Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.
Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer
Article Premise: Those who emote with little reason and those who reason with little emotion have forever been fouling and failing our politics, society and culture.
The following selected definitions are from lexico.com, “a collaboration between Oxford Dictionary and Dictionary.com that offers definitions, meanings, and grammar in both English and Spanish.”
Emotion noun Instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.
Example Sentence: “Since Plato, many philosophers have sought to make a sharp distinction between reason and emotion.”
Reasoning noun The action of thinking about something in a logical, sensible way.
Example Sentence: “It is this sense of being tested by practice and judged by results that gives strategic reasoning its edge.”
Healing Our Deeply Divided World
From a Reason versus Emotion Essay: “Emotions can focus our attention only on the one aspect of the problem. Reason encourages us to see any situation from different angles in order to make a better and objective decision. This is one more explanation, why reason is approved in comparison to the emotion. Emotions are strictly subjective, while reason is objective.”
Many people see libertarianism as a reason-based philosophy with little in the way of human emotion. Dr. Mary J. Ruart comes to the rescue of libertarianism’s emotionality with her best-selling Healing Our World, The Compassion of Libertarianism.
From her own website Dr. Ruwart explains that her book “integrates the morality of Christianity, the ethical compassion of the liberal, the self-responsibility of New Age spirituality, and the practicality of real world politics to take the libertarian ideal to the next level.”
The rational, emotional, moral and ethical basis of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle against coercion, intimidation and fraud. This is the Golden Rule, Live and Let Live, the Good Neighbor Policy and the adult version of the lessons that all good parents teach their children: “Don’t start fights, don’t bully and don’t lie.”
This is what makes the Non-Aggression Principle a philosophically integrated worldview and a holistic lifestyle.
Reason vs. Emotion
Aside from psychopaths who by definition are incapable of empathy and irrationalists who are unable to think logically virtually few to zero human beings are either totally rational or totally emotional.
It’s also been noted that logical people will typically offer their reasoned thoughts and respond emotionally to those who reject their reasoning, while emotional folks will put forth their feelings first and then attempt to use logic to justify their emotional decision-making after the fact.
But there is a distinction between those who are primarily logical first and emotional second and those who are primarily emotional first and logical second.
More people are registered Democrats than registered Republicans for the simple fact that emoting is easy while reasoning is difficult. Emotions are instinctual, thinking requires effort. Emotions are virtually automatic while reasoning requires fact-finding and knowledge-gathering.
The Democratic Party elitists are fully aware of this and they consciously pander to those who lead with their emotions.
Emotional people dominate venues that place a premium on the ability to emote: Singers, songwriters, playwrights, actors, dancers, painters, poets, sculptors and novelists all lead with their feelings to endow their creations with fervor and passion that deeply enriches our lives and brings meaning and beauty to our existence.
Unfortunately, they also bring their feelings-first-reasoning-second approach to their political lives where rational decision-making is needed.
Republican Party elitists are also fully aware of this and they consciously pander to those who lead with their minds.
Rational people dominate venues that place a premium on the ability to reason: Scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians, designers, developers, programmers, builders and manufacturers all lead with their minds to endow their creations with substance and tangibility that profoundly secures our reality and brings structure and sense to our existence.
Unfortunately, they also bring their reasoning-first-feelings-second approach to their political lives where empathetic decision-making is needed.
It’s why, in short, Hollywood and Broadway and Rock&Roll are dominated by artsy people while the military, police and industry are dominated by nerdy people.
Reason, Emotion, Morality
As earlier noted in her book Healing Our World Dr. Ruart shows how libertarians fit into the reason vs emotion equation.
The book rating website Bookauthority includes Healing Our world in their “50 Best Political Psychology eBooks of All Time.” There they proclaim that her book “illustrates how the rules of social interaction most of us learned as children hold the secret to universal harmony and abundance.” The adult version of those rules, the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle, melds human reason, emotion, and morality into a single harmonious value system.
Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Eric Voorhees calls Dr. Ruart’s work “a great book on the topic from a social perspective.”
Perry Willis at the Zero Aggression Project has further noted that “Libertarianism joins thinking and feeling together in a unified whole.” When libertarians offer some logical argument for their position on an issue it almost always provokes an emotional response."
Willis further explains, “Things like the Golden Rule, the Zero Aggression Principle, the self-ownership principle, and the equal liberty rule are all logical constructs. But violating them provokes emotion. This intellectual-emotional holism differentiates us from doctrines like Fascism and Communism, where logic and emotion are divorced from each other.”
And so to a great extent with Democrats and Republicans.
We All Need Each Other
The truth is we need and want and benefit from both rationalists and emotionalists. Emotional people can bring joy to our lives. Rational people can bring necessities to our lives. It’s only the psychopathic irrationalist political elitists who impose their obsessive need for ever more power-grabbing, ever more wealth-seizing and ever more ego-indulging on us—always for their own benefit at our expense.
And in spite of the pandering of left and right political parties and philosophies and ideologies and worldviews it’s only the nearly invisible anti-coercive band of libertarians who are standing up to and fighting back against the haters and takers while the majority keeps failing in both with their wrong-headed rationalisms and their wrong-hearted emotionalisms.
We all need each other, especially in our professional lives. Musicians can’t record without sound engineers, movie stars can’t perform without audio-visual technicians, ballerinas can’t dance without stage builders and set designers, artists can’t paint without canvas makers. And even if everyone decides to do what they do in the digital world they still need the entire computer industry created by the computer nerds.
No one can succeed at anything without a free, open, safe, voluntary society where hundreds of millions of people of every kind are willing to interact voluntarily to make it all happen.
We don’t need the government and its crony corporatists controlling us. Corporations are the creation of the political classes in which business enterprises are granted special state-enforced advantages, privileges and protections in exchange for corporatist cronies funneling money into the politician’s pockets in the form of campaign funds, political action donations, speaking fees and just plain old under-the-table bribery.
Corporatist money is traded for political power and political power is traded for corporatist money. This unholy alliance must be condemned and eliminated.
What we do need is a free market unencumbered by politicians and beyond the control of the biggest business concerns that would succeed only if they can out-perform their competitors to deliver goods and services that people actually want and need at a price they could actually afford.
This kind of society may be called a voluntary laissez-faire open marketplace for all forms of human interaction under the non-aggression principle against coercion, intimidation and fraud.
The best concept of such a society has been laid out by the people at the Zero Aggression Project and their advocacy of post-statism. They answer in simple, understandable words What is a post-statist? by explaining that post-statists are voluntaryists who advocate “a forward-looking approach, where history has discarded The State in favor of consumer-controlled governance.”
They go on to explain throughout their website how “self-governance” differs dramatically from “coercive governments” and how such a society accommodates all, emotionalists and rationalist alike, who can freely collaborate or not as each individual sees fit, and there will be no politician around who can dictate their choices.
How Do We Get There From Here?
What follows is for the doubters who label everything beyond the status quo and the immediately understandable as naïve or utopian or fantasy.
Work towards the ideal first and figure out the details as they come up. No people living for centuries under an absolute monarchy could have ever possibly addressed every facet of how a constitutional republic would work generations before it finally became a possibility. After all, at the end of the American Revolution both the Founders and virtually all of the former colonists had some three centuries of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment under their belts when they set about putting together what Benjamin Franklin called “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Regrettably, we haven’t kept it. We’ve allowed it to devolve back into authoritarian collectivistic tribalism.
Modern American Libertarianism is the logical and emotional continuation of the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment. Dictating details to future descendants is about as un-libertarian as you can get. So forget the details for now and work toward the ideal. Teach your children and grandchildren well and they will use their logic and their compassion to work out those details as they come upon them.
Anything less will be an emotional and a rational failure.
References and links
How To Be a Convincing Libertarian As far back as 2002 papers were being written encouraging libertarians to infuse their rational arguments with passion if they wanted any chance of convincing others of their positions.
Another Erudite Essay Morality is a product of individuals reconciling reason and emotion within themselves. Libertarianism proposes respect for personal morality and the individual right to moral self-determination among people of differing views.
The Relationship Between Reason and Emotion When school shootings and rioting happen everyone reacts emotionally and want to find rational solutions, “but while that emotion is a good motivator, it is a poor way to find solutions.”
An Emotion To Reject As many are just beginning to learn the logic of libertarianism they develop a negative emotion—contempt for those who haven’t learned it yet. Libertarians must reject that attitude and help others learn it too.
What Libertarian Morality Has Already Accomplished The conclusion of this article: “Liberals and conservatives may love people more than do libertarians, but love of liberty is what leads to true moral and economic progress.”