conservative politics « Cork Irish


 

In these circumstances, I do not believe the Church of England can reform itself from within. The physical and financial resources of our Church are being abused by people who have wormed their way into an organisation whose traditional values they have never espoused. The reformation of the Church, therefore, must become a political issue. The General Synod must be closed down; the heretical bishops, the openly immoral priests and the female “priests” must be defrocked; the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, together with an authorised collection of solemn and patriotic hymns, must be reimposed on the church. The loss of so many heretical clergymen would leave many a parish without a minister, but any male member of the congregation can lead a service of Choral Matins, a traditional service that has regrettably faded away in the modern Church. The pretence of a religious faith to oppose these changes should be greeted with contempt. We may not believe in the literal truth of the Bible, but English patriots do believe in the holiness of the culture that Christianity created in this country; we need to restore that and start providing succour to our people in every parish once again.

conservative politics « Cork Irish

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78 responses to “conservative politics « Cork Irish

  1. SG – the actual link to this article is http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/1124 . It is one of my favourite articles I have written. I am utterly distressed by what has happened to the CoE. The £7bn of funds the Church Commissioners manage was derived from Queen Anne’s Bounty and other donations down the centuries. The people who made those donations would be surprised to see the people who are funded by those monies today! If it is not possible to reform the church, then I would tend towards simply closing it down – recognising that what was culture had now faded into heritage, and using the monies to support the upkeep of the buldings – not one more church to become a mosque! – with the buildings made available for tasteful community events (weddings and other things) for the English community. Perhaps we could see just how many churches we could meaningfully keep open, eg by handing as many churches over to a “continuing Anglican” group to conduct services using the BCP and the KJV. Maybe we could just keep the cathedrals going and deal with the parish churches as I have said.

    I don’t actually believe in the religion. But as I make clear in my article, I think the truth of Christianity is a red herring. Those 11 year old boys who nearly killed each other in the woods near me (with one saying, “you go now and I’ll just lie hear and die”) – wouldn’t they have been better off with Sunday school etc teaching a bit of superstition but solid values too?

    Another organisation I admire is the Boys’ Brigade, which aims to provide scouting style activities in a Christian framework to boys. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJkHkUw0tKk for a nice video of the Boys Brigade playing and singing Love Divine – if I were prime minister, I would do all I could to encourage that sort of culture!

  2. “lie here” not “lie hear” of course…

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  4. I protest that you MUST believe in the literal truth of the Bible, because unless the Bible is seen as such, as instruction of fact, then the faith once delivered to the saints, the faith which today is seeing our sister in Christ in Pakistan under threat of execution for believing that which we do, for “insulting Islam”, unless we have the faith for which we should die, then the house you want to rebuild will be a museum. The Church of England is apostate – the Church IN England is alive and well and meets under many names. As for the Cof E it is a political institution. the Corpus Christi is an invisible organism which has the Spirit of God. You can have all the ceremony and solemnity of religion (as a non conformist I must reject priests of male or female gender simply because Paul does in his epistle to the Hebrews) you like – but unless the Holy Spirit is there, the power will be gone. We are fighting a war on all fronts, the world, the flesh and the devil; the latter in the form of the Beast (government) and the False Prophet (go figure). So while I totally agree the CofE needs to be exorcised, rebuilding a model on the basis of the CofE will not work in any way other than socially. I understand your desire, but the undermining of the veracity of the scripture crept into the world in Genesis 3 when the serpent hissed “has God said?” to Eve, and it flooded the world in the 19th century in the form of higher criticism. It rotted the theological colleges which in turn debased the faith and produced men such as the idiot druid now in the seat of Canterbury. But I agree with your desire to return to the old paths. Next essay test perhaps “Can a fundamentalist Christian be a Libertarian?”
    perhaps as Paul said “I can do all things in Christ but not all things are expedient!”

  5. What is happening to the CoE is very sad. It has become Oxfam at prayer. A refuge for weak kneed pinkoes who couldn’t cope with real life, where the Guardian is more of a guiding light than the Bible. In fact the Bibles verses are often seen as embarassing by many of the CoE.

    I have no answers, i think the fact that the CoE is becoming such an irrelevance in peoples lives so rapidly speaks for itself, the only thing i really care about in relation to the CoE now is the maintanence of the beautiful old Churchs and Cathedrals. I’m a little surprisd that no one in the CoE has yet suggested pulling them down or giving them to the Muslims. (or maybe they have and i just haven’t heard)

  6. When I was up, I spent a lot of my second and third year motor-bicycling about the UK, photographing medieval churches and cathedrals from many angles. I chose a lot of random poor little ones too, which people had not really heard of.

    My brief to myself was: “If this building was to fall down, could my photos help to reconstruct it?” I shot at least 100 pics of every church or chapel I visited: many rather unknown and rural. For a cathedral, about 500. I spent 7 hours at Lincoln for example one day in August 1971.

    The negatives (for that’s what they are) all sit in my library, to this day. About 665,000. All filed. I never believed that they would be needed. It was a sort of exercise, and it pleased me, being slightly autistic as I am.

  7. That last comment was a but facetious. But I wanted people to know that the ability to rebuild a few of these old places resides in a private library, here. I’m sure there are others, and that I was not alone. My stuff, anyway, will be available, for no money, to anyone who asks.

    Less than 100 years ago, young men going Over the Top at the Somme, or Passchendaele, would have instinctively known what the Regiment’s Padre was for. Perhaps soldiers will always understand this sort of stuff. But it’s the others, in places like Bootle and Barnsley and Blackburn, that I worry about.

  8. Well, speaking as an atheist-

    I cannot feel sad about the decline of the Church, the “other state” of mediaeval times. I am not bitter about history; one cannot know if Europe sans Christianity would have been better or worse, or how it would have been at all. Without the uniting force of Christ, we may not have withstood the Islamic assault. But without Christianity, there would have been no Islam to repel. Swigs and roundabouts.

    I can appreciate the architecture and history embodied by the churches. History is a powerful emotional force. But I also remember that the grand architecture was paid for by monies extracted from the masses under threat of damnation (the “state” expropriates with the fear of what will be done to you in this world, the church with what will be done to you in the next). I can appreciate that Christian philosophy underpinned many positive moral aspects of our society, but also that it drove the growth of the anglosphere State. How much freer we would be without the statist, collectivist agitations of methodists and quakers, of evangelicals and the Sally Army!

    So as an atheist I do not regret the diminution of the god YHWH, the only still-worshipped son of El, the high god of the primitive Canaanites. I feel sad that after a millennium and a half of Christendom- after our ancestors were forced to worship this distant God, we now face a new evangelical invasion of his worshippers. I wonder how much difference there is, between a modern Englishman watching the mosques sprout everywhere, and a pagan Anglo-Saxon watching the churches arise. Perhaps a thousand years from now, our distant descendents will bemoan the abandonment of England’s traditional mosques.

    -but then, I am an atheist :)

  9. How is this libertarian? Fair enough leave everyone free to worship whatever bogey men in the sky that they like but what’s the state of one particular bunch of storytellers got to do with libertarianism?
    Worse still the article is full of ban this, force them to do that crap. You want it different start another church like everyone else has done throughout history.
    If the justification for the appearance of this on a libertarian site is something to do with the necessity of values and morality then I’m off. Morality has nothing to do with religion.

  10. I thought Libertarians believed in freedom of speech. Shean is not the High Panjandrum, he is not the Grand Inquisitor. He is a disappointed Anglican. Surely he has a right to express his ideas on this forum or is it a thought crime? Are there subjects which you, as a Libertarian, would ban from this site as topics of conversation? Sounds more like Labour or the Commie Ron Party to me.

