Love and Libertarians

Libertarianism unfortunately appears closely identified with brand-conscious politics in people's minds. For that reason it loses people who aren't attracted to the heavy lifting needed for political philosophy, to political parties that eschew philosophy for ideology - it might seem more appropriate to call those "ideological parties." Libertarians might find lots of room to grow numbers outside of political parties, reducing the numbers of people in ideological parties at the same time by becoming less politically oriented.

Ideological parties have all the answers, and intend to force them on everyone for the "greater good" or for "national security." They do not operate on a philosophical basis, searching inquisitively into the reason and nature of humans and societies - instead they operate on an ideological basis, constructing artificial frameworks for ideal societies and then trying to flesh them out with an unwitting human population.

The philosopher studies questions and ponders problems - politicians offer pat answers and propose pet solutions, bypassing philosophical approaches to complex realities in favor of easier ideological retreats from complex realities. The philosopher considers the intricate question, "What is good?" - the politician assumes he knows what is good, and tackles the question of how to persuade others to agree: a riddle easily solved by taking his cues from people he aspires to represent. The substitution of ideology for philosophy results in political action, not based on political philosophy, but based on idealistic and/or personal beliefs.

Jesus modeled a libertarian, laissez faire style of brotherly love, a difficult kind of loving relationship for fallible humans to maintain toward each other. Idealized and politicized love takes dueling approaches that appear incompatible, but they're closely related - both mimic human nature. One assumes a fatherly role, and one assumes a motherly role, but they're both caricature actors in roles exaggerated for theatrical effect, to suggest through the peculiarities of the role a parental presence meant to encourage child-like tendencies in a population of individuals. Leave no adult behind?

A state based on fatherly attributes favors a "tough love" approach, demonstrated by items such as iron maidens or chastity belts in other centuries and perennially manifest in military discipline (a psycho-spiritual form of corporal punishment, perhaps), prisons, and the ever popular torture chamber - one of those ungodly fashions that always seems to revive among new generations that haven't been immunized to it by exposure. Father knows what is best - he doesn't tolerate questions, or challenges regarding his authority. No longer satisfied with being a chip on your shoulder, he may soon get under your skin.

A state based on motherly attributes prefers a smother love approach, bent on softening individuals to the "greater good" of society. It prefers to walk softly and carry a big threat - the threat of abandonment, to people who it has conditioned to expect motherly attention from cradle to grave - people who remain unnaturally dependent on it for their welfare and security. A motherly state aims to "mold character" from pre-school to the nursing home, to provide counseling and therapy, and remedies for every ill known to mothers - except for the tricky wounds she inflicts; those are legion, and never treated.

The two often go hand in hand, or one may dominate the homeland for a time while the other travels abroad, but they always seem to stay together for the sake of the children. Libertarians often appear to seek political power at the risk of losing people who despise it by focusing on the political process, and alienating those who despise that process. The state offers no character model of the prodigal child who grows beyond the parental home to become an independent person, no model of brotherly love. The state offers people a continuous round of power struggles between parents competing for the loyalties of their children - it's the ultimate in dysfunctional households, the dysfunctional homeland.

Perhaps it's time to outgrow parental hopes and dreams, and leave the nest. It just doesn’t feel like a good home for humans anymore, at least for love-thy-neighbor libertarians.

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