Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good Work From A Libertarian Leader

Toward A Quaker Economic Policy

January 7, 2013 at 10:51pm
           America has several denominations that are pacifistic, or nearly so, but the one most well-known for that aspect of their creed is the Quakers. 
           This refusal to use violence (at least directly, a distinction I'll clarify in a moment) makes even more inspiring the Quaker participation in The Underground Railroad, because it meant that, were any of the many Quakers who participated in that glorious endeavor ever attacked by slave-hunters, their creed would have prohibited them from defending themselves -- and many slave-hunters were little better than mad dogs.
            But what is puzzling about some (definitely not all!) Quakers is that they not only countenance, but, in many cases, encourage, force -- that is, force used by Government to promote ends they find desirable.    Morally/ethically speaking, of course, there is no distinction  between coercion and force employed by politicians and the same means used by private citizens.  Nor is there any moral/ethical distinction between violating Human Rights for noble goals and engaging in such violations for odious purposes. 
         To give a concrete example: what moral difference is there among the Barbary Pirates demanding "tribute money" to operate in "their' territory; the Mafia demanding "protection money" to operate in "its" territory; and The State demanding "sales tax" to operate in "its" territory?   Another example: what moral difference is there between a mugger using force to compel a person to finance the mugger's distaste for work, and a tax collector's use of force to compel a person to finance a hospital?   The philosophy of "the ends justify the means" is the ultimate amorality.
            Given that, no Quaker -- indeed, no consistent pacifist of any variety -- should vote for any candidate willing to abridge Rights, regardless of the ends toward which such abuses are aimed.
             That, of course, would disqualify virtually every candidate nominated by either tax-subsidized political party.   Although the Democrats and Republicans have agendas which differ somewhat, the method is the same: the initiation of force (as opposed to defensive or retaliatory force) against individuals or groups.
             If one forswears using a tactic directly, is it not inconsistent (I will not invoke the term 'hypocritical' as many such individuals have never pondered the contradiction) to accept -- or worse, vote for -- the use of that tactic by politicians and bureaucrats?

For Human Rights,

Jeff Daiell