ExhaustedBeing a libertarian can be a wearisome thing, because I rarely agree with anyone. Usually I’m up to the challenge of disagreeing with everyone I meet, but in the past few days I’ve just been exhausted by it. Either they’re a religious zealot or they’re an atheist; I’m neither. Either they’re an ardent conservative or they’re a leftist liberal; I’m neither, and that would be fine if I were almost apolitical and just didn’t care, but I have taken the imprudent step of volunteering to occupy the worst of all worlds.

I came into work today to debate the Mitt Romney speech on religion, about which I wrote the first paragraph of a post before losing the will to live. During the debate it became apparent to me that I was never going to agree with my opponent, nor pull him from his tank of groundless hogwash. To continue my attempt to do so suddenly seemed an effort in futility. In effect, Romney has highlighted one of the issues most dividing America in 2007: the role of religion in politics. In one corner, Mr. Conservative Christian wants to hear that God will be central to the President’s thinking and decision-making. He believes the nation was “founded on God” and needs his candidate to reflect that belief. In the opposite corner, Mr. Liberal Secularist wants to hear that the separation of church and state will be defended to the nth degree.

And that’s the point: a separation of church and state was implemented from the beginning in America’s political system, a system which was never based upon Christianity, much as conservatives would like to believe. The founders wanted a truly secular state, unlike the majority of governments which had ever existed before. And many of those people weren’t even what modern evangelicals would call Christian: Jefferson, for example, was a deist, a belief system which doesn’t in the slightest resemble today’s conservative Christian movement in America.

Anyway, it’s an uphill struggle even to deal with it. It’s just so willfully ignorant of the historical purpose of America’s Republic, that I just don’t have the willpower.

Then, earlier this week I managed to fight my way through the UK government’s paper on prostitution, upon which I decided to base another post and discuss in various fora, before getting fed up with that, too, and deciding I’d rather dump my head into a keg of hot grease. The UK government has been trying to decide what to do about prostitution, and the paper on the topic starts like this: “The [UK government’s] strategy will focus on disrupting sex markets by preventing individuals….”

“Disrupting” markets? Sounds more like a terrorist strategy than a government one. And with that single word, we understand the true nature of this discussion: far from being an open debate about prostitution, it’s already starting with two unsubstantiated premises: (1) That prostitution is bad; (2) That it should be stopped by a government strategy. I’m sorry, but shouldn’t the conversation start at a more fundamental level? Where is the justification for the belief that prostitution is bad? And where is the justification for the further belief that it should be stopped by government? This ‘strategy’ seems to have started with a clear agenda: to stop people exchanging sex for money. And yet since when was either in the charge of the government? Who is the government to tell someone under what circumstances they should or should not be having sex, or under what circumstances they should or should not be spending their own money?

Frankly, it’s all giving me a pounding headache.