I have often wondered why my liberal or progressive Christian friends who are also pacifists give nearly zero credibility to libertarianism, even though non-aggression is its foundational principle! Over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, Kevin Vallier wonders why many Christian pacifists are opposed to libertarianism. Here is his essential argument: “…if your Christian theological apparatus can generate so much hostility to the use of violence that Christian pacifism is theologically viable, then surely Christian libertarianism cannot be beyond the Christian pale.”
While the issue is unsettled amongst Evangelicals (as it is in some Christian traditions), pacifism is making a surge with the popularity of Neo-Anabaptist theology (Greg Boyd and Brian Zahnd are major proponents). This is a tremendous opportunity for libertarians to discuss with liberals or progressives how the non-aggression principle applies to individuals and institutions. The libertarian analysis of the state is particularly insightful because it identifies the state’s mechanism as founded in violence and conflict rather than cooperation and peace.