Thursday, July 27, 2017

What's William Shatner doing at FreedomFest?

Is Star Trek Icon William Shatner a Libertarian? | The American Conservative - Todd Seavey:

July 24, 2017 - "'Is there a free mind? Are our minds free? Are we programmed by something up there to follow our fate? Or are we programmed by Mom and Dad at a very early age? So is there free will? Do we make choices?'

"So wondered William Shatner during his July 21 speech at the annual Las Vegas convention of libertarians and other free-marketeers called FreedomFest. He urged the audience to stick to its principles, not compromise as he says he did when he directed Star Trek V by giving up on his original vision of having the real God attack the crew with an army of lava men in the film’s climax.

"Compromising principles is a mistake, suggested Shatner. 'Nobody can tell you what to do. Somewhere inside us is a core.'

"Is William Shatner a libertarian, you might ask? If not, what’s he doing there? Well, it seems more like he’s an environmentalist worried about overpopulation — and he’s a Canadian, of course — but he’s also expressed some populist longings for someone to sweep away the bureaucrats and make American democracy work again. And he avoids commenting on Donald Trump....

"None of this makes him too much weirder than a previous FreedomFest speaker who went on to bigger things, namely Donald Trump. I suppose the question is how big you want the libertarian tent to be. You probably want a tent big enough to let in optimists who still believe we can invent and build things, but not a tent so big that it lets all the carny-barkers inside....

"[A] decade or two ago ... it seemed that the worst thing that could happen to the libertarian movement is that it might get too screechy and radical and alienate mainstream Americans.... Nowadays, I worry more that in American politics, even the most radical road always leads back to the same mushy centrist middle, with a few highly predictable TV pundits guarding that middle against the emergence of any truly new ideas. So, if Shatner is unlikely to express a precise, coherent philosophical argument, I should at least root for him to leave crowds slightly confused, even if he says something stupid. That can spur thought.... Absent utopian unanimity, one should root for competition, always....

"Let my fellow libertarians fight viciously and devolve into factions (pausing to enjoy the occasional near-meaningless Shatner speech or other entertainment). Like small and decentralized states, the factionalism might afford a better chance for truth to survive out there somewhere than would one bland, homogeneous consensus version of the philosophy with all the rough edges polished and gleaming."

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