Each July, for the past few years, a conference dubbed FreedomFest rolls through Ballyís hotel-casino here in the 110-degree landscape of Las Vegas. The local media largely ignores it, as if freedom is not a noteworthy headline. In its Sunday issue following the three-day convention, the Review-Journal (Nevadaís largest newspaper) preferred to run stories on dismal airline passenger numbers in rural areas, staff changes at the governorís mansion, and adventures in riding the local Las Vegas city bus. What was missed included local discussion on war, investment success in poor economic times and debates on god.
This year, FreedomFest organizers asked Liberty Watch to host a panel on whether or not Las Vegas is Libertarian. Last year, we participated, but the turnout and discussion was, well, lame. The city is tagged with a faÁade that anything goes, but it is far from the case. As California continues to drive people over our state line due to tax-happy practices, our new residents see the promised land, run for office, get elected then impose the same arcane taxes on native Nevadans that they unconsciously fled from in their home state. Liberty Watch leaders just couldnít muster up the local (and true) Libertarian minds to be willing to argue that our city is indeed Libertarian.
What did I learn at 2008ís FreedomFest? God is simply another form of surveillance, unions are worse than imagined and fiction is a preferred avenue to tell the truth.
To his credit, former-Murray-Rothbard-student-turned-liberal Steve Sebelius (a local newspaper editor) slipped in to listen and report on Christopher Hitchensí debate with Dinesh DíSouza on ó in a nutshell ó if god exists or not. Sebeliusí coverage was complete, technical and laboring.
My take proves simple. Hitchens, slightly buttered on booze the evening of the debate, toyed with DíSouza for 90 minutes and offered time-filling fluff around a single statement that should have immediately resonated with these so-called free minds (who proved by a show of hands to be god-/supernatural-fearing).
Hitchensí comment: Humans seem to have this innate sense to willingly surrender personal liberties, even in the form of a god. God is simply another form of surveillance to which we personally surrender free will. From childhood to adulthood, private to public life, we allow even our own minds (yes, personally created paranoia via the form of a god) to control us.
Hitchens provided a strong finish after DíSouza implicated that without religion, humans have no morality. DíSouza argued that religion creates morality and limits humans from pursuing only self-interests. Hitchens, who authored the book God is Not Great, was offended to think that the supernatural is what prevents humans from raping, killing and stealing.
A nonbeliever, I agree. I couldnít imagine wanting my life ended, my body raped or my possessions taken against my will. Why would another human desire such awful acts?
A god, or outside authority, does not need to express that such actions are wrong. Mind control, via the form of religion, leads the masses to believe a higher form is needed to direct us. In reality, the masses are easily propagandized via the body of authority.