Walter Block, I'm on Your Side

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Last week,
I read with much august your article Religion
and Libertarianism
. As a Jewish convert to the Baha’i Faith,
I often feel marginalized by Jews who feel that joining another
religion is a form of abandonment. Likewise I feel marginalized
by the many members of majority religions I’ve met who view the
6,000,000 Baha’is as irrelevant or wrongly guided.

Though the
Baha’i Faith is the second most widespread religion in the world,
you can count on us being an overwhelming minority in whichever
city, country or geographical area we reside. In many localities
Baha’is enjoy religious freedom, though in Iran in particular, repression
of the Baha’i Faith is official government policy. Just last month,
the authorities once again
arrested six members
from the national coordinating group for
"security reasons," whatever that means.

are always one step away from being an endangered species. In autocracies,
they’re at the whim of whatever dictator is in charge and in democracies
they can be voted out of official existence just like two wolves
can outvote one sheep on what’s for dinner.

The smallest
minority of all is the individual, and he can always be outvoted
in groups of three or more. That is why the promulgation of human
rights is of the utmost importance in this age, because principally
it protects each of us — no matter what our beliefs are — from unnecessary
harm and molestation. Your right to life and liberty should never
be put to a vote. Sure you might be a Christian, but what if you’re
a Christian in Darfur right now? You’d be all for the compulsory
acceptance of the Golden Rule at that point.

So Walter Block,
I am on your side; I am on the side of humanity that venerates human
rights, no matter what humans we are talking about or where they
are found. Under the wide tent of libertarianism, a staunch atheist
and a devoted Baha’i can come together and point to something and
say, "that is not just." I would protect your rights to
be an avowed atheist just as I’m sure you’d protect my rights to
worship God. We both believe that each human is born with God-given,
or in your case, natural, rights.

Though composed
of theists and atheists, libertarians are united in our incredible
faith. As Paul the Apostle said, "Now faith is the essence
of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen." Unlike
statists, libertarians have faith that humanity has the ability
to find solutions to its problems without the aid of a state-approved
plan backed by the threat of coercion. We believe that the people
of this world will cooperate peacefully and aid one another voluntarily
and generously with a kind and radiant heart if given a chance.
We believe that new technologies and scientific discoveries will
be made that would improve the entire lot of civilization without
the necessity of taxes, regulations, or government programs. Our
common belief is that we recognize the dignity and nobility of humankind.

So thank you
Walter for your encouraging letter. I am delighted to know that
I am your friend, and most assuredly I am yours. My hope is that
all believers and non-believers alike will cultivate a level of
acceptance that matches yours. It is an utter necessity in a world
plagued with the disunifying forces of nationalism, racism, and
religious bigotry.

Cordially yours,
Todd Steinberg

24, 2008

Todd Steinberg
[send him mail] works with
his family at a wholesale
teddy bear company
in Dallas. In his spare time he is furiously
working on his cartoon, "Don't Tell My Wife I'm a Cult Leader,"
which he plans to unleash on the Internet and beyond in 2008.

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