Monthly Archives: March 2017

Consistent Worldview? GTFO!

Here’s something I never expected to say: Tomi Lahren, you go girl!

She might be insufferably bratty, but she’s brave. Tomi was recently suspended from her show and lambasted by fans for? Having a consistent ideology.

Tomi declared that she is pro-choice. “I’m someone that is for limited government… Stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.” Tomi said that to believe in one and not the other would be hypocrisy. This flies in the face of what most conservatives believe (an ideology I call modern American right or MAR), hence the blackball.

A friend and I recently had a text conversation about the ideological divide, and I brought up an observation made by Sam Harris in this podcast. He said that an individual’s stance on one issue is, but shouldn’t be, an alarmingly strong predictor of that person’s stances on other unrelated issues. To me, this is a problem in and of itself, but my friend nonetheless asked a great question: is it actually a problem? He elaborated, “I believe in liberty. I believe one person’s freedom ends where the next person’s freedom begins. Knowing that about me makes my stances on multiple issues very predictable.”

Good point, right? Maybe it’s not a problem; maybe it just means that people have underlying principles that guide them towards stance 1 or stance 2 on every issue. But maybe they don’t. Maybe the very fact that my friend identified an underlying principle (believing in liberty) points to the problem: that modern American right and modern American left ideologies (MAL) are actually just a bunch of random stances strewn together.

Here’s what I mean. Libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle and other notions of liberty. They will tackle complex issues philosophically by breaking them down into matters of prevailing rights. These principles of liberty are the axiomatic foundation of libertarianism. Guns? People have a right to do what they want, so long as they’re not hurting anybody else. Tax? People have a right to do what they want, so long as they’re not hurting anybody else. Business? People have a right to do what they want, so long as they’re not hurting anybody else. Marriage? People have a right to do what they want, so long as they’re not hurting anybody else. Abortion? Ok I’m sick of the repetition.

But what is the consistent principle behind modern American right or modern American left ideologies? It almost seems like there’s not one, because both are paradoxes when it comes to the role of government. MAR ideology says we should chill out on government interference with economic liberties but the government needs to walk a fine line with civil liberties, while MAL ideology says sure let the government meddle with the economy but they need to leave civil liberties alone.

There are nonethless some attempts at reconciling the paradoxes in order to point to some underlying principle behind MAR or MAL. One I’ve heard is that liberals believe people are inherently good, while conservatives believe that people are inherently evil. Another is that liberals believe that greedy rich people are a drain on society while conservatives believe that greedy poor people are a drain on society. The former is more of a personality trait than a principle, and the latter is basically scapegoat-seeking. Either way, both attempts to capture a principle behind MAR or MAL lack the philosophical elegance of libertarianism’s insistence on liberty.


Now that I put libertarianism on a pedestal, let me knock it back down with an ontological question about “freedom” and “rights:” IRL, where exactly does one person’s freedom end and the next person’s freedom begin? Is there not murky territory? Which right should triumph if my right to sing loudly conflicts with your right to not hear my bad singing? I only want to make the point that even though libertrarians may be the most consistent when it comes to having an overarching theme to their stances, statements like “one person’s freedom ends where the next begins” draw a line that doesn’t exist in reality. Rights are, after all, social fiction. They’re completely made up.

Thanks to RFP!