  11. I agree absolutely Mr. Watson.
    The author is free to express anything anywhere. I’m questioning the relevance.
    If I had a political blog but wanted to post a critique of Nigella’s latest recipe I would probably not put it on the political blog. I would find somewhere more relevant such as a cookery forum for example.
    Personally I think religion should be kept separate from politics. I didn’t demand this blog change I merely said I would ‘be off’. They’re free to write what they like and I’m free to read what I like. I like rational libertarian arguments which is what originally attracted me here. I don’t see much rationality in religion and I don’t see much libertarianism either.

  12. It is highly relevant. A libertarians society without a common culture is a non-starter. It would take a whole essay, or book, to explain this, but this is a fundamental point that needs to be addressed and explained by someone. The level of crime requires or is used to justify state intervention. So does the breakdown of the family (it would be difficult to leave all the Jeremy Kyle show participants with nothing to live on overnight). I am afraid that atheism is part of the mix of ideologies that has allowed the British elite to debunk Britain’s traditional culture – and move into managerialism instead. If you don’t see the link, I would suggest reading my two articles on religion (http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/1124) and managerialism (http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/1423) first before commenting further. Unfortunately, most people’s views are just a reflection of those of the elite. Will and Ian B are atheists because the BBC told them to be, not because they arrived at the position themselves. It is funny how the people whose views are picked up from the media usually believe themselves to be superior beings who have adopted their views by independent cogitation…

  13. “If the justification for the appearance of this on a libertarian site is something to do with the necessity of values and morality then I’m off. Morality has nothing to do with religion.”

    Will, that is a powerful justification for a large state, if you could only understand what you were writing.

  14. Some relevant information can also be found in my article on morality at http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/404#more-404

  15. I am aware that the secularisation of society transfers power from the church to the managerial elite. This is merely one form of authority vs another. pushing to reestablish the dominance of religious values doesn’t seem to be part of what I understand as libertarianism. It seems much closer to traditional conservatism. Yes you may feel greater individual liberty under the authority of your church but I would argue that we would all enjoy even greater liberty if religion had no authority.
    I agree, Society does need shared values, but this does not necessitate shared culture or shared religion. Humans are perfectly capable of living under a self evident code of ethics. These don’t have to be imposed by a higher authority be it spiritual or political. ‘the family’ has nothing to do with religion. Individuals form relationships and families because it is natural human behaviour.Criminals ignore secular laws what makes you think they would follow religious ones?
    Conservative religious types always seem eager to hijack libertarianism in order to regain authority.
    I will read your other articles because I have an open enquiring mind which is how I arrived at libertarianism. Rational philosophical individualism is behind my anti statism not conservative Christianity. I would leave you free to do as you like on the proviso it harms noone else and I would expect the same in reciprocation.
    Ps it seems something both you, I and from his posts on another forum I suspect Ian B agree upon is the manipulation of the masses through the media. For your information I no longer own a television partly because I had little interest in the mix of garbage and propaganda it provided but mostly because I came to object to the license fee on principle.
    Also I would like to point out that you would do better to use channel 4 as an example of atheist propaganda as C4 broadcasts professor Dawkins whilst the BBC has songs of praise and thought for the day.

  16. Will, I scanned your message – enough to realise you hadn’t read the articles I told you to read. I haven’t got time for timewasters, reiterating their views in a dialogue of the deaf.

  17. I’m quite surprised that someone so zealous about preserving the Book Of Common Prayer, the Authorised Version of the Bible and the continuity of the Church Of England as the church of the Conservatives should in the same breath express doubt about the inerrancy of Scripture or the deity of Christ. I’d never go so far as to suggest that the Bible as it is (in the KJV or any other version for that matter) is perfectly translated – or even that the oldest manuscripts are the same as the very first ones. What I would assert however is that it’s not the Bible that’s flawed: it’s the hermeneutical understanding of theologians and expositors that is open to suspicion. But the body of our understanding of its main message is sufficient to amke us ‘wise unto salvation’. As for the divine nature of Christ – that’s not negotiable.
    As an evangelical Anglican, I find articles like this quite at odds with my own perceptions as an insider; they appear as a reaction to the modern – usually by those who don’t darken the doors of a church unless they have to. However, I recognise that there are those within its ranks who are anxious to kowtow to the current secular obsessions – but that’s the price to pay for belonging to a state church…

  18. Terribly sorry you didn’t have time to read my comment in which I said I would read your articles. You’re right dialogue must be overrated. Why don’t I leave you to sermonise in unchallenged monologue. Let’s have your theocratic flavoured ‘libertarian’ conservative state and let noone question your divine authority.

  19. Will and Ian B are atheists because the BBC told them to be,

    Well, I’ve seen some ludicrous assertions in my time, but that really takes the biscuit. Does it ever occur to you that you are a theist because the Church told you to be? No, of course it doesn’t.

  20. to dj. ive just got home and, as promised, clicked through your links to read the recommended articles. turns out i had already read your one about managerialism when you published it a few days ago. i thought it was good sense then and i still do now.
    however the other two pieces on religion and morality are nothing to do with libertarianism. they talk about the conservation of traditional values and Tory-ism. just be honest about it and admit you want to turn back time to 1930′s classical liberalism.
    the libertarian movement, whilst sharing the ideal of liberty with classical liberalism, is far more individualist than the old elitist Tory state. you seem to be chasing an increase in your own liberty at the expense of others. where is the live and let live approach? the only shared values required for libertarian society are the non-aggression principle and the respect of property rights. there need be no commandments regarding homosexuality or marriage.

  21. Chris R. Tame was an avowed and outspoken atheist.

    I’m sure he would be commenting on the essay under discussion. I am left wondering what the poor carpenter in Galilee would make of the vast organizations purporting to speak in his name.

    Tony

  22. I really don’t whether Chris R. Tame believed in God or not. Most people’s views are formed by the opinion formers, and he would have been subject to many of the same influences. And he is dead. As Jesus said, “let the dead bury their dead”….

    Look, the facts of science are whatever they are – I am not sure they fully disprove a God, but they cast great doubt on the veracity of traditional religion. So it’s no wonder Chris R. Tame didn’t believe in it – but still, the media and education system would still be the conduit through which he received those opinions. We cannot actually jump out of society.

    Actually, despite some people posing as “believers” in this thread – including one, frankly mendacious “evangelical” Christian who has no problem being in an openly heretical and apostate organisation (er? whatever!!! but you are no evangelical!), the truth is that no one believes in God nowadays, including the priests and the worshippers.

    Some people like to pretend to, as I have done – I like the sentiment of it – and I appreciate the architecture and hymns. We have some of the problems of ancient Israel: “Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies.” I quite agree. I look forward to the fulfilment of this prophecy.

  23. How breathtakingly arrogant of you to assume you know the minds of all those who claim to believe. I go to an independent Church where around 100 men women and children worship God each week. I believe in God – I have seen God change lives and He has changed mine. Ridicule us for believing in the Old Paths but please don’t make statements such as “no one believes in God nowadays” – millions do.

  24. I have seen God change lives and He has changed mine

    Interesting. I would challenge you, or any other religious believer, to present a single item of objective evidence that God has changed any aspect of existence in any way. It is certainly the case that believing in God can change a person’s life, for good or ill, but that is not the same as the claim that God Himself has effected any measurable change.

    Such a demonstration would silence us atheists forever. Why is God so coy? He used to do pillars of fire and plagues and raising the dead and all kinds of exciting practical demonstrations. What happened to God?

  25. He became flesh and dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth. The simple fact my friend, is that you are not one of His.
    John 10
    The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

    22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
    25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

  26. I’ll take that as an admission of defeat then.

  27. Well, this is a right firestorm of a debate! But that’s one of the reasons for this blog. People who spend enough time arguing with each other are often well placed to co-operate with each other when the time comes.

  28. Does Dj have any convictions? a conservative who believes more in the social collective than the individual – noone is capable of independent thought. and now he reveals he merely pretends to believe in a religion that he no longer feels a part of. so after the religion has changed to better suit his non beliefs he then wants society and politics to change and reflect dj-ism because this proscriptive morality will be libertarian?
    why not brand me an unthinking tool of the progressive elite again along with the other dissenters both atheist and believers.

