Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why we are not libertarians...

Walter Block has stated that,
"The non-aggression axiom is the lynchpin of the philosophy of libertarianism. It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another."
The non-aggression axiom, also known as the non-aggression principle ("NAP"), depends upon another libertarian axiom, the Sovereign Individual ("SI"). This is the assertion of the self-ownership of the individual, who has complete and total control over his own body and life, owing nothing to anyone else that he has not voluntarily contracted to provide. No other individual, group, corporation, or government may rightly constrain, coerce, or deprive the Sovereign Individual.

The NAP is the necessary governing principle between Sovereign Individuals which keeps one individual's total sovereignty from conflicting with another's. It is a limit on the Sovereign Individual, but a vital one if the system is to hope to work.

There is a lot to like in this system and it even sounds somewhat moral, as if it were a more rigorous version of "do unto others," or "live and let live."

However, the problem with the NAP and the SI is that they are specific, direct, and intentional repudiations of God's Word.

We are, in reality, not sovereign, nor is it legal for us to do anything we want (even with the proviso of the NAP).

God has proclaimed a Law and regardless of your particular understanding of the continuity of the covenant, no Christian denies that we are still subject to at least some of God's Law. Specifically, there are a great many things which are unlawful and which do not initiate or threaten violence against others. Drunkenness (drug use), extra-marital sex, blaspheming the name of the Lord, usury, dishonoring parents, idolatry, and covetousness are all examples. 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 gives a list of people who will not inherit the Kingdom. Well over half of the types of people on the list are engaged in "victimless crimes."

The NAP is false.

It is even more absurd to assert that the individual is sovereign. In what possible way is a man, created by God, subject to His Law, wholly dependent up His grace and mercy and upon the atoning work of Jesus, and commanded to worship and serve him, sovereign?

There are multiple times in Scripture where God's people are indicted for acting as sovereign individuals. Most notably, during the time of the judges, everyone was said to be doing what was "right in his own eyes." Despite the eisegesis of some libertarian commentators, this was not a description of a libertarian paradise. A plain reading of the book of Judges is enough to dispel that notion. The books of Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Job also use the phrase in a negative way.

But, libertarians are not necessarily believers in God and His Word, and this is the point. The NAP and the SI are attempts to create a workable system of human liberty apart from God. Libertarianism is fundamentally at odds with God's created order and seeks to achieve a state of human freedom that is hostile to the true Christian liberty we have when we are in submission to Christ.

I think many Christians find libertarianism attractive because it does have significant, incidental points of commonality with a Christian society. On can cherry-pick specific libertarian principles and have a sense that there is a form of Christian libertarianism. It isn't necessary to do this. These commonalities (private property being a key one) already exist as concepts in God's created economy. We don't need libertarianism to teach it to us.

Libertarianism also provides a great platform for attacking the leviathan State and its tyranny over every aspect of our lives.

But neither is it necessary for Christians to turn to libertarianism for this. God's Word places individuals, families, nations, and states under the Sovereignty of God and in submission to his Will and Law. Opposing the godless state from the perspective of Scripture is a far more effective strategy than resorting to the man-made, utopian philosophy of libertarianism.

There is nothing true in libertarianism that is not already found in God's Word.

If there is any hope of a better society on earth than the one we have it will be as more individuals, families, nations, and states are transformed by the Spirit of God and come under His Sovereignty and the authority of His Word, not by adopting the fantasy of libertarianism.