Norman’s Note: LCC will soon be announcing a number of writers who will be contributing to the blog with articles, news analysis, book reviews, and more. Isaac Morehouse and I have been friends for a while now, and I am absolutely thrilled to welcome him to the LCC team! I have asked each contributor to give their own story, so without delay, here’s Isaac…
Thanks to Norman and the whole LCC community for inviting me to blog here on a regular basis. I expect to post something once a month or so, and I’m excited to get going!
First, a little about me and how I ended up as one of the smallest minorities on earth, a libertarian Christian…
I grew up in a Midwestern conservative Christian home. I was raised well, with what I think are good and enduring values; hard work, honesty, thrift, and all the things that “salt of the earth” people are supposed to have. There was a genuine and strong emphasis on faith in Christ in my family, as well as Bible study. This often comes with a considerable amount of reactionary fear of new ideas, but in my case I didn’t experience much of it. My parents were always supportive of studying and thinking for oneself.
Sometime in my early-mid teen years I caught the “thinking” bug. I read, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, who remains one of my favorite authors and thinkers, and it lit a spark in me. For whatever reason, that book got me interested in ideas for the first time. I could not stop thinking about theology, particularly questions of free will, choice, and eternity. I began to read more philosophy and theology, and I had an excellent group of friends who shared the same passion with whom to discuss.
I can’t say I ever really faltered in my Christian faith. Though I examined the claims of theism and Christianity in particular with rigor, and took seriously the most difficult and well-reasoned objections, this never seemed to trouble me on anything but an intellectual level. I read a lot of apologetics and debates between atheists and Christians, but my attention soon turned to philosophy more generally. It was not long before political philosophy took over as my dominant intellectual pursuit.
It is not surprising that, given my upbringing, I was predisposed to appreciate free-markets. I had not, however, given much thought to the broader principles upon which freedom in the marketplace were based. After some very limited exposure to economic arguments that supported my instincts in favor of capitalism, the question was posed to me by a liberal friend why, if I was opposed to government regulations and bans on consumer goods, I supported drug prohibition. I immediately realized that my philosophy was inconsistent… and it scared me!
The next few years can be described much the same way C.S. Lewis describes his conversion to Christianity; I came to libertarianism kicking and screaming all the way. Simply said, I ran out of excuses.
My brother gave me Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, where I heard cogent arguments against the drug war for the first time. I began to read everything I could get my hands on produced by the Cato Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education, and the Mises Institute. The economic arguments for libertarianism were clear and unmistakable. The moral arguments were cemented when a good friend gave me an article in an issue of “Liberty” magazine by Stephen Legate called, “The Call of Christ to Freedom.” (You can find this essay here.)
Around this time I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that my calling in life was to help people find freedom, in every sense of the word. I am pursuing this calling today and will until I die.
The rest of my intellectual development has essentially been “further in and further up.” After a bachelors in political science and philosophy I dabbled in small business, worked in the state legislature for a few years, then for the wonderful Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where I created and directed Students for a Free Economy. (Still going strong!) While at Mackinac I got a Masters in Economics from the University of Detroit Mercy – one of the few programs in the world where you can get a Masters in Austrian Economics. It was the most intellectually stimulating time of my life thus far. The program was all primary texts, and being a Jesuit school, we started with Hesiod and Aristotle (by the way, those links are to articles I wrote for the Mises Institute), and read the Salamancans, the Phsyiocrats, Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Say, Jevons, Menger, Mises, Hayek, Marshall, Keynes (yes, I know), Marx (again), Friedman and more.
It was at this time when I knew I wanted to write, speak, teach and talk about the ideas of liberty for the rest of my life. I joined the Institute for Humane Studies after two and a half years at the Mackinac Center and I am currently still at IHS.
I love cigars, music, football, my wife and kids and my job. I love freedom, and I love life. I’m looking forward to contributing whatever I can to the discussion here at LCC!