Norman Horn is the founder and chief editor of LibertarianChristians.com. To learn about the site, go to the About LCC page.

I frequently get questions from libertarians and Christians that basically amount to “How did you get involved in this?” Christian “conservatives” and “liberals” number far more than Christian libertarians, and so this curiosity is understandable even from another Christian libertarian. In fact, at general libertarian meetings it is not uncommon to introduce oneself to the group with the story of how you came to learn about liberty. So, I’d like to describe some of the elements of my religious heritage, personal history, and intellectual development that have brought me thus far. If you are reading this and are unsure of whether or not libertarianism is compatible with the Christian faith, well, this is how I got this way and I hope it explains what it means to me, personally, to be a libertarian and a Christian.

Christian Heritage, Family Values

One cannot describe his religious heritage without first examining his family’s history. My own family has long been involved in the Churches of Christ (of the Stone-Campbell Movement), and thus I grew up saturated with the Bible and the people of God. As a young boy, my parents emphasized the importance of our faith to me through regular (at least three times a week) church attendance and family Bible study. They taught me the Scriptures and they taught me morality. Their Christian example was my primary model. Helping further was the loving legacy of my grandparents as well. My mother’s parents displayed generosity, wisdom, and kindness from which I am still learning. Papa Dusty, one of the greatest lawyers in Texas history, was an excellent example of how perseverance and hard work set you on a straight path. (My mother says I take after him, and I sure hope so.) Grandma Horn was a beacon of virtue and character that I have never seen matched. I heard of my father’s father, also named Norman, who passed away the year before I was born; he was unilaterally admired by all around him and even now I find out new facets of his person that others loved. I never knew him, yet because of our simple connection of nomenclature I cannot help but be struck by how I desire to honor his legacy.

Much of the credit for my intellectual development is due to homeschooling, which my parents decided to try when we moved to St. Louis, Missouri in my pre-teen years. I was extremely skeptical at first, but became convinced very quickly that homeschooling was the best of all possible situation for me and my siblings. It drew us closer together as a family and gave us an even better opportunity to draw closer to Christ. The homeschool community in the St. Louis area, while sometimes extreme and stubborn, presented our family with a splendid opportunity to define ourselves as a family and set a course for the rest of our lives. We were able to focus on what mattered most to us – excellence in achievement, relentless pursuit of truth, and passionate faith in God.

Personal History, Personal Faith

I believe I experienced an “awakening” to God’s presence as a teenager. To some extent, at the time my religion was often based on simply “doing the right thing” and was not necessarily well-internalized. When I was fourteen, though, I began to realize that the public profession of my faith and the mark of baptism were of great importance to me, not because they were works that just needed to be done, but because they affirmed who I was in Christ and who I wanted to become. I cannot say the change was drastic, with a voice from heaven shouting down or anything like that, but it was significant to be sure. From then on, there was indeed a change in perspective and a focus that had heretofore not been present. My desire was to learn about God, to serve the church, and to love other people.

My father had always been active in serving the church throughout my young adult years. When we moved to Missouri this change made his service all the more visible to me and actually gave me the opportunity as I grew older to serve in similar functions, particularly in leading worship.

Music has always been an integral part of my family life, since both my parents are trained musicians and my mother’s profession is music education. But it was our move to Missouri, the decision to homeschool, and Mom’s founding of the Homeschool Choirs that firmly set in my mind the importance of music and worship. At fifteen, I joined a small acappella singing group sponsored by my church, called His Presence, that traveled around the nearby communities performing excellent music. This opportunity to perform and to serve greatly enhanced my confidence to assist congregations in worship. It also indirectly built my skills as a presenter, which would serve me in the future as well.

One more group of people stands out as having a dramatic effect on my spiritual life during my high school years: Teens for Christ. TFC was a non-denominational youth group dedicated to reaching high-school kids with the gospel. Many of my homeschool friends were involved in it, and it brought us closer together as friends with a common mission from the God we all served. What a joy it was to work and play with them and see people come to Christ! I will never forget the TFC ski trips with my Dad and brother as well.

