Thursday, February 26, 2009

Libertarianism and Halacha
Among several issues that prevent me from proclaiming myself a Libertarian (aside from having met few who seemed in control of themselves enough to...evidence the ability to control themselves without some manner of coercion), is the society norms that emerge without some concept of law to which all are beholden and consider themselves beholden, whether "divine" law or Natural Law; and I don't think the sense of need for such is a significant majority perspective among Libertarians. I have stumbled onto an author that may or may not be 'Observant' of Jewish law (haven't seen the book yet), but hopefully will wrestle with Judaism and Libertarianism in a knowledgeable manner. Michael R. Paley, publisher at Transaction Publishers (publishers of Psychology-critic, Thomas Szaz), author of "Orthodox Judaism, Liberalism, and Libertarianism" (PublishAmerica, 2006). Some links to posts of his;

-Vicente Fox, Drugs, And The Secular Theocratic State

-Why Do You Think They Call It Holy 'Matrimony'?

-Adam, King David and the Gift of Giving

-Eminent Domain; A Jewish Issue?

Also relevant for government coercion and ethics (less on economics), are some legal writings by R. Michael Broyde;

-Jews, Public Policy and Civil Rights; A Religious Jewish Perspective

-Jewish Law and American Public Policy: A Principled Jewish Law View...

-Informing on Others for Violating American Law

-The Obligation of Jews to Seek Observance of Noachide Laws by Gentiles

-Forming Religious Communities and Respecting Dissenters Rights

-Orthodoxy and Practical Pluralism in American Judaism

A piece I stumbled upon by R. Dr. Martin L. Gordon regarding parameters of tolerating dissenting and coercing normative behaviors b'zman ha zeh.

A related issue to the value of coercion in affecting public policy is how the Observant communities regard those who are not systematically or publicly observant; do transgressors violate they system for systematic reasons - that would place them among the worst categories of sinners? Most major poskim of the last 100 years have quite often been unwilling to place virtually any transgressors in the categories of systematic sinners - but often for paternalistic reasons that have little currency for those not easily paternalized.

I'm thinking the reasoning is not so far from my comments above about "beholden" and Natural Law - transgressors of the community are not generally considered advocates of some systematized, competing laws or norms, let alone a competing Lawgiver. This is all well and good over the last 200 or so year since the Enlightenment(s), when observance became very much a personal choice. Until then, the use of coercion and force to implement norms and abidance was the norm for two millenia of Jewish history; public violation of Jewish law the world over was quite often violation of the law of the government ruling over the Jews (to varying degrees of 'success')!...Jewish leaders were given authority and butttressed in enforcing Jewish law over Jews by these governments in all matters of identity, life, death, etc.

This is roundly ignored in depicting the observance of "generations upon generations" of Jews - "until pesky, competing ideologies came along". I ask this in all due respect; unless the observance of many was not, to a significant degree, coerced - however unconciously - how is it explained that the majority fell for the "obvious foolishness" of Reformist movements, Communism, Socialism, The Bundists?

The truth that matters is that the masses fled coerced Jewish community observance - that was empowered from without - upon being emancipated...from without. Oddly enough, emancipated by Gentiles claiming to be motivated by convictions disseminated through Bible, carried through most of it's history by living, observing Jewish communities. I'm not sure how Paley will address this factor of Observant Jewish history. More discussion and sources I"H tomorrow.


At 5/20/2011 9:40 AM, Blogger Certified Ashkenazi said...

Wait, so frum Jews in 18th and 19th century Russia were coerced to be frum, and that’s why when the Soviets came in 1917, they were liberated and thus en-masse joined the Communist ranks?


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