Why Secular Humanism and Libertarianism Are Incompatible

Dan Davis

For a short time, I called myself a “libertarian secular humanist.” I wasn’t completely comfortable with this designat ion: my innate pessimism about humanity made me doubt my qualifications as a humanist, and I found libertarianism’s near-religious belief in the virtues of unregulated commerce vaguely disquieting.

Then I reread Paul Kurtz’s “Affirmations of Humanism” a few times. I realized that I substantially agreed with all of Kurtz’s principles and that my low opinion of humanity shouldn’t stop me from at least acting as though I had hope for the species. Essentially, my reservations weren’t significant enough to place me outside the secular-humanist umbrella. However, after spending entirely too much time thinking about the topic, I was forced to conclude that libertarian principles were incompatible with my own, as well as with those of secular humanism.

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