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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Moral Free Rider Problem

In economics and political theory, free riders are people who benefit from actions of others, without doing anything to merit it.  Liberal-socialists are free riders on the social order that they do not support.

The mindset of the moral free rider is sympathetically presented by John Horgan in Keeping the Faith in My Doubt, his op-ed article appearing in the December 12, 2004, edition of the New York Times.

Compared to most non-believers, Mr. Horgan is an admirably reasonable person who passes up the usual ad hominem attacks on people of spiritual religious faith.  He even acknowledges that the doctrines of liberalism produced the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.  He is, nonetheless, a moral free rider.

Atheistic and agnostic liberal-socialists are moral free riders who benefit from living in a society ordered by the morality of spiritual religion, while sneering at spiritual religion and moral codes as simple-minded ignorance.  At best, they do nothing to contribute to social order.  Too many of them do everything in their power to discredit or to destroy the source of social order. 

The Great Virtue for liberals is “tolerance,” which is nothing but the absence of any standards, a morally relativistic stance that proclaims “anything goes.”  The tolerance that permits liberals to flaunt amoral conduct is, in fact, tolerance by those whom they ridicule.  If these moral free riders had to leave our society, which is still, to some degree, self-regulated by spiritual religion, elsewhere in much of the world they could not be free riders without risking their physical well-being.  A rude awakening would greet them among the world’s billions of Muslims or in socialist China.

It should be obvious that, if moral free-riding became the universal rule of conduct, society would shortly revert to pre-civilizational savagery.  Everybody would feel free do anything that caught his fancy, to take whatever he could get away with.  The strong would rob and kill the weak, or enslave them.

The result would be Liberal Egotism and Egoism carried to its logical extreme.

Liberals who now free-ride on Judeo-Christian morality might object that society has not yet fallen apart completely.  Any open-minded observer, however, will acknowledge that indicators of social disintegration are scarcely comforting.  Throughout most of the 20th century, but especially since 1965, we have experienced rising levels of sexual promiscuity, AIDS, divorce, single-parent children, drug and alcohol abuse, abortion, spendthrift accumulation of personal debt, corporate crime, and crimes of violence.

The initially slow, then accelerating, spread of such social malfunctions is a manifestation of what might be called cultural momentum.  Until the 1960s, most people still were conscious of the social pressures that came from a public that overwhelmingly recognized God and Divinely ordained moral principles.  Even the agnostics and atheists tended to conform to the moral principles of the majority. 

But, as the corrosive effects of the student anarchism in the 1960s began to permeate the media, education, then politics and the judiciary, the move toward liberal-socialism’s “tolerance” began gaining momentum.  Today, with liberal-socialists in majority positions of influence on young students via education and the media, even the free riders may have to start paying their dues.

When people take the free-riding, amoral relativists at their word, all restraints begin to disappear.  Recently we witnessed that result in ultra-tolerant, totally secular, and amoral Holland, when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated and mutilated on the streets of Amsterdam, simply because a radical Islamist didn’t like what van Gogh had said.

The Dutch were shocked, asking themselves how could this have happened.  The better question is how could it not have happened in a free-rider society?