"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." ~ John Marshall
A Conversation With Vox Day
By Michael Kleen.
Exclusive to STR
Vox Day is a Christian libertarian opinion columnist and author of "The Return of the Great Depression." He is a member of the SFWA, Mensa and IGDA, and has been down with Madden since 1992. Visit his blog, Vox Popoli, for daily commentary and spirited discussions open to all. His commentary has appeared on World Net Daily since 2001, and an archive of his columns can be found here.
What writers or philosophers have most influenced you? Has your political thought evolved over time, and if so, was there any particular author or event that pushed you in that direction?
The philosopher that has most influenced me is Marcus Aurelius. While I don't always succeed in meeting the expected idiosyncrasies of humanity with perfect equanimity, I am very seldom surprised by them. The evil and foolishness of Man is without limit, so it makes no sense to expect much in the way of wisdom or even sense from the average individual. Readers of the Vox Popoli blog are familiar with the acronym MPAI, which means Most People Are Idiots. It's not actually meant to be contemptuous as it sounds, (although it certainly comes off that way), it's merely a reminder that one's expectations of others must always be mindful of their limitations.
If man is so evil and foolish, and libertarianism is the enlightened philosophy behind the best form of governance, what are the prospects for libertarianism in the future? Do you believe we are doomed to forever be in the minority?
The prospects for libertarianism are generally poor. Unfortunately, the people of the West have demonstrated a strong inclination to continue looking to government in order to solve the problems caused by previous government interventions. I do believe libertarians will always be in the minority for the simple reason that most people fear genuine freedom due to its intrinsic requirement of self-responsibility.
As a game designer, musician, science fiction author, and commentator, you have lent your talents to a wide variety of pursuits. Would you say there is a general theme running throughout all of your work, and is that theme related to your sociopolitical views?
Yes, to the extent there is a primary theme it is usually related to individual freedom and responsibility. It is quite closely related to my sociopolitical views, but I attempt to keep them from turning the novels and games, at least, into a soapbox.
If you could pick one thing out of the whole catalog of your work to be remembered by, what would it be?
I would say the song “Sunyata” by Basic Pleasure Model. It's probably as close as I ever got to expressing myself rather than my logical conclusions and Paul's music really melded well with the lyrics. I don't think I've written my magnum opus yet. I hope I haven't. As for the books, probably Summa Elvetica even though I didn't manage to accomplish what I set out to do.
You describe yourself as a Christian Libertarian - What appeals to you about that label, and what about Christianity do you feel lends itself particularly well to philosophical or political libertarianism?
Many people unfortunately confuse libertarianism with libertinism. What appeals to me about the label is that it highlights what I believe to be the intrinsic connection between the Christian faith and libertarian philosophy. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, and yet he asks us to submit to his lordship voluntarily, of our own free will. If you posit that a Creator God does exist and has all of the incredible power required to create the universe, it necessarily follows that He must be at least somewhat of a libertarian because He clearly eschews attempting to dictate our actions. He allows us the freedom to violate His Will as well as the freedom to fail, whereas the various anti-libertarian philosophies, from communism to American conservatism, always attempt to prevent individuals from acting in contradiction to the philosophy's ideological goals. Statist philosophies are all very similar in their attempt to dictate human behavior, the primary difference between them is how they define what is and is not permissible.
There has been a lot of debate between "left libertarians" and "right libertarians" in recent years, despite attempts to find common ground. On what side of this debate do you see yourself?
Definitely a "right libertarian." I have zero sympathy for the state and little more use for it. That being said, it is becoming more clear that certain of the economic philosophies that provide the foundation of conventional right libertarian thinking are not correct and have no basis in either logic or empirical evidence. Of course, given that Karl Marx was a Ricardian himself, one could argue that the left and right labels are occasionally misapplied. But let's not burrow down that rabbit hole....
What specific economic philosophies underlying right libertarian thought are you referring to, and why are they incorrect?
Primarily free trade and the idea of rational markets. It would literally take a book to fully explain the problems with either, (and Ian Fletcher has written a pretty good one on the former), but suffice it to say that if one can grasp that genuine free trade involves the free movement of labor, not merely the free movement of goods and capital, one should be able to understand that it is ultimately nonsense in both theoretical and practical terms.
What is the greatest danger facing the United States today, and what is the most effective way for individual Americans to respond to that danger?
The global governance movement. A one-world government is an absolutely terrible concept, because it sets up a system of an ultimate prize to be claimed by the most ruthless, most determined, and most power-hungry individuals. The hypothetical process of getting to that point is bad enough, but if the global governance enthusiasts ever succeed in establishing it, it's going to make the historical institutions of slavery and medieval serfdom look like freedom in comparison. The only peace it will bring to Mankind is the peace of the grave. The most effective way for individual Americans to respond is to continue to insist on the restoration of their Constitution and to remain steadfast in refusing demands that they give up their national sovereignty. The problem is that when the Federal Reserve system finally fails, and it will eventually fail as all monetary systems eventually do in time, there is going to be tremendous pressure to replicate it on a global level. And as the Irish have recently learned, once monetary sovereignty is gone, the other forms soon follow.