I’m not a biblical scholar and I don’t have a Theology degree, but I am a Catholic and I did 16 years in Catholic school, so I’ve heard my share of bible passages. I did not come to be a libertarian through faith. My path to liberty came through my own research in response to my frustrations with not being able to defend my former inconsistent Republican beliefs. Ever since my eyes were opened and I bought into the non aggression principle my life has changed. I see the world a different way and I’ve become a lot happier in the process. Now it is amazing to me how the message of the Bible (specifically the New Testament) and Libertarian philosophy match up perfectly. In this post, and every so often when I get the urge, I am going to point out the connections the readings have to libertarian thought.
I’ll start with the readings from September 7, 2014 (You can check them out here). The first reading is from Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Ezekiel says that if you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked will die for his guilt, but you will be held responsible for his death. However, if you warn the wicked and he still refuses to change his ways, he will still die for his guilt, but you will be saved. That is exactly why Rollo and I write this blog. Sure, we try to spread the message of liberty, but we also point out the egregious violations of human rights in society. Is mass murder okay just because it is labeled war? Is it okay to break into a private residence with guns, then tackle, tied up, and kidnap someone because they like to smoke a certain plant? It is fine to argue that smoking marijuana is not a good thing, but is that the appropriate response?
This is not exclusive to government agencies and that is why really attracts me to the movement, but the government is an easy target. We want all humans to be treated the same. If it is wrong for me to drag some one out of their home because they did not donate to my charity, why is it okay for the feds to do it? “Because it is the law” doesn’t seem like a good enough distinction when we would quite literally be doing the same exact thing. If I see an assault taking place, I think most people would say a reasonable response for both me or the cops would be to stop the assault.
The second reading was from Paul to the Romans. This is the golden rule. In the simplest way possible it sums up the entirety of libertarian philosophy, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Paul mentions the ten commandments from the Old Testament and explains that if you love your neighbor you follow the commandments. “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is fulfillment of the law”. If you agree with this, it is hard to agree with Madeleine Albright that it is okay to kill 500,000 children because you do not like one person in an arbitrary geographical area.
Lastly, the Gospel was from Matthew. I really suggest you read this one in its entirely, but I’ll quote a good chunk of it here. Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”
Wow. The first thing that sticks out to me is to treat him like a tax collector. That doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement of the IRS! But notice Jesus does not say, “If your brother sins against you, tie him up, lock him in a cage for several months where he could be a target for rape, and make sure it is impossible for him to get a job when you let him out.” I’m not saying that we don’t need to isolate real threats from society, but think about that. Why is it that the United States has more people in jail than any other country in the world? We’re number 2 if you look at incarceration rate per 100,000. Did the worst people in the world all move here or is it more likely that we’re locking up a lot of people who aren’t really a threat to anyone? You can decide that for yourself. Maybe you’ll agree with Jesus that it is better to solve problems between individuals by talking to each other. It is a little less violent that way and probably a lot more effective.