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New Year’s Resolutions for a Libertarian and a Christian

In March of 2006, the freedom movement lost one of its great advocates – Harry Browne. He was the Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate in both 1996 and 2000. He was also world-renowned as a writer and speaker; in fact, one of his most admirable qualities was his ability to communicate the libertarian message to people.

The following article is something Browne wrote a number of years ago – a “Libertarian Resolution” for the start of a New Year. I received this in my inbox from the Advocates for Self-Government, which, if you’ve been reading this blog since its recent inception, I mentioned as a very useful website for Christian libertarians. If you haven’t done so, you ought to subscribe to their newsletter…

A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions

by Harry Browne

1. I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.

2. I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.

3. I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society will satisfy those needs.

4. I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek — a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society — and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.

5. I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help. I don’t have to approve of their subsidies or policies — but if I don’t acknowledge their needs, I have no hope of helping them find a better way to solve their problems.

6. No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.

7. I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American. Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have. To speak only of America’s defects will make me a tiresome crank.

8. I resolve to focus on the ways America could be so much better with a very small government — not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.

9. I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.

10. I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner. I may be the first libertarian someone has encountered, and it’s important that he get a good first impression. No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.

11. I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?

12. I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins, no one changes his mind, and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.

13. I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer Americans. We, on the other hand, are offering to set people free — and so we can win simply by focusing on the better life our proposals will bring.

14. I resolve to be civil to my opponents and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.

I really like this piece because it reminds me how important it is to treat other people the way I want to be treated, something that any Christian could not help but agree with. I’ve had some interesting discussions with non-libertarians over my break already, and it is good for me to take a step back and think about what it is I am actually communicating.

So now we’ve had a libertarian New Year’s Resolution, so how about something specifically about our relationship with God? Here’s a short excerpt from GotQuestions.org that I liked:

A Christian’s New Year’s Resolutions

(1) Pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make;

(2) Pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you;

(3) Rely on God’s strength to help you;

(4) Find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you;

(5) Don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead allow them to motivate you further;

(6) Don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

May your 2009 be another wonderful year to live and to serve with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen!

LCI posts articles representing a broad range of views from authors who identify as both Christian and libertarian. Of course, not everyone will agree with every article, and not every article represents an official position from LCI. Please direct any inquiries regarding the specifics of the article to the author. 

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