Perhaps the most valid justification of government is its defense of citizens against foreign aggressors. But when governments wage war, a thin line separates defense and offense. And even in a defensive war, governments typically deprive their own citizens of many liberties. Historically, war has done more than anything else to enhance the power of governments and to diminish the liberties of the people. Classical liberals have always recognized the dangers of war and supported policies, such as free international trade, that reduce the likelihood of war.
I must recommend two important books for Libertarian Christians.
The first is Turn Neither to the Right Nor to the Left, by D. Eric Schansberg. This book was published in 2003 but I only recently saw a copy. Here is a great quote: “Human government is responsible for the most gruesome events in history.” The chapter on “Why Christians Shouldn’t Legislate Morality” is worth the price of the book. I don’t plan on reviewing the book since it came out so long ago, but I highly recommend it.
The other book is one that I really wanted to review: Blood Guilt: Christian Responses to America’s War on Terror, by Philip P. Kapusta. I read it and re-read it and took lots of notes, but I just wasn’t able to get a review written. The format is simply 37 essays in mostly chronological order written since Sept. 11, 2001, about various aspects of Christianity and war, often tied to current events. Because of the book’s format and the style of some of the essays, the book is somewhat hard to read. A very unusual and unique book. Here is a quote I used in a recent LRC article:
In fighting against these nations, the armies of Israel acted as God’s agents of wrath and were used to execute His judgments. The wars of Israel were always to be at God’s command, subject to His laws, and for the occupation and the defense of the Land of Promise. The children of Israel could only kill when killing in the name of God – that is, when killing in obedience to a direct mandate from God.
Unlike the children of Israel, who were brought out of Egypt and given a land of their own and provided with a set of laws to govern them within God’s divine kingdom, Christians have not been given a similar tract of land to defend or fight for. Neither have Christians been given a king upon earth who enforces God’s laws when violated.
The book can be purchased through Amazon. The book is specifically designed for Christians. Do I accept everything the author says in the book? No. But these things are in the minority. The essays on just war theory not being Christian are excellent. I highly recommend the book.