January 22, 2001
People fear authoritarian governments. And rightly so!
The current trend of this fear is articulated by the opposition to politicians who may: "impose their beliefs on others" through political means.
The first contradiction, in applying such equivalence, is that some people use a relativistic definition of "belief": If the belief is based on moral considerations it is rejected, but if the belief is based on humanistic thought, then it is accepted.
For example, the "belief" of some political leaders in the "right" of women to terminate a pregnancy is not considered a subjective "belief", in spite of ample scientific evidence that life begins at conception, nor it is considered an "imposition" on the baby, when enacted within current legislation.
Secondly, there is an ambivalence in the understanding of the role of government: Governments should not do what people (individuals, companies, churches and associations) can do by themselves.
This libertarian philosophy is appropriate within the domain of government responsibilities. However, it becomes ambivalent when applied to rights and freedoms that are innate, inalienable and antecedent to government, such as Natural Law or (if you are a believer) the Law of God.
It is always inappropriate for a government to put a stake in turf that is outside its field.
A government must, and can only, "recognize" the supremacy of God and the inalienable right of all human beings to life, freedom and ownership of property.
On these matters, not only we should reject "imposition", but we should not even entertain a "belief".