Where are the Muslim libertarians?

It seems to me that there is no political ideology on offer in the West that is more deserving of Muslim support than libertarianism. Libertarians believe that each of us ‘owns’ our own lives and property; that we have the right to do whatever we wish with either provided we also respect the rights of others to do as they wish. As such, libertarianism guarantees Muslim minorities the right to worship, dress, speak and believe as we wish and protects these rights from the interference of the State and other citizens. Pick an issue from the last few years — calls for niqab to be banned, the banning of particular books, calls for sermons in mosques to be monitored, the introduction of sedition laws, interference in the religious curriculum of Muslim schools, and so on — and the libertarian position falls clearly on the Muslim side of the argument.

It is also the only ideology that, with its emphasis on small government and minimal taxes, would put an end to the multiculturalist pork barreling that has nurtured an unproductive growing class of tax-eating Muslim ‘leaders’. In recent years, we’ve seen a conga line of Muslims emerge with their self-serving pseudo-research and demands for more and more money to be poured into their projects and causes; projects that are more often designed to meet the political objectives of the State than any genuine need in the Muslim community. For example, we’ve had people paint the Muslim youth as drug-addled, dangerous time bombs whose fuses can only be extinguished by more public money; and we’ve seen malleable Muslims handpicked by the State, placed on government committees and publicly-funded ‘reference groups’ and then used by the government to promote its agenda.

Muslims, like other religious minorities and communities, appear to me to be a natural constituency for libertarian politics. But where are the Muslim libertarians? Likewise, why haven’t the various libertarian parties in the West done more to appeal to Muslims (or indeed other religious minorities), demonstrating how their policies would benefit these communities?

49 comments ↓

#1 Cinna on 09.23.07 at 9:49 pm

However, isn’t the essential nature of islam, with its definite injunctions to enforce proper behaviour, inherently anti-libertarian?

#2 Amir on 09.23.07 at 9:57 pm

Islam certainly does proscribe certain behaviours and beliefs, but I suppose the question is how these things are enforced. If it’s a matter of self-government then I don’t see it as necessarily contradictory with libertarian ideals. Where it becomes ‘problematic’ is when the Muslims start to see the state as an agent of ‘reform’ (the essence of Islamism) or when they force others who don’t believe in those values or practices to adhere to them. For example, preventing non-Muslims from eating pork or practicing their religion. This isn’t necessarily an essential element of Islam. In the past, for instance, the Muslim world was legally pluralistic with non-Muslims, such as Jews or Christians, organising their affairs according to their respective laws and mores. They had their own courts and were judged by their own judges according to their own laws and values.

I am not saying, by the way, that Islam is a ‘libertarian’ religion but simply that, for us in the West, libertarianism seems (to me) to be a more natural political home for us than the conservative Right or the socialist and/or progressive Left.

#3 Yakoub Islam on 09.24.07 at 2:54 am

“Why haven’t the various libertarian parties in the West done more to appeal to Muslims?” What libertarian ‘parties’ are these? Anarchists? There’s a whiff of Jonathan Swift about this post…

#4 CraigG on 09.24.07 at 4:31 am

Libertarian Parties like the Libertarian Democratic Party (Australia) or the Libertarian Party (USA). Or the Libertarian/classical liberal wings of the Liberal and Republican parties.

Yakoub, libertarianism is very much a mainstream political belief in this country. If you look at the two biggest “right wing” think tanks in Australia (CIS and IPA), both of them are liberal/libertarian in outlook. The question about why these groups haven’t taken their message to minority groups is a fair one.

#5 sarah on 09.24.07 at 3:55 pm

Excellent post. A alliance with libertarians is also a good lesson to be against excessive state interference in private religious practice and equality under the law for those same minorities (currently) living in Muslim-majority states.

Whilst I think harking back to the relative tolerance towards Christian and Jewish minorities in medieval Muslim societies is a good starting precedent- this needs to be expanded and elaborated upon for the big problems that not-muslim minorities face today.

Whilst these minorities in that time had the protection of the state- this was subject to a kind of parallel legal and social status that was subject to certain conditions of the State.

