One of the greatest attributes of libertarianism is its focus on the notions of power and control, especially in the hands of the state. Libertarians do not entirely oppose institutions that can justly govern specified areas of responsibility. But when a governing institution takes on a life of its own and dominates those under its purview, we libertarians rally quickly to condemn it. We are known for rejecting top-down, centralized governments because those who hold the reigns nearly always use their status to their own advantage. The concentration of power in the hands of a few is dangerous business. Greed is even more of a problem for those at the top of government than it is for those at the top of private firms, because in politics greed can masquerade as good intentions.
Michael Hardin, a theologian friend of mine, wrote an article outlining the dangers of power due to a misunderstanding of the kind of power God favors. “‘Power’ is one of those slippery words that gets tossed to an fro without examination,” he writes. Hardin, as an expert in Rene Girard’s mimetic theory, is well-equipped to write about how the New Testament deals with power dynamics. Hardin addresses how Charismatic Christianity understands the notion of power, his remarks will seem familiar to libertarians and will parallel our observations about the State.