Intellectual Development: My Discovery of Liberty

Around my sophomore year of high school, some of my friends and I decided to start a small group study of general philosophy and theology. Our so-called “Philosophy Discussion Group” started meeting once a week to, you guessed it, discuss philosophy. We watched videos from R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries that explained the fundamentals of philosophy, apologetics, theology, and history, and we discussed what we learned after each video. It was not uncommon for heated (but friendly!) arguments to arise unexpectedly. Exploring the fabric of reality with my friends was a wonderful opportunity to learn, and what it sparked in me was an intense desire to search out truth wherever it leads. The last vestiges of just living in my parents’ faith were thrown off and I began to internalize what I truly believed more deeply. The idea that “all truth is God’s truth” became my directorate. Theology became ever more important to me, and I studied harder than ever to understand the world around me. This would have major implications for my future as a Christian thinker.

After graduating high school, I attended the University of Missouri-Rolla (now called MST), double-majoring in chemical engineering and chemistry. I was exposed to many new ideas, namely the critical application of the methods of science (I say this deliberately, as I also learned that “the scientific method” is more diverse than one might initially think) and further topics in my independent study of theology. This was contrasted with what I perceived to be a student ministry that did not make theology a major priority – whether theology regarding science or anything else. I made it my aim never to neglect learning theology whenever possible. I also tried to encourage other students to take charge of their spiritual learning as well, leading studies in theology and apologetics. I found that if you challenged people, often they will rise to the occasion. Sometimes they just need a little prodding, a little leadership, and all the rest follows.

In 2004, a critical event changed the trajectory of my life – I became involved with Katelyn, the wonderful lady whom I would eventually marry. Besides the changes that come from getting married, this most incredible event affected my intellectual and spiritual development in two ways, one of which is rather obvious and the second not so obvious. You see, Katelyn’s family was Reformed Presbyterian – heavy on the Reformed. Since I grew up in the primarily Arminian-thinking Churches of Christ, some considerable effort was needed to smooth out the differences in theology. What we found was that we had far more in common than we initially realized, and that our differences were not nearly as important as our unity in Christ. I think both of our families learned a little more about proper Christian tolerance as a result.

The second not-so-obvious effect began as something many would actually call “not spiritual.” My future father-in-law sent me some articles about free market economics from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The ideas in these articles fascinated me and I determined to learn more about this so-called “Austrian School of Economics.” I also studied the philosophy that accompanies many of these ideas, often called libertarianism. Now, many people are turned off by this term (even my father-in-law!), but let me explain how this resulted in a spiritual change.

Three principles are very important in libertarian philosophy that coincide with Christian ideals: individual responsibility, individual liberty, and the non-aggression axiom. Each principle is part of the natural law, which has a long history in Christian thought. Individuals are fully responsible for their own actions, and Christians believe specifically that we will ultimately answer to God for what we have done. Therefore, individual liberty is required for a person to live within the dictates of his conscience. This necessitates an ethic codified in the non-aggression principle, which states that the initiation of physical force (or the threat of such, or fraud) against a person and his property is inherently illegitimate. It is essentially the golden rule recast more specifically to reflect individual responsibility and liberty. By extension, no person or group has special moral license to be the initiator of aggression against others. These three radical principles (along with much more Scripture and philosophy, to be sure) form the basis of why I reject the necessity of the State, which is at its core the institutionalization of physical force, to preserve Christian morality or to maintain a stable and orderly society. As Proudhon said, liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order. Rather, the Lord’s Church can and should be the primary influence in encouraging morality and in partnering with society, rather than the executor of enforcement, imposition, and inquisition.

jake_photo_shoot_1

This shift in philosophy happened gradually during our first years of marriage and graduate school, which have been marvelous times of learning and spiritual growth. My experiences at the University of Texas and the University Avenue Church of Christ have been instrumental in my walk with God. I feel more focused than ever in what my mission is as a Christian – to be a scientist, a theologian, a philosopher, and servant in the church. To that end, the Austin Graduate School of Theology has played an absolutely pivotal role in furthering my theological education, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had with them. Much of what I had learned came from self-teaching, but formalized study has been a great boon to my skills. Furthermore, I have the opportunity to bless many people through being the Music Minister at University Avenue. My spiritual life, while obviously not perfect, is growing in ways I could not have anticipated.

I pray that these few paragraphs can ignite your mind and stir you in some way. If you’d like to tell part of your story, either to me personally or to other readers, feel free to contact me or to comment below. I know many people will differ with me on many points, and that’s ok. We are unified in Christ, and ultimately our dedication to Christ’s Lordship is what this is about. May you continue to grow in faith day by day. Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Ken

    This entry has certainly satisfied some of my curiosity. I can definitely relate to the challenge of “Christian pluralism.” Before meeting my wife I grew up in churches that rarely mentioned the Holy Spirit and I had never heard anyone speak in tongues; by this point we’ve both learned a lot from one another.