  29. Peter Watson, you did not quote the authorised version of the Bible. I don’t recognise any other version as correct.

  30. Oh, good grief.

  31. John 1:13-15 (King James Version)

    13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

    John 10

    14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

    15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

    17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

    18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

    19There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

    20And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

    21Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

    22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

    23And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

    24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

    25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

    26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    30I and my Father are one.

    31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

    Happy now or just nit picking?

    Sigh. Well, atheist dudes (as Bill and Ted would say) – live with your choice. I am happy to live with mine and shake the dust off my feet.

  32. Since we on here are all probably libertarians of vairous kinds, it probably doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree about The Nature of God. When it comes to fighting GramscoStaliNazis on the barricades (as it one day might) we will all be one one side and they on the other. There is really only one deep strategic divide.

    When I think IanB is trying to point out is that organised religion, particularly in the Anglosphere, takes on (whether it actively wants to nor not) the mantle of quasi-statehood and establishment self-righteousness.

    This is despite Peter W’s point stressing how some 100-odd random people regularly get together simply to comprehend the Glory of God, and to delight in Him and how He enriches their individual lives. I know they do this, because I’ve been in there with him. I didn’t go much for their Minister’s shirt and tie-ensemble, or the way the Host was simply passed round the pews: for I am a disappointed Anglican/Catholic, rather like Sean, and I want to see a bit of solemnity, the odd procession, some smells and bells maybe, and a bit more symbolism. But any atheist watching those people would have to agree that they meant what they felt and said.

    Russell Brand the other day on the Beeb, interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, said quite categorically that he believes in God. That’s not to say that Ian and you others, or Chris Tame, need to if you don’t want to. But he also said he prays, and that he sees it as his way of trying to simply be a better person. You’ll find the link on Captain Ranty, or on my facebook page a few posts down.

    I take issue with Peter on one point: Peter, you seem to imply that according to John-1, Jesus Christ says that there are “his” people and “others”…I quote from KJV:-

    “25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

    26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    30I and my Father are one.”

    Perhaps atheists take this sort of passage (which may have lost something in the serial translations from the original Hebrew, through Greek, through Latin and then to early modern English…) as meaning that if one does not “believe”, then one will go to hell. It sort of does not look good. My poor old sad Labanese-presbyterian mother was like that: “…If you do nutt go to churrch each Sunday, Gord will SMITE you!” She was a classic example of what IanB and others find wrong with Anglosphere “muscular-Christianity”. On the other hand, the opposite kind as promote by the current Asse-Hatte-of-Canterbury, is equally pernicious. John Sentamu would be an improvement at least (do you agree Peter?! LOL)

    I may be a libertarian, but as a scientist I find that the more science I learn and discover over the years, the more I agree that the purpose of science is to comprehend and marvel at The Glory of God. (And the “creationists” have got the totally wrong end of the stick.)

  33. 1 – Jesus when he said this was addressing the people He had spoken to – most of them were “religious” people.
    2 – Most atheists have never heard the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed “the acceptable Day of the Lord” – therefore by rejecting religion they do not necessarily reject the Gospel for how many religious leaders ever now discuss the “Four Last Things” ?
    3 – The Bible clearly teaches that those who deny the existence of God are both stupid:
    Psalm 14
    –To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
    1 The fool has said in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt,
    They have done abominable works,
    There is none who does good.
    and guilty

    Romans 1
    God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    but there is something we must bear in mind – and you are unlikely to hear THIS in a Cof E Church service – Many people who claim to belong to Christ are going to be disappointed when they run into Him. Matthew 7
    I Never Knew You

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    However SOME people are going to be equally surprised when they meet Him because they didn’t know they knew Him; but He knows them:

    MATTHEW 25
    31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    No one comes to the Father except via Christ – but how can a man reject someone he has never heard of? If a false gospel is preached then a man who rejects a false gospel cannot be guilty.

  34. Life is an act of faith. The atheist scientist is engaging in an act of faith.
    What gave rise to the Big Bang?
    My question as to how order can occur spontaneously in randomness has not yet been answered beyond the point of accepting that order was just there, and then modified to conform with that order (evolution).
    I don’t demand that the atheist examine the ground on which he bases the faith that enables him to engage in day to day activity.
    But if he challenges the existence of God, because it is believing in myths and fairy stories, then he needs to understand the faith base of his own existence.
    The Lord Jesus turned my life around.
    It was not just believing “something, anything”.
    I had tried that.
    It was not until I accepted Jesus as my Saviour that I found peace.

  35. I think this thread has been hijacked.

  36. Oh.
    How does that work?

  37. “I think this thread has been hijacked.”

    Deus Volt!

    Tony

  38. Aye Tony.
    If some of us had been then, and had been believers in the Lord Jesus, well might we have gone off on the Crusades and thereby enabled those who would attack God a millenium later: “See those people who believe in God. They do wars, rape, burn and murder. Huh! Call your selves Christians?!”
    Truth is indeed a fine line.
    But not impossible.

  39. The Crusades were a desperate attempt by Western Christendom to shore up the ancient, pre-Islamic Christian societies in the Middle and Near East, against militant pre-capitalist-barbarians, intent on hijacking stuff, in the name of a “religion”.

    I’m sorry. Islam is NOT a religion: it is a typical warlord’s desert-survival-guide. If we look at what the Koran says in that light, it makes sense. It also contains all the software (and directions for set-up) for executing foreign policy positions against neighbouring competitor-groups for resources, such as women, children, slaves and food-beasts.

    I am 110% prepared to forgive “ordinary Muslims” for being taken in by this stuff. They are not the chief-finger-men who live or die and whose statuses stand or fall by the mass-swallowing of its strictures or not. Specifically the young men, or a lot of them here, just want to be accepted as ordinary Secular-Western girl-shaggers. Most of the others just want to be left alone, like us.

    What I will never, ever forgive, and never ever fail to oppose and execrate, is the posture adopted by Western (anti-liberal) GramscoStaliNazis of “ethnic origin” (which is to say: here – I was once asked if I was of “ethnic origin” by a British bureaucrat – I said…”yes, I //am// human” (it was not understood, and ice formed on the bureaucrat’s upper slopes)) who persist in using “respect for” false religions and false gods as a weapon to undermine liberalism (on purpose – you just knew I’d say that….)

  40. dj | 7 December, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    I think this thread has been hijacked

    this thread has not been hijacked. you may not agree with anyone and noone seems to agree with you but it is all completely relevant to the original article. if you write a religious article then expect the comments to be religious and anti religious and the whole discussion to focus on religion. also expect some of the religious comment to disagree.
    as i originally said your article has nothing to do with libertarianism but you started all this by bringing your beliefs into it.
    there was a discussion here a few days back where commenters strongly denounced the Freeman movement for giving libertarianism a bad name. similarly in the US opponents of liberty use the conspicuous religiousness of some libertarians against the movement as a whole.
    i cant describe myself as a libertarian if this kind of sarah palin religious stuff is going to be considered a legitimate part of politics.
    libertarianism is incompatible with religious statism let alone dependent on it.
    seriously ask yourself ‘am i in favour of liberty? am i in favour of liberty for myself? am i in favour of liberty for all?’ because again you cannot have on without t’other. if you want to be free to worship one thing then you will have to allow others to worship what they like – whether they are female clergy, homosexuals or anyone else who doesnt fit your ‘shared culture’. if i dont fit am i not libertarian? will i be deported for reading the ‘wrong’ bible or even not reading it at all!
    im not saying religious people cannot be libertarians and who am i to make that distinction anyway. all i am saying is that it has nothing to do with religion one way or the other. libertarianism is not an anti religious ideology and neither is it a religious ideology. keep religion and politics separate. one form of coercion is more than enough.

  41. Unfortunately one can not separate religion from politics – all men have a faith of some sort. One may of course separate church and state as they do in the USA but one will never have a clean political sheet to work from as all men worship something even if that something is merely himself. The climate changers are highly political and extremely religious to the point of fanaticism found in cults; vide

    Finally – the Enviro-Nazis come clean in Cancun
    Dr. Michael Youssef – Guest Columnist – 12/8/2010 10:00:00
    I have said for years that all of those environmentalist fanatics are more concerned about nature-worship religion than anything else. The zeal and fervor with which they worship their gods puts the average Christian worshiper to shame. Their commitment to the tenets of their religion is so extreme that they are willing to see the entire world industry and economy collapse, if need be, in order to please their nature, fertility, and earth gods.

    At a recent climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, these environmental extremists finally came clean and unashamedly called upon a Mayan goddess known as Ixchel. In her opening statements to conference attendees, Cristiana Figueres, the U.N. kahuna of climate change, called upon the goddess of creativity, weaving, and reason to inspire them.

    In a Washington Post article entitled, “Cancun Talks Start with a Call to the Gods,” Figueres is quoted as saying: “May she [Ixchel] inspire you because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together elements of a solid response to climate change….”

    I am a man of faith – I also loathe big government, but I am unable to claim my body is mine over which I am sovereign, which is logically necessary if one is to be true to Libertarianism, because my belief is based on the Bible which I regard as the Word of God. As the Bible states clearly that as aa believer in Christ – 1 Corinthians 6
    17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

    18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

    19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    So the debate, triggered by Sean’s love of the Church of England as was, has made clear the differences between Libertarians. I do not think a Palinesque political person could be a Libertarian whereas a Pauline (as in Ron) conservative can be. I am Libertarian but not libertine. It is religion which divides the two.

  42. Politics and Religion should be kept separate in their workings. You will find religious people being politicians, of course.
    Every person should be free to believe and do whatever they choose within the restraints of not imposing on the freedom of others.
    I believe in God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I know that Jesus can bring healing and benefit to anyone’s life, so I may try and communicate that fact.
    But everyone is, of course free to believe and think what they choose.
    Jesus did not try to coerce anyone, just present them with facts.
    We are all individually free and individually responsible and I have no right at all to try and coerce or manipulate anyone.
    All one can do is present facts as one sees them.
    Any attempt to subvert anyone else’s responsibility is to do a dis-service to the truth/reality.

  43. two very interesting points Peter which have challenged something i thought beyond question.

    I agree it is impossible to separate political rule from the beliefs of the ruler(s). (im making a distinction between political rule and political ideas) in order to explain why i dont see this as preventing a libertarian society i should probably admit that as an individualist (you could say anarchist or voluntarist) i dont compromise the principle of self ownership which, in turn, leads me to disagree with the principle of coercive rule itself. Thus i disagree with the dj vision of liberty under religious morals. dj is free to act in accordance with his ethical code so long as it does not harm me. likewise i am free to act in any way i wish providing i do not harm dj. in order to enforce or imprint dj’s religious moral code upon me he will necessarily have to resort to coercion if i refuse to voluntarily agree. so i contend that religion is difficult to reconcile with libertarianism.

    now the second point, which the first leads into, is something i had not considered. i had followed the idea of libertarianism to what i saw as its logical conclusion. through rational objectivity i thought (well, read and agreed anyway) we can reduce everything no further than the principle of self ownership. i took this as a self evident part of being human. if every aspect of social organisation was tested against this principle a libertarian and pluralist society would result. coercion and all its ill effects we rail against would be history. i had thought that this suited religious people ideally. absent coercion all would be free to their beliefs. the point you raise that i had not considered is that an individual might not believe he does have self ownership. as you say, “I am unable to claim my body is mine over which I am sovereign,” based on the bible saying (allow me to paraphrase) your body is given to you by god, is not your own and is god’s. that is a logical argument following from your belief in god. but is clashes massively with the principle of self ownership which you rightly identify as “logically necessary if one is to be true to Libertarianism.” im not trying to pick holes in what youre saying at all. i had never considered that point of view and how it could possibly fit into society based on the principle of self ownership.
    i dont think they can be reconciled. for me you own yourself and are free to consent into any belief system and/or ethical code you wish. without that original self ownership logically there could only be a singular belief and everyone would have to be forced into that belief. that would be a greater coercion and illiberty than current western statism.
    its a toughy

  44. Will, I would like to write an article about religion and freedom over the next week or so. I have some work (paid work) to do until Monday, and then I will address the subject. The subject requires more than a brief reply.

    You approach the question in the wrong way, saying “am I in favour of liberty? liberty for all? etc.” But liberty is just licence in the context of a society without a common culture – and this is why the state has stepped in. Is it your right to have the liberty to divorce your wife when your children are two years old and go and start another family? Why of course it is! The state will step in my child benefit, free schooling for the children (which you couldn’t afford if you were setting up and abandoning numerous families and had to pay for education yourself), free health for the children, the Child Support Agency, Adoption Agencies with their checklist of PC criteria for parents, parenting classes in school – and all the rest of it. I’m sure you know how the system works in England. Freedom as licence = bureaucratic control of an increasingly individuated society. It might be one answer to delete the state support for this type of irresponsible behaviour – you probably do support doing that. Whether that would provide a total answer, a complete return to the behavioural status quo ante, I don’t know. To be quite honest, it would be impossible to simply remove state support unless a moral movement to change behaviour had taken place first. The collapse of moral standards is great for the ruling elite – it means few “libertarians”, who enjoy irresponsibility as well as the next man, would really go for a restoration of standards. We don’t just have bread and circuses – we live in a virtual brothel as well. What’s not to like? We all like it! Do you want sex in the woods with someone you don’t know? Well, it’s available!

    Are you familiar with Philip Larkin’s poem, High Windows, which goes as follows (apologies for the expletives – they were in the original and help to make the point):

    When I see a couple of kids
    And guess he’s fucking her and she’s
    Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
    I know this is paradise

    Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives–
    Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
    Like an outdated combine harvester,
    And everyone young going down the long slide

    To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
    Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
    And thought, That’ll be the life;
    No God any more, or sweating in the dark

    About hell and that, or having to hide
    What you think of the priest. He
    And his lot will all go down the long slide
    Like free bloody birds. And immediately

    Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
    The sun-comprehending glass,
    And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
    Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

    [I don't fully understand the significance of the last stanza and would like help on that.]

    A free society is based on a great culture where most people know how to behave. Consequently, the preconditions for freedom don’t exist in our society. We have ASBOs, because we are at a cultural nadir. Let me tell you for nothing – that when I read of how English thugs – trash actually, garbage humans – urinated on a dying disabled woman and photographed it on their mobile phones – I relayed the story to Chinese friends as I was in China at the time. They couldn’t understand it. People in China are selfish and greedy to an extent unknown in the West [ie, they are less sanctimonious and self-righteous and more likely to nakedly struggle for their self-interests], but they don’t behave like that. I never met real chavs in China. I lived in a 27 storey apartment block, and talk about culture shock! – there was no urine, vomit or graffiti in the lift! You knew you weren’t in England!

    Look there are not just rights, but duties and responsibilities too.

    “If you want to be free to worship one thing then you will have to allow others to worship what they like – whether they are female clergy, homosexuals or anyone else who doesnt fit your ‘shared culture’”. Look! the church is just a quango. It has been infected by the same political campaigns. If someone wanted to set up a church accepted female clergymen etc – why didn’t they go and set one up – with their own money, and buying their own buildings? Instead they wormed their way in to control the proceeds of the £7bn of church funds collected over centuries, but largely from Queen Anne’s Bounty (Gawd bless ‘er!). The existing CofE has been taken over from within in a Gramscian manner. I am not stopping people from setting up a heretical church – but let them do it with their own money and in their own buildings.

