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The Gospel According to Michael Hill?
A Libertarian Reply to Dr. Hill

By D.V. Bowden

The President of the League of the South seems to be channelling Jerry Falwell these days. With all due respect to Dr. Michael Hill for the fine work he has done in creating the League, his recent article entitled "Some Observations on Senator Lott and the Cultural Marxists" (scroll down for link) is a calamity. In what appears to have been a fit of anger over the Trent [Lott] Affair, and in true "loose cannon" style, Hill fires a broadside that hits friend as well as foe, and gives new ammunition to the very enemies of freedom that the League was formed to oppose.

Hill sees Trent Lott's downfall as being a result of "Cultural Marxism," a.k.a. Political Correctness run amok. But by Dr. Hill's definitions, just about everyone is a Cultural Marxist and falls short of the glory of the League. Among those Hill disparages (though not by name) are some of the League's best friends--those who believe in the libertarian philosophy of individual rights. Add to this slap in the face a defence of the morality of slavery, and Hill has put out a document that is guaranteed to alienate supporters and invigorate enemies.

Following is Dr. Hill's list of examples of beliefs that would qualify one as a Cultural Marxist. Hill's words are in boldface.

Dr. Hill writes:

How does one determine if he (he/she?) is a Cultural Marxist? Here are a few examples:

1. First, in keeping with the topic of Senator (and former Ole Miss cheerleader) Lott's praise for Strom Thurmond's 1948 Dixiecrat Presidential bid, you believe that state-enforced segregation is 'immoral' (to use President G. W. Bush's term) while holding that state-enforced integration is OK. . . . Those who criticize Senator (and former Ole Miss cheerleader) Lott and Strom Thurmond for their support of segregation, while themselves supporting state-enforced integration are . . . HYPOCRITES!

Forced segregation and forced integration are equally reprehensible. Free people have the right to associate or not associate with whomever they please. It is not the role of government to tell us who to play with. Libertarians understand and defend this right. Segregation was wrong, because the state used the force of law, backed up with the threat of physical force, to override the rights of property owners and force them to adhere to a centralised plan. Forced integration is just the same–the only difference is that the shoe is on the other foot. You can't defend forced segregation and also condemn forced integration without being a hypocrite either. Both doctrines are philosophical twins.

2. You believe that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and that homosexual unions are the equivalent of marriage between a man and woman. . . . Sodomy is an abomination to God!

If so, then I am sure God is quite capable of handling the abominators. What difference should someone's sexual orientation make to the League? This should not be a political issue! It only becomes relevant when we consider that it is the state's granting of special privileges or benefits to married couples creates incentives for homosexuals to seek the same legal status. Everyone should be equal under the law, in terms of rights. Single people and married people should be treated no differently. If the state were removed from the marriage business, this "issue" would resolve itself. Marriage should be handled by churches, not politicians. Aren't you offended by the notion that you have to get the permission of the state before you can marry? I certainly am!

3. You believe in the equality of the sexes and that traditional sex roles for men and women are wrong; furthermore, you decry patriarchy as evil. . . . Men and women are different and the husband is the ordained head of his household. A woman's primary role is as wife and mother!

What does Hill mean by "equality of the sexes"? That men and women are physically identical? Equally capable of any task? Only a few ultra-radical feminists would claim such a thing. Of course men and women are different, and some roles (such as that of soldier) are more suitable for men than women. If however, Hill is referring to equality of natural and political rights, then yes, men and women are equal. Every individual, no matter their sex or race, possesses the same natural rights as every other individual, which should never be infringed. As for "patriarchy," as long as you are talking about a voluntary hierarchy such as a family structure, that's fine–if you can get your wife to go along with it. But if Hill means creating some form of legal privilege for one sex over the other, forget about it.

4. You believe that all men (and women) are created equal and that all civilizations and cultures are also equal. You also believe that government ought to enforce equality. . . . The created order is hierarchical and there is no natural equality among men or cultures!

See above. Men and women have equal natural, political, and civil rights. They do not all have equal physical and mental abilities, any more than any two individuals have "equal" abilities. Government, if allowed to exist at all, should be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals. All cultures are not equal--those that respect individual rights are better than those that do not.

5. You believe in a woman's right to abort her unborn child. . . . Abortion is murder!

How does alienating anyone who does believe in such a right from supporting the League help the League's cause? You've just ruled out about half the population from the class of potential supporters. In any case, a federal blanket policy on the subject is unconstitutional, and the issue should be decided by each individual state. Why not just say that?

6. You believe that government (really, the taxpayers) ought to subsidize the procreation of illegitimate children through welfare payments. . . . Sex outside of marriage is the sin of fornication!

Nope, government shouldn't be subsidising illegitimate children, nor should it subsidise legitimate ones, agriculture, businesses, foreign dictators, mohair production, or pickle research. All of these subsidies exist, and none are constitutional.

7. You believe that those who won't work should nonetheless be fed and otherwise provided for by welfare payments. . . . Those who won't work shall not eat!

No problem with Dr. Hill here. Whew! Still, does the implicit promise that adopting League policies means that the lazy and disabled will starve help advance the goals of the League? If not, why is he saying this? I'm glad my grandparents have a well-stocked freezer, as I doubt they'll be working again anytime soon.

8. You believe in the theory of evolution and that creationism is a crock. . . . God created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is therein!

This is a theological/religious issue. What difference does it make whether you believe that man came from dust or monkeys as long as you support freedom and liberty? I mean, come on! Is the League a church or a political organisation?

9. You believe that sex outside of marriage is OK. . . . Once more for emphasis-Sex outside of marriage in the sin of fornication!

Again, is the League going to be a political organisation or a religious one? This is a question for individual morality. Regardless of anyone's belief, it is not a subject on which public laws should be passed–so why are we talking about it? How does this help the League?

10. You believe that man is the measure of all things (in other words, you're a humanist) and that human beings should be able to do anything they wish so long as it doesn't harm anyone else. . . . God is sovereign and His Word is law!

Merrian-Webster's defines humanism as "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason." Nothing in such a definition implies hostility to religion or religious morality, nor rules out a ethos based on natural law. The great Murray Rothbard convincingly argued that human beings have natural, individual, inalienable rights, and that yes, human beings should be able to do anything they wish so long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. Why is this so hard to accept? Another great libertarian writer (and defender of the South's right to secede), Lysander Spooner, also explained that vices are not crimes. It's just a logical extension of the Golden Rule. So what do you do if you don't like the way people are acting? Persuade them that they should behave differently. Teach them your moral or religious precepts, and convince them that your way is a better way to live. But don't try to force your preferences on others by using the coercive power of the state.

11. You believe in the equality of all religions. . . .Ye shall have no other gods before Me!

I have no idea what "equality" means in respect to religions, since a "religion" is a set of spiritual doctrines. If such doctrines are anything other than identical, then they are by definition unequal. As for the religious beliefs of persons in the League or the larger Southern movement, I don't know and don't care. A Buddhist or Hindu who supports individual liberty and independence for my state from the federal leviathan is a better ally in my opinion than a Bible-thumping supporter of the statist quo. How does this help the League?

12. You believe in forced unity while mouthing slogans about diversity. . . . The triune God is three-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-in one and one in three! He is both unity and diversity!

Nope. Don't believe in forcing folks to do anything except respect my rights. Sounds like I'm in church again, though.

13. You believe that the natural environment-especially spotted owls and redwoods-is superior to man and that man is really just an interloper into Mother Nature's pristine realm. . . . Man was created to take dominion over all creation as God's vice-regent!

Not guilty. My opinion is that nature is useless unless people can use it to achieve a higher standard of living or increased well-being, and is not a good in itself. If Mars was a wonderful nature preserve, what good would it do, since no one can enjoy it? Nevertheless, many people feel that man has endangered the earth (I scoff at the idea that man has such grandiose power) and want to protect the environment. Rather than giving these folks theological he-man talk, why not explain to them how getting the government out of their lives and allowing the free market to function in the realm of environmental protection would benefit everyone? A bald assertion that man should dominate nature merely stereotypes League members as supporters of pollution.

14. You believe that slavery is evil. . . . [H]ere we go, all you Confederate Southrons-Slavery is an institution ordained of God and regulated by His Word! It is not therefore "evil!"

Of course slavery is evil! Owning another human being violates their natural right to liberty. We each own our own bodies and nobody else's. What constituency is this statement supposed to attract? The League is all too often accused of being a haven for racists. This statement will just give the Southern Poverty Law Center and other enemies of liberty more ammo with which to smear the League. This is an irresponsible and inflammatory statement, and if Hill stands by it, I think new leadership may be in order for the League. I do not think our Southern ancestors who owned slaves were evil, but they were misguided, and allowed evil to exist, just as the Yankee slave importers did. In a hundred years, I hope we will look back with the same horror on the idea of taxation–that a group of people calling itself "the government" has the right to steal as much of your money as it wants, and kill you if you resist it. America didn't get rid of slavery in 1865–it just changed it from the chattel variety to slavery by taxation–now every man is a slave to government.

Well, I could go on, but I think you pretty well get the picture of how to identify a Cultural Marxist.

Yep. Seems there's one under every bed. Even such a staunch anti-statist and lover of liberty as Murray Rothbard would be a Cultural Marxist by Dr. Hill's standards. I'll stand with Murray, thank you very much.

You see, the proponents of C. M. [Cultural Marxism] really have no basis, no standard, for believing what they do. They just wing it.

Hill is right about the assorted leftist meatheads who typically promote such nutty ideas, but totally wrong about libertarians, who also hold some of the ideas he criticised above. Libertarians are nothing if not principled. We believe in the rights and liberty of the individual, and that these rights should not be infringed by any group, regardless of whether it goes by the name of government or church.

Did you happen to notice that all fourteen of my [Cultural Marxism] qualifications are in conflict with Biblical laws, statutes, commandments, decrees, and principles (#1 is really about hypocrisy)?

The Bible does not make a good guide to politics--Christianity is about loving your neighbour, while politics is all about plundering your neighbour. Add to that the fact that hardly any two people can even agree on what any particular passage means (as the vast number of Christian sects and denominations demonstrates), and making proposals that sound as if you mean to rule strictly in accordance with your interpretation of the Holy Book sounds a lot like something to be expected of the Taliban.

Many of the League's strongest supporters can be found among the those who believe in the libertarian philosophy. The Libertarian Party has explicitly recognised the right of secession in its platform. Several of the founding members of the League were libertarians. Despite these facts, Dr. Hill often seems to despise such support. Too often, Hill gets on a rant that makes him sound as if he wants to establish a theocracy, rather than re-establish a representative, limited-government republic. Critics have often seized upon this unfortunate tendency to label the League as a merely a bunch of religious fundamentalists. Now, there is nothing wrong with getting down to fundamentals in any subject, but given the divisive nature of religious questions, and the ostensibly political nature of the goals of the League, wouldn't it be better to stop using rhetoric that is more likely to scare supporters off than attract them?

Hill needs to decide if he wants to be a political leader or a preacher. You can't be both and do a decent job of either. As the Good Book says, a man cannot serve two masters. Hill should figure out what his most important task is and do it. Trying to pursue two diverging paths is a sure recipe for getting lost. If there were ever two subjects that don't mix well, it's religion and politics--keep them far, far apart! If Hill is going to make his 14 points the guiding principles for the League, I'm afraid the LS is going to have a rough time of it. Such strident religiosity is more reminiscent of Mullah Omar than George Washington. Which one does Hill want to be?

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