Freedom to Be a Community

With all of the local controversy over matters of church and state — made timely again, today, by Ed Fitzpatrick’s column about Treasurer Frank Caprio’s status as a pro-choice politician with experience as an unwed teenage father (more on which anon) — it’s worth submitting into the discussion this excellent explanation from the religious side, culled from Richard Garnett’s review of a book by David Novak:

Of particular interest to Novak is the debate over same-sex marriage and the increasing pressure on religious believers to censor their reservations about it, particularly in Canada, where Novak lives and teaches. He notes that this debate implicates religious liberty not because the legal recognition of same-sex unions is itself a burden on that liberty but because religious communities are increasingly being told that they may not make their case. To “deprive a religious community of the right to make moral claims,” he contends, is both antireligious and undemocratic. What’s more, he observes, religious freedom—the freedom to make moral claims from out of a religious tradition—is not only a claim on democratic society, it is a “gift for it as well.”
Perhaps the most striking and distinctive aspect of In Defense of Religious Liberty is Novak’s consistent, almost dogged, insistence that religion is not private, personal, or individual. It is, necessarily, relational, communal, traditional, and public. “Faith,” as he puts it, “is not so much a leap from the rational into the super-rational as it is one’s acceptance of a communal narrative by including oneself within the narrating community.” A legal regime that recognizes and protects a right to accept this narrative will also, necessarily, acknowledge the authority of that community to govern itself and those who have accepted it.

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Dan
Dan
11 years ago

I fully support your right to self-govern and choose what types of rules people within your community must follow.
…As long as people may opt out of that community if they do not wish to participate.
That being said, are you going to respect our Free State community if we respect yours, or are you going to send your tax collectors and policemen to pay us a visit if we choose not to pay for your religiously (or otherwisely) motivated laws and programs?
On a separate but related note, I’d be interested in hearing how this whole self-governance thing fits in with your extremely moralistic, aggressive, and interventionist foreign policies toward other countries.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Dan,
I pledge never to send any of the tax or police officials under my direct command to your state.
Regarding your foreign affairs question, I can only conclude that you haven’t been reading very closely (which, of course, is no sin). For reasons of national security, we cannot permit another nation to act as a safe harbor for organizations to develop and implement plans to attack our nation on a massive scale. In our non-military actions, we should work to ensure that other societies provide the right to change their governments and opt out, as you put it.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

So you do not support any federal taxes? Great to hear it.
“we cannot permit another nation to act as a safe harbor for organizations to develop and implement plans to attack our nation on a massive scale”
I don’t have any problem with this statement per se, but the potential for abuse is enormous, I hope you acknowledge that much. As long as the nations themselves are actively supporting those elements and not simply allowing them to live there, and as long as we don’t engage in nation building or use it as a justification to intervene in nations that do not actually pose an imminent threat to us (Iraq, Iran, etc.), then that is consistent.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Hey, maybe we’re on a path toward progress with this statement:

I don’t have any problem with this statement per se, but the potential for abuse is enormous

That’s precisely my complaint against libertarians’ (your) insistence on pure principles that can be applied without modification. You cannot develop a system that is free of the potential for abuse. So, you develop a general system that allows the various aspects of human nature to resolve themselves.
Regarding the “active support,” you’d have to include, in that, a refusal to allow us to go into the nation and extract the organizations that are attacking us. Refusal to do so is “active support.”

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“Regarding the “active support,” you’d have to include, in that, a refusal to allow us to go into the nation and extract the organizations that are attacking us. Refusal to do so is “active support.”
Agreed. Of course, hopefully that could be accomplished voluntarily or in trade for some other favor. And any strike would have to be targeted specifically against that organization, which is what I wanted to do with Afghanistan, not nation building and an endless war.
I still don’t think most libertarians are as purist as you think they are. We understand that there will always be problems with the world and that compromises need to be made, we just generally feel that people can more efficiently and effectively account for that reality on the individual level instead of using one-size-fits-all top-down government approaches which usually have horrible externalities or unintended consequences.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but I have mentioned the “coming Ice Age” a few times. Many may not be old enough to remember 1975, so here is a recent article about the hysteria here:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/03/climate-science-gore-intelligent-technology-sutton.html

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