  45. john B i think we’re in agreement here. im not suggesting anyone should be prevented from believing anything they like or communicating those beliefs – if, as im sure we all agree they dont harm another. this principle necessarily includes those who believe there is no god.
    it is the conflation of religion and the state / religion and the law in this article which i am saying is illiberal. voluntary belief cannot be suppressed by another libertarian but a coercive state based on beliefs is coercive nonetheless and must be criticised.

  46. I’ve sometimes wondered about the meaning of that final stanza. It is a meaning that I can feel – it just evaporates whenever I try to put it into words.

    Could it be the perception of the nothingness that exists for an atheist outside the social norms that he is beginning to think it wrong to beat down? Were people not more alive when they sweated about Hellfire? Is fucking a girl who has pills or a diaphragm really such a glorious thing.

    Remember that Larkin was sort of one of us.

  47. dj, I appreciate your time constraints so i wont expect a reply and i look forward to your article. i also appreciate you still engaging in debate despite my getting a little heated and disrespectful for which i apologise.

    ‘liberals’ call for the license to do as you wish with the back up of the social welfare state. as a libertarian i call for liberty not license – the natural mix of freedom and responsibility. i agree with you that the hedonistic valueless society is an opportunity for the state to increase its power under the pretense of assistance. but the breakdown in values is the result of socialist welfare statism not vice versa. i dont think the state stepped in after a break down in morals and values – i think the state caused this. yes its a self perpetuating cycle in which state involvement worsens the social situation and then uses the same sorry state of affairs to justify further power and meddling but the initiator is the state.
    the shared culture that preexisted welfare statism was a natural human evolution of ethics not an imposed religious order. complex social mechanisms had developed including stigma, respectability, reputation, familial approval etc. the power grab of the welfare state eradicated these responsibilities replacing them with the problems with which we are all too familiar.
    the irresponsibility would become impossible post welfare state. for example females would return to a more responsible assessment of partners looking beyond the irresponsible and unreliable alpha male etc. families and communities would provide the backup and so would have an interest in preventing irresponsible behaviour.
    youre right i would support the removal of state support. i no longer see it so much a question of if or how it could be made to happen rather how long till it inevitably happens. welfare statism is bankrupting itself and is unsustainable. when the money runs out so will the support and gone with it shall go the irresponsibility and social problems.
    IMO the Larkin poem does question the emotional value of empty pleasure seeking but i dont see this as being any concern of the state. yes if the results of this behaviour cost the state then there is an excuse to infringe people’s liberties to bring that overhead back under control but if there is no welfare state then what’s the problem. should the majority or an elite attempt to morally perfect a few deviant individuals?
    again i agree with you on the expropriation of state funds by the quango state church but again if it wasnt a nationalised church it wouldnt be a problem.
    i seem to agree with most of your last comment and, rereading your earlier comments, i think i might have mistaken you and gone off on a tangential rant against what i thought had been said (as usual). so apologies for any misunderstanding.

  48. Larkin was a pervert and couldn’t write lyrics as well as Lennon but meant the same thing. However we have a problem viewing the “freedom” from the other end of the telescope. I loathe the State. I utterly loathe it and wish God would come down and crush it to powder. When the state legislates in the name of “equality” (the Devil himself made that one up) and forces churches to take on practising and unrepentant homosexuals and women (priests) it violates the freedom of religion in that homosexuals or any other impenitent sinner MUST be disciplined by the Eldership or the “church” is not a Church in any New Testament or Biblical sense. Because one of the signs of a true church (body of believers) is the exercising of discipline towards sinners who are members of the congregation. Too, there are no priests in the church, neither male nor female, because the priesthood is done away with (Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews makes this clear). So I do not object to people pretending to be Christians and continuing to sin against God and nature and having services which truly are more like black masses, but I have a huge problem with the “State” (the beast in my theology) enforcing law which utterly goes against my faith and my theology. The problem is that unless the State merely functions to punish evil doers and protect the realm, once it invades the area of philosophy or theology or sociology (which is the socialist agenda) then the State can become the enemy of Christ and truth which it most certainly is now. I will not demonstrate outside the Hellfire Club or a homosexual rally, because those people have chosen their futures. But I will not stop sharing the Gospel with those who ask in order to satisfy an atheist State which supports the religion of the antiChrist by legislating against one of the major tenets of my faith “the sharing of the Good News”. And so in the end it will not be about Christians wearing crosses and praying being punished, it will be about crosses wearing Christians as one wore the First Christian because we are being persecuted by governments. Around 350,000 Christians are killed each year and no one in the MSM says BOO! So the separation of Church and State was established to protect religious freedom and now it is being used to protect the State and the AntiChrist. The weak point in Libertarianism is that “as long as it doesn’t hurt others” is too small a fig leaf to hide behind when “hurt” is allocated to any statement with which the “hurt” hearer disagrees. We are in truth now fighting fascism.

  49. Peter, we all know exactly what is meant by “hurt”. I often feel that you are manufacturing differences between your position and ours. In a free world, you can have your Community of the Godly, and you can proselytise all you like to fill it to bursting point. And you will respect the right of others to choose the Pit. Our common enemy is the State. This fact should always inform our debates, no matter how much heat they may generate.

  50. Will, you wrote: “breakdown in values is the result of socialist welfare statism not vice versa”. Actually, as an ex-Marxist I could say it is dialectical – welfare statism and the breakdown in values mutually reinforce and cross-fertilise each other. It is a fallacy to see direct logical relations in the social sciences. The state stepped in as the old morality had been intellectually debunked and the elite were casting round for a new basis for cultural hegemony. Morality broke down, state spending grew, egalitarianism (especially sex equality) became the normal philosophical point of view – all within the highly charged political circumstances of the Cold War, which allowed conservatives the lazy way out of thinking that “freedom” (licence, antinomianism) was the defining point of the West – but these were all going on at the same time, and the internal links between all of them are complex.

    Conversely, a group or party aiming to recreate the nightwatchman state could not gain power without a lot of political and cultural factors coinciding. It is not as if David Cameron could take power and announce “actually we favour state spending less than 7% of GDP, although it wasn’t in the manifesto, and so all benefits are abolished, but pits will be dug in the ground for the bodies of the starving who used to subsist on benefits and now suddenly have no money and no hope of finding a job in the recession”. Politics is actually the least important part – the final implementation phase that comes after intellectual debate and cultural change. It is not just withdrawal of benefits that suddenly re-establishes the fabric of society – the suggestion is absurd! You said the “initiator is the state” in touching off the dialectic of cultural decline. This gets it the wrong way round. The initiator is the corrosion of belief in the old culture.

    I used to belong to a Marxist group called the Revolutionary Communist Party, which has now abolished itself – but the remnants of the group are called the Institute of Ideas/Spiked online. I think SG will probably know or know of many members of this grouping (they maintain support for totally open borders – not all their positions are the same as ours). Their main theorist was called Frank Furedi at the University of Kent, and his book “Mythical Past, Elusive Future” really touched off intellectual ferment within the RCP, that led eventually to the party’s winding up. It is still worth reading now. He argued that the experience of the 1930s/1940s had seared the Western elite – the Great Depression, Fascism, Genocide, the 55m dead of the war, and that the experience of the 1930s was what lay behind the phenomena of the 1960s, when things began to change socially and culturally more quickly. What most conservatives could see visibly was the 1960s, and they railed against that decade, although the seeds were sown intellectually earlier on. I haven’t read that book for around 15 years, so you would have to read it to grasp the point being made. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mythical-Pasts-Elusive-Futures-History/dp/0745305318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291857914&sr=8-1 . Note that although the book claims to be written using Marxist methodology, a lot can be gained from it by conservatives.

    It is quite false to believe that all was fine in libertarian England, until one day, the government decided, for no particular reason, to expand state spending from 7% to nearly 50% of GDP, and all of a sudden social and cultural trends were touched off accidentally that led to the ripping up of the social fabric.

