One of my friends came up with a phrase that has become quite popular amongst the circles I travel in: we’re all libertarians now. It brings to light the fact that many people call themselves libertarians without actually believing in the philosophy of libertarianism. Gary Johnson, who lost the last presidential election as the Libertarian Party candidate and announced his intentions to lose again this year, is an example. While many of his stated beliefs in the past have been fairly freedom oriented he is adopting a new strategy this year by going authoritarian:
Surprisingly for a libertarian, Johnson, who recently resigned as the CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a marijuana marketing form, said that he would sign a bill banning the wearing of burqas in America. Sharia, he insisted, was not an expression of religion but of “politics” and hence many of its practices could be banned or limited without running afoul of the Constitution.
“Under sharia law,” he argued, “women are not afforded the same rights as men.” Under a burqa, how do you know if a woman has been beaten?, he asked rhetorically. “Honor killings are allowed for under sharia law and so is deceiving non-Muslims.” Likening followers of sharia to members of the Ku Klux Klan, Johnson said that he wouldn’t censor the speech of people promoting sharia law but would mount a cultural campaign to counter its growth here. He said the Islamic terrorism proceeds directly from the same sources as the thinking behind sharia and that the United States government must make sure it is not inadvertently funding sharia overseas.
Libertarianism is a philosophy built around the non-aggression principle, which simply states that it’s wrong to initiate force. How can one claim they are opposed to the initiation of force when they’re openly supporting laws that threaten anybody wearing a burqa? They can’t. Two the are mutually exclusive.
I also find his opinions about sharia rather hypocritical since he’s running to become part of a government that operates under very similar principles.
While women are not afforded the same rights as men under sharia nobody is afforded any rights under United States law. Rights, by definition, cannot be taken away. But the United States government can legally take any so-called right away. When something can be taken away it’s called a privilege and to quote George Carlin, “That’s all we’ve ever had in this country; a bill of temporary privileges.” Because even the enumerated privileges in the Bill of Rights, which have all be violated by federal law, are a single constitutional convention away from being entirely removed.
Sharia allows honor killings? So does United States law. The terminology is different. Instead of honor killings United State law calls it war. But when somebody offends the honor of the United States they end up at the business end of the world’s largest military, which usually makes them very dead.
And United States law allows the government to deceive nongovernmental entities. Cops can lie to you (but you can’t lie to them because that’s a crime). Every politician can lie to you. Basically anybody employed by the government can lie to you. Hell, the government lies to its allies. In fact I’m not aware of a single entity the United States government doesn’t lie to.
By Gary Johnson’s own criticisms of sharia he should be working to abolish the State, not become part of it so he can do the very things he is criticizing Islam for doing.
This is a common problem amongst statist libertarians (a term I personally find oxymoronic). They aren’t interested in being a force of liberation for all and their acknowledgement of the non-aggression principle only extends as far as the people they like. I’m not sure why they desire to label themselves libertarians, it’s not like there are any cool points attached to the term, but they do and it has rendered the term nearly useless.