This wouldn’t jive with the “equality under the law” of today (and none of this different but equal business.)

I personally regard myself as a Muslim “libertarian” so there you go :)

#6 Amir on 09.24.07 at 4:45 pm

What is interesting about the early Muslim societies was that they were legally pluralistic. The Jews, Christians, Majusi and other citizens were all living under their own laws, with their own courts and own systems. In Ibnul Qayyim’s Ahkam ahl ul-Dhimmah he mentions a discussion about the Majusi communities at the time and a form of incestuous marriage they practiced. Islam, obviously, objected to the form of marriage but yet it was ruled that the Islamic state had no right to interfere with them performing it on the proviso that that they didn’t present themselves before an Islamic court and, without coercion, ‘opt in’ to be judged by Islamic law.

#7 Cinna on 09.24.07 at 8:36 pm

A pluralistic society is not a libertarian society though. There are strict injunctions as to what muslims can tolerate or permit which are directly opposed to libertarian theories. A muslim voting for a libertarian party would find themselves in the position of voting for a party that tolerates the open sale of drugs, homosexuality, prostitution and islam in exactly the same way and for exactly the same reasons, which I’d think would be psychologically disturbing. The parties with policies that are most likely to appeal to muslims are probably the parties most likely to be hostile to muslims.
Equally, a libertarian society would presumably tolerate muslims following islamic law, but only as a private agreement with no legal force as long as all parties concerned accepted it

#8 Amir on 09.24.07 at 8:51 pm

The distinction between conservatism and libertarianism seems to be that the latter base their policies on some inviolable principles. Therefore, as you say, homosexuals are free to be homosexuals and Muslims are free to be Muslims. Conservatives, on the other hand, can reconcile a tolerance of public expressions of homosexuality with a hostility towards public expressions of Islam because they not so tightly bound to principle (as one can see from some of these European demagogues who have appeared in recent years).

So it’s a trade-off, I suppose. Are Muslims willing to tolerate the right of someone else to be a homosexual or ’self-medicate’ (as some libertarians call it) if it means their freedom to wear a veil, teach whatever they like in schools, practice polygyny, or whatever is likewise guaranteed by the same principle?

#9 Antish on 09.24.07 at 8:53 pm

Don’t confuse “liberal” with “libertarian”. Direct Democracy is a libertarian ideal, which would mean the equivalent of a Herald-Sun/Daily Telegraph phone poll on every issue. If you want to live in a bogan-redneck country that’s the sort of political system you’ll support.

#10 Sara Tancredi on 09.24.07 at 11:12 pm

If you want to live in a bogan-redneck country that’s the sort of political system you’ll support.

Some might say we already live in a bogan, redneck country.

#11 Where are the Muslim Libertarians? at Ijtema on 09.25.07 at 6:01 am

[...] Amir at Australabe for Muslim-llibertarian alliance. As such, libertarianism guarantees Muslim minorities the right to worship, dress, speak and believe as we wish and protects these rights from the interference of the State and other citizens. Pick an issue from the last few years — calls for niqab to be banned, the banning of particular books, calls for sermons in mosques to be monitored, the introduction of sedition laws, interference in the religious curriculum of Muslim schools, and so on — and the libertarian position falls clearly on the Muslim side of the argument. Powered by Gregarious (21) [...]

#12 Yakoub Islam on 09.25.07 at 8:34 am

“Yakoub, libertarianism is very much a mainstream political belief in this country.”

Figures. I shared a squat in Brixton with an Aussie anarchist – there were loads of ‘em about the place, in fact (circa 1985). There were really friendly, but assumed you wanted an in-depth lecture on Aussie politics day and night. I obviously should have listened!

#13 Antish on 09.25.07 at 10:33 am

Sara, that’s the sort of victim-mrnality attitude that’s all too common. Honsetly compare the current situation with the situation which would pertain if Heral-Sun phone polls were the source of laws and policy. No comparison.

#14 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 10:52 am

Sorry, Antish, I can’t take you seriously when you don’t even use spellcheck.

