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vance_war_empire_militaryThis talk was given at the Authors Forum at the 2014 Austrian Economics Research Conference at the Mises Institute.

I would like to thank Joe Salerno, Mark Thornton, and the Mises Institute for allowing me to talk about my newest book. I would like to talk about how the book came about, its relation to some of my other books, and the book’s content, theme, audience, reception, cover, and emphasis. I look at the book as an antidote to military exceptionalism.

War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy (hereafter just War, Empire, and the Military), cannot be fully understood without reference to the companion volume I published last year, War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism (hereafter just War, Christianity, and the State). But these books cannot be fully understood without reference to the one book that preceded them: Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State (hereafter just Christianity and War), the second edition of which was published in 2008 and the first in 2005. This is the book I was encouraged to repudiate and shred when I took delivery from my printer. But even that book cannot be fully understood without reference to a single article titled “Christianity and War” that was published on October 29, 2003, on LewRockwell.com. It was at a conference here at the Mises Institute in 2003 that Lew Rockwell asked me to write something for him on war from an evangelical perspective. And the rest, as they say, is history. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Book Reviews, War
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My friend Anand Venigalla is a young Christian man with a great desire to learn about and explain Christian libertarian ideas. He now runs a website called Letter of Liberty where he blogs regularly.

Anand is also a regular LCC reader and commenter, and I am very happy to share his recent post explaining anarcho-capitalism from a Christian perspective. For one so young, Anand clearly has an excellent grasp of Christian libertarian thinking.

The Meaning of Anarcho-Capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a strain of libertarian ideology that opposes the existence of the State in favor of a stateless, libertarian society. Basically, it is a "separation of [money, defense and law, banking, church, governance, etc.] and State," with the State being non-existent and voluntary interactions and exchanges being the foundation of governance within society. Famous proponents of this ideology include the late 19th century liberal Gustave de Molinari, Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, George Smith, Wendy McElroy and Joseph Peden in the 20th century, and in the 21st century Lew Rockwell and Stefan Molyneux. Unlike other forms of anarchism, anarcho-capitalism accepts "capitalism" and the free market as compatible with statelessness, whereas other forms of anarchism have a negative view of capitalism, seeing it as "statist."

"Anarchy" comes from the Greek word anarkhos, which merely means "no ruler." While most people imagine chaos and warlords when the word "anarchy" comes up, the anarcho-capitalist holds his anarchy as the truly ordered system. His anarchy allows for "governments" without the State (an organization that holds a territorial monopoly, prohibiting competitors from offering similar services). That means that while the State won’t exist in the anarcho-capitalist society, church governments, private defense organizations, private community localities, and other forms of "governance" can exist, all without the use of exploitation and initiation of force.

In fact, some of our best forms of law were developed independently of the State, as Murray Rothbard explained in his book For A New Liberty. For example, common law and merchant law were developed not by State courts but by non-governmental, private courts. And the example of ancient Ireland is an example of a working, stateless society that existed before it was conquered by England.

So, anarcho-capitalism, unlike classical libertarianism, takes the non-aggression principle to the most logical conclusion possible: the State is inherently based on aggression and initiation of force, and it should not exist.

See the rest of what he has to say here.

Categories : Articles
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Lawmakers in the House and Senate in my state of Florida have proposed two bills (HB 717 & SB 774) that would amend the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) to prohibit pregnancy discrimination. Penalties would include back pay and punitive damages up to $100,000.

“Some (of the pregnant women) are terminated from their jobs or they go into a hostile work environment because of their pregnancy so we want to make sure we eliminate those kinds of things,” said State Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando). “Let’s not allow employers to prevent women from doing their jobs,” added State Rep. Lori Berman (D-Lantana).

There are three major problems with this political grandstanding.

One, pregnancy discrimination is already illegal in Florida. Two, if there is any form of discrimination that should not be prohibited, it is pregnancy discrimination. And three, no discrimination should be prohibited in the first place.

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Categories : Articles
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settje_faith_and_warDavid E. Settje, Faith and War: How Christians Debated the Cold and Vietnam Wars (NYU Press, 2011), xi + 233 pgs., hardcover, $36.

This informative book reminds us that the divide that has existed between Christians over the issues of war and militarism since World War II has usually been a theological one. I mean this in the sense that Christians with a more liberal theological outlook have generally disdained war and militarism even as their conservative Christian counterparts have generally supported these things. As a conservative Christian, I shake my head in amazement that so many of my brethren have been hoodwinked by the state to support its wars, its military, and its foreign policy, whether in the name of fighting communism or terrorism.

Settje is an associate professor of history at Concordia University Chicago. Faith and War: How Christians Debated the Cold and Vietnam Wars (hereafter Faith and War) is not his only book on this subject. His first foray was the more narrowly focused Lutherans and the Longest War: Adrift on a Sea of Doubt about the Cold and Vietnam Wars (2006).

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Categories : Book Reviews
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The great 20th century theologian J. Gresham Machen was not much a fan of the “National Park” system.

“A great system of National Parks has been built up. It might have been a beneficent thing if it meant that the natural beauty of the regions now embraced in the National Parks were to be preserved. But as a matter of fact it means nothing of the kind. During a period of over 30 years I used to go in the summers, with some interruptions, to Mt. Desert Island, Maine. When I first went there it was about the sweetest and most beautiful lake and mountain region that could possibly be imagined. It really seemed as though no human being would have the heart to destroy the delicate charm of those woods. But then came Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Lafayette (later Acadia), National Park, and all was changed. Huge roads now scar practically every mountainside and skirt the shores of practically every lake. The woods near the roads have been ruthlessly ‘cleaned up.’ The natural beauty of the region has been systematically destroyed. When I go into that National Park, with its dreary regularity and its officialdom, I almost feel as though I were in some kind of penal institution. I feel somewhat as I do when I am in Los Angeles or any of the other over-regulated cities of the West, where pedestrians meekly wait around on the street corners for non-existent traffic and cross the streets only at the sound of the prison gong. Certain it is at any rate that the best way to destroy true recreation is for government to go into the business of promoting it.”

From Education, Christianity, and the State, excerpt reprinted in “Men versus Machines,” The Freeman, Sept. 1992.

Thanks to Timothy Terrell and Doug Douma for the tip.

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