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Apr
19

Militarism and Easter

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On this Good Friday, Christians are focused on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a propitiation for the sins of the world. But on every other day of the year (expect perhaps Christmas), many Christians are focused on some other people in the Bible.

The Bible on several occasions likens a Christian to a soldier (Philippians 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:3, Philemon 2). As soldiers, Christians are admonished to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). The Apostle Paul, who himself said: “I have fought a good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7), told a young minister to “war a good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). Read More→

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Two articles came to my attention today that are well worth reading. The first comes from Judge Andrew Napolitano as an Easter reflection called Hope for the Dead. He suggests an intimate connection between the ideal of freedom and rising from the dead:

“When the government takes away our free will, the government steals a gift from God; it violates the natural law; it prevents us from having and utilizing the means to the truth. The moral ability to exercise free will to seek the truth is a natural right that all humans possess, and the government may only morally interfere with the exercise of that right when one affirmatively has given it away by using fraud or force to interfere with the exercise of someone else’s natural rights.

We know from the events 2,000 years ago, which Christians commemorate and celebrate this week, that freedom is the essential means to discover and unite with the truth. And to Christians, the personification, the incarnation, the perfect manifestation of truth is Jesus.”

Read the full article by the Judge here.

The second is by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute and is entitled Jesus Lived in a Police State. He finds many similarities between how the Roman state acted around the time of Christ and how the US government behaves today:

“Just as police states have arisen throughout history, there have also been individuals or groups of individuals who have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Yet for all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.”

Read the full article here. Have any great articles you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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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.

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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).

Read More→

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