Up until Ron Paul's disastrous run for the presidency in 2012, The Campaign for Liberty was one of the brightest stars in the liberty movement. C4L threw all of its political clout into Ron Paul campaign and completely fell apart during the GOP primary.
I kept following the group and was delighted to find that there was a C4L Meeting in Salt Lake last week.
The meeting was one of the most pathetic events I've attended and a week later I am still depressed by what I saw.
One guy in the group kept repeating that "we need to kill them." Another loud voice kept saying "no, we need to castrate them."
There was a loud argument about who hated the police more. Three people in the room were really upset about police for three different reasons and launched into informal shouting to see who could display the most anger.
Personally, I have nothing against passion, but I tend to prefer reason.
I believe that, if there was a group that discussed free market solutions to the problems of the day, that group might have an impact.
The closest that the meeting came to reason was a soft spoken women who was upset about legislatures veering from the Constitution and wondered why the mainstream media never talks about free agency as it appears in the Constitution.
Well, umm, err, uh ...
The reason you rarely hear people outside Utah talk about Free Agency in the Constitution is because Free Agency is not from the Constitution.
Free Agency is a dialectical trick created by Joseph Smith. The idea of Free Agency is similar to the dialectical tricks used by Hegel (1770-1831) a generation before Joseph Smith (1805-1844).
Because I'm depressed, I will repeat the evolution of Free Agency.
The Constitution was written by the US Founders in 1787. The founds had a Liberal Arts education steeped in classical logic and Christian Ethics. They applied classical logic to the question of liberty and created a Republic with a Constitutionally Limited Government. I like to call the application of classical logic to the question of liberty "Classical Liberalism."
The conservatives of 1776 supported the monarchy. Conservatives stood shoulder to shoulder with the British and leveled their musket fire at the US Founders.
The Hanoverian Kings of England (King George I, II, III ...) were from Germany. They funded the Germany University system. After the American Revolution, they task the German University system with making the monarchy appear progressive. Hegel provides the example of the thought produced by this reactionary movement.
Hegel invented a new paradox ridden way of thought called "modern logic."
A primary difference between classical and modern logic is the role of paradox. Classical thinkers sought to limit paradoxes.
Most concepts create paradoxes. For example, if I united one half of a community against the other half then I used the language of unity to create division.
Freedom leads to multiple paradoxes. Simply ask the question: "Does my freedom entitle me to take others as slaves?"
Republics have a paradox: What if a Republic votes in a dictator seeking to end the Republic?
Hegel loved word games that presented freedom as slavery and slavery freedom. For example Hegel might argue that the slave owner might become a slave to the plantation while the slaves were able to live carefree lives. (IMHO both Hegel and his followers and foolish).
Classical liberals disliked paradoxes. They realized that there best hope at nurturing a free society would be to created a Constitutionally limited government whose primary charge was to protect the liberty of the people. (They failed to address the horrific institution of slavery).
A group applied Hegelian Dialectics to the term liberal. They concluded that if freedom is slavery and slavery freedom, then people would somehow achieve a greater liberty if they sought economic and political centralization. (Did I mention that I think Hegel and his followers are foolish?).
Hegel, and his paradoxical thinking, was the absolute rage a decade before Joseph Smith did his thing.
The Mormon idea of Free Agency took its form in the years after Joseph Smith wrote "The Book of Commandments" and attempted to create an institution called "The United Order of Enoch." The Book of Commandments instructed LDS followers to surrender all of their property to the LDS Church. The church would then give people resources as the church sought fit.
Smith's followers rebelled. Joseph Smith retreated and really started pushing an idea called "Free Agency."
The principle of Free Agency states that there is a great war taking place in the Heavenly Kingdom between the followers of the Heavenly Father and Servants of Satan. In the divine plan of the Heavenly Father, people are given "Free Agency" to see if they will join the ranks of the righteous and follow the dictates of the LDS Church or if they join the ranks of the dark skinned Lamanites and become Servants of Satan.
Servants of Satan are to be cast out and vilified.
Free Agency is a paradox. It is exactly like the paradoxes of freedom that Hegel popularized a decade before Joseph Smith.
Free Agency states that you are free to do as you are told. If you don't do as you are told you are a Servant of Satan to be cast out and vilified.
Free Agency is tied up with another idea called "The Covenant." LDS Thoughts on The Covenant appear to come from The Divine Right of Kings. The Divine Right of Kings claims that the authority of the monarchy comes from Covenants that God made with the patriarchs of the Hebraic Bible. This Covenant with God gave kings Divine Rights. To rebel against the King was a sin.
Covenant Theology in the Mormon Church holds that the US Founders were actually hapless fools. The Heavenly Father won the Revolution for the Founders then revealed The Constitution to the Founders for the express purpose of creating the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the Church.
Yes, here in Utah, The LDS Church teaches that that both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are scripture revealed by The Heavenly Father for the purpose of creating the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the Church.
The Restoration of the Church came with the revelation of The Book of Mormon followed by the revelation of the Book of Commandments later renamed "The Doctrine and Covenant."
The Divine Plan of the Heavenly Father was to give people free agency in the Latter Days to see who would willingly submit to the authority of the Church and who would not. Those who do not are to be cast out, isolated and vilified.
It's a paradox. The Mormon doctrine of Free Agency says that people who exercise freedom are to be cast out and vilified. If you love something: Set if free. If it doesn't come back on its own accord, hunt it down and kill it.
I am not LDS. It seems to me that the Free Agency argument is actually a negation of the ideals of the US Founders and the US Constitution. When I hear people trying to apply the Mormon doctrine of Free Agency to the Constitution, I feel that they are just trying to spin the Constitutional tradition to their political favor.
So, I sat in the C4L meeting hoping to bring up the issue of free market health care reform. Instead I was left shaking my head. I reject the idea that we need to kill people. I reject the idea that we need to castrate people.
In my opinion Free Agency is useless paradox like most of the ideas from the Hegelian tradition.
A private conversation at the C4L meeting brought up the belief that Obama was the Anti-Christ.
I'm sorry, but Conservatives are as bad if not worse than Progressivism.
All that said. I can remember the great work the Campaign for Liberty was doing prior to the Ron Paul campaign. It would be wonderful to see a revival of this organization. But if it simply becomes a platform for lunatics; then I am content to see it flounder.