September 05, 2005

Liberalism and Sharia

Andrew in a comment at Blimpish provides an interesting question that I have been mulling over while internetless.
"the hostility among right libertarians to Sharia law in civil cases is totally ideologically unjustified - if two private parties choose to have an issue mediated using sharia law, that's their choice..."
Well part of it I guess would be the simple moral repugnance of statutes and structures of Sharia law. However there is a deeper reason beyond the simple yuck factor at work.

Liberalism, or Libertarianism, is a universal system in so much that it values freedom above all else, and considers that freedom is intrinsic to a person as a thinking being. It can be constrained by the combined action of others, but once old enough to fend for ourselves there is nothing on earth that we cannot do (constrained only by physics) if allowed to get on with it.

One of the things that someone can do is set aside their ultimate freedom to live by the wishes of others, but this is in itself by the individuals free choice. This is what happens when people form societies, a social contract forms to make certain actions taboo to avoid the lives of the people in the society being 'nasty brutish and short'.

In a truly liberal society, none of which really exist, you could opt back out of the social contract returning to a state of total liberty. You can then choose to join a different society, forgoing a different set of freedoms to operate within this new societies taboo. You could even choose not to join another society but continue to live in total liberty. But were you to use said liberty to damage people and their freedoms (by raiding them for food for example) then any society they are part of would probably defend it's members.

The social contract is at all times opt in. It is always a choice between equals. You can choose to be treated in a second class way, but you can also choose to leave that society if you decide that it is not in your interests to be treated this way. And here is the problem with Sharia, it is a one way door. There is no way to opt back out. If you try they will kill you, simply for exercising the freedom that you are born with to realise that you have made a mistake and try to correct it.

The impossibility of undoing a poor choice of choosing Sharia is compounded by the fact that in the situations that I think Andrew was talking about, the Islamic colonies in Britain governing themselves with Sharia, in that the should this happen it almost certainly will not be through a choice between equals. The choice will be made by the 'community leaders', universally the people that Sharia considers first class citizens who have most to gain. Sharia will be imposed on the people that Sharia classes as second class citizens, such as women, without any choice from them. They will simply be dumped into life in the middle ages without any choice on their part. Or a way out.


Post a Comment

<< Home