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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Schwartz on The Perversion of Liberty

"Since the fundamental question of ethics is how to define the good, there is nothing outside of ethics which precludes the view that virtue is achievable by force. If, for example, the good is a world that heeds God's will and reflects God's presence, then it is virtuous to prevent — by force, if necessary — the distribution of pornography or the drinking of alcohol or the preaching of atheism. One cannot exhort people to have blind faith in a being beyond their comprehension, and then insist that freedom — which means the right to act on the judgment of the mind — is a prerequisite. A moral code that urges man to surrender his mind to a higher authority is irreconcilable with the principles that man ought to live his life by his own thinking. If unquestioning obedience is a virtue, freedom of thought and action cannot be a right.

"If prayer is a duty one is obliged to perform — if, that is, the act of praying in intrinsically good, without any demonstrable connection to one's knowledge or interests — why shouldn't one be compelled to go though the motions, if that is supposed to bring greater glory to God? How many "sinners" throughout history have been forced to "repent" — indeed, how many have been tortured and killed — in order to save their souls and to please God? Of what relevance is the victim's lack of consent, under this concept of the good?"

~ Peter Schwartz in "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty"

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