  51. ‘liberals’ call for the license to do as you wish with the back up of the social welfare state. as a libertarian i call for liberty not license – the natural mix of freedom and responsibility. i agree with you that the hedonistic valueless society is an opportunity for the state etc

    Well, I’m in favour of hedonism. It is the pursuit of happiness, and if it was good enough for the US Constitution it is good enough for me. These days I define myself not so much as libertarian as libertine; I do so because the Libertines were the opponents of the odious John Calvin’s regime in Geneva. The lead Libertine’s wife was arrested for dancing! Unacceptable “hedonism” to a Calvinist, a bit of fun to somebody sane.

    Puritism is the curse of the West. We did fine without it, then it ruled Britain for a hellish few years under Cromwell, then it was put aside again, but then Wesley, Wilberforce and sundry methodists, evangelicals and quakers dragged it back in again to ruin us in the ninteenth century, by the end of which the growth of the State was in full flood, to satisfy the Puritans’ demands for a moral state controlled by a mutaween.

    Hedonism is great. There is nothing “empty” about pleasure seeking; this is the madness of puritan thought, in which the only pleasure is the self-righteousness of strangling one’s own emotional drives. Hedonism might be beer and sex, it might be a nice meal with your family, or walking the dogs, or playing badminton. It’s whatever gives you joy.

    That miserable phrase “liberty not licence“, the word “licence” spat from between gritted teeth. It is heard too often from declared libertarians who end up espousing a philosophy that people can only have freedom if they promise not to use it. It’s ridiculous. The freedom to go to a tavern and get a bit pissed and have a dance with a painted strunpet is a fine thing. It was cartloads of puritan nutters who, determined to stop us having a laugh, invented, nurtured and now control the modern Anglosphere State.

    Social controls predated the welfare state. The State tooketh away long before it started to giveth on any scale. We will never be free again until we can expunge Cromwell’s ghost from our polity; and from our minds.

  52. And should such pleasure seeking include pederasty and or bestiality is it still “fine”? You advocate that which the Satanist Alistair Crowley advocated “Do what thou will shall be the only law”. While I abhor Calvin’s Theocratic State which led to the burning of Servetus and other crimes against Christ (Calvin was a Protestant Saul), I am totally against license and hedonism; they are the spawn of the devil, the children of the sixties and help to explain why the west aborts its successor generation as an act of post coital birth control, the number of divorces, unwanted pregnancies and illegitimate and unloved children. It is the ultimate enthronment as the self as God. I admit that I find irreconcilable ideas within Libertarianism and my theology and this is perhaps why Sean thinks I am nit picking. I do not seek to divide – I am an enemy of the State – period and would prefer to live under a benevolent and wise dictator or King such as Alfred or David but these seem strangely absent in our days. This has been a terrific debate so far. Thank you all for these -

  53. Dj – Coincidentally I have read something on spiked by Mr furedi himself

    http://www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/its_time_to_stand_up_for_courage_and_conviction/

    Can’t remember where I followed the link from. I just rescanned it and broadly speaking it too seems to be concerned with the state undermining values.
    I think we all agree that welfare vs responsibility fertilise and reinforce each other. I think society was fine before state involvement. What is now provided by coercion and fuels irresponsibility was previously provided by co-ops, mutuals, friendly societies and religious charities or straight commerce. all based on and reinforcing natural human values without any need for state involvement whether it be informed by religious values or not. After having reread everything on this page for the fiftieth time I now realise that isn’t what you were calling for. If I have finally grasped it You say we need this culture before people can realise the inessentiality of the state. I don’t think such cultural change is possible before the rollback/withering/collapse/overthrow of the state. This transition is the main challenge to opponents of statism. As you say no minarchist libertarian can gain power and effect such change. It seems it might not be such a challenge as statism is looking pretty shakey.
    Those enslaved by dependence on the welfare state won’t die. Withdrawal of handouts has always resulted in miraculous emergence of self reliance.
    The government does expand its power for almost no reason. It creates its own problem-solution loop that amplifies power. Ww1/2 – welfare – destroys social and individual self reliance – fuels irresponsibility and further increase in power – spending – prohibition.

    Ian B – I’m with you on the joys of hedonism. The examples so far raised of promiscuity, dogging, drink and drugs are all fine so long as noone is coerced. Peter by hurt I never mean offended. Jefferson (described by some as a theoretical anarchist) described himself as a philosophical epicurean – slightly less wanton than a hedonist but the restriction should be an individual choice.
    I hope my position has been almost clear and consistent that calvinists and puritans are free to self restrict their own liberty as are hedonists free to exercise theirs without any limit except the principle proviso that noone is coerced. So long as religious morals are not in the position of coercive power (and as some of us seem to have agreed that being an impossibility under human rule I argue there should be no coercive rule) all are free in libertopia! (slight mix of tongue in cheek self aware idealism and actual naieve idealism).
    that was my original reaction to the article which I now realise wasn’t calling for theocracy but moral change to foster an environment in which the state is unnecessary and liberty can prosper. I think perhaps its t’other way round but what with global bankruptcy I don’t think such transitional concerns are so obstructive.

    as an aside does anyone else ever feel they let down a philosophical position in debates by arguing imperfectly on its behalf? that’s no excuse to say such a position would have ‘won’ but I don’t feel I do justice to ideas I hold. my output can’t reflect my intake.

  54. I’m enjoying this thread! It is tremendous fun. There is a lot of material here which I may refer to, when I get round to preparing the LA’s Christmas Message. (There will be one, sorry chaps: it is an annual fixture on this blog.)

  55. If I may say: Many words.
    The reality of encountering God, of opening one’s free will mind to His presence, is very simple. It is just that.
    (If one thinks it’s all a big fairy tale, perhaps one should thoroughly examine the alternatives to see if they make sense when taken to their logical conclusions.)
    Spiritual reality simply is there, like air or water or corn flakes. I should just say “reality” but have to become a bit inaccurate to get beyond the mindset that only takes our accepted, blunted, perceptions as reality.
    There is a whole another world out there!

  56. It just struck me that it is necessary to point out that the governance of our island and the laws we have enjoyed were derived from the Decalogue. If anyone who advocates license or hedonism can point out which of the ten commandments God got wrong, I would be interested to hear about it.

  57. Also, for those who simply reject the idea of an intelligent creator of our world or who rely on the faith of evolution and creation of something from nothing, I suggest you take a look at this, and if I am accused of blatantly lobbying for God I plead guilty. After all, it is a free country, to some extent.

    http://www.thewonderofcreation.org.uk/The%20Wonder%20of%20Creation.pdf

  58. Peter Watson, as you know the BCP communion service includes full recitation of the 10 commandments, but it is rare indeed to hear them in the CofE. You would normally only get the summary of the law. Some clergymen apparently object to the 10 commandments’ saying you shouldn’t covet your neighbours’ slaves. But what’s wrong with people working hard to buy their own slaves, as we libertarians would say, eh?

  59. More interesting (and welcome) challenges to the reduction of ethics to the non aggression principle in Peter’s comment 9th Dec 7:46. Unlike the self ownership problem these had occurred to me although I have yet to read anything that satisfies such concerns. If the non aggression principle were not extended to animals and children then it would allow bestiality and paedophilia. if it were applied to animals and children the logical conclusion would be veganism and a huge and perhaps unnatural change in the parent child relationship. (theres some interesting writing amongst voluntarists on how the coercive nature of our upbringing conditions us for the coercive state). paedophilia surely would be considered by anyone to be an act of aggression against an unconsenting individual.
    I must reiterate that noone is suggesting the Crowley idea ‘let do as you will be the only law’. the only law is the non aggression principle. do not initiate violence. yes this does permit one to do as they will but not to the extent that it harms another. I know its extremely reductive and appears naieve and simplistic but I think it is a rock solid principle.

