All libertarians seek the path of non-violence. Even those with anarchist leanings will concede the possibility that the State has a legitimate, albeit minor, role in society (we usually call them miniarchists). But Christian libertarians have a clearer path to follow: the Way of Peace. Not optional. It is, in fact, absolutely essential. If our kingdom is led by the Prince of Peace, how ought we to propose conflict resolution in a society where institutionalized violence is acceptable? I hope to write about this in a future article, but the Way of Christ as demonstrated in and by the Scriptures is a commitment to living and espousing an alternative way of imagining life as we know it—specifically in contrast to the empires of this world.
Life presents us with plenty of opportunities for improvement, whether in the form of problem-solving (repairing something) or life-enhancing (inventing something) activities. When it comes to solving problems, the way it is approached can be summed up in two possible phrases:
“Something ought to be done…”
“There’s gotta be a way to…”
At first glance it seems these two statements are similar enough to be nearly the same. But consider the contrast between the mind which says, “Something ought to be done about pollution,” and the mind that says, “There’s gotta be a way to address the problem of pollution.” It’s subtle, but the difference is in the attitude. The former is an assertion uttered based on the premise that somebody else (usually the State) ought to take care of the problem. The latter assertion is by somebody who will find a way to solve it without initiating force.
One is the way of violence. The other, the way of peace.
Without making too much of the contrast in these phrases, I believe it stands at the heart of competing worldviews, evidence that the world is full of both producers and looters (can anybody guess what book I’ve just finished?). Those who want somebody else to take care of it, and those who solve problems themselves. Those who wish to outsource their social responsibility with the legal apparatus (not inherently a bad thing), and those who take personal gratitude in shaping a positive social outcome.
Political solutions are often approached as if a single entity ought to take care of social problems. Libertarians are typically already against such assumptions, though some are still minarchists. Many Christians (even Christian libertarians) are minarchists. Whatever your position on the role of the State, consider it your highest responsiblity to yourself and to your fellow human beings to always cherish and pursue nonviolent solutions.