#15 Antish on 09.25.07 at 11:13 am

Why not?

#16 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 11:29 am

Apologies, good point. Let me rephrase: I can’t take you seriously, period.

(Herald polls on a par with libertarian ideals? Sources of law? Seriously? (Rhetorical))

#17 Antish on 09.25.07 at 11:56 am

Umm, wot? If the Direct Democracy folk had their way Australia would have the death penalty again, non-white immigration would be stopped, there certainly wouldn’t be women-only swimming at public pools, and so on. Direct Democracy pretty much means government by opinion poll. Are you arguing that Direct Democracy isn’t a libertarian ideal?

#18 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 12:36 pm

Are you arguing that Direct Democracy isn’t a libertarian ideal?

Erm, yes, brainiac, that’s right. Do you even know what you’re talking about? Where do you get your information from? Direct democracy is not a libertarian ideal. In fact, direct democracy can work completely against it.

#19 Amir on 09.25.07 at 12:56 pm

I don’t see how direct democracy is a libertarian idea. In fact, I would think your scenario is the antithesis of libertarian ideals because it describes a situation where people could vote to remove the freedoms of other citizens.

#20 Antish on 09.25.07 at 1:12 pm

Indeed, which is why “libertarianism” is not really a serious political philosphy. Libertarians tend to be nutters (present company excepted).

#21 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 2:19 pm

Indeed, Antish.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!”

#22 Antish on 09.25.07 at 2:54 pm

Please. Tell us where we can read a reasonable plan for a viable libertarian state. Or, just for laughs, tell us how a libertarian state would go about (say) addressing global warming.

#23 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 3:46 pm

Well, Antish, people were trying to discuss the issue but then you came along, started using big words, confused yourself, then consequently misplaced your own argument.

#24 Antish on 09.25.07 at 4:58 pm

BTW, I’m all for drugs, dancing, homosexuals, fornication, elbows, musical instruments and so on, I just don’t want the vile political and economic system which comes with the notion that the less government the better.

However, if such a political sytem was established, it would have to have some sort of legal system. presumably based on not interfering with anyone’s right to do anything that didn’t harm anyone else. That would probably see the end of whales, national parks, roads, hospitals and so on, but there would be one silver lining. The High Court of such a system would have to uphold the view that teaching religion to children was illegal on the grounds that it would be forcing them into a certain worldview without their informed consent.

#25 LDU on 09.25.07 at 7:20 pm

Seriously people, just ignore Antish.

Sara, aren’t you supposed to be taken hostage in Panama with LJ?

#26 Sara Tancredi on 09.25.07 at 7:36 pm

I was given some time to catch up on correspondence by my kidnappers.

#27 Amir on 09.25.07 at 9:36 pm

BTW, I’m all for drugs, dancing, homosexuals, fornication, elbows, musical instruments and so on, I just don’t want the vile political and economic system which comes with the notion that the less government the better.

Vile? What’s so vile about small government?

#28 Eudaemonion on 09.26.07 at 12:59 am

It deprives Antish of his fortnightly Centrelink cheque, Amir. Small government just doesn’t do ‘welfare’, and he knows it.

#29 Jason Soon on 09.26.07 at 11:01 am

Direct democracy is certainly not a libertarian ideal. Some libertarians favour devolving as much responsibility to the most localised forms of government as possible in order to minimise dangers caused by the centralisation of political power. In that respect, this may be seen as compatible with some notions of direct democracy but it renders more centralised governments relatively impotent to impose the most harmful and restrictive laws. Libertarians would generally want to leave as much to the market and voluntary organisations and as little to collective decision making via the political process as possible so even this idea is really a second best solution from the libertarian perspective.

#30 Islamists Can’t be Libertarians « Ali Eteraz on 09.26.07 at 7:36 pm

[...] Can’t be Libertarians Filed under: Uncategorized — eteraz @ 4:36 am Austrolabe inquires where are the Muslim libertarians. I consider myself a left-libertarian and I will [...]