  60. I quote Pere’s comment below, of 9th Dec 2010 at 10.38 am…

    //”It just struck me that it is necessary to point out that the governance of our island and the laws we have enjoyed were derived from the Decalogue. If anyone who advocates license or hedonism can point out which of the ten commandments God got wrong, I would be interested to hear about it.”//

    Something slightly basic, which I do think a lot of libertarians accidentally forget, is this:-
    It is that this particular civilisation in which we have the (mostly, most of the time – barring GramscoStaliNazi governments and their cheerfully-frank plans for us) good fortune to live, is indeed “informed”, and deeply, by the Judeo-Christian monotheistic tradition, and thus by definition the Mosaic Decalogue. In the Decalogue of course you can see the real roots of libertarian belief about the rights of others, and also of fundamental property-rights.

    Such as “Thou shalt not kill”. “Thou shalt not steal.” “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife”, and the like…..That last one I am sure is meant to mean not that his wife is his “property” which you ought not to approproate for yourself – she would surely object to such a notion, even though the concept of “wife” means strictly “one specific woman with whom you have sex for all the various purposes of same” – but that you are violating him, as a sovereign individual, even if she consents to sex with you behind his back. We are straying slightly into the realms of what Muslims may think the problem of “adultery” is about here, but you get my point. She made some sort of promise to him, which is nothing to do with you, and you are in a way helping her to break it behind his back, even if she would go with that.

    But to get back to the Decalogue:-
    We here all agree, I hope, that liberty is the Mother and NOT the Daughter of order. This I think “informs” the entire strategic difference between liberals (us) and tyrants (everybody else who affects to NOT be an ordinary individual who simply wants to be liked and get on and take care of those whoom he loves, but instead wants to be an “IDEALIST”…or Utopian.)

    However, the very idea of “order” must be rooted somewhere in deep time in the minds and desires of early Men, carving, whittling, shaping and digging and grubbing, slowly and painfully, but ever more surely, however slowly, some kind of habitat that would sustain them and those who they loved, from a seemingly hostile GAIA. That might be why 1.John i says “in the beginning was Order.”

    We ought to turn our ire on the Gaia-people. Surely, they are our real enemies, and not each other here, some of whom are atheists and some of whom are not.

  61. “We here all agree, I hope, that liberty is the Mother and NOT the Daughter of order. ” I am not so sure about that. Freedom from governmental constraints has not produced order in Somalia. Conversely, a high degree of order eg in China has not produced liberty.

    What is clear is that much of the argument for “liberty”, which poses as anti-government, actually derives from the current elite’s support for an end to social constraints, and the fostering of a do-as-you-like society.

    What this means is that “libertarians” like Will often believe themselves to be great opponents of state power while mouthing all its ideological positions.

    It couldn’t really be otherwise. We are in society and therefore reflect the prejudices of the age.

    Social constraints of a certain kind are the precondition for liberty. Civil society is another way of putting it. China doesn’t have genuine civil society – just the state, so order does not lead to liberty. We had civil society, but, sad to say, the little platoons have shrivelled, and our freedoms are going. David Cameron’s Big Society claims to aim to address this – but has a statist approach, as if the state is going to “annex” all remaining relicts of civil society, rather than let them flourish.

    It is not enough to say that getting the state out of the way allows civil society to flourish – there are countless societies (Somalia, Afghanistan and even China) where people are left alone by the state to a greater degree than we are, but where civil society doesn’t flourish.

    Clearly the “libertarians” here err by positing the problem and the solution entirely in the political/economic realm – the state has created the whole problem and the state needs to get out, and as long as the state is below a certain % of GDP, things will naturally resolve themselves. This reductionist analysis is false with regard to how the problem was created (socialists in the pre-war period were arguing for a larger state for a reason) and false with regard to the solution. Unfortunately, culture is primary, not politics or economics. Actually, Will and others, your analysis is vulgar Marxist. You seem preoccupied with the base vs. the superstructure, whereas culture, the battle of ideas, the preoccupations of real people, are primary, with politics and economics following, but in a dialectical way.

    Frank Furedi supported the theories of a Marxist called Jakubowski who rejected the economics-as-primary approach – actually the approach could be viewed as “idealist”, which is why the RCP was accused of a “right turn” when it got into all this stuff and dissolved itself. The book is at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ideology-Superstructure-Pluto-Classic-Jakubowski/dp/0745303897/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291900606&sr=8-1

    Having a background in the intellectual ideas of the late RCP has given me greater perspective on many issues, as it was such an intellectual grouping. I think their Institute of Ideas/spiked online (www.spiked-online.com)( reincarnation is ideologically stuck at where they were in 1994, but that’s another issue – in theoretical terms they’re streets ahead of most people here. Because they started with a theoretical understanding of how economics, politics and culture interact (derived from Jakubowski), and used that understanding to understand why the British elite gave up on British culture and got into a lot of new things (with the 1930s being a painful experience, and the 1960s being when the Gramsian process had progressed far enough that new people were staffing many organisations ready to implement changes). Will and others seem to jump straight in at the “do you believe in liberty?” end of the argument. If I were a college lecturer, I would give you an F, not for your conclusions, but for the failure to start with the theoretical underpinnings.

  62. this whole debate is about theoretical underpinnings. every single one of my posts refers to theoretical underpinnings. has anyone else mentioned a first principle that they derive their conclusions from? i have explicitly referred to self ownership as the first principle. http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/murray-n-rothbard-know-your-rights/ the second paragraph of this – the current LA article – states self ownership as the primary theoretical underpinning of libertarianism! nothing to do with religion. as i keep saying libertarianism is neither for nor against religion.

    am i mouthing statist ideology with a non-puritanical attitude toward personal freedom? were we all dead set against fun and then the state decided we should have more and increasingly exotic sex, drugs and rock and roll or did society initiate such liberal ideas and the sate was forced to reflect such change?
    i dont want this to descend into name calling via political labels (although i probably started that way back) but in terms of theoretical underpinnings my comments have been consistently libertarian.
    this article was originally published on the LA site under ‘conservative politics’ and that is what it is. as i have said all along.

    there is either a complete failure on my part to communicate in this discussion or there is an almost willful propensity on the part of some to ignore what i am saying and/or invent a strawman version of my argument.

    ps dont believe what the bbc tell you about somalia – http://www.peterleeson.com/Better_Off_Stateless.pdf

  63. “… the pursuit of happiness” is found in the US Declaration of Independence not alas in the US Constitution.

    Tony

  64. Will, it is not your fault that you are the product of the modern education system. But you clearly did not a one-to-one tuition system in university (if indeed you went to university). The point of education today is to produce egalitarian individuals, not to produce people capable of thought.

    My point is that you can select any point (“self-ownership”) and label it as your basic principle, the axiom underpinning all else in your thought. Such a point is not an axiom; it is the product of many other assumptions, and not the first assumption itself. It may be what you view as the most important thing in your politics, but it is not an axiom, but rather something that needs to be explained and supported by much argumentation.

    You stated that the state was the first cause behind the collapse in moral values, and getting the state out of people’s lives will reverse this. You here jump straight into the political debate without building up to it, without understand how we got here or anything else. You have no foundation. You haven’t shown that political changes preceded the intellectual debate that produced them (and it is foolish to assert that). The real relationship between ideas and the world we live in is complex. I made a little attempt to outline a theoretical approach to it in earlier posts, but it is a lot to get into at 11:07pm and would be better expressed in an essay.

    Whether ideas came first, and produced the reality we cope with today, or politicians decided for no reason to change things out of an enthusiasm for power and positions is something that requires lengthy discussion, and only when that is understood can it be determined whether the creation of a free society is a purely political project or a wider ideological and cultural one. You simply assert that it is purely political.

  65. Wow! What an arrogant put down. (dj)
    It is, indeed, the least appealing aspect of much libertarian discussion to be found on the blogs and is, in fact, a symptom of what is wrong in the first place.
    How about just being concerned with what is true (real) ?
    No matter how clever you were, in the end reality (truth) is all that will matter.
    All and any deviations from reality will result in disappointment.

