And I have stories. At the top of list is James Buchanan who spoke at the seminar. His speech was about religion, libertarianism and how they actually meld together very well. It’s a shame, he says, that most libertarians are suspicious of religion because the two can work so well together.
Libertarians claim no authority over others thus people can believe what they want without conflict. Communism, on the other hand, requires the populace to lionize the government, crowding out any prospect of competition. There is only one moral authority and that’s Big Brother. Libertarians simply do not claim to be so god-like.
It’s a good, though underdeveloped, point and it was swimming in my mind as I prepared to get caught up in the news. And what do I see? Scientologist Tom Cruise battering Matt Lauer on the Today Show about antidepressants. Matt questioned Cruise’s comments concerning Brooke Shields, who admitted such drugs helped her with depression, and everything went to hell. Some quotes:
Cruise: No, you see. Here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.
Cruise: The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation, okay. And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.
Lauer: But a little bit of what you're saying Tom is, you say you want people to do well. But you want them do to well by taking the road that you approve of, as opposed to a road that may work for them.
Cruise: No, no, I'm not.
Lauer: Well, if antidepressants work for Brooke Shields, why isn't that okay?
Cruise: I disagree with it. And I think that there's a higher and better quality of life. [Emphasis added]
Cruise: Matt. Matt, Matt, you don't even — you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.
Lauer: But you're now telling me that your experiences with the people I know, which are zero, are more important than my experiences.
Cruise: What do you mean by that?
Lauer: You're telling me what's worked for people I know or hasn't worked for people I know. I'm telling you, I’ve lived with these people and they're better.
Cruise: So, you're advocating it.
See how he turned that around to an outrageous accusation so he didn’t have to answer the question? There’s an overwhelming arrogance in Tom’s words as he echoes the beliefs of his faith. Anyone that disagrees with him is just ignorant or stupid. He cannot be wrong. I don’t claim that all scientologists are egotistical jerks, but some institutions are more prone to such individuals than others.
This is why libertarians are so suspicious of religion because most of it is based on telling people how to live their lives. Some beliefs aren’t so superior and with no one claiming Ultimate Authority, libertarianism meshes well with them. But others would like nothing better than to strip away a person’s freedom to determine how they will live their lives. Libertarians can respect the belief, but not the attitude; that’s the problem.