I came across a debate today, one that I wasn’t involved in, but you had a crazy libertarian on one side proclaiming that natural rights were real, so there, and on the other, you had a skeptic who kept asking him a lot of the same questions that I ask regularly. Questions like “how do you know what natural rights are?” and “how do you objectively define what is a natural right and what is not?” Well, our libertarian friend couldn’t, or more properly wouldn’t, answer any of the questions, he just kept repeating his unsupported claims over and over and over again. He apparently doesn’t care about reality.
Two things occurred to me. First, they have no idea how their core principles came about and second, that they have no clue how to get there rationally. This reinforces my idea that libertarianism operates largely like a religion because the religious have the same two problems. Neither of them are capable of getting back to core principles and explaining how they came about to anyone who doesn’t already swig the same Kool-Aid. How do you objectively define a natural right? They don’t know. How many natural rights are there? They have no clue. They lack a fundamental understanding of the core concepts of their own political philosophy. And when they fail, all they can do, like the religious, is run back to their holy books. “This is what Thomas Paine said” or “this is what John Locke said”. I don’t care what they said, I’m not debating them, I’m debating you. Show me that you know that you understand your philosophy in your own words. They can’t do it.
The same is true of the religious. Their core belief is that some god exists. How do they know this? They have no answers. I want to know how you personally determined, on your own, that your god actually exists in objective reality. I don’t care what your silly religious book says. I don’t care what your pastor says. I’m not going to look at the trees. I care what evidence you can present that supports your contention that this thing that you worship is actually real. But they can’t do it. They have no argument, they have no evidence, they just have blind faith, just like the libertarians. If you can’t explain why you believe what you believe in your own words, demonstrating your own understanding of the belief, then you have no intellectual reason to believe it, period.
Both of these groups live in their own little fantasy world, where what they want to be true is more important than what is actually true. When I point this simple fact out, I have been told, I shit you not, that it is unfair to require people to think rationally about their beliefs because being rational isn’t important. Yeah, let me say that again: being rational isn’t important.
And you wonder why I think these two groups have problems.