    Out of curiosity, was your “reconciliation” of Christianity and libertarianism the result of delving into secular philosophy and comparing it to Christian belief, or were you guided by specific Christian philosophers who had already established those connections? I’m currently reading through Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” and find that often he seems apathetic or even hostile towards faith. This could just be my perception of the author’s style (I loved reading Mises two summers ago).

  • Ken

    This entry has certainly satisfied some of my curiosity. I can definitely relate to the challenge of “Christian pluralism.” Before meeting my wife I grew up in churches that rarely mentioned the Holy Spirit and I had never heard anyone speak in tongues; by this point we’ve both learned a lot from one another.

    Out of curiosity, was your “reconciliation” of Christianity and libertarianism the result of delving into secular philosophy and comparing it to Christian belief, or were you guided by specific Christian philosophers who had already established those connections? I’m currently reading through Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” and find that often he seems apathetic or even hostile towards faith. This could just be my perception of the author’s style (I loved reading Mises two summers ago).

  • Norman

    Ken: I’m pleased to hear of our points of contact. These things are definitely ways to grow!

    The answer to your question is *both*.I read a lot of Rothbard, Mises, and Hayek when starting out, along with Christians such as Laurence Vance, Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, and John Cobin. But I saw the connections pretty quickly and started doing the homework, and lo and behold, things began to make sense.

    What I didn’t talk about – and I’m thinking I might elaborate more on this in a “Part 2” type-post – is how certain views evolved over time as well, specifically my thoughts about the military and war among other things.

    About Rothbard… He isn’t actually hostile towards religion, keep in mind he married a Presbyterian and broke his friendship with Ayn Rand when Rand tried to steamroll Joann (heroic!). Of course, Rothbard, like me, is very critical of religious people who coerce others. This is unconscionable, especially for the follower of Christ.

  • Of course, Rothbard, like me, is very critical of religious people who coerce others. This is unconscionable, especially for the follower of Christ.

    You once asked me about Christianity on twitter. This very statement is why I have problems with Christianity. Or a “sort-of” Christian. I do not coerce others nor to I believe it required to do so as a Christian. Often I am denigrated by those who disagree, which is why I use the “sort-of” label. I am not one of “those” Christians but I do follow Christ to the best of my ability and learning.

  • Of course, Rothbard, like me, is very critical of religious people who coerce others. This is unconscionable, especially for the follower of Christ.

    You once asked me about Christianity on twitter. This very statement is why I have problems with Christianity. Or a “sort-of” Christian. I do not coerce others nor to I believe it required to do so as a Christian. Often I am denigrated by those who disagree, which is why I use the “sort-of” label. I am not one of “those” Christians but I do follow Christ to the best of my ability and learning.

  • Norman

    But Nathan, those Christians who can consistently say that they are following the “way” of Christ cannot be of the coercive persuasion – it cannot be justified. But to cast off the name of “Christian” because some do evil things in the name of Christ is not necessary, that’s all I’m saying… :)

  • clay

    I came to Christ late in life (via a Steven Hawkings book but that’s another story). To me Christianity has always seemed to point to libertarianism. Jesus doesn’t force anyone to accept but offers an invitation to be accepted or rejected:

    Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

    The Christian response to unrepentant sin by a brother is correction followed by shunning while the response to outsiders is non-judgmental.

    1Co 5:11 -13 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    The Old Testament likewise seems to focus on judging within a small community of like minded individuals. The first form of government I see in the Old Testament is federal; very local and community based (groups of ten).

    Exo 18:21-23 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

    This seems to be consistent with Madison’s view in Federalist 10 that democracy can only work in very small communities lest the majority oppress the minority faction.

    Perhaps Madison view is further confirmed by the fact that the Ten Commandments were accepted by a unanimous not a majority vote. Ex 24:7.

    Finally, God views centralized government as a rejection of God that will cause the people to cry out (you can’t get more centralized than a king).

    1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

    1Sa 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

    So without your religious upbringing, my first impression after reading the bible is that it teaches a libertarianism and freedom based on small groups of like minded individuals. Essentially, I think it tells us that we should be living in a series of Galt’s Gulches. The San Francisco gulch would have their rules (probably not very Christian) and the Mobile, Alabama gulch a different set of rules. As long as people can move from gulch to gulch and a central authority doesn’t try to impose its views on a gulch, then it seems both biblical and libertarian.