#31 James on 09.27.07 at 6:44 am

Amir,

What am I going to do with you? I leave you alone for a few weeks and you go completely off the rails. Having read some of your previous posts I’m not terribly surprised that you would be a fan of libertarianism. You seem to have a Reaganesque distain for the Welfare State.

Not being a citizen of the land down under I really can’t comment on the truth or falsity of claims of a rampant Nanny-State gone amok that you post. I do suspect that you protest too much.

The question is what type of society we want to live in. Do we want a WE society or a ME society? On this side of the pond our founders settled on the WE. It is right in the preamble “We the people.”

The theory behind the “we” is that people come together to form societies to accomplish things they can not do alone. We do these things via government and civic society. Government provides a backstop for individuals. Things like roads, schools, sewers, air-control systems etc. are provided to all and paid for by taxes.

Let’s take public roads. Australia has a very well developed highway system. Are you willing to turn the whole lot over to private contractors? Do you seriously think that for-profit toll roads will serve your needs better? It’s been tried here, the history is not encouraging. Toll roads have always turned into a giant boondoggle.

Another example, one that is being fiercely debated here, is that of single-payer health coverage. The US spends 50% more than any other industrialized nation on health care for very poor results. We rate 30th or some such. Our system is much closer to the Libertarian ideal than Australia. Results: in the USA people die for no other reason than they are poor.

Libertarianism is a fundamentally flawed philosophy. It ignores then fundamental fact that we are social animals. There is not now nor has there ever been a truly rugged individual. There is a simple name for a totally separate individual, alone in the natural environment: prey. All alone, with no help from our clan(s) we are quick and easy meal for predators.

This is even more so in wilds known as the economy. Without the protections provided by government you, Amir, are very easy prey for the corporate predators. To talk about individuals making bargains in this environment is shear fantasy. The Corporate entities hold all the cards; they have all the power when you match up against them as an individual. Re-read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” Re-read Dickens, Re-Read the muckrakers of the early 20th century. They describe the end-state of Libertarianism. They describe the end-state of laissez-faire capitalism. The end state of Libertarianism is where there are very tiny elite, a small middle class, and a huge cohort of the poor.
Why do think Socialism was so beloved of the masses in the late 19th and early 20th century?
Socialism mutated into the welfare state. The elites got to hold onto most of their money and power, the common folk got backstopped. While some of this backstopping has lead to the problem of a permanent underclass, generations stuck on the dole, the alternative is much worse. The alternative is leaving these people to die. Charity only goes so far, and fails were it is most needed. Compare the laissez-faire response of Herbert Hoover to FDR. FDR saved capitalism from itself. The back-stopping of the New Deal, the intervention of government prevented the USA from following Germany into the long dark night of fascism.

Amir, we have been down this road before. We have tried Libertarianism before. Most of the Colonial era and the 18th century were dedicated to the proposition of laissez-faire economics. The results are in; Libertarianism leads to a hellish state of a very few winners and far too many losers. Libertarianism leads to a brutal, hellish government were people are hanged for stealing bread. Libertarianism leads to vast sections of the land devolving into lawlessness. Again, Amir, re-read Dickens and his contemporaries about the conditions of the urban poor in Victorian England. Better yet cast your eyes toward Iraq. L. Paul Bremer III and his happy bunch of pirates set up a Libertarian paradise in Iraq, how’s that working?

#32 Cinna on 09.27.07 at 9:06 pm

There’re two konds of liberatrianism, James: social and economic and- theoretically, at least- they need not be connected. There are socialists who are social libertarians and regard personal behaviour as no concern of anyone else and there are people who are solely economically libertarian. Patrick Minford, a British economist, welcomed Pinochet’s coup in chile as a restoration of freedom. when questioned he explained that the only kind of freedom that mattered was economic freedom.

#33 Tariq Nelson on 09.29.07 at 10:05 pm

Here in the US, Libertarians were basically a wing of the Republican party for a while, but they have fallen because of the argument that “things have changed since 9/11″ and there is a need for a firmer hand

#34 liber on 10.01.07 at 2:00 am

Excellent, James. I totally agree.

