By Rev. Edmund Opitz, author of The Libertarian Theology of Freedom and Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies. This essay was originally published in the June 1966 issue of The Freeman. Read more in the Edmund Opitz Archive.
The effort to prevent people from obtaining certain kinds of reading matter on the grounds that its perusal may inflict damage on the minds exposed to it, springs from a “father knows best” psychology. Men of this persuasion assume that they know what is bad for people — even if the people themselves do not—and, further, that they are called upon to invoke statutory safeguards to prevent these latter from injuring themselves unawares. Paternalism is not limited to a concern for the purity of literature, however; the “father knows best” attitude is rampant in every sector of our society, and it is the key to the “liberal” mentality.
The liberal draws a clear distinction between himself and the average man. The average man, in his ignorance and innocence, is at the mercy of his employer; he is gulled by the hucksters of the advertising profession; he is regarded as fair game by the patent medicine men, food faddists, hidden persuaders, and other such extremists. The liberal, therefore, attempts to regulate industry, fix wages, control profits, enforce social security, and otherwise protect the consumer against the wily agents of Madison Avenue and the obscene lure of tail fins.
Tags: censorship, Edmund Opitz, freedom of speech, government, morality, self-control
Breitbart reports that the Pentagon recently released a statement that soldiers who share their faith (I presume Christian or otherwise):
This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.
And thus it becomes ever more difficult – if it were ever even possible – to live out the commandments of and serve Christ while also in “service” of the State.
Tags: Christianity, government, militarism, military, The State
C.S. Lewis had some wise words regarding marriage in Mere Christianity:
"I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question – how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise [sic] that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not."
Although Lewis was speaking specifically about divorce, one can see the parallels to the gay marriage debate today. As I have repeatedly stated (see here and here), what we need to affirm in the church is that we are for freedom of association, for freedom of contract, and for the independence of the church. My guess is that Lewis would suggest the same path in our situation.
Will Vaus, author of Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C.S. Lewis, also has an interesting post on his blog regarding Lewis’s perspective on homosexuality.
(HT Scott K. for the quote.)
Tags: C.S. Lewis, homosexuality, marriage
Jon Stewart rips commentators at Fox News a new one in this 7 minute segment from the Daily Show. In the clip, he puts on display the frightening inconsistency of supposed “freedom-promoting” anchors on Fox News, most of whom have no problem completely shredding the Bill of Rights in pursuit of fear- and war-mongering.
Despite Stewart’s misstep at the end regarding requiring background checks for purchase of firearms, he lays a clear example of how current “conservatism” has nothing to do with liberty and everything to do with power. If only he realized that his liberalism basically does the same thing.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Tags: constitution, Fox News, Jon Stewart, Media, News, video
In every election campaign, we hear the word “compassion” at least a thousand times. One political party supposedly has it, the other one doesn’t. Big government programs are evidence of compassion; cutting back government is a sign of cold-hearted meanness. By their misuse of the term for partisan advantage, politicians have thoroughly muddied up the real meaning of the word.
The fact is that some of what is labeled “compassionate” is just that, and it does a world of good; but a whole lot of what is labeled “compassionate” is nothing of the sort, and it does a world of harm. The former tends to be very personal in nature while the latter puts an involuntary burden on someone else.
A remarkable irony of statists in general is their definition of “charity.” On the one hand, they claim their giving to the poor is “compassionate” and “caring.” Yet in the very next breath they demand and force peaceful people to fork over the assets to be given. Prior theft does not charity make. I am reminded of what Penn Jillette said about such things:
In the aforementioned article, Reed recalls his visit to the Bahamas and the Nassau Institute. He was interviewed on a television program and ended up in an impromptu debate about liberty and charity. It’s a long clip, but has a lot of interesting material in it:
Again, you can read the original article by Lawrence Reed here.
Tags: charity, Christianity, compassion, economics, ethics, Lawrence Reed