Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tim Moen on Libertarian political action

Fort Mac Philosopher: Political Campaigning - Answering Critics - Tim Moen, leader, Libertarian Party of Canada:

March 22, 2014 - "I have wrestled with the paralyzing idea that having imperfect philosophy, not knowing the ultimate 'Truth' can result in unintended harms when acted upon. This is obviously an impossible standard to meet, and so then how is one to proceed?...

"Doing nothing is obviously not an option. Sitting still is dying. Humans don't live or survive by doing nothing and waiting for perfect philosophy. I've come to believe that the best way to proceed is by paying attention to the process of proceeding and being open to course correction as better reason and evidence present themselves. Philosopher Peter Boghossian calls this doxastic openness and contrasts it with doxastic closure which is essentially another name for dogma. To use a cliche it is about the journey not the destination.

"So I am proceeding on a course of trying to create positive change in the world by advancing the message of liberty. I want to be open to reason and evidence....

"When I hear criticism being levelled my way by fellow liberty activists I take it seriously. You are unlikely to come to the liberty movement in todays day and age through parental or institutional propaganda, in fact those are all the forces you must overcome. So liberty lovers are typically people who have reasoned their way into that position and I take what they have to say seriously. I could be on the wrong course and I need to be open to course correction.

"A friend and fellow liberty lover has been the most vocal critic of my campaign. Here is something he posted the other day that he admits is directed at me:

"The state is as good a tool for preaching liberty as is the church for preaching atheism."

"At first blush this seems to make some sense. Being the state while arguing against the state or being the church while arguing against the church seems to be self-defeating.... It's important to remember that the state doesn't exist as a material entity, it doesn't act, only people act, so what you are talking about when you use the words 'the state' is a set of beliefs that reside in ones brain and inform ones actions. If someone is devoid of these beliefs and therefore devoid of actions that lead to more initiation of force then can that be called 'the state?' It seems to me that is just a dude preaching non-aggression and trying to disabuse people of delusional beliefs, even if that dude participated in a popularity contest and most people think that gives him extra rights. His entering into the popularity contest did not create the delusion in others, but by getting in front of the delusional maybe he can influence them.

"I certainly don't want to be wrong and I don't think you do either.... So in the spirit of doxastic openness here is the evidence that could be presented to me that would convince me that what I'm doing is harmful to the liberty movement:
  1. Show me that preaching to the converted is more effective than reaching out to the "lost" in my particular circumstances. 
  2. Show me that the state exists as a material entity and not an abstraction, or explain to me how a person who is widely believed to have a monopoly of force actually has those rights as opposed to being perceived to have those rights.
  3. Provide me with evidence that I could be doing something more effective.... ME, not you or someone else and not some Platonic version of me that's in your head. 
  4. Show me some evidence that what I am doing is creating delusion that didn't previously exist. 
  5. Explain to me how someone who is committed to peace and non-aggression taking a spot that would otherwise be occupied by a politician interested in using the guns of government is not making the world safer?
"Now I would ask you to consider the evidence it would take you to reconsider whether what you are doing is the best course of action for your mission in life."

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