  • clay

    I came to Christ late in life (via a Steven Hawkings book but that’s another story). To me Christianity has always seemed to point to libertarianism. Jesus doesn’t force anyone to accept but offers an invitation to be accepted or rejected:

    Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

    The Christian response to unrepentant sin by a brother is correction followed by shunning while the response to outsiders is non-judgmental.

    1Co 5:11 -13 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    The Old Testament likewise seems to focus on judging within a small community of like minded individuals. The first form of government I see in the Old Testament is federal; very local and community based (groups of ten).

    Exo 18:21-23 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

    This seems to be consistent with Madison’s view in Federalist 10 that democracy can only work in very small communities lest the majority oppress the minority faction.

    Perhaps Madison view is further confirmed by the fact that the Ten Commandments were accepted by a unanimous not a majority vote. Ex 24:7.

    Finally, God views centralized government as a rejection of God that will cause the people to cry out (you can’t get more centralized than a king).

    1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

    1Sa 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

    So without your religious upbringing, my first impression after reading the bible is that it teaches a libertarianism and freedom based on small groups of like minded individuals. Essentially, I think it tells us that we should be living in a series of Galt’s Gulches. The San Francisco gulch would have their rules (probably not very Christian) and the Mobile, Alabama gulch a different set of rules. As long as people can move from gulch to gulch and a central authority doesn’t try to impose its views on a gulch, then it seems both biblical and libertarian.

  • **grin** I hear you…

  • **grin** I hear you…

  • guest

    what is “the State”?

  • The State is the system of predatory process in a given territory — it institutionalizes and monopolizes the use of force. For an expanded discussion, check out Murray Rothbard’s article “Anatomy of the State”: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html

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  • Randy Fairfield

    Found this website through your article in the Washington Post.  While I am not in the habit of articulating my beliefs nearly as often as I ought to, I am thankful for those that can and do.  I found myself nodding my head and thinking, “that’s precisely what I’ve been thinking!” as I read your article.  Reading your article helped me solidify my thoughts and I wanted to say thanks.  Looking forward to perusing this website further.

  • Thanks Randy!

  • Hi Norman,

    Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that being a Christian Libertarian is the only logical choice for me.  I still don’t know all there is to know about being a libertarian but from what I’ve read it certainly is better than being a Republican or a Democrat.  I am a registered Republican, by the way.

    The problem I see with being a Libertarian, Christian or not, is that there aren’t enough of us.  It seems that we are far outnumbered by the warmongers and those feeding at the government trough.  The Constitution has been trampled on by those sworn to uphold it but not very many of us seem to care.  Where are all the other Ron Paul’s in congress?  Where are all the freedom lovers?

    Stacy

  • Thanks so much for your comments, Stacy. Don’t worry about being in the minority — in fact it is the minority that often makes the greatest difference in the world! We just need to keep on pushing the ideal of liberty to everyone we know, and eventually it WILL catch on.

  • David

    As I’ved said in a comment in one other thread, I’m not a strict Rothbardian, so if that’s the criteria for “libertarian” I do fall short of it. In addition to the “Minarchist” responsibilities of government that are defense, courts, and police, I also don’t see how roads could be privatized, since it would be awfully hard to compete on markets you can’t even access (If somebody owns the only road adjacent to your home, they can charge extreme prices for use and you won’t have a choice but to use it) and education (Basically because of what Jefferson said about people needing to be educated to be trusted with their own government, and also because its kind of a “You’re screwed if you get parents that don’t give a crap” type thing. Of course, there comes a certain point where the government should leave you to settle your own education, they certainly shouldn’t pay for college, and I’ve got absolutely no problem with the schools being privatized as long as society helps the poor get access (And if this happens without government, great! Although I’m not sure it would.) I also support most of the things where government should be involved (Pretty much everything except maybe defense) being made as local as possible. Just because I say the government should do it doesn’t mean the Federal Leviathan should do it.

    Its tempting to support a small safety net as well, but I don’t because once the government can redistribute to the slightest degree, it can do so to huge degrees, and safety nets are more about, however slight, equalizing results than they are to ensure that everybody’s got a shot. I think the market could also probably provide this as well, we’re spending about 41 billion on welfare, and I’m sure markets and charities could do that more efficiently than Uncle Sam any day. Uncle Sam’s only advantage is quantity, when it comes to quality, he sucks every time.

