Christian Concerns with the Libertarian Party?

A friend of mine pointed out a post on a political forum, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to clarify a few points that the original author seemed to overlook:

However, the core problem with libertarianism is that the philosophy refuses to acknowledge that our rights come God (like the Declaration of Independence states).

The philosophy of liberty (Flash animation) takes no position on God because that’s the role of a philosophy.  People make such acknowledgements – not philosophies.  It does make an effort to analyze why some acts of people are good, and others might be bad.  None of this seems to be in conflict with biblical teachings.

Arguing over the nature of our creator is a distraction from key facts that all people must recognize. 

We exist. 

We can make a personal choice to resist tyranny against our persons. 

If we are absolute in our insistence on liberty, it can only be taken by killing us.

Let’s look for a minute at what it takes to be a libertarian.  According to the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO), you are a libertarian if you sign the following pledge:

‘I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.’

Based on what you have read in the Bible, what part of this pledge should any Christian take issue with?

Instead, it relies on the sovereignty of man and the false belief that liberty in and of itself is the answer to all our problems.

The philosophy of liberty makes no claim as to the origin of our rights – only the recognition that they exist in all people.  If anything, long term study of libertarian concepts leads one to the conclusion that when one person forces another to do something, the result is often suffering.

Abortion

The author goes on to offer his opinion on the issue of abortion:

The libertarians’ stubborn refusal to recognize unborn children as human beings with the same constitutional rights as everyone else still baffles me. If we were talking about three-year olds, this insane argumentation flies out the window in about ten seconds. The only differences between an unborn child and a toddler are size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency (easily remembered as the S.L.E.D. argument).

It’s important to remember that a libertarian should always defend self ownership and oppose the use of force against others.  This applies to fetuses too – and abortion deserves much discussion because the interests of the fetus and mother may conflict.

It is my personal view that the time a fetus spends in the womb is a gift from the mother – and that the gift of life should not be taken at any age.

This view does pose some problems.  Scientists are already able to generate stem cells from a variety of human tissues.  Someday scientists might be able to collect living cells from someone’s handkerchief, coax them into becoming an embryo, and perhaps being born as alive and human as you and me.

At that point will every skin cell we shed be considered an abortion?

I’m not sure if it’s a result of imagining a future where that sort of technology is available, but some people object to this sort of technology and seek to use government force to obstruct it.  Astonishingly, the free market (a natural force) clearly celebrates medical advances in sustaining premature babies out of the womb at earlier and earlier stages of development, as well as advances in fertility.

Something is going to have to give.

In the mean time I’d propose that if the people believe abortion to be murder, we should include it in state laws where the rest of the murder statutes are kept.  I would wonder though where people get the notion that it is the duty of man to punish men for their sins when Christian doctrine seems to place that responsibility firmly in the realm of God.

Marriage

On the topic of marriage the author said:

Human beings did not invent the institution of marriage and people have no authority to redefine the institution to suit their deviant nature.

The institution of marriage is clearly an establishment of religion.  Our Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

So it would seem that the author seeks to use the Federal government as an implement of force to impose his social views on others.  I don’t know about the author, but I object to government issued marriage licenses because it attempts to inject government control into a matter that is between me, my spouse, and God. 

It is my understanding that God is perfectly capable of handling such matters without help from the government at the insistence of authoritarian busybodies.

(Illegal?) Drugs

Next the author foists his puritanical views on drugs upon the reader:

Since when is drug use an inalienable right? Are we seriously advocating for cocaine to be made available at CVS? Should employers be forced to higher cocaine users? What about the dangers to children?

What is drug use?  Fundamentally, it is putting something in one’s own body.  A body that you own.  People put all manner of unhealthy things in their bodies.  Should that be prohibited?  Could that be prohibited?  It can’t be prohibited in maximum security prisons.

The author asks when drug use became a right.  I think that’s best answered in (2004 Libertarian presidential candidate) Michael Badnarik’s book “Good to be King” which explains the difference between a Privilege and a Right.

Unfortunately today, it is probably possible to buy cocaine illegally just outside many of the CVS locations or grocery store pharmacy’s in town.  The black market product is of unknown potency and purity – unlike the commercial products sold inside.  The drug alcohol, now sold at locations all over the city was once a black market commodity.  More serious than the health effects of drinking bathtub gin were the health effects of black-market turf-war justice. 

According to John Lott, 90% of gun crime happens in the 3% of counties with the largest drug problems.  He has also found that gun crime dropped by 60% upon the end of prohibition.  In view of these facts, I still encounter gun owners that are ardent proponents of the war on drugs that fuels the war on our gun liberties.  Maybe they’re on drugs?

Hopefully upon reading this far, the author will understand that libertarians oppose the use of government force to achieve social goals such as a drug-free society (of course, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine are probably ok with him).  With this view, how could a libertarian stand by and allow the government to force employers to hire cocaine users?

As for the dangers of children, this is the responsibility of the parents and guardians of the children.  All manner of substances exist in our society that are dangerous to children, yet somehow we generally seem to get by.  I suspect this is because people (including children) are able to make rational comparisons between the relative dangers of say, allowing alcohol to fall into the hands of children as compared to allowing them to come in contact with high voltage wires.

Conclusion

In reviewing the authors claims, I’ve detected a pattern.  This pattern trends toward the government having a right as “a God-ordained institution” that may interfere in the lives of individuals “as a means of achieving political or social goals”.

Libertarians however believe that political goals should be achieved with compelling arguments and rational debate.  When it comes to social goals, we have faith that people will do what is right in accordance with their personal relationship with God and do not feel that God needs help from from government to beat down moral dissent.

The author closes with:

There are certainly huge deviations from what Ron Paul believes and advocates.

I’d have to argue that this is pure speculation.  Considering his very libertarian debate answer that sex in the military should be treated the same regardless of whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual seems like a fine example.  Ron Paul’s position on the War on Drugs would also seem to indicate a libertarian approach.

Maybe the author woke up this morning and decided Dr. Paul wasn’t his candidate after all but can’t bring himself to say it.

One Response to “Christian Concerns with the Libertarian Party?”

  1. Bryan says:

    I moderate a Christian libertarian Yahoo group, where many issues are examined down to the dot and tittle. We’ve discussed Ken Schoolland’s “Introduction to the Philosophy of Liberty” and the consensus was that rights have only to do with human individuals and their interaction with other human individuals. God is above all of that and to attempt to shoehorn Him into a discussion of rights is to try to raise ourselves up to His level.

    The marriage issue is presented as a debate over the definition of marriage, but what is really at issue is what government does with and to the institution of marriage. If government did not violate the rights of some individuals or grant privilege to other individuals based upon their membership in the “married” group, then the issue would be moot.

    Great article masked stranger.

    Peace, liberty, justice and prosperity,
    Bryan

    http://bryandmorton.blogspot.com/

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