Several years ago, I began to embrace Libertarianism as the optimum choice of civil government for the Christian. Today, I am more convinced than ever. (Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association, and the primacy of individual judgment.)
Brian Hawkins effectively argues here that given the evils of government, Libertarianism is the logical governing philosophy for Christians.
His key points:
- Charity is individual and freely chosen (not coerced by the state)
- Sometimes, it’s okay to disobey government ( when it mandates behavior that conflicts with faith, then disobedience becomes mandatory)
- Original Sin implies limited government (something the founding fathers understood quite clearly)
- Anarchy is not an option
When government is limited, man becomes subject to the will of God as opposed to the will of man. Government weakens intimate bonds between the individual and the family, replaces individual charity with coerced redistribution, and uses the threat of violence against person and property in order to dictate the behavior of private individuals. The evils of government threaten all people, but ought to be particularly concerning to Christians.
... When the state attempts the role of charity, its only means of doing so is through physical force. To support its welfare state, government must tax private citizens, and quite heavily. If a citizen refuses to pay taxes, the government must resort to violence and imprisonment to force the dissenter to comply.
Furthermore, charity is to be done through the kindness of one’s heart. Compassionate justifications for the welfare state are illegitimate because true compassion is based out of one’s personal generosity, not being forced to be “generous” by some distant government figure.
Before Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal established the welfare state and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society expanded it, the church and private individuals handled charity. Adult children took care of their elderly parents. Local churches used their tithes to feed the hungry and take care of their sick church members.
Today, however, the state has usurped many of the roles family and the church once played, eliminating most of the personal charity private citizens had offered. According to a study by the American Legislative Exchange Council (where I am employed), of the ten states with the highest amounts of charitable giving since 1997, four levy no income tax at all.
... Too often government prevents Christians from doing their Christian duties.
... Too often we have found ourselves disappointed by politicians, kings, and other legal authorities. The rational response, therefore, is not to make more strict laws or to increase legal oversight. Rather, it should be to limit government power. Moreover, man is not made virtuous through the law.
... Government’s most important duty is to protect its citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and property. Government is there to do the things that we as individuals cannot do, such as enforcing contracts and providing for the common defense.
... As the Christian Right does some soul searching in the political wilderness, to remain relevant in political discourse Christians must reconcile our commitment to Biblical morality with a changing political environment. Christians should embrace a libertarian governing philosophy that frees us to do God’s will through free association with our fellow men, not by coercion of the state.