Blogger Elizabeth Stoker is attempting to convince her readers that libertarianism and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible. From the subsequent articles it appears as though this is a new hobby horse for her, and we welcome her questions. Libertarianism is often misunderstood by the Left and Right alike, and adding “Christian” as a familiar bedfellow throws a curve ball into the mix (though why a left-liberal like Stoker is complaining about who we’re in bed with is beyond me).
So while Stoker has written a few articles espousing her position, I think it’s a good idea to kindly respond. Two things strike me as important:
1. Stoker’s questions come from a leftist understanding of Christianity; that is, she is enamored with social justice and concerned for the poor. Christians who are at all interested in libertarianism tend to move from the more conservative wing of politics or religion into libertarianism, and so their questions rarely reflect this concern. It isn’t often that we engage with a social justice Christian. Her concerns need to be heard and responded to. I hope she’ll be pleasantly surprised with some of our responses. Minimally I hope she learns to understand that not every flavor of libertarianism is the same. Which brings me to the second point.
2. Like many others, Stoker’s perception of libertarianism has been shaped by a variety of influences that often do not reflect the majority of libertarianism’s viewpoints. She leaves out any possibility that there’s a Christian flavor to libertarianism. While she is fully justified in her choice to believe that the two are incompatible, she has picked certain interpretations of libertarianism that are incompatible with certain interpretations of Christianity.
I’m perfectly willing to rethink certain elements of my faith and political beliefs. There are also a few things I am unwilling to rethink. I’m sure the same goes for Stoker, but I hope the dialogue will be a fruitful endeavor in informing each other’s views for the better.