Archive for philosophy

voting_emma_goldmanToday, 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.

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Introducing Christians for Liberty Conference speaker Dr. Mark Cherry! We are thrilled to have Mark address attendees about issues of bioethics and government.

Mark J. Cherry is the Dr. Patricia A. Hayes Professor in Applied Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Houston and his doctorate degree in philosophy from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

His research compasses ethics and bioethics, together with social and political philosophy. He is Editor of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (Oxford University Press), Associate Senior Editor of Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press), and Editor-in-Chief of HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum (Springer); he is Co-editor of the book series The Annals of Bioethics (Routledge) and Editor of the book series Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture (Springer).

Professor Cherry lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Mollie and their three sons, Jacob, Thaddeus, and Matthias.

See a complete list of his writings on ethics, philosophy and more here.

Check out Mark’s website and sign up for the Christians for Liberty Conference today!

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Dec
04

Erasmus on the Just War

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“The most just of wars brings with it a train of evils—if indeed any war can really be called just.” ~ Erasmus

In the first of my articles on Erasmus (“Erasmus on the Evils of War”), I wrote a brief introduction to Erasmus and his works on war and peace that should be read to better understand what Erasmus has to say here about the just war.

The concept of just war theory has been resurrected with abandon since Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. It has even been used to justify those wars. The views of Erasmus on the just war are much more restrictive and much less liable to abuse. Even a war waged ostensibly to protect the innocent is unjust because it is the innocent that most heavily suffer the scourge of war. Read More→

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Two weeks have passed since I traveled to Virginia to debate at Patrick Henry College. I think it is about time to give you an account of what happened!

First, the back-story… I was contacted a few months ago by Chris at Patrick Henry College. Chris was the President of the Wilberforce Society at PHC. He had read a few of my essays on LCC about government and marriage, and felt that I would be a good candidate for a debate to be held at PHC between a libertarian and a conservative regarding government regulation of marriage. I was a bit skeptical at first; I even wondered if I was being “set up” for a takedown. Indeed, why select me of all people? I am not a big name guy, I do not have a huge reputation. But Chris was immensely kind, well-spoken, and transparent about everything. He said that they specifically wanted me because I do not adhere to the perfect “party line” of promoting state-regulated gay marriage, but rather challenge the entire institution of the government itself and its power to regulate marriage. He said that this was the conversation he found most compelling and wanted to bring me in to talk about it.

At that point, I tentatively accepted but we had some issues nailing down a date – and things just continued to get crazier for both of us. Thankfully, we were able to come to an agreement and we set everything in motion. My debate opponent was to be Dr. Allan Carlson of the Howard Center For Family, Religion, and Society. Thus, on November 16th, I took an early flight to Washington, D.C. Besides the ritual groping I always seem to earn at the airport, it was a nice flight. Chris and I had lunch together and discussed politics, education, and our mutual faith. In fact, he was so excited about the event that he could not help but interrogate me about what I was intending to say in the debate. So, I had a warm-up Q&A session before the main show.

The debate was a fairly standard format – but since this was my first time doing a serious formal debate, nothing was standard for me and it shows! The resolution for the debate read, “Resolved: That the government should define marriage as between one man and one woman.” Dr. Carlson and I were both given 15 minutes for an opening statement with him (the affirmative) starting, followed by rebuttals of 5 and 6 minutes for each of us, and Dr. Carlson receiving an opportunity for a counter-rebuttal of 1 minute. Then, we were to have a 30 minute Q&A from the audience.

My remarks were centered around three central points:

  1. Government definition of marriage is unnecessary. This is my “historical” point. Marriage did quite well for millennia without any government help or definition.
  2. Federal Government definition of marriage, in particular, is unconstitutional. This is my “Appeal to the American in You” point. Constitutional conservatives, on their own terms, do not have the grounds for demanding the Federal Government step in and define marriage.
  3. The power to define marriage is a power that no government should have. This is my “ethical” point. A government powerful enough to define things the way you like is also powerful enough to take all your definitions away. Moreover, it becomes precedent for all kinds of terrible positive law.

Following these points, I presented a positive case for what the Church in particular can do to support marriage and fundamental liberty without appealing to the government to take action at all.

The video, shown below, is 75 minutes long, so if you want to watch everything at once be sure to set aside a bit of time for it! I will warn you ahead of time that I did have some rough spots, but overall I think it was a good learning experience for all.



Video streaming by Ustream

(Permanent link to the Ustream page, in case the embedding doesn’t work at some point.)

A few post-mortem thoughts…

I probably researched what Dr. Carlson has written on marriage more than he did of my own writings. I basically outflanked him with his own material. I felt that his rebuttal was fairly weak and did not truly answer some of my fundamental objections to the conservative position. Despite some of my own foul-ups in my discussion, I thought the Q&A was pretty spectacular, albeit I really need to become better versed in common law traditions so I can talk more intelligently on specifics!

In the end, it was clear that Dr. Carlson had much trust in government power, and, on the other hand, I had absolutely zero trust in it. Let the conservatives and libertarians take heed. I like Dr. Carlson and have a lot of respect for his work, but I do believe he has too much faith in government.

One last thing you do not see in the video is the “afterward” of the debate. At the conclusion, I had a large number of students immediately come to the front desiring to continue the conversation. I spent over an hour and a half talking with students about libertarianism, theology, marriage, culture, and policy. From what I could tell, Dr. Carlson did not quite garner the same kind of after-debate audience. It somewhat reminded me of the end of the second Keynes-Hayek Rap Video, and certainly suggests that the intellectual tide of these young people is turning toward liberty. Or, at the very least, they are very curious!

So what did you think? Let me know in the comments.
<br /><a href=”http://www.ustream.tv/” style=”padding: 2px 0px 4px; width: 400px; background: #ffffff; display: block; color: #000000; font-weight: normal; font-size: 10px; text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;” target=”_blank”>Video streaming by Ustream</a>

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“I simply admit that I have written some rather distasteful things for the purpose of frightening Christians away from the insanity of war, for I observed that the largest part of the evils of the Christian community take their origin from the wars which we have seen for all too many years.” ~ Erasmus

In the first of my articles on Erasmus (“Erasmus on the Evils of War”), I wrote a brief introduction to Erasmus and his works on war and peace that should be read to better understand what Erasmus has to say here about Christianity and war.

Erasmus had much to say regarding Christianity and war. This is especially relevant today considering the level of Christian support for the U.S. government’s wars and military interventions.

In his The Education of a Christian Prince, Erasmus condemns Christian war fever: Read More→

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Who is behind LCC?

Norman Horn is the creator and primary writer for LCC. Learn a little bit about him in the About Page. You can write him a note or ask a question at the Contact Page. Follow him on Twitter.