I say “liberal” [UPDATE: judging from the comments, it looks like I need to clarify that I mean liberal in its broad philosophical sense of favoring freedom and tolerance, not in its narrow modern American political sense] because one can be a believer in a minimal state, but still, e.g., be a racist, not care for a culture that respects women, or not be especially inclined toward reason as opposed to superstition and conspiracy theory. So here it is, from Daniel Bier at the Skeptical Libertarian blog, via Walter Olson on Facebook. I think it’s fair to say that Bier’s views reflect the libertarian humanist spirit of most of the bloggers here. I’m not going to bother nitpicking details:
I believe there is a very real prospect of a world in which goods, services, people, and ideas flow freely within and between borders, across oceans and rivers, over deserts and mountains, through the sky and (someday) the stars.
I believe in a world where individuals are treated equally under the law, regardless of ethnic or national origin, religious or philosophical belief, gender or sexual preference.
I believe in a culture that respects women and protects children, that celebrates ideas and cherishes liberty, that not only tolerates but vigorously defends free expression.
I believe in a world where 10 billion people can be fed on less land than we currently use for 7, through new advances in fertilizer, irrigation, storage, and genetics.
I believe in a world where wildlife and natural habitat can be conserved and even expanded.
I believe in a world where emerging technologies can meet the challenges of climate change without halting economic growth.
I believe in a world where water is clean, healthy, and abundant.
I believe in a world where we can reduce or exterminate mankind’s worst enemies through the single greatest medical innovation in history: vaccination.
I believe in a world where scientific discovery and economic freedom can together eradicate hunger, poverty, and disease.
I believe in a world where war, cruelty, and violence are rare and reviled.
I believe in a world where superstitions cease to divide people, where traditions no longer provide excuse for murder, where veneration does not give cover to abuse, where legend does not trump history, where delusion does not defeat medicine, where faith does not overcome fact.
I believe in a world where people turn to conversation instead of violence, to one another instead of politicians, to reason and evidence instead of myth and dogmatism.
I believe in a truly global civilization, united by trade and connected by travel, buttressed by an open-ended dialogue, sustained by humanist ethics, founded on the principles of reason, liberty, and mutual respect.
I believe in an open society, a civil society, a free society.
I believe that these things are not only good for the world, are not only possible, but are already happening. I hope, in some small way, to contribute this new world order–an order defined by its spontaneous nature, created by individuals pursuing and expressing their separate interests, together. This order evolves from bottom-up processes, and cannot be replicated by top-down hierarchies.
I believe this world is eminently worth fighting for, even if it sometimes feels like a rearguard defense. Over the long-term, we are winning this battle. But while I am rationally optimistic about our chances, victory is not inevitable. It is still possible for things to go spectacularly wrong, for the light of reason to dim or even wink out altogether in places, for the better angels of our nature to fall to the inner demons of our primate minds.