Pro-Life Christian website LifeNews has published an opinion piece on the recent firing of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson for comments denigrating homosexuality in an interview:
Firstly and most importantly, in the author’s opinion Robertson absolutely has a right to free speech and should not have been terminated for his opinions, especially since they were expressed in a personal interview totally outside the production of the show. But in this case it was A&E’s decision, not the author’s and it is unknown what were the contents of Robertson’s contract with the network.
The subject of this post is the response to the incident. This article moves the frame of reference to a completely different context (homosexuality to abortion) and sounds self-serving. This article could have been all about free speech, an issue important and common to all human beings, but instead changes the frame of reference and brings out the Christian/Pro-Life flag to wave it high once again.
This is a problem for the liberty movement. Choosing sides in religious conflicts does not help unify different groups in an appreciation of human freedom; it helps perpetuate divides between them along the lines of scripture and dogma (both of which are open to vastly different interpretations and resulting conflict). With a proper understanding of the universal principle of non-aggression, one can leave behind the quagmire that is religious scripture and seek the real, natural, universal truth of the human condition. One becomes less inclined toward hateful speech about a non-violent practice like consensual homosexual relationships, and when one hears such speech one becomes less inclined to react by drawing battle lines and immediately entering intellectual conflict. Increasingly, thanks to technology, there is only one collective on the planet: the Human collective.
Put succinctly, it is disingenuous or even hypocritical when Libertarians/Voluntaryists practice collectivism in the form of organized religion. We don’t get a free society by continuing to take such universal issues of human freedom (of speech, of association, of sexuality) and making them into tribal conflicts. This dynamic has even been harnessed by governments and religious institutions throughout history to justify all manner of atrocity in the name of God or Yahweh or Allah or whatever you call the divine eternal. There are few things less productive for the liberty movement today. If one waves the flag of the either the state or of one’s particular God, one makes the same mistake. We should build bridges between different traditions, not draw battle lines.
Libertarians and Voluntaryists should be less like TV preachers and more like Rush’s Tom Sawyer: