Christian Libertarians?

The Washington Post discovers a trend:

Christians from the left and the right are increasingly turning to libertarianism not because it is a “middle ground,” but because it is an entirely different way of thinking about government and power.

The core of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle: that the initiation of force against person and property is immoral, and it is in many respects a kind of political corollary to the Golden Rule. Thus, Christian libertarians think that government power should be limited, sound money and truly free markets should return, aggressive war must cease and civil liberties must be preserved. Despite objections raised by other Christians, many Christian libertarians have found a friend in Texas congressional representative, presidential candidate, and lifelong Christian Dr. Ron Paul, because he also believes in these important principles.

Libertarianism treats man’s sinful nature realistically. James Madison famously quipped that if men were angels no government would be necessary. Christian libertarians take this a step further, saying that it is precisely because men are not angels that government must have extraordinarily limited powers. God does not show favoritism nor does he give special privileges of position. Everyone is accountable to the moral law in the same way. When governments and politicians extend their power so that they can abridge people’s natural rights with impunity, they have crossed the line into immorality. Rep. Paul’s message is that the United States government has been far across this line for decades and the remedy is to follow the Constitution. The Founders created the boldest attempt in history to limit state power, yet presidents and congresses, both Republican and Democratic, have repeatedly refused to adhere to their own rules. True, lasting change can only be found in reducing the power