Libertarians and Islam

Religious freedom is an important aspect of the libertarian philosophy.*  Besides that, constitutionally we have no choice but to tolerate the peaceful practices of other religions, though we may disagree with them.

However, we should never hesitate to disagree with the practices of certain religions, on philosophical grounds; there is nothing oppressive or [insert topic here]-phobic about that.  Why?  Because we don’t ask for those practices to be discouraged or punished by the law (so long as they are nonviolent,) we are simply discussing the merits of religion which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

The religion which has proved to be so controversial lately is Islam.

Criticize Islam, and be branded instantly Islamophobic and a bigot; not only by the left (which is something we are well accustomed to hearing from them) but also by libertarians, who should know better.

The most important thing about the libertarian philosophy is liberty, obviously.  And in my opinion, the ideals of Islam and more particularly, Sharia, are outright contradictory to the ideals of freedom.  It is a ridiculous, medieval, primitive religion.  How it has found such a prominent place in the modern world is altogether astonishing to me.  Do the faithful still have a right to practice peacefully?  Of course they do, no question about it.  You would be hard pressed to find a libertarian that would deny them that right.

However, as libertarians, should it not be our mission to oppose all forms of oppression, intellectually and philosophically?  Let’s face it, there is nothing enlightened about Islam and it’s law.  All you have to do is look to the nations where Islam is the basis for political power – so happens that these are the most backwards and oppressive nations in the world.  The West has made immense strides when it comes to the rights of women and homosexuals; these advances are unknown in those countries.  How can we, as libertarians, defend Islam when Islam does not defend the rights for these groups and others?

Sure, we may find exceptions.  There are peaceful Muslims residing in the United States.  There are Muslims who have become dedicated libertarians.  To a rule there are always exceptions – but it is not an indicator for the whole.

Forget the whole violence against infidels thing.  That debate (on whether Islam is truly tolerant of other religions) will never be settled so long as the debate is conducted by people who don’t have a true command of the facts.  Rather, look to their strange and primitive methods of punishment (stoning, cutting off of limbs/body parts, etc.) Look to the intolerance of homosexuals.  Look to the oppression of women.  These things are prevalent in Islamic societies, and increasingly in Western societies where Muslims congregate.  How can libertarians justify that?

Why do some libertarians go to such lengths to defend Islam, which oppresses groups that we, in another breath, demand rights for?  I can understand demanding religious freedom, I demand it too.  But it is less reasonable to bend over backwards to defend a religious ideology which, in general, is not so tolerant of freedom of the individual.

In summary, does not Islam contradict everything libertarians fight for?  Furthermore, we are not wrong in criticism the practices and beliefs of any religion, Islam included.  We never question criticisms of Christianity – we don’t stomp our feet and declare “Christianophobia!”

*”Religious freedom” has become a sort of euphemism and justification for Christian theocracy.  When I use the phrase, I mean it as it ought to be meant: freedom of an individual to practice their own beliefs peacefully as they see fit.


Is a Third Party Vote a Wasted Vote?

And, in this election, is it acceptable to vote for a candidate based on principle even though that may be helping another candidate win?  Let’s put it another way: does my vote for Gary Johnson help install Hillary onto the throne?

Well, this concept is first of all based upon false premises: 1) that there are only two legitimate candidates; 2) we ought to do everything we can to keep a particular “boogey man” (or woman) out of office and 3) A vote for X is somehow a vote for Y, when clearly a vote for X is a vote for X.

And of course, we must dispense with the stigma that third parties are illegitimate.  It is a special kind of hilarious hypocrisy for one to say that Gary Johnson isn’t a legitimate candidate, because this implies that the criminal and the has-been reality TV star are somehow good, legitimate candidates.

Remember, only something like 9% of the voting population chose the nominees for both parties.  How on earth is that legitimate?

The rhetoric on both sides is the same: Yes, Hillary is bad, but think of how bad Trump will be!  Yes, Trump is bad, but think of how bad Hillary can be! 

Isn’t it unfortunate that the only positive argument you can offer for the support of a candidate, is that the alternative is worse?

It is this cyclical and endless stigma against third parties which guarantees the continued dominance of one of the conventional parties, and along with it the guarantee of the status quo.

Anyway, there has been a lot of discouragement on the part of leftist columnists and writers to those that are looking into voting third party; which is something I find altogether odd.  The spirit of the left wing has always tended to the radical.  Now, they are shilling for a candidate which is, save for a few artificial stances, basically the embodiment of the center, or even the right wing.  What strange times we live in!

The right is not above these childish tendencies either.  To gather into submission those easily frightened foot soldiers of the Republican party, and they remind us that there is a vacancy on the supreme court and that Hillary’s America would somehow be more disastrous than Trump’s America, and how we’re on the brink, we’ve hit rock bottom and so on.  It’s the same over dramatic cliches that we have been hearing for decades.  It’s easy, it’s convincing and most of all people are able to avoid taking responsibility for the sham of democracy they have been perpetuating.

If you have genuine, profound disagreements with the third party candidate, I understand perfectly why you won’t support them.  But if you have profound disagreements with the nominee of either of the American parties, but refuse to support a third party because, in your opinion, they have “no chance” well, that is just shameful.  That’s not how democracy is supposed to work.

Remember, Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all fifty states.  He has a growing chance of being on the debate stage.  How is he not a legitimate candidate, like the others?  Why is he less deserving of your support, than the others?

And as for the libertarians?

There has been of course a lot of talk of growing the ideology of libertarianism in the era of Trump and Clinton.

As an ideology?  There is worry that political refugees could bring ideas that are contradictory to the platform of the libertarian party, thus undermining it’s integrity.  To me, this is a legitimate concern.  However, I think we ought to make a distinction.

There is all the difference between being a part of a movement, and merely supporting it.

What I mean by this is, we ought to be somewhat wary of who gets involved in the machinery of the movement.  (Not so wary as to scare off potential valuable additions, so this is really all such a delicate thing.)  However, we need not be so picky when it comes to sympathizing with the movement.

To be a member of the party, one ought to be a libertarian.  But there is no need to be a libertarian in order to vote for libertarians in general elections, after all.