Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reason Magazine's Curious Take on "Freedom"

A 'letter to editor' from someone canceling their subscription to Reason:

It should be apparent to every libertarian that there is a profound difference between an allegation of racist sentiment and the advocacy of public policy and actions that actually cause harm to people. Despite the claims of the holier than thou crowd, all human beings harbor some prejudices. These include elitism, yokelism (see comments by Ayn_Randian on the Hit & Run blog to see what I mean), nationalism, racism, religious intolerance, homophobia, etc... From a libertarian perspective, all of these prejudices are benign until they are coupled with a willingness to use force to violate the rights of others. This distinction is apparently lost on many of the writers at Reason. Writers like Matt Welch and David Weigel remain baffled that all libertarians don’t share their petty obsession with the politically incorrect libertarians over at the Mises Institute. And yet, they think it is reasonable, even respectable, to give space to people who advocate for the anti-libertarian concept of aggressive, preemptive war. They also failed to be outraged that Reason magazine found room to print the thoughts of a woman whose malignant prejudice against Islam is so extreme that she believes that it is the duty of Western governments to suspend basic civil liberties in order to "defeat" it.

In the November 2007 issue, Reason published an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In it she states that there are no moderate Muslims, and therefore that all of Islam must be considered an enemy. In order to crush this enemy, she endorses an aggressive, preemptive military and cultural war against Islam. As part of this total war she insists that Western governments must close all Muslim schools and all Muslim churches. Interestingly, she believes that the welfare and immigration polices of the Dutch government play a large role in fostering the violent actions of some Muslims in her adopted country. She correctly notes the absurdity of forcing taxpayers to fund "public schools" that, according to her, preach violence and hatred of others. She is also correct to point out that it is a lot easier to pursue violence if you don’t have to worry about getting a job. Thus, her profoundly illiberal views, advocating the annihilation, through government force, of an entire religion, are deeply influenced by her perception of the adverse affects of the immigration and welfare policies of Europe. The tragic irony here is that a woman who appears, in most respects, to be a remarkable and moral person, has embraced virulent prejudice against an entire group of people, in part because of the effect of Europe’s welfare and immigration policies.

Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul have all argued that open immigration and a welfare state cannot co-exist. During his campaign, Ron Paul repeatedly stressed that current welfare policies create resentment and hostility directed toward some immigrants, usually the poorest and neediest. Thus he believes that our perverse and immoral welfare system must be changed in order for liberal and expansive immigration to be desirable or practical. During an interview last year, Nick Gillespie acknowledged the views of Friedman and Rothbard on immigration, and did not challenge them. Still, he chose to present Ron Paul’s position in the worst possible light. Apparently, Mr. Gillespie possesses psychic powers. What else could explain his suggestion that Dr. Paul was being dishonest when describing his objections to our current welfare and immigration policies? According to Mr. Gillespie, Dr. Paul was really just pandering to a populist fear of "brown" people. This characterization was especially petty and dishonest as Mr. Gillespie needed to look no further than the pages of his own magazine to find a dramatic example of precisely what Dr. Paul describes.

Like communism, the cult of libertarianism, and the loud cheers for equality and 'freedom' are remarkably selective, and seem to favor, well, who?. What's the common thread here? Why the aggressive vaguely Marxist support of destroying particular religions?

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