Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Libertarianism vs Social Conservatism

I'm a Libertarian. And I'm a Social Conservative. There are a lot of parts of the Social Conservative bit I will die for. Other parts, I just say, "meh." And I don't think I'm the only Social Conservative who thinks this way.

1) Abortion: this is a human life in every instance and there's no chance I'll bend even a millimeter. I frame this as a human rights issue, not a moral one. The fetus is what? an animal? a tumor? a human without rights? a human with rights? Answer the question.

I'm not against stem cell research, either. I'm all for it unless you add the word "fetal." Fetal stem cell research by my way of looking at it is cannibalizing parts of one human for the benefit of another human. If you disagree, prove to me that a fetus isn't a human.

2) Sex, drugs, and rock & roll: meh. Who you take to bed is your business and not mine. If God says "thou shalt not," and you think otherwise, that's your problem with Him not me. Don't mess with the sacraments of any church or say what moral standards the church can't hold and we'll get along fine.

3) Prayer in school: meh. When I was a lad, my sainted mother the separatist Baptist Fundamentalist that she was thoroughly disapproved of the sort of compromised blended ecumenist prayers bandied about in public forums. That rubbed off on me.

Creationism and Intelligent Design (they are different things). I want free inquiry about questions of origins, but it's not a hill I'll die on. If you're upset that some state school wants to teach Darwinism, switch to a private school that doesn't.

Personally, I prefer the separation of school and state. Less opportunity for indoctrination or similar mischief.


Can we agree on these boundaries and live together in the same party? I think so. Maybe we won't go to the same church, or maybe we'll bicker on a personal level, but as far as the civil realm of governance is concerned we've got issues of the proper role of government (minimal) that we hold in common to unite us.

What would Reagan Do?


Anonymous said...

"I prefer the separation of school and state. Less opportunity for indoctrination or similar mischief."

You're kidding me, right? Public school IS an arm of the state, and they cannot be seperated. As funded by taxpayers of all faiths and none, as well as attended by students of all faiths and none, no single religious concept should be favored in public school. Evolutionary theory, or Darwinism as you call it, is science, not faith.

And if by "separation of school and state" you mean attending private schools where creationism or intelligent design are taught, then how could you possibly think that there would be "less opportunity for indoctrination or similar mischief"? That's the main function of private schools and their biggest selling point--indoctrination of children into a specific religious mindset.

Anonymous said...

As to your question concerning the fetus, we hear a lot about new humans snapping into existence at the “moment of conception.”

Many people believe this is the instant when a full, ensouled human being comes into existence.

But when is this moment? When the sperm enters the egg? No, that’s an unfertilized egg with a sperm inside it. No guarantees. How about during mitosis, when the two halves of DNA fuse together? That happens in minute increments over a full day—hardly a moment. No bell rings signaling a miracle has ocurred like during the Catholic delusion of transubstantiation.

Has this “moment” passed when the cell divides to two, or four, or a hundred? If you say yes, remember that twinning often takes place well after the stem cells become uncountable. Which lucky twin gets the soul? Don’t forget that upwards of half of these “full human beings” are naturally flushed out in the first 20 weeks, even after implanting in the uterine wall. “Chromosomal abnormalities” are the cause in 50 percent of these, suggesting mitosis — that is, conception — may not have completed correctly or at all (see “guarantee” above).

The fact is that there simply is no neatly packaged “moment of conception.”

steve poling said...

Anonymous: I am not kidding about the separation of school and state, but I may have been unclear and shall try to clarify.

School means a place where kids receive education. Schools may be run by private concerns, secular or religious, and schools may be run by the government. E.g. Chelsea Clinton attended Sidwell Friends School which is a secular, private school. My children attended Northpointe Christian Schools, a christian, private school. I attended Kent City Community School which is a state school. In the first two instances, there is a separation of school and state. In the latter instance there is not.

State schools ought to treat all faiths neutrally, neither favorable or unfavorable toward any. First amendment and all that. The mischief i have in mind occurs when the schools teach things which unavoidably carry with them material that violates that neutrality.

To avoid the emotions, let's use an example that few will have a personal stake in. Suppose you are a Rastafarian who uses marijuana in worship (or another religion that uses mushrooms). Right or wrong, the public school's anti-drug message will walk over your beliefs. Just move your kids from the state school to a private school more to your liking.

Good point about indoctrination in private or church schools. But I think that when parents put kids in a church school they choose a specific religious mindset with which they agree.

The mischief I had in mind was that parents may believe one way and state schools may indoctrinate children to believe another way without necessarily advertising that fact. If everyone knows up front the nature of the indoctrination, it isn't mischievous by my way of thinking.

steve poling said...

The Moment Of Conception: Let's suppose we have half of a genome supplied by Mom's egg and we have another half of a genome supplied by Dad's sperm. We understand that these two halves can come together in a number of distinct fashions.

I am of the opinion that when those two halves of the genome come together a unique human individual is defined. This opinion is complicated by considerations of identical twins (or clones) where demonstrably distinct individuals arise from identical genomes.

As a programmer, I'm comfortable with identifying a human individual with such a definition, at least at the start of that individual's life. Certainly, we are shaped and we change as individuals due to our environments and our choices. I think it is bad metaphysics to regard a human soul as popping into existence. But such questions are more metaphysical than civil in nature.

BUT: The question that should be interesting as far as Libertarians and Social Conservatives is concerned, is what is a human with rights and what is not. We can agree to disagree about some of the details of the "how" provided we're clear about the "what."

steve poling said...

I had forgotten that I've commented on the moment of conception before here

RightKlik said...

I think that a libertarian slant would give the Republican party an opportunity to survive. Actually, I think the Republican party is a pretty hospitable place for libertarians, Republicans just need to make this known.