Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Our socity's big lie

N.B. Off the cuff at 3AM, when I'm mad because I can't fall back to sleep and made even madder by some lies that I just read.

One is often told that one cannot impose one's morality on others. One may disapprove of abortion, contraception, feminism, divorce, homosexuality &c. One may believe these things to be immoral, and one may even be correct about it. But one cannot use coercive force, such as the force of law, to impose such a moral code upon others against their will.

People who argue this way are essentially arguing that we live in a libertarian society. The basic principles of such a society are that my life and property belong to me, and I can do anything I wish with them as long as it does not do harm to the life and property of others. Generally, when someone argues this way with you, the best response is to laugh in their face.

I wish I lived in a libertarian society. It would be an improvement.

Why do I say this? Because the idea that these United States are a libertarian society is a big lie.

Suppose I am a property owner seeking to rent apartments in a building I own. Now suppose some homosexuals came seeking to rent one of my apartments. Further suppose that I tell them I will not rent them an apartment because the acts they engage in are an abomination against God and the natural order, so would they please remove themselves from my property posthaste and never darken my door again. Tell me what would happen.

I will tell you what would happen. I would be sued for discrimination and I would almost certainly lose.

Suppose I am a business owner seeking to hire a new employee. Now suppose a married woman with feminist leanings applies for the position. Further suppose that I inquire if her husband works and, if so, why it is necessary for her to work as well. Suppose, after hearing her response - whether it be an answer or a refusal to answer, telling me the reasons are none of my business - I tell her that I will not hire her because, as a wife, her primary job should be in the home unless circumstances demand otherwise, and she has not convinced me that her current circumstances make such a demand on her. Tell me what would happen.

I will tell you what would happen. I would be sued for discrimination and I would certainly lose.

And that is why we do not live in a libertarian society, a society that is neutral on anything that is not an immediate threat to life or property rights. In a libertarian society I would have every right to respond in the manner described above. No one has a right to the use of my property until I enter into contract with them and give them such a right in exchange for some wealth or services. No one has a right to my wealth until I enter into contract with them and give them such a right in exchange for some goods or services.

That is the lie at the heart of our society: the idea that it is neutral on the question of what is good and simply enforces the basic rights of life and property while allowing each one of us to decide for ourselves. If that were true, then homosexuals, feminists, pro-aborts &c. could not use the force of the law to force us to acknowledge their lies. Pharmacies could not be forced to sell contraceptives, adoption agencies could not be forced to place children with homosexuals, doctors could not be forced to perform - or to refer patients to those who will perform - abortions &c.

In a truly libertarian society the worst the cultural and moral destroyers could do is denounce us as bigots and try to convince people not to associate with us or patronize our businesses. That might be bad, but at least they could not use the coercive power of the state to force us to cave to their demands, to ruin us financially, or to fund their degeneracy. That is why I wish I lived in a libertarian society. It might fall short of a truly Catholic society in any number of ways, but in such a society I could at least live freely as a Catholic without being forced to cooperate formally or materially with any number of grave evils.


Anonymous said...


We impose morality all the time. There are laws against murder, theft, fraud, rape, incest, consensual intercourse with minors, etc.....

The argument that morality is not/cannot be imposed by a government is a falacy.

Dr. Eric

brendon said...

I'm not arguing that morality cannot be imposed. I'm arguing that if you are going to argue that morality cannot be imposed, then you better be consistent about it.

The same people who argue that we must allow homosexual "marriage" because we cannot impose our definition of morality and marriage on others would turn around and impose on a property owner the moral rule that he cannot discriminate over who who rents his property to based upon his own personal moral reasoning. This is inconsistent. If I cannot impose the immorality of homosexual conduct on society by denying homosexuals the "right" to "marry," then they cannot impose the immorality of discriminating against homosexuals on me by forbidding me from choosing not to rent to homosexuals because they are homosexuals.

I am also stating that in a libertarian society, one in which the only moral norms imposed are "do not do physical violence to other people or to their property," I would have more moral freedom than I do in our current anarcho-tyranny. I would not be forced to associate with or recognize various perversions as anything but perversions. Two men could say they are "married" all they want, but I cannot be forced to acknowledge it. They could argue that justice demands I rent them an apartment, but they could not use the strong arm of the state to force me to do so.