"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Column by Jim Davies.
Exclusive to STR
Michael Kleen's Conversation with Vox Day was an unusual article for Strike The Root, but gave a valuable insight into why theists may become good branch-trimming libertarians, but seldom ax-wielding, anarchist root-strikers. I had noticed Mr. Day at the masthead of that highly Statist, conservative publication World Net Daily, with its 24-point headlines shouting for DADT not to be repealed, or START not to be ratified, laws to be Constitutional, etc. But until this appeared, I hadn't noticed he was a libertarian.
Clearly, he's bright; and anyone who declares that his favorite book was written by Marcus Aurelius has to be widely-read. Aurelius was a Roman Emperor, a warrior and head of State reigning at the end of the second century AD and the author of Meditations - a collection of bons mots quite perceptive but "revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty" according to Wikipedia. Yuck. Aurelius forced back foreign challenges to his imperial authority and wrote the meditations while on a military campaign. No doubt there are worse examples in history of dictators at the head of a vast empire, but there can't be very many; and this is the author Mr. Day, alleged libertarian, most admires. There's Red Flag #1.
Flag #2 is waved by his name. Of course, he may well have been given it when a babe in arms, but he chooses now to use both forename and last name and must surely know that they form a play on the Latin phrase "Vox Dei"--the voice of God. That choice no doubt involves some pleasant whimsy, but it may also suggest a whiff of megalomania. Delusion of grandeur, as in the case of ex-President Bush, is frequently unaccompanied by membership in MENSA--but there are exceptions, and perhaps Day is one of them. So I checked the origin of that phrase, and found it in some 10th Century advice by the theologian Alcuin, who urged Charlemagne: "And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness." Now comes Mr. Day, with a name suggesting the authentic Voice of God, to correct the madness of mere mortals; as he actually says to Kleen, "Most People Are Idiots."
So much for the superficial clues. Let's now get down to the heart of Day's philosophy.
In exactly the manner found on every page of the Bible, Vox Day asserts without a shred of objective proof that "Jesus Christ is the King of Kings"--there is no reasoning, no debate, no weighing of evidence, just raw dogma, take it or leave it, as in "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1.) His breathtaking next suggestion is that God is "somewhat of a libertarian" and it's a good example of the intellectual gymnastics that theists are obliged to perform, when trying to make the real world fit their premise. They invented an idea to explain why a perfect creator is not responsible for an imperfect creation: free will. Gosh golly, the impeccable creator gave mankind some free will, and just look how badly he's used it. Who would have guessed?
Notice that this is not just likening mankind to a dog on a leash, controlled by a kindly owner so that we can practice making our own excursions but not get into really deep trouble under the wheels of a truck. This rather is the kind of cynical, authoritarian deception practiced by the IRS: its alleged income tax is a "voluntary system" (they really do say that) but if you don't volunteer, you may be put in a government cage. Thus God, allegedly, says Choose as you will--but if you choose wrong, you'll spend eternity in the agony and torture of Hell. Some "free will." Don Vito Corleone would use a different phrase.
The reality is that some do evil, and since allegedly God created everything, evil can have no other origin--so there is a fatal contradiction; either God isn't good, or else He isn't the creator. Since theists insist on having both, their belief is irrational. The premise on which Mr. Day constructs his philosophy is a false premise.
That's by no means an unique error. There are some very smart people in government too; their premise, like Thomas Paine's, is that government is necessary. Based upon that premise, their reasoning may be elegant and flawless; but it will still, normally, lead to conclusions disastrously wrong and frequently soaked in blood.
Consider another gem from the interview: "The prospects for libertarianism are generally poor." W-r-o-n-g! They are excellent, as I've often written here for stated reasons and on stated, credible assumptions; but on the authoritarian premise Day uses, I can understand how he'd reach such a pessimistic conclusion. God has set the world spinning, man has screwed it up, He is not planning to intervene, or not until the final Rapture when it will be too late, so we can all stew in our own juice. This is exactly the way Christians think; the "world" is a lost cause, the only thing to do is to come out of it, get saved for eternity, and when it passes away, enjoy Heaven forever. Pie in the sky when you die, but meanwhile don't waste time trying to perfect the imperfectible; this world is doomed. Its "prospects for libertarianism are generally poor." Vox dei.
Here's another: "free trade and the idea of rational markets... are ultimately nonsense in both theoretical and practical terms." Of course! Freedom is ultimately an illusion, we are all really just puppets on a divine string. This gives as clear a demonstration as any, that theism and liberty are irreconcilable--and again, it's a perfectly sound conclusion to reach, based on the premise that there is a God, an ultimate Authority; "self-ownership" is, on that premise, obviously illusory. So, one can be owned and governed by oneself, or be owned and governed by an alleged Maker who is invisible, inaudible, untouchable, undefinable, ineffable, for whose existence there is not a shred of proof, many of whose alleged major attributes (like the pair above) are mutually exclusive, and who cannot even be defined. The choice isn't hard.
Lastly, notice how Vox Day answers the question about the greatest danger facing "the United States" and "what is the most effective way for individual Americans to respond" to it (and I presume that was a slip of Michael's tongue; that he meant to ask not about the health of the Empire but about the greatest danger to individual liberty.) Day says it's "The global governance movement." This is a red herring. The difference between being governed by 51% of one's Town neighbors and being governed by some modern Marcus Aurelius in wherever the One World Government sets up its HQ is only one of degree; and the notion that any Pol will surrender his power to a world supra government underestimates the high he enjoys from power. The only thing needed is the dissolution of all political power, and that will take place rather soon and very simply, on the day that rational, self-owning and re-educated human beings stop volunteering to work for government.