NOTE TO SELF, BASED ON QUAKER TESTIMONIES OF INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY, PEACE, EQUALITY, AND COMMUNITY:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.
2. Do what you say, say what you think, think what is true.
3. Subtract superfluities from your life, speech, desires and thoughts.
4. Don't initiate aggression against the persons or property of others, nor support people who do, including the people who "constitute" the government.
5. Respect life and natural law.
6. All people are endowed by their Creator with equal and inalienable rights to the earth and to the fruits of their own labor, and a "Citizen's Dividend" funded by a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would be the fairest way to protect these rights.

For supporting materials, see the Archive and the Recommended Reading and Videos section at the bottom of this page.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bringing the Good News of Quakerism to the Anarchists

In response to a thoughtful blog post on religion by athiest anarchist Professor David Friedman (son of the late Milton Friedman), I offered the following comment:

"Let me just put a plug in here for my own religion -- the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). What distinguishes Quakers for purposes of this kind of discussion is our aversion to reliance on creedal formulations of belief, a fundamentalist understanding of Scripture or the authority of an institution; and our reliance instead on the Light within. Also attractive to me is our Peace Testimony against war (though not necessarily, as is often misunderstood, against justified coercion in all instances) and our historical role in, e.g., the Underground Railroad and abolitionism. Unfortunately, many modern day Quakers tend to be liberals, whereas you'd think these testimonies just mentioned and our historical objections to such things as taking oaths in court and calling people by customary honorary titles that elevate them above their fellow human beings (e.g. "Your Honor") would have led to more anarchist attitudes."


In response to an earlier post by Friedman on "Ron Paul, Libertarianism and the Constitution," where he said "One of the issues that I do not think I have seen seriously discussed in libertarian literature is the tension between support for strict interpretation of the Constitution and support for libertarian legal outcomes," I said this:

I assume you're aware of Randy Barnett's "Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty"? I also find instructive this language from Ch.2 of Lysander Spooner's "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery" (1860): "Taking it for granted that it has now been shown that no rule of civil conduct, that is inconsistent with the natural rights of men, can be rightfully established by government, or consequently be made obligatory as law, either upon the people, or upon judicial tribunals ‑‑ let us now proceed to test the legality of slavery by those written constitutions of government, which judicial tribunals actually recognize as authoritative.
In making this examination, however, I shall not insist upon the principle of the preceding chapter, that there can be no law [*16] contrary to natural right; but shall admit, for the sake of the argument, that there may be such laws. I shall only claim that in the interpretation of all statutes and constitutions, the ordinary legal [*17] rules of interpretation be observed. The most important of these rules, and the one to which it will be necessary constantly to refer, is the one that all language must be construed "strictly" in favor [*18] of natural right. The rule is laid down by the Supreme Court of the United States in these words, to wit: "Where rights are infringed, where fundamental principles are [*19] overthrown, where the general system of the laws is departed from, the legislative intention must be expressed with irresistible clearness, to induce a court of justice to suppose a design to effect such objects." [*20]
It will probably appear from this examination of the written constitutions, that slavery neither has, nor ever had any constitutional existence in this country; that it has always been a mere abuse, sustained, in the first instance, merely by the common consent of the strongest party, without any law on the subject, and, in the second place, by a few unconstitutional enactments, made in defiance of the plainest provisions of their fundamental law."


Most recently, in response to an excellent and insightful Friedman post on "The Ron Paul Affair and Libertarian Culture Clash," I said this:

I think this is the best explication I've heard yet of the Ron Paul Affair. I swear I've thought the same thing but haven't seen it expressed anywhere else (and wasn't inspired enough to say it myself:). While I personally tend more towards "wimp" sensibilities, recognition that this is what was likely going on in the minds of the "boors" leads me to think it's not as big of a deal as those who are ready to throw Ron Paul overboard make it out to be. . . . And as someone who was once, by conversion rather than birth, a very traditionalist Catholic (Mel Gibson style), even though I've changed those friends for Quakers, I still consider myself "friendly" towards those people -- far more friendly than I've ever been with your typical liberal Democrat. I know from experience that us traditionalist Catholics would in social discourse amongst ourselves sometimes revel in our non-PCness. Those are the kinds of friends that the paleolibertarians have made, and I'm not inclined to fault them for it. Indeed, I'm of the school that thinks that a culture that emphasizes self-government of one's own life (through moral virtue and respect for the fundamental importance of family) is vitally important to the project of reducing the perceived need for government coercion and intrusion.