Liberal-tarian Persuasion: Progressives and Libertarians Unite!

A funny thing happened in ’72. Tho I’m from a conservative Republican background, I voted for McGovern, having briefly become a “liberal socialist” after learning about Vietnam treachery. And then I read about and accepted anarchism for a few years. Fred Woodworth out of Tucson had a little zine called “The Match!” “for light and heat” and he reasoned very persuasively. Fred had written up a Q&A leaflet. One of the Qs was: Why call your philosophy anarchism instead of a more acceptable term like libertarianism? He said part of the answer was that the latter tend to justify “limited government," which always has a habit of not staying limited.

After later reading None Dare Call It Conspiracy, I modified my philosophy to conservative anarchism, as I felt that liberals and socialists were unrealistic about problems and dangers of communism. I got into quasi-Christian Quaker-like spiritualism and tried to prepare with others for a time after the expected collapse of society, when we’d be free to start a better society based on helping the poor, needy, orphans et al. I stopped using the term anarchism in the 80s, as it seemed too offensive to people. In the 90s I found that my favored religion at that time was based partly on fraud, so I started reading on Messianic Judaism/Christianity. I also started reading seemingly better conspiracy theories, like Leonard Horowitz’s Emerging Viruses: Aids and Ebola and Anton Chaitkin’s Treason in America. More on that anon.

Authoritarianism is the use of force, or the threat of force, to keep members of a group or society under the power of a person or clique. I was raised under that system, in family, school etc, but I started to stop buying into it by ’72. In my recent religious studies I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that Christianity is apparently supposed to be entirely anti-authoritarian too, which I now consider to mean libertarian, as per the title of my recent LRC article. In the recent book I compiled, The World Needs Miracles, with the help of many LRC writers and some progressive, I try to show Christian readers how much Jesus and his followers opposed authoritarianism [including imperialism]. Such efforts to persuade others can involve domination [threat of force, deception, peer pressure, ridicule, or other kinds of pressure to conform by threat of embarrassment etc are included in this means of persuasion], or they can be based more meaningfully on love and unselfish desire to cooperate in God’s will for us. I hope we can stick to the latter; otherwise we’re hypocrits.

From Horowitz’s and Chaitkin’s books above, I learned that fascism and imperialism are just as serious dangers to society as communism was. All are forms of authoritarianism and all are accustomed to using covert actions and deception, as well as overt brute force, to achieve their inhumane ends. They are likely behind most major unnatural atrocities that happen in most nations. Gary North pointed out in an LRC article that the Bible accuses worldly leaders of conspiracy, plotting against God and Jesus [and followers]: Ps. 2:1–3 and Acts 4:25–26.

In our Miracles book article, called Overcoming Corruption in Science Etc., I wrote as follows:

The Roman Church, which had succumbed to the Beast and promoted wars and cruel inquisitions and hyprocricies, had some members who were inspired later to reform, due in part to the influence of the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance. Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa founded a movement in Europe to promote true knowledge and governments that promote the common good of the people [commonwealth] in conformity with Jesus’ message about loving our neighbors and our enemies. The cardinal helped in founding modern Science, as well as good government. His idea was that the only rightful governments are those that promote the common good of their people, which was the basis of Natural Law. And science was meant also to improve conditions for the people’s greater good.

Cusa’s “commonwealth” movement culminated in the establishment of some of the English colonies in North America in the 1600s and ultimately in the United States. However, British and other imperialism loyalists, could not be weeded out of the new states and said loyalists used covert means to usurp power frequently, up to the present time. In 2001, looking for anti-imperialists to work with politically, I joined forces with liberals, now called progressives, after I read Chaitkin’s book. They’re about the only Democrats who are as opposed to imperialism and war as are LRC libertarians.

It seems to me that progressives and libertarians need to have a meeting of minds to find ways to work together to have greater influence on society. What are the prospects? What can progressives and libertarians agree on and not agree on?

Authoritarianism – I think both are very largely against it. That’s why both tend to oppose war and imperialism and why progressives also support human rights pretty aggressively.

Income Taxes – Progressives are likely more willing to favor taxes, but mainly on the rich. I think they can be persuaded though that “taxes” should be entirely voluntary, since they’re already disposed to non-authoritarianism.

Import Taxes – Libertarians are likely not to favor these, while progressives probably would. If people have a right to form self-government, then they have a right to agree among themselves to use means to protect their vital industries from unfair competition from outsiders. My next point is about how such agreements can be made.

Majority Rule – I suggest that the only proper government is that based on unanimous rule, also called consensus decision making, or sociocracy. This is suggested in Mat. 20:25–28 etc, where Jesus said his followers would not use authoritarian methods like those of the Gentiles. All minority and majority rule, except unanimous rule, is authoritarian. So only unanimous rule could fulfill Jesus’ prescription. “Taxes” would then be okay, if decided by unanimous consent. Consensus may seem impractical, but Quakers and others have been improving such methods for over 350 years, and a variation called sociocracy [which means society rule] has shown a great deal of promise in improving effectiveness of all kinds of groups. One key is to divide large groups into “circles” of 10 to 15 each. Another is to use efficient meeting formats. Small groups can achieve unanimity on many issues without much problem.

Crime – Progressives and libertarians seem likely to favor decriminalizing many, except the most serious, of behaviors that endanger individuals and society. There are some pro-life progressives and probably a larger percentage of pro-life libertarians, but both seem to disfavor criminalizing abortion, maybe with the exception of partial-birth “abortion." Both also seem to disfavor considering drug abuse a crime.

Infrastructure, property rights, environment – Infrastructure, i.e. structure needed for transportation, communication, power etc, is important to allow maximum human population and power in any area [By power I mean human power to improve living conditions for all]. The Bible seems to advise maximum human population and power on earth and maybe beyond. It says to be fruitful and multiply and to subdue [or make good use of] the earth. It also says we should take good care of the earth. Paul Stitt, a research biochemist, said in his 70s book, Fighting The Food Giants, that the earth could easily feed 20 billion human beings and I think he was right [And I favor space colonization for expanding pupulation paid for by voluntary “taxes”]. A billion authoritarian humans on earth is too many, but 20 billion non-authoritarian ones may not be. Acts 2:44 and 4:32 etc suggests that Jesus’ followers should hold all things in common. This may refer just to ministers, who follow in the role of the Levites. But we’re all told to love our neighbors and enemies and to avoid greed. I think eminent domain would not be permissible under Jesus’ system, but land users would have to agree on any community use of their land. Israel was divided among the 12 tribes, so similarly dividing other lands may be okay.

Any complaints? With so much in common and so much influence to gain from unity, isn’t it time for progressives and libertarians to unite? And if they can unite, what label could they call themselves?

November 19, 2005