If Ron Paul met Carl Sagan…

One of the basic premises of libertarian thought is the belief in the fundamental sovereignty, or independent authority, of the individual – something many have thought to be the natural condition that arises from our “self-evident” equality. But, aside from the yays and nays of philosophy grad students, do the physical sciences have anything to say about this belief?

Are individuals really at the center of their own universes?

If you ask a physicist or an astronomer where the center of the universe is, you’re likely to get one of two responses. Either, the center is everywhere or there is no center.

Let’s consider the implications of both responses.

If the real answer is “there is no center,” then no hierarchy exists. My center cannot be more center than your center because there is no center. If the answer is “everything’s in the center” then there’s still no hierarchy. My center cannot be more center than your center because we are all in the center simultaneously.

Two conclusions seem to come out of these two answers: one, if all things are equal in their centrality, no one can claim a “higher ground” than another; or two, nothing is sovereign. And if nothing is sovereign, then no person or collection of people has the “natural” authority to force another to act (even with popular vote) because 0 + 0 = 0.

Should this make all cosmologists libertarians? (Heck, even string theory levels out the playing field even further.)

I sure wish I could ask Carl Sagan that question. Or better yet, I wish Ron Paul could have. (I suspect Dr. Paul would have an easier time gaining an audience with Dr. Sagan.)

Of course, there’s always Dr. Tyson…

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About SWIRLosopher

The SWIRLosopher is Sean Trapani, a professor emeritus of advertising who - despite a degree in philosophy - has abandoned all reason and is trying to make a living in the wine business.

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