurance, and you can be fired for attempting to start a Union.

 

There is no social security.

 

Police Departments at all levels, Prisons and small jails have all been privatized, and their now huge populations supply private capitalism with a constant source of cheap labor. The “debtors prison” has been revived, where people who can’t pay their bills are sent to work off their debts in servitude.

Since there no laws, the environment is rapidly deteriorating, despite the voluntary efforts of some higher minded corporations and individuals.  On California’s North Coast, where I live, the last redwoods were clear cut years ago, when the State and National Parks were sold off to private concerns. It’s more or less a coastal desert here, with weather much like that of Baha Mexico.

Thousands of species once on the endangered list are now extinct, as environmental laws designed to protect them were taken off the books as governmental encroachments on the rights of private enterprise.

Crime, murder, homelessness and poverty are at record highs, as people will do whatever they have to to survive. Likewise, sales of security devices and guns are at an all time high as well.

Is that really the Libertarian world view? Not really, at least I don’t know of any Libertarians who have thought their philosophy through that far. What I have projected here is the most likely scenario given what I know of human nature.

Libertarianism is based upon Objectivism or what Ayn Rand called, “The Virtue of Selfishness.” This ethic states that you are only responsible for yourself. You have no obligation, and in fact you are stupid, if you help anyone else or participate in any group that attempts to help anyone else. This ethic also states that you are obligated to take care of your family only until they leave your nest. Your children are never obligated to help you. So the idea of “tribe,” which many Pagans hold dear, is anathema to Libertarian thinking. Likewise anathema is the idea of our “oneness” with the rest of the Earth. Instead Libertarian thinking makes us each “Marlboro men,” responsible only to ourselves.

My conclusion then is simple — Pagans who believe themselves “Libertarian” simply haven’t thought it all through. Once they do, they will understand that this Objectivist political party based on individual selfishness has nothing in common with Paganism, or any other form of Earth centered spirituality.

“Objectivism rejects any form of altruism”. — Ayn Rand

Posted May 28, 2006