Archive for peace
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
"Were it not for the support offered by several tens of millions of evangelicals, militarism in this deeply and genuinely religious country becomes inconceivable." ~ Andrew Bacevich (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.).
This is one of the most sobering statements in Dr. Bacevich’s important book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Oxford, 2005). Whether you agree or disagree with evangelical support for militarism, the fact remains that the largest group of Americans that the government can count on to support the institution of the military, the empire of troops and bases that encircles the globe, large defense budgets, overseas military interventions, the perpetual war on terror, and now torture is evangelical Christians – and the more conservative the more bloodthirsty.
If there is any group that should oppose these things, it is conservative Christians who profess to be in subjection to the Bible. There is something gravely wrong with evangelical Christianity when socialists like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky get it right and conservative Christians get it wrong.
Christian warmongers are looking in the Bible, but they are looking in the wrong place. Everything in the Bible is written for us, but not to us. Although there are some exceptions, most Christian warmongers are Janus Christians.
Janus was the two-headed Roman god of gates and doors. With faces that looked in two different directions, he could see forward and backward at the same time. Because he was considered the god of beginnings, our first month, January, was named after him.
So, what do many evangelicals have in common with the Roman god Janus?
Tags: Bible, christian libertarianism, ethics, peace, theology, war, war on terror
(This is part six of a series liveblogging Tim Suttle’s book, Public Jesus. You can read the introduction to the series here, my post on the first chapter here, and a discussion on Suttle’s Introduction here. Each chapter will be liveblogged.)
Have you ever read a novel so captivating that you find yourself lost in another world? Watched a film so enthralling you were literally on the edge of your seat? Heard a sermon or lecture that challenges your way of thinking, not in a confrontational way, but in a way so refreshing you find yourself not caring that it just questioned everything you’ve previously believed? If you’ve tasted of this kind of “languaging”, you will have a sense of the Christian vocation.
Artisans of written word and the craftsmen of stories know intimately the power of language. Language can be a weapon or an instrument of peace. It can tear down or build up. It can unite and divide. It can reject and accept. We are communicators swimming in the ocean of language, yet many of us often fail to recognize how poorly we use our language in ways that honor God.
While we certainly have the power to shape our language, it is also true that language shapes us as well. Without getting too philosophical about it, a simple example will do. Libertarians often stop an argument between a conservative and a progressive by saying, “You both are framing the argument in the wrong way.” The key here is framing. (By the way, I’m not claiming libertarians don’t poorly frame arguments.) In the same way our simple debates are shaped by the words we use, language itself is so deeply rooted that it affects our world view.
As citizens of the Kingdom of God, followers of Christ ought to be willing and able to do what Jesus did: use the power of language to describe a different vision of reality. When we do, Tim Suttle believes that “God just appears and happens in the moment and leaves us forever changed.” Most of us tend to ignore nuance and look at the world in binary: conservative/progressive, rich/poor, black/white, attractive/unattractive, and so on. But think about what Jesus did; he sided with the unclean, the outcasts, earning himself the title “friend of sinners.” Somehow, Jesus was able and eager to say “yes” to those on the “wrong” side. In doing so, he was able to communicate a vision more radical than a mere elimination of “them” (the bad ones). He came into the world to redeem it, to rescue it, to bring it new life.
Suttle’s chapter on “languaging” God could be condensed into this: “The Christian’s most sacred vocation when relating to another human being is to try to become the conduit through which that person comes into contact with the risen Savior. As we relate to one another, God can ‘happen’ to us over and over.” The whole point of the incarnation is that “God can happen to anyone, anytime, anyplace…” When we pay attention, we can be a part of that. But that’s the hard part, this paying attention business. Without being hostile, we often treat those unlike ourselves indifferently, being inattentive in an equally dehumanizing way. The first step to languaging God is to refuse to ignore the world around us.
There are two things we’re supposedly not to talk about in polite company: religion and politics. Why? It’s divisive, almost inherently so. Good dialogue about such topics takes time. Discussing controversial topics thoughtfully is an art, and takes patience. It takes little time to rouse the passions of the opinionated. It takes gracefulness and humility to dialogue meaningfully. This is why how we speak and how we listen is so important.
Instead of using our words to divide, we ought to use them to embrace. Do we frame discussions in such a way that tilts the conversation our way? Or do we use grace and humility to hear out the other person? When we look into helping those in need, are our words and actions showing them pity or love?
When we become artisans of a new way of speaking, we language God to our world in a way that honors God and respects our neighbor. In this way we bring peace while we preach peace, something both libertarians and Christians are passionately committed.
Tags: Jesus, Kingdom of God, language, peace, public jesus, Tim Suttle, vision
My good friend Jacob Huebert, author of Libertarianism Today and fellow writer at The Libertarian Standard, gave a superb talk this past weekend on libertarianism and war at the fourth annual Students for Liberty Austin Conference. (I had the pleasure of hosting him over the weekend.) In short, Jacob argues that a consistent position against all aggression implies that one must also oppose wars of all kinds. This is incredibly important for Christians, because we frequently have to deal with those in the church at large who still believe that wars, especially American-instigated wars, are justified whenever the State says so.
Perhaps my favorite talk at the conference this weekend was “Why Libertarianism is the Only Moral Choice” by Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education. In his presentation, Reed tells the story of great men and women who devoted their lives toward the promotion of liberty in the world, including great Christians like Thomas Carlson, William Wilberforce, and Fannie Crosby. It is eloquent and inspiring, and I hope you will take some time to listen intently.
Tags: Christianity, history, libertarianism, liberty, peace, slavery, war
Recapping the interesting and significant events of the past week.
This week, President Barack Obama told a crowd that if you have a business, “You didn’t build that.” Congratulations to “The Great Orator” for his greatest foot-in-mouth moment ever. LOL!
For more “You didn’t build that” meme pictures, check out DidntBuildThat.com.
By the way, I didn’t write this post either. Or even type that sentence. But moving on to other things I didn’t do…
On Friday just past midnight, a lone gunman killed twelve and injured 50+ more people in a movie theater premiering Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Obviously, this is terrible, but do not be deceived by the media telling us that we need stronger controls on guns because of this tragedy. The Luby’s Massacre in 1991 killed nearly twice as many people, and yet it was one of the survivors – Suzanna Hupp – who then pushed for the Texas State government to pass concealed carry legislation in response. We should know better than to give up our freedom to carry firearms for the supposed “security” that the State can provide – which is no security at all. If you think guns should be banned, why don’t you check this out.
The new website reviewing libertarian science fiction, Prometheus Unbound, continues their giveaway of Matthew Alexander’s book “Withur We” in exchange for your email address. What are you waiting for?!?!
Do you need to unlock yourself from the clock?
There is an unusual new movement out there called “Hebrew Roots” that teaches people that following the Torah is the proper way of being a Christian. That’s dangerous in and of itself, but they are strange in many other ways as well. I recently wrote a short essay about their theology of sin that has been posted publicly at the Joyfully Growing in Grace Facebook page. You can learn much more about the Hebrew Roots Movement at the Joyfully Growing in Grace website.
I love Amazon Prime – order something and it arrives at my front door two days later. Sometimes it is so fast that it’s scary. Check out this hilarious video about Amazon’s [fictitious] new service, Amazon Yesterday!
Have you been missing LCC for the past few weeks? Here are some things you may have missed…
- Libertarianism and Abortion
- News of the Week: Moral Frauds and Economic Prosperity
- Douglas Wilson tells Idaho to embrace Nullification
- Become a Knowledgeable Libertarian in 30 Days
- On Blessing the Troops
Tags: business, firearms, gun laws, gun rights, humor, News of the Week, Obama, peace, politicians, politics