    Now, regarding what that has to do with anything, I just wanted to point out on the outset that I’m not as hardcore as the rest of you guys probably are, although I have nothing but the highest respect for Rothbardian anarchists. I do disagree with them on a few things, but not nearly as much as I disagree with even the more moderate libertarians, let alone the Republicans and Democrats.

    When it comes to foreign policy, the drug war, victimless crimes (With the caveat that abortion is not victimless) civil liberties, gun rights all that stuff, I’m on board with Libertarian philosophy 100%. That some crack or meth users will also harm other people with those substances is no excuse for the punishing of those who partake of victimless vice with those drugs. I’m not a utilitarian, and it is indeed better to aquit a hundred guilty than to imprison an innocent man. Same thing goes for foreign policy. On economic policy I’m somewhat accepting of regulations ensuring that information is provided, but that’s about it. To make an extreme case, if I want to buy rat poison for human consumption I should absolutely be allowed to do so as long as I’m aware that I’m doing it and have consented to the risk. Otherwise, laseizz faire all the way.

    I am also, as I mentioned, Christian. Most specifically, although not dogmatically, Baptist.

    I’m still young (17) and was raised in a religiously and politically conservative home. I’ve basically rejected the politically conservative part, at least mostly.

    I’ve been a Christian since I was young, and a number of life experiences got me to the faith I have today. That was mostly separatted from my libertarianism, which I did not obtain until much later, and thanks to Ron Paul.

    When I was younger (I’m ashamed to say as recently as 2010, maybe even part of 2011) I supported interventionist foreign policy for humanitarian reasons, while also being mostly economically libertarian and libertarian on civil liberties. I was always at least a bit skeptical on the drug laws, and I was never a fan of the government spying on people, simply on intuition, but I did believe the GOP foreign policy line, in fact being more aggressive than them (*Shudder*) at times because goodness, North Korea was still around slaughtering its citizens, and we just had to stop them (We didn’t, and don’t, but I didn’t realize this back then.)

    Ron Paul, believe it or not, was the one that changed my mind.
    I liked Ron Paul before I liked his foreign policy, being willing to give up the nonsense of “Humanitarian intervention” in exchange for what I felt would be a President that could save our country from near certain doom. After a lot of study, and realizing that war, nothing else, is the root cause of statist aggression, I began to gradually agree with Ron Paul as well, until a certain point (Probably some point in 2011) I began to completely agree with Ron Paul’s foreign policy.
    I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t vote this year, even if I knew it wouldn’t accomplish much, I wanted to vote for Gary to stick it to the two basically identical candidates in the major parties (Goode didn’t seem so bad either, but even while being pro-life, was still inferior to Gary). My family, of course, voted for Romney, which makes me pretty much alone. Even those who intellectually agree with me on some stuff, whether it be social policy or foreign policy (Rarely, if ever, both) still think the Republicans are the lesser of two evils, when they’re really just as bad as each other. I ultimately forced myself to decide, even while saying I would sooner die than support either of them) that if I had to root for somebody, it was going to have to be Obama, for basically the same reasoning as Walter Block. Our foreign policy is what’s really killing us. I could NEVER vote for anyone who supported the American Empire, even if they were rock solid on every other issue.
    So yeah, thanks to Ron Paul for showing me a different option other than conservative or liberal ideology. And that’s where I am right now.

  • Thanks for your comments, David. I want to emphasize that as much as I am a fan of Rothbard, being a libertarian isn’t just about holding a Rothbardian position. Ultimately, anyone who opposes aggression, and thus opposes statism, is a friend of mine and ought to be a friend to all fellow libertarians.

  • David

    I haven’t yet read Rothbard much other than some LRC articles, but I do appreciate his work from what little I read. I saw that “For A New Liberty” is online so I want to read it at some point. I’m just more of a traditional “Limited Government” libertarian than an absolute anarchist.
    I admit to some inconsistencies with not taking the anarchist position but ultimately I suspect that the aggressions from a very limited state (I can’t imagine my ideal state controlling more than 5% or so of GDP) would be less than the aggressions that would, I feel, inevitably, come about as a result of an anarcho-capitalist society.
    I’d almost sayI probably have a lot in common with Milton Friedman except that I really, really hate the Federal Reserve, while Friedman wasn’t against it. Inflation is just another type of taxation, with a little bit of lying thrown in.
    Most of the people I know even consider my minimal government position to be quite radical. I can only imagine how they’d react to the purist ancap version.
    What’s the proper libertarian attitude toward voting, in your mind? I was too young to vote this year, as I think I mentioned, but I will be eligable next time. Barring a miraculous (I know he’s not his father either, but still) Republican nomination for Rand Paul,I know I could never vote for the major two parties, but would it be immoral to vote for an imperfect LP candidate for President?
    And how much emphasis should a pro-life libertarian put on the abortion issue? Even some people who I know agree with me for the most part intellectually voted for Romney for that reason. Of course, Romney wasn’t really pro-life either, but even if he were, I still don’t feel like it would be right to vote for someone like him. Is there anything written on a Libertarian Christian “Theology of voting” or something similar? Thanks in advance.

  • I would definitely suggest reading “For a New Liberty” — especially since it is free online. I would also recommend Jacob Huebert’s new book “Libertarianism Today.”

    Yes, your position IS radical — and that’s good!

    I don’t think that there is a single position one can take regarding voting. Some people choose not to because they don’t want to participate in that way — that’s fine by me. For me, I see it as another small means of self-defense against the State. I do not view the vote as sacred, nor your “civic duty.” Ultimately, electoral politics will be a reflection of culture, so I do not want to focus my efforts on changing a symptom but rather the cause.

  • David

    I figured this would probably be the best place to post this. I posted it on RPF under the name “FreedomFanatic” as well, but I’m also curious on the specifically Christian perspective (And I figure you’d probably know more about this topic than I do) about what I wrote here: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?407487-Request-for-Help-Drug-legalization

    I did not do as well in this argument as I wish I had. Not that I had to convince anyone, but I don’t have nearly enough information. “Freedom” (Which is pretty much the argument Laurence Vance uses if I remember his article correctly) is good enough for me, but that doesn’t work on non-libertarians.

    Even a clear, statistical refutation of “Drug abuser = child abuser or child neglector” would help.

  • David, short answer: Check out Laurence Vance’s book on the drug war, there should be sufficient info in there.

    I will try to attempt a longer answer in a post at a later date. Is that alright?

  • Thanks for sharing your testimony. It makes sense and reminds me of several milestones in my own journey. I look forward to exploring more of your site and I look forward to interacting. Thank again.

  • Shawn Purcell

    (I
    say this deliberately, as I also learned that “the scientific method”
    is more diverse than one might initially think)

  • Hi Shawn! First off, I think that even when we speak of “the scientific method” in natural sciences, it is not always as purely straight-forward as we are sometimes led to believe as younger students. The pathway to discovering truth (or, perhaps better, eliminating potential alternative explanations — the inductive method) is more winding when you do scientific research. It also looks a bit more fuzzy when you do computer simulations or mathematical models than when you are mixing chemical A with chemical B.

    Second, social sciences operate quite differently than natural sciences, and we should not assume that the method of social science is the same as that of natural sciences. Natural science is predicated upon the notion that the laws of nature are invariant. Otherwise, the empirical/inductive method that we take of settling upon the best explanation — but it is always open to falsification — would not be valid.

    The problem with applying positivism to social science is that human beings are constantly changing with time — behavior is not invariant. Thus we need to approach social sciences with a modified methodology. The best approach, to me, seems to be the praxeological method that Austrian economists use, accompanied by a judicious use of empirical methods.

    Hoppe’s “Economic Science and the Austrian Method” is a great explanation. For even deeper treatment, try Ludwig von Mises’s books “Theory and History” and the first 100 pages of “Human Action”.

  • David

    I don’t know why this didn’t click with me enough a year ago to ask about it. You mention that you grew up in the churches of Christ. I have heard that at least some of these churches teach baptismal regeneration. Do you believe that baptism is an essential work one must do in order to be saved? Does the church of Christ actually teach this? Do you affirm or reject justification by faith alone?

  • We do teach something akin to “baptismal regeneration.” However, we do not typically say that baptism is an “essential work” for salvation. Jesus alone can save. But I don’t think anybody can deny the importance that baptism has in the NT, as exemplified through Acts.

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  • Kennon Gilson

    Hi Norman! As co-editor I would like to invite you and your team to become an activist Friends at https://www.facebook.com/LibertarianInternationalOrganization the activist mutual share group of the Libertarian International. Friend me at Facebook if you like the stuff at its mother Libertarian international Organization.