Friday, July 10, 2009

It's Time for Libertarian Tolerance (Roger Young)

Roger Young would like to see little more tolerance in anarchist circles for those who are religious:

Roger YoungThe religious/spiritual conscience is the strict, private domain of the individual. The contents of that domain are off limits and irrelevant to other individuals. Some will claim those contents are sometimes inconsistent with self-government. To me, that is the height of arrogance and ignorance.

Certainly, the mind, spirit, and conscience is one piece of our lives off limits and inaccessible to an oppressive, totalitarian state. Throughout history individuals have managed to survive and even outlive tyrannical state regimes by relying on a strong, principled, spiritual conscience that is untouchable by even the most onerous of despots.

What inspires and privately defines your self-government is is your own concern.

Recently, US expatriate Jeff Knaebel (a contributor to LRC) renounced his US citizenship at the Mahatma Gandhi national monument in India. Mr. Knaebel shredded his US passport and "placing the pieces upon the monument, Knaebel declared his independence from not only the American government, but all governments renouncing his birth certificate as well, stating that citizenship must either be voluntary, or be considered forced slavery." Mr. Knaebel then read aloud his Declaration of Renunciation and Severance of U.S. Citizenship which is a marvelous, inspiring statement.

As this news spread throughout the blogosphere I noticed some of the usual gnashing of teeth among atheist fundamentalists impressed with Mr. Knaebel’s declaration but upset with his motivation. It seems that Mr. Knaebel is a Buddhist and the precepts of that belief were, at least in part, the source of his declaration of individual sovereignty.

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