#5 (Sarah): “Whilst I think harking back to the relative tolerance towards Christian and Jewish minorities in medieval Muslim societies is a good starting precedent- this needs to be expanded and elaborated upon for the big problems that not-muslim minorities face today.”

Well, the first problem is that the “relative tolerance” you speak of was paid for by the non-Muslim minorities (and sometimes even by the non-Muslim majorities in freshly conquered countries) via per capita tax (see Wikipedia for “jizyah”) solely for not being Muslim. This type of tolerance is paid for today by many of the few Christian Iraqis left to the Shi’a or Sunni warlord of their area, lest they are killed (so imposing jizyah is nothing else but institutionalized extortion). Great tolerance! What a multicultural paradise, these medieval Muslim societies! Really a good starting precedent! (Yes, I AM being sarcastic…)

#35 Conspiracy Smasher on 10.01.07 at 7:42 am

I’m not sure muslims would be happy in a libertarian state. Freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion would mean muslims wouldn’t be allowed to kill folks who left your death-cult.

Further, the first time one of your co-religionists executed innocent kuffar on behalf of the “religion of peace” you’d see mass deportations – or worse.

No, If i were you, I’d stick with the status quo where you can pump out hordes of young believers who are then taught to hate the culture they live in.

“Only one ambition is worthy of Islam, to save the world from the curse of democracy: to teach men that they cannot rule themselves on the basis of man-made laws. Mankind has strayed from the path of God, we must return to that path or face certain annihilation.” — Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Jubair

#36 Abu Omar on 10.03.07 at 12:28 am

For those looking for real libertarians in America, I would suggest LewRockwell.com and AntiWar.com and also to go to YouTube.com and type “Ron Paul.”

#37 Eudaemonion on 10.03.07 at 1:57 pm

James, you have a rather unfortunate habit of conflating distinct philosophies and then attacking both on the failings of one; creating a straw man in effect.

You conflate the late 18th Century Colonial Mercantilism of Europe and America’s predatory Lassez Faire Capitalism with a pure Free Market principles as outlined by the Austrian School. It doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny, you see.

The Colonial Mercantilism of say Britian was characterised by an almost Fascist collusion between moneyed agents and government, with the added bonus of a large, deindustrialised Colonial Empire as a captive market for British goods. This has diddly squat to with Free Market Economics, which have anti-Mercantilist tendencies built in.

The American situation was also particularly Fascist, with the big Trust monopolising resources and markets, squelching any form of competition and riding roughshod over Property Rights; ignoring the Rule of Law. Such behaviour is a HUGE no-no, and in total opposition to the Libertarian philosophy.

Then there is the garbage claiming that we’ve tried Libertarianism?

#38 Eudaemonion on 10.03.07 at 2:00 pm

I wonder James. Do you think that Australia or America’s economy today is a Free Market in nature?

#39 James on 10.05.07 at 4:39 am

Eudaemonion,

Very technically you are correct; we have never seen “pure” Libertarianism.

First and foremost, we have not seen it because pure Libertarianism is impossible. We are social animals; we work in groups, in clans. Our evolutionary path is much like other apes. Alone we ARE prey. We are hard-wired work in groups with other people. We are even hard wired to feel others pain. Even in the mostly egalitarian setting of the hunter-gatherers individuals must make concessions to the group to survive.

Libertarianism in its’ pure form ignores these social structures. It assumes that we are highly rational individuals who always work in our own self interests. Libertarianism ignores the complex social structures that we have built since the Agricultural revolution. It takes these structures for granted.

More to the point, Libertarianism ignores the fact that government is absolutely essential in protecting the “free market.” Left to its own devices, capitalism always ends up in a “Guided Age” scenario. While Monopoly, Colonial Mercantilism, and predatory Lassez Faire Capitalism might be no-no’s to good libertarians, how are you going to prevent these things without a government devoted to the common good?

Again it is all about We vs. Me. Libertarians are all about “Me” about selfishness, about hyper-individualism. This mind set ends up in warped and hellish societies. It ends up with a huge underclass living like slaves and a tiny minority of the hyper-rich and hyper powerful.

