Archive for libertarianism
LCC author Doug Douma is now an admin on the Gordon H. Clark Foundation website. Dr. Clark (1902-1985) was a prominent Calvinist philosopher as well as a supporter of libertarian political theory. Doug’s goals for the site include transcribing and posting unpublished articles from Dr. Clark’s personal papers. Although Dr. Clark wrote primarily in the area of epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge) he also wrote on topics of political science.
Of likely interest to LCC readers is the most recently posted unpublished article of Dr. Clark’s entitled Perspective on Natural Law.
Speaking of the advantage of a Christian basis for natural rights, Dr. Clark writes: “The idea of natural rights is not the kind of concept which has legs of its own to stand on; as a deduction from religious premises it makes sense, otherwise not.” Whether or not one agrees with Clark’s conclusion, one must agree that it is challenging and interesting to consider. Dr. Clark continues:
“The Natural Law concept is more than a tool for lawyers. It is an indispensable concept for the proponent of liberty and limited government and, as liberty comes to seem more precious and popular disillusionment with political panaceas become more acute, we may expect to see increasing reliance on the Natural Law philosophy as an indispensable means for achieving a sounder society, one more in harmony with the eternal verities and the accumulated wisdom of the race.”
Doug is also currently engaged in researching and writing Dr. Clark’s biography. Doug also recently spoke about Gordon Clark at the first annual Christians For Liberty Conference, and we will be posting his talk here as soon as it is available. We can all be very proud of Doug’s fervor for original research in theology and liberty, and LCC will continue to provide updates regarding his progress periodically.
During debate, red herring statements are designed to distract hearers from better made arguments. Although irrelevant, red herrings appear so nearly germane to a topic that they are frequently accepted as evidence by all but the most discerning listener.
When discussing the death penalty, two “conservative” red herrings are frequently offered. If asked whether the death penalty should remain a sentencing option, individuals often assert that some crimes deserve the harshest penalty imaginable. Additionally, there are criminals who cannot be rehabilitated – prison will not instigate the behavior change for which it is designed. These statements can be accepted as true.
Furthermore, Christians acknowledge that God – the Creator of life – includes provisions for the death penalty in his revealed word. The Pentateuch commands the death penalty for murder (Numbers 35: 16), adultery (Leviticus 20: 10), blasphemy (Leviticus 24: 14) and numerous other crimes. Again, this assertion can be accepted as true.
Although these statements are factual, they remain red herrings. The capital punishment debate asks whether the state should be permitted to intentionally end life as a means of punishment. Responses which affirm that some crimes deserve death, that some criminals cannot be rehabilitated, and that the death penalty is included in the Bible appear compelling, but they evade the question. Read More→
Today, being the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, is election day. Aside from the fact that I don’t vote, and therefore couldn’t even vote for myself, there are a number of reasons why I could never be elected to office—any office: federal, state, or local.
Not in any particular order, here are twenty-five of them.
1. The war on drugs is a monstrous evil that has destroyed more lives than drugs themselves. It should be ended immediately. All drugs should immediately be legalized, not just marijuana. Everyone in prison solely on drug charges should be released immediately.
2. U.S. foreign policy is reckless, belligerent, and meddling, and has been for over 100 years. The United States should strictly adhere to the foreign policy of Thomas Jefferson: “Peace, commerce, honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
3. Since the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to have anything to do with education, there should be no federal student loans, Pell grants, Department of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, school breakfast or lunch programs, Head Start funding, math and science initiatives, etc. On the state level, there should be no public schools. Education should be a market service just like car repair and haircuts. However, since every state has a provision in its constitution for the operation of K-12 schools, they should have as much local control as possible.
LCC reader Will asks via email:
Is there a difference between Christian Libertarians and Libertarian Christians? I am more inclined to state my theology first and my philosophy second, but LCC puts the L first. Wikipedia has separate entries for both, so what’s the key distinction?
I think that telling people at my church that I am a "libertarian Christian" seems like I put my politics above scripture…So that’s why I put the "Christian" first…
Will, I have published a short blog post on this topic a few years back:
In short, one could argue the point both ways. I could say that CHRISTIAN should be the NOUN in the phrase because it’s more important than the adjective, therefore it should be “libertarian Christian.” Alternatively, I could say that I need to "put my Christianity first" and, thus, the label should be “Christian libertarian.”
No matter which way I choose to label, I am a Christian who believes that libertarianism is the most consistent expression of Christian political thought. Ordering of the words is secondary to what I truly believe. That is why you will see us talk of “libertarian Christians” and “Christian libertarians” here at LCC. We see them as one and the same, and we are not looking to set up who is “right” and who is “wrong” in that particular label scheme.
However, our opinion regarding “libertarian Christianity” and “Christian libertarianism” is a bit different – but we will save that for another post. Stay tuned later this week for more.
One of my great friends is Daniel Krawisz, who I first met at the University of Texas with Libertarian Longhorns. We were both graduate students, libertarian thinkers, and board gamers, so we quickly hit it off and have since traveled across the country together multiple times to attend libertarian conferences and to have a great time promoting the cause of liberty.
Daniel is a brilliant guy; he has earned graduate degrees in both physics and computer science and continually impresses me with his understanding of science and technology. But another area in which he has totally blown me away is his grasp of cryptography and bitcoin as a serious strategy against statism. He was instrumental in convincing me of the importance of bitcoin and the “crypto-anarchy” strategy, and today I want to encourage you to read his four-essay exposition on the subject. It may take some time to digest, but I promise you that the payoff is worth the effort. Here is a description and snippet from each essay to give you a flavor for what you will be reading at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute.