Archive for libertarianism
Tim Suttle doesn’t like to simplify the complex. While both of his books are relatively short, he navigates gracefully through a few tricky areas, avoiding many of the pitfalls of such a task. One would think that with a title like Public Jesus, his chapter on political life would end up looking more progressive than conservative or libertarian. Yet Suttle treats the issue of political life by looking at the nature of baptism and Christian citizenship.
Our heavenly citizenship began, says Suttle, ever since we renounced our citizenship in the kingdoms of this world by being baptized. Being raised with Christ is a new identity, an advanced citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.
But here’s the rub for Americans: being a citizen of an earthly country “makes many demands upon our lives that we rarely think about.” Suttle laments that American Christians all too easily conflate the Christian “we” with the American “we.” He then warns us of the dangers of political engagement because “our primary concern is not the advancement of a country, but the advancement of the Kingdom of God.” Then he uses a phrase that I find tremendously helpful if we but stop to reflect on their meaning. He says, “Participating in the organization of society is a sacred calling, part of our original vocation to have dominion, to fill the earth, subdue it, till it, keep it, and cause it to bear fruit. The call to organize our common life so we image God to all creation involves polity and organization” (italics mine). That phrase, “the organization of society,” was used deliberately. Suttle wants us to know that organizing society is sacred work, but he’s also careful to not say that the state or governments are in and of themselves sacred.
If this weren’t enough to make the libertarian in me smile, it gets even better: “Politicians and parties on both the right and the left operate upon the very same underlying assumption. They each believe that they should be running the world.” The question I wrote in the margin was, “What about a movement or party whose goal is to stop acting like it can run the world?”
Ultimately, Suttle argues, the Christian has to stop trying to fit on a political continuum of left-right or fundamentalism-secularism, but to begin identifying with Jesus. Because we are resident aliens whose citizenship is the Kingdom of God, identifying with Jesus will make us permanent outsiders to the world, for better or for worse. To identify with Jesus means to take up a mission to serve the world, and “we have to accomplish our mission without government-sanctioned power.”
While governments promise the security of freedom, justice, and peace with no way to deliver them, the way of Jesus will bring us all three through the mission of the church embodying the cross in community for the good of the world. That’s why we say that in the Kingdom of God, up is down and down is up.
Tags: conservativism, libertarianism, progressivism, public jesus, Tim Suttle
In between drug prohibition and drug freedom are two concepts that are often confused.
Drug prohibition is the criminalization of the production, distribution, and possession of drugs as currently exists in the United States on the federal level and in most of the 50 states. Drug freedom is the complete absence of federal and state laws and regulations concerning drugs because what a man wants to grow, sell, or smoke is his natural right.
Drug decriminalization is the elimination of criminal penalties for possessing drugs. Although it is still illegal to possess the drugs, violators are given a civil fine or referred to a drug-treatment program instead of being arrested and saddled for the rest of their lives with a criminal record. Drug legalization is the elimination of both criminal and civil penalties for drug possession.
In either case, it is not drugs in the absolute sense; the drug in question is always limited to marijuana. The decriminalization or legalization is also never absolute; in either case it always comes with a myriad of government regulations and restrictions.
Both concepts are sometimes wrongly identified with drug freedom, “wrongly” because they primarily focus on possession and only secondarily on production and distribution; moreover, because of the numerous regulations and restrictions that accompany them, they are actually closer to prohibition than to drug freedom.
Tags: drug freedom, drug war, drugs, ethics, government, health, libertarianism
Recapping interesting and significant news in the recent weeks…
In the past few weeks, we have encountered a new pope, a currency downfall in Cyprus, filibusters, and many other curious news bits. Here are some that you might have missed.
Tags: bitcoin, ethics, government, health care, libertarianism, technology, work, work ethic
Ronald Sider is a liberal. Paul Ryan is a conservative. But don’t let the labels fool you; they are more alike than you think.
Sider is the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, a think tank that promotes “peace with justice for the oppressed and marginalized throughout the world” by combining “biblical scholarship with astute policy analysis to further economic wholeness, support multilateral rather than unilateral U.S. foreign policy, promote racial and ecological justice, and generally try to make the world a better place.” Sider, who is the professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, the seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania, is the author of more than 20 books, including Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (InterVarsity Press, 1977), named as one of the 100 most influential books in religion in the 20th century.
Ryan is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin. First elected to Congress in 1998, he is now the chairman of the House Budget Committee. He was also the 2012 Republican Party nominee for vice president. According to the Washington Post, Ryan voted with the majority of his party 93 percent of the time in the 112th Congress. The American Conservative Union gives him a conservative rating of 84 percent for 2012 (the GOP average was 83.94%), and gives him a lifetime rating of 91.14 percent.
Although it might seem as though Sider and Ryan are poles apart politically, both fully support the welfare state. And their support of the welfare state is typical of liberals and conservatives in general. But before looking at some recent criticisms and comments they made about it, we must first look at the welfare state itself.
Tags: economics, libertarianism, statism, welfare state
At The Libertarian Standard, Anthony Gregory writes an incredible essay commemorating (or in shame of, alternatively) the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War. The piece covers libertarian perspectives on war that span decades of great writing by great libertarians.
The relationship between war and libertarianism has interested me since 9/11. In the aftermath of those terrorist attacks, I witnessed in grim fascination many libertarians make excuses for government in the realm of national security. The proper libertarian position on war has become a matter of controversy, although I believe it shouldn’t be. “War is the health of the state,” as Randolph Bourne said, as well as being “mass murder,” in the words of Murray Rothbard.
It behooves us as Christian libertarians to understand war precisely because it is an issue of life and death, hence why you see so much material on this site dedicated to peace. Many thanks to Anthony for giving us such a great resource. Read the rest of Anthony’s essay here.
Tags: ethics, iraq, libertarianism, peace, war