July 02, 2010

Libertarian by design

An Image of Limited Government

I have thought in a Libertarian fashion essentially all my life. I highly value personal freedom and recognize the great societal benefits to granting freedom to the people. Coercive behavior control has always struck me as wrong, especially when it happens within the church.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

When Martin Luther came to grips with the concept Paul described in Galatians 5:1—the freedom Christ purchased for us with his blood—he threw off the shackles of the medieval Roman church, got married, and began preaching the word of God to the people. Luther advised Christians to flaunt their freedom in the face of those who would seek to bind them outside of the mandates of scripture.

The difficult thing about freedom, at least for those who have a degree of authority in society (or in the church), is that you must trust the people to make the right decision or to own up to the consequences of a bad decision. You cannot simply tell them what they must do. You must allow them to decide for themselves.

This is the Libertarian paradigm. It is thoroughly Libertarian. It is thoroughly biblical. And it is thoroughly American. At least it was thoroughly American at the founding of our nation.

I am currently reading What It Means to be a Libertarian by Charles Murray (currently $12.82 at Amazon.com)—an outstanding explanation of Libertarian thought and philosophy. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in what Libertarianism is or for anyone who would like to gain an insight into the thinking of our founding fathers.

To whet your appetite for this outstanding book, the following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book—The Framework:

An Image of Limited Government

What is it, precisely, that libertarians have in mind when they speak of limited government? Privatized roads? Privatized police forces? A world in which every personal obligation has to be in the form of a written contract? A society of Ayn Rand characters?

A few do have this kind of world in mind. Libertarian visions of the ideal society are as various as socialist visions, and some of them are extreme. Most are not, however. The country has moved so far from its origins that it is hard for mainstream libertarians to get across how close our politics are to the politics of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Their vision of the role of government is essentially the role we see. The size and importance of the official Washington, D.C., they hoped would develop resembles the Washington, D.C., we have in mind. The rights of property and economic freedom that they upheld are the rights we uphold. Limited government is a traditional American concept, not a utopian one.

I encourage you to get a copy of this book and read it. Consider the current state of our nation and what it would mean to our nation were we to espouse a Libertarian point of view and institute a Libertarian form of government.

And in November—vote your conscience.


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