Libertarianism is a political philosophy that has been with us for a while. It is deceptively similar to conservatism, or even liberalism.
My understanding is that it holds one thing as morally superior to all other things, that the only good is non-interference. That is, “Live and let live.” In other words, the principle of non-interference.
This is a philosophy that is foreign to Christians. Jesus taught us to help those who don’t deserve help. The Good Samaritan is an allegory where we are taught by the Master to show love and take on the responsibility of care of other for ourselves.
Jesus also spent his time warning everyone of the error of their ways. He didn’t hold back his warning from the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Romans, the Jews, or Gentiles. All of them he encourage to receive himself a the Savior of the World, and to trust in him. He encouraged all of them to keep the Law of Moses, but to keep it in your heart as well as in deed. The two great commandments he summarized as loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Well, I love myself. I feed myself, I shelter myself, I clothe myself. And so as a Christian, I believe the Law of God says I should love others, feed others, clothe and shelter them. “Live and let live” is not part of my religion or belief system. In fact, it is a doctrine and teaching we find Cain muttering to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” It is, simply put, a doctrine of the devil, contrary to God’s law.
This is why I am not a libertarian from a philosophical and religion basis. There is a more practical reason why I am not a libertarian. First, some history.
Our country was founded as religious colonies by a religious country. The country we separated from had a state religion, and the king of that country was its head under God himself. The laws were all religious in nature. The freedoms we cherished before we separated from our mother country were all granted by God himself, according to our collective belief. We were a Christian country, in reality, and as far as I know, we never stopped being a Christian country. And not just any plain old Christian country, but a particular flavor of Christianity that isn’t hard to identify.
Thus, when we wrote, as a country, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”, we weren’t allowing any debate. We said, “These things are true, and they are so obviously true, we will accept no challenges to them from any grounds.” And what were those truths? That God, the Creator of the earth and mankind, gave us rights. And those rights allowed us the freedom to live, the freedom to do what we thought best, the freedom to pursue happiness (earlier versions had “property”.) Thus, our freedoms to life, our freedoms to liberty, our freedom to property were enshrined as inviolable. Not because we believed “Live and let live”, but because we believed God said so. Taking God out of the equation of our history, taking him out of the foundation that is the cornerstone of our country, is killing the country. It is one and the same. You take away the Creator, you take away the argument that we have rights He gave us that no one can dispute, then we lose those rights. The atheistic libertarian argument is thus not only historically inaccurate, our Founding Fathers would have found it contemptible and even dangerous.
Our country thus not only is formed by these Christian ideals, but in fact, depends on them. Our very existence as a country that resembles that country our ancestors gave us depend on us holding on to this tradition and religion and conveying it to immigrants and descendants.
Finally, I will argue from practicality. I will ignore history, ignore philosophy and religion, and rely on arguments that rely only on the materialistic view of the universe as everything being composed of matter and not form. The argument is rather simple.
Show me, praytell, where libertarianism has been implemented?
And, after giving me the example, show me what effect it has had on the people it governed?
The truth is the following.
One, libertarianism may have been tried, but it does not exist today anywhere. The philosophy “live and let live” has never been successful. See, what inevitably happens when a “free” people, or rather, a people with no government, exist, is evil people with evil intentions take over. They work and wheedle their way into power, and where there is no power to seize, they create it. Go through the history books, and you will see this is the case every time. Take any society that once approached the libertarian ideal, and tell me if it can maintain it so today. And tell me why not. The answer is really simple: Human nature.
This is the crux of my argument: Freedom does not work. Liberty is not an end unto itself. The result of unlimited freedom is captivity. Liberty does not beget liberty. It begets tyranny and slavery. Sure, you may bask in the sunlight of freedom for a season, but it will never last. I’m not talking about hundreds of years, I’m talking about tens of years, or even less. As in, during your lifetime. Right now.
Our Founding Fathers knew this, and so they rejected freedom as libertarians interpret it wholesale. They did not and never did intend for our people to be free in the way libertarians advocate. No, they instead demanded that the churches and religions do their duty and ensure that virtue, that is, self-constraint, reign supreme. Should the people be incapable of governing themselves, they warned, we will soon have someone to govern us against our wills. That is the message of history. Either we submit ourselves to our natures, and end up repressed, oppressed, and subjugated, or we submit ourselves to the Laws of God and embrace the freedom that only Christ can give when we do so.
Our constitution does not enshrine every liberty. None of our ancestors believed we had right to commit suicide or to commit adultery or homosexual acts. We know this because they wrote their laws. They wrote our laws to protect good and moral action, and forbid bad and immoral action. They knew that people needed government, they needed something to dictate what is right and wrong to those who refused to govern themselves, and they needed its fearful power to hurt those who would govern us as they govern themselves. The constitution was written in such a way that government could have more power, not less. It replaced the Articles of Confederation which were much more like what a libertarian advocates than what our Founding Fathers settled upon. The beauty of the constitution is that it limits government, yes, but the idea of limited government was not new. The beauty is how it limits government, how it ensures that it will fight itself rather than the people when the people’s God-given rights are at stake.
Yes, our country is sick. We are sick because we have all gone astray and worship false gods and embrace moralities that cannot give us happiness or peace. Among these are the false gods of the atheists and the corrupt morality of the libertarian. The way to restore health is not to kill the dying creature, but to bring back its life and vitality: a belief in a living God who loves his people and commands them to love him and each other, for their own good and not out of selfishness or vanity. We know we were once alive and vibrant, and now we are not, and so we should be returning to the principles that made us free, not inventing new ones.
“Oh, you are trying to impose your morality on us!” they shriek. What they don’t realize is that this is not the case. Instead, look deep inside yourself, and ask if your efforts to enshrine “live and let live” as the ultimate morality is not imposing your morality on me. See, I do not believe for one second that government force can coerce one to believe in God and worship him the way He intends. So I do not believe for one second that government should try. But you do believe that you can force people to “live and let live” if you were to get control of the government. Instead, you should be sending missionaries door-to-door to explain one-on-one why your moral system is superior to mine. It bothers you that your morality cannot inspire 18 and 19 year old kids to give up 2 years of their life in sharing it with others. Perhaps you should understand that is why your morality is dead and fruitless.
I appreciate what libertarians have done in helping to convince people in freedom in economic matters. But I am wholeheartedly in disagreement about what they are trying to do in moral matters. That is why we don’t get along. We never will. Our beliefs are fundamentally opposed to each other. You will let your neighbor’s house burn down. I will put it out. Even if they don’t know their house is on fire.