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Edmund Opitz and the Chastening of Secular Libertarianism

Now available in CLR Volume 4: “Edmund Opitz and the Chastening of Secular Libertarianism” by Vic McCracken.

Abstract: Edmund Opitz (1914-2006) was a major figure in 20th-century Christian libertarianism who advanced libertarian ideals in the face of widespread dismissal and opposition from Christian leaders. Beyond his correspondence with Christian leaders, Opitz pursued more sympathetic exchanges with secular thinkers in the libertarian movement. The common purpose Opitz shared with secular libertarians, however, did not dissuade him from challenging his collaborators to reconsider the metaphysical basis for the libertarian message. Drawing from previously unpublished correspondence between Opitz and Ludwig von Mises, this paper explores Opitz’s own efforts to “chasten” his secular libertarian allies. Opitz was a Christian thinker uniquely positioned to critique both mainstream Christian collectivists, whom he faulted for eschewing the moral consequences of Christian faith, and secular libertarians, whom he challenged to embrace the metaphysical foundations essential to libertarian ethics.

Download the full paper here. See more from Volume 4 here.

Vic McCracken (Ph.D. Ethics and Society, Emory University) is Professor of Ethics and Theology at Abilene Christian University.

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