Re: ‘What’s wrong with ‘Libertarianism’?’ by Peter Hitchens, and some thoughts on the Manchester attack

Karl Marx

“No man fights freedom; he fights at most the freedom of others.” – Karl Marx

Peter Hitchens, columnist for the Mail on Sunday criticizes liberty and equality on the basis that they are merely inadequate substitutes to Christianity.

“It is obvious to the slowest thinker that (as Karl Marx pointed out) the freedom of all is impossible, as it will lead to conflicts between groups who wish to be free to do something which tramples on the freedom of another.  ‘No man fights freedom’, wrote the sage of Trier,  ’He fights at most the freedom of others’.” writes Mr. Hitchens.

Though it is true that the markets have caused damage to people’s lives I believe that today we live in a much more economically stable society in Britain thanks to those sacricifes. As for Marx’s point, it is only true for the ‘freedom’ of groups/collectives over other groups/collectives but Libertarians argue for the freedom of individuals over that of groups/collectives.

Peter Hitchens claims that the values of equality and libery  “lack the universal power over all humanity(my emphasis) of the Sermon on the Mount and the Commandments, and that they are based on a desire for power, rather than on Christianity’s preference for love, and its central suspicion of power and the mob, as so graphically set out in the story of the Passion.”

First of all I would like to point out that Mr. Hitchens’ appeal to the ‘universal power’ of Christianity is nothing more than an appeal to consensus, to a consensus that is now gone and a mob is a group of people with a consensus. I doubt that Mr. Hitchens realizes this but his appeal to a consensus which is now gone just means that he is just dissatisfied that the mob is not his mob anymore. And secondly that desire for liberty and equality are based on a desire for power over oneself, whereas ‘Christianity’s preference for love’ nearly always in effect involves giving oneself to others with more power here on earth (usually some self-appointed moral arbitrers), speaking of which, Christinaty’s ‘suspiction of power’, is very dubious given the historical role that the clergy has played when Christianity had ‘universal power.’ Mr. Hitchens may have his own interpretation of ‘the story of the Passion’ but scripture does not supercede history. Sometimes I think a little light mockery is the best way to make people think. After all, one day they may realise that it is possible they are mistaken.


The youtuber called TheBritisher made a video called “In conclusion: About the Manchester attack  in which he argues that the freedom of the non-muslim British people might be prioritized over that of the Muslim people in Britain because the muslims are a security risk. In effect he suggests that (only) muslim faith schools must be closed and immigration from Islamic countries should be blocked. This is an instance of what Marx pointed out playing out in action. I don’t think that it is possible to do things always purely out of principle, the world is more complex than it appears on paper, however is that an excuse not to adhere to one’s principles in the name of ‘pragmatism’ and ‘realism’? When one looks far enough this realism is only concerned with the short term, Morality is or should be long term reason (if not it will become irrelevant and/or simply retard progress).

‘Progress’ is another interesting word, I have heard some relativists/post-modernists/(or whatever they are called) say that there is no such thing as progress, but if that is the case doesn’t that mean that in effect the only difference between ‘reaction’ and ‘progress’ is that they are opposed to each other? Of course this consequence does not mean that there is such a thing as progress.  I believe that there is progress on an individual level and a society in which people are free and equal, a delicate balance tilted towards free, to achieve whatever personal progress(i.e. socially acceptable ambition) is a step towards ‘progress’ in society. I still see why people would not like the word though, I don’t like it either, it just sounds like something exaggerated that could mean anything vaguely good that those who use it want it to mean, and in the hands of the wrong people in power it could be nothing more than a dull word in some communist/nationalist propaganda. I much prefer the word ‘ambition’, it sounds a lot more personal and real.

Back to Europe many people have died in various terrorist attacks, TheBritisher argues that the Muslim populations deserve to forfeit some of their liberty for the safety of society. Personally I believe that if the police paid more attention to the incitements to violence in mosques and faith schools that would suffice. There is such a thing as national interest, Peter Hitchens once (actually more than once) said that the nation-state is “the largest unit in which it is possible to effectively unselfish”, ofcourse ‘effectively unselfish’ is not the same as ‘selfless’ so that’s a good choice of words, he goes onto say that ‘loyalty to it permits sacrifice and generosity on a large scale, and is the foundation of tolerance.’ The ‘generocity on a large scale’ in most cases is taxation but in some cases it is more but that doesn’t say a damned thing about the rest of us, the ‘tolerance’ the nation provides is the narrow window that provides all the liberty and equality and therefore individual ambition, if that window is closed even a little you will find that people will become a lot less ‘generous’ very quickly.

Notes:

Peter Hitchens’ article on Libertearianism: Link

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