  66. More ad hominem assumptions dj? Shame on you. First anyone challenging your position is a brainwashed BBC compliant zombie, then a heretical infidel from an unapproved religion and now I must be an unthinking cloned product of the state system.
    Not that the validity of an individual’s argument should be wholly dependent on their level of education but in answer to your rude and intrusive probing I did graduate with a first in politics from leicester university (in the top 15 institutions in the UK before you assume I’m the product of an old Poly). This is irrelevant as I don’t hold formal education status as the position trumping token that you seem to. ‘sorry, what broadcaster do you watch, who funded your school, did you even go to university? I’m afraid those answers are unsatisfactory – your views are invalid’. One would have to be relatively old to have enjoyed an education entirely free from state meddling. We all share your opinion of those produced by the current education system but is it entirely impossible that some who passed through are capable of independent thought and to pursue selfmotivated informal study?
    I didn’t simply pluck the concept of self ownership out of thin air or my own imagination. It may shock you to learn that even those who disgree with you read books. Some even write them and it is from the works of such actual libertarians as Rothbard that I discovered the ideas of libertarianism. I foolishly assumed that the core principle of libertarianism would not need explaining amongst a forum such as the libertarian alliance. The argumentation is available in abundance and if you don’t agree with the principle of self ownership and its primacy and centrality in libertarian ideology I can only assume you have either failed to read it or failed to understand it.
    You accuse me (fairly and justifiably I am happy to concede) of failing to evidence or explain my contention that state power corrupted society in contrast with your position that a corrupt society enabled the expansion of state power. However you then sensibly say that an online comments forum is not the best place for such an essay and I totally agree. I respect your outline approach however I cannot commit the time required to formulate a fully referenced rebuttal. Take that as an admission of defeat or an excuse if you will but it is not intended as such.
    I am withdrawing from this debate now. I think everyone has made their point and I don’t expect I shall be changing any minds. If I can take the above comments as representative of the libertarian alliance (this would seem a fair assumption based on the exceptional number of participants) I am surprised and disappointed that there seems to be such a prevalence of what I consider un-libertarian views amongst you. None of us should be unable to comprehend the contention that politicians changed things out of an enthusiasm for power. Are you libertarians or torys, whigs, Conservatives, and liberals? I don’t expect I’ve made many friends but I thankyou all

  67. Gosh it’s only a discussion – there is no animosity on my part anyhow.
    You wrote “…….. my contention that state power corrupted society in contrast with your position that a corrupt society enabled the expansion of state power” – surely given the nature of man, (sinners – fallen – imperfect) are not both of these statements correct and true and do they not simply form two parts of a whole? Surely these are complimentary and not contradictory? State power is the power of humans over other humans – institutions and agenda without people to run them are irrelevant. Ideas only become dangerous when they are applied! Perhaps the conclusion is to lead to where my thoughts are now; Which are that democracy is a great delusion and it is truly the precursor to great evil. You have the weekend!

  68. But dj is 100% right about what the modern “University system” is designed to produce. Sorry to offend anybody under, oh, about 40. Or to be charitable, say 33.

    There’s a “deal of ruin” in a nation. “The rot sets in, but be of good cheer, for it is going to take quite some time”…. (Enoch Powell, about, oh I guess, 1984…85.)

    This isn’t about religion, but about strategically-focussed-ruin. The sort of ruin that you all know about, which is why you’re here. The point is, what are we going to to about the bastards? They can’t be allowed to carry on proselytising and leftying, after we shall have won…..

    …can they?

  69. It sounds like dj is saying that it sounds as if will has not partaken of higher education and is therefore excused if he can’t think straight, ie, as if he has not been to university.
    I would agree with you that the whole edifice is in various degrees rotten and would seem to be geared to produce compliant, socially-mutual drones (who nevertheless think they are clever, independent thinkers and superior as part of the conditioning). Further, would point out that some good brains have not even got O’s or A’s.
    Part of the “if you haven’t been here you can’t think, offer a worthy opinion, or really, exist” is part of that brain washing. I think it has something to do with a priesthood, initiate, type mentality.
    Keynes and all that was part of it and I would imagine, a rather illuminating example of what it produces.

  70. Will, I left university in 1995; I am sure you left much later. I think your posts proves my point about your intellectual abilities. I made clear, and am not going to repeat it again after this post, that I was talking about the basic axiomatic assumptions on the relationship between politics, economics, culture and ideology. This question (“the relationship between the subject and object in history” is one way of referring to it) is the most fundamental question – and without an approach to that, you are intellectually unable to cite the collapse in moral standards entirely in the political realm.

    I explained this – and, amazingly (er, do an IQ test? I got 153 with Mensa), you either didn’t understand it, or just ignored it, and posted a message stating that “selfownership is the core principle of libertarianism”. Anything can be stated as being the core principle, but this principle is clearly not the core principle underlying your view that our social decline is purely political and a change in politics will give a total solution.

    I would say you were someone definitely of the GCSE generation. If I were an academic I would give you an F for submitting an essay claiming that self-ownership was your core principle. The idea of self-ownership is itself a product of an ideological debate since the Middle Ages particularly in Anglo-Saxon countries – it is the product of the relationship between the subject and object in history, and if you cannot explain how that idea came about, whether purely as the product of ideological debate, or whether related to material circumstances and elite interests of the 17th and 18th centuries, or whether as a facet of English culture, or as the result of complex interaction between all these – you could only get an F in a rigorous education system. I don’t have a PhD, but in a viva voce, you would be simply be cut down. You don’t understand the terms of the debate. It is that simple.

    I will not go through the “everyone is equal” motions, and do not subscribe to the view that we are all intellectually interchangeable, Will. You have probably done GCSEs and downgraded A-levels, and ended up in Leicester University (er… not a top flight institution, to be sure) doing a politically correct subject. Er… so what? Too much is handed on a plate to people nowadays, as if we want everyone to brim full of self-esteem. You have it in bagfulls, but lack the intellectual wherewithal to back it up. I am not saying everything, or even anything, in my posts above is correct; I am saying that you did not understand them, and hence posted a long logical non sequitur.

    John B said, “straight, ie, as if he has not been to university.
    I would agree with you that the whole edifice is in various degrees rotten and would seem to be geared to produce compliant, socially-mutual drones (who nevertheless think they are clever, independent thinkers and superior as part of the conditioning)”. Exactly!

  71. Please excuse my many typos. As a conservative, I fully agree that grammatically incorrect posts should be pilloried. So fire away. But I hope the substance will be noted too.

  72. Surely, a proposition is either true or false, and the reason for its being accepted is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood.

  73. >Surely, a proposition is either true or false, and the reason for its being accepted is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood.

    But you would never know if it was true or false without seeing the reasoning.

    Will, I am sorry. I should never have responded as I did. You are entitled to your views. I suppose I felt frustrated that we were talking at cross purposes – but that does not justify my rudeness. I’ll try to contribute more constructively next week. DJW

  74. “Surely, a proposition is either true or false, and the reason for its being accepted is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood.”

    According to Alfred Tarski’s Correspondence Theory of Truth utilizing a metalanguage, the statement “Le ciel est blue” is true if — and only if — the sky is , in fact, blue. “Ciel” and “bleu” can be defined with any necessary degree of precision.

    Tony

  75. Yes. Something either is or is not.
    The reason why it is, is an explanation of the situation.
    The only other thing is how can you say for definite that it either is, or is not, which presumably must be decided relative to some absolute criteria.
    And how can one, subjectively, decide that.
    But I digress?

  76. Never strive for more accuracy than is necessary.

    Tony

  77. I am afraid there are many distractions this time of year and I promised to write an article and haven’t started – let’s see what I come up with over the Christmas period…