Libertarianism rejects the idea of the commons, of people working together to backstop each other. The end result of this idea can be seen in NOLA. Because the Bushies reject government, because they really believe that government is the enemy of the people they have left a major American city to rot in ruin. They have left the “reconstruction” to private, for-profit corporations.

The end result of this privatization is rampant corruption and cronyism. This is inevitable when you reject the idea of the public good. There is no public good in Libertarianism because there is no public, no commons, only individuals.

In insisting on the primacy of the individual, by insisting on private solutions Libertarianism actually subverts the rights of people. To fully flower people need to be secure. They need food, water, and secure lodgings. In modern post-industrial societies these things are provided by the government. In Oz, the society has determined that all citizens will have a secure floor under them. In Oz you are provided a sturdy social safety net. This is done as a matter of course. This is because you live in a we society, where the majority have agreed to certain items are the right of all Australians.

It is always mildly ironic to read of any Libertarian “scholarship” emanating from the “developed” nations. It is doubly ironic to hear of it coming from the Land of Oz. One has to be willfully ignorant of how the welfare state has aided your choice of occupation. One’s learning has been supported by public schools, one travels to school on public roads, the food one eats has been inspected by public servants, one is protected from crime by police, the building itself is protected by firefighters on the public payrolls. If the scholar gets sick he can go to a public treatment facility. Public water supplies guarantee that her next drink of water will be free of pathogens, public Libraries let him read about the great thinkers, public Universities let her develop her ideas even further and develop new ideas that can enhance the public good. In a Libertarian paradise there is a good chance these scholars would have ending up as field hands trying to scratch up an existence on the land.

It is an irony that the best way to protect individual liberty is by surrendering a bit of that liberty to government. By allowing government to intervene in our affairs, minority rights can be protected. Shiites and Sunnis live in relative harmony in the USA because the Constitution and laws of our republic are very clear on the limits of faith. The Muslims themselves are also protected from the Christian Crazies by those same laws. Left to there own devices the “Christian” majority in the USA would more than likely purge the Ummah from its midst with very little provocation.

Understanding the need for at least a civil libertarian ideology to protect the individual from society we must guard against going too far. The right to swing your arms, Eudaemonion, ends at my nose. Your right to have sex as you see fit is limited by the consent of your partner and common sense. Your right to get blotto on the drug of your choice ends the minute you pick up your car keys. No individual right is absolute.

Only by accepting the idea of the commons, of working for each other can we truly grow as individuals. If we only accept the Me and reject the We if society becomes a competition we end up very few winners and lots of losers. We have to find a balance between cooperation and competition. Libertarianism fails because it rejects the very idea of the group, of cooperation, of the commons. Ron Paul is the perfect example; he wants to dismantle social security and other social welfare programs. He is a Taft-Style isolationist. In short he is a total ideologue, his major beef with Bush is that Bush has left too much of the government standing. If he were president the scenes from the NOLA superdome would be even worse. President Ron Paul would have rejected any federal aide to the Gulf Coast. The Federal Government would have left the individual states and localities to there own devices. The gulf coast of the richest country in the world would have devolved into an underdeveloped landscape indistinguishable from Bangladesh. That is what happens when you buy into the Regan-Paul-Freidman ideology. That is what happens when you drink the Ayn Rand libertarian kool-aide®.

#40 James on 10.05.07 at 4:56 am

Amir,

Quick questions to you, or any one else who wants to answer them:

From a Muslim / Libertarian prospective what is to be done when someone violates core values of the faith?
If a Muslim gets drunk, or if they commit adultery? If they commit a homosexual act? Munch down on a lovely piece of pork Barbecue?

Is there such a thing from a Muslim perspective as a “victimless crime?”

What would be the position of religious minorities in Muslim Majority / Libertarian Amiristan?

What would be done with “apostates?”

Finally Amir, will you be a term-limited elected executive or dictator-for-life?

#41 Bertrand Mandelbrot on 10.05.07 at 8:19 am

There is no such thing as the common good or, for that matter, a “social contract”.

#42 Mohamed on 10.24.07 at 12:29 am

Amir,
I would see Muslims as those who favor Social conservatism and Libertarian economics. To avoid being deported en-masse from a non-muslim nation, I would expect one to invoke the traditions of the local population that safeguards life, commerce and justice. And that would be my answer to critics who question medieval Muslim societies. Have you considered invoking your rights under Sharia ?
BTW ‘liber’, if you do not pay zakat, then you pay jizya. You refuse to acknowledge that Zakat + Jizya = modern day income/Sales tax, out of pure spite.

#43 The Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP) on 11.06.07 at 12:59 am

[...] I have written previously, it’s my view that the political ideology that best guarantees us those freedoms is libertarianism. It is [...]

#44 inexplicabletimelessness on 11.16.07 at 10:23 am

As salaamu alaikum:

I think the reason we don’t see many Muslim libertarians is simply because we as a collective whole as Muslims in the West don’t properly understand our current situation. We are confused.

At this moment, to even survive in this country, we need libertarian ideals which will protect and honor the First Amendment guarantees.

On the other hand, many Muslims who have not come to terms with this basic reality side with social conservatives because they agree with many of Islam’s stances on issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

However, I think we can compromise. In my opinion, as a Muslim, I don’t agree at all with homosexuality or abortion as a common practice ; BUT I differ in my application of that belief. If it were an Islamic state, things would be a lot different, but in a democratic society such as the US, everyone is free to do what they want so there is no room to stop anyone from doing what they want.

But after libertarianism and the ideas of individualism/natural rights are protected, then I think education and discussion is the best way to teach others about our ideas.

Finally, I must point out after reading some comments that I don’t see any contradiction between human sociability and libertarianism.

Libertarianism seeks to minimalize central power and hegemony while promoting the “WE” through state communities. Thus, people CAN and of course WILL be social, and libertarianism doesn’t say people can’t be.

#45 tahsin kocaman on 12.09.07 at 8:53 pm

i am a muslim,
i think there is nothing wrong with discrimination, unless you dont hurt “physically” someone, but according to libertarian state ideal goverments cant discriminate as they shouldnt have state/social morality.
So if you oppose homosexuals/drug users etc, you can discriminate them socially, dont let them enter your social circle, dont communicate with them.
i dont know much about islamic history but i think first islamic state (under 1st 4 chaliphats) is much close to libertarianism than todays governments, including US.
But after that period islamic state did really start to corrupt with persian goverment style.

think about some islamic issues:
*money earned legitimately / permissible => you have to earn through your own work to get something permissible (not with goverment’s money distribution policies through taxing)
stealing is one of the most unforgivable sin.
*offering / zekat = it is 1/40th of your annual income (not 1/2) its earler form of taxing in first islamic state.
*sin =it is personal, you cant share your sin with others or receive other peoples sins.

sorry about my english

#46 Suhaib Jobst on 03.17.08 at 4:27 pm

Basically, I operate under the premise: I am far more outraged when civil liberties are taken or when the rights of Muslims are violated or wars of aggression are launched, than with the personal moral behavior which goes on within a non-Islamic society.

On numerous matters, Libertarian ideas come close to the conclusions which had already been made by Islam over 1400 years ago. These include:

The inviolability of private property, which is totally accepted as natural under Islamic Law.

A true commodity currency based on the Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham, which avoids the inflation caused by Fiat paper-money.

Trade is regarded as the central practice in the economy. Indeed, it is mentioned throughout the Qur’an and played a pivotal role in early Islamic history.

Zakat is based on a charitable donation from the individual, so it is not coerced like taxation. Even the Jizya was often returned to the non-Muslim, as occurs in a famous story during the rule of Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu).

Rather than imposing a coercive moral or social standard on the individual, isolation (hijra) and social ostracism was often the preferable method, such as what occurs in the story about the three Sahaba who stayed home from the battle.

The rights of the religious minorities were accepted as inviolable. The Hadd punishments were only implemented upon those whose behavior was public. Slander is regarded as one of the major sins and there are strict rules that one must produce a certain number of witnesses.

The early Islamic state in Madina, followed by the righteous Khilafah of the Khulafa ar-Rashidun (Rightly-Guided Khalifas), was de-centralized and its primary function was to collect the Zakat and to defend or expand the boundaries of Dar al-Islam.

So there was much power given to the local communities, such that the profits from resources were given back to the local area.

Islam bestows much privacy to the individual. Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta’ala) makes distinction between sins committed in private or in public.

There was no historical precedence for the secret police or Mukhabarat in Khilafa, as the authorities did not invade the privacy of individuals to see if they were violating the Shari’a.

Wa Allahu A’lam.

#47 Ragnar_rahl on 05.15.08 at 12:49 pm

I just wanna point out the hilarity in Antish both complaining about potential “lack of service” (read:only the service you can pay for) from private road systems and asking what libertarians would be doing about global warming. Gee, let’s assume for a sec global warming were anthropogenic, which frankly isn’t demonstrated. Wouldn’t people having to pay for the roads they use (and presumably pay more for bigger vehicles, that expel more carbon) kind of go a ways toward solving that problem?

#48 ABC on 06.21.09 at 2:38 am

“However, isn’t the essential nature of islam, with its definite injunctions to enforce proper behaviour, inherently anti-libertarian?”

So long as coercion, i.e. the state, is not used to enforce proper behavior then rules about behavior would not be inherently anti-libertarian. Excommunication among the Catholics and shunning among the Amish, for example, are not really in conflict with Libertarianism. Libertarianism is not the same as libertinism. It’s certainly possible for very traditional Christians to be libertarians, see Lew Rockwell/ Thomas Woods/ Laurence Vance etc, so this whole idea that not wanting the government involved to regulate private acts means you approve of those private acts is wrong.

Re: The Ideal Libertarian State:

The ideal libertarian state would be no state at all. That’s the logical result if you take libertarianism far enough down the line. Everything would be provided for by the private market, including security.

The second best thing would be radical decentralization and an extremely limited system of government. Imagine a world filled with little Monacos or Luxembourgs.

“First and foremost, we have not seen it because pure Libertarianism is impossible. We are social animals; we work in groups, in clans. Our evolutionary path is much like other apes. Alone we ARE prey. We are hard-wired work in groups with other people. We are even hard wired to feel others pain. Even in the mostly egalitarian setting of the hunter-gatherers individuals must make concessions to the group to survive.”

You making the mistake of confusing ones local community with the state. It’s like confusing the US with the government of the US. Working in groups does not require government intrusion.

“(T)he gulf coast of the richest country in the world would have devolved into an underdeveloped landscape indistinguishable from Bangladesh.”

There have been other parts of the US that have been flooded and that have received much less attention and federal dollars and have recovered much quicker. There were worse hurricanes and floods before and people recovered and the affected areas did not end up looking like Bangladesh for years to come. And I doubt the Louisiana state government would have been to quick to mismanage levee funds if they thought the Feds weren’t going to help them.

“There’re two konds of liberatrianism, James: social and economic and- theoretically, at least- they need not be connected. ”

You can only separate libertarian into two camps and believe that the two can remain separate if you reject the notion that the axiom of non-aggression is the basis of libertarianism. That’s all libertarianism is; it’s immoral for an individual or a state to initiate violence and violence is only acceptable in defense. The people who got in libertarianism simply because they want to smoke pot or because they want to be accepted for having lifestyle choices that deviate from the norm don’t have a firm grasp on the matter.

#49 Kevin Duewel on 06.30.10 at 5:27 am

Quran [2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way.

Not only is Islam compatible with libertarian principles, it is conducive to them. No act of faith, without freedom. No faith, without freedom. There is an organization dedicated to educating Islamic religious and community leaders in economics and in the fact that liberty is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the achievement of a good society: Minaret of Freedom Institute.

I recommend all of you to check out the Minaret of Freedom Institute website at http://www.minaret.org/ or feel free to email any questions to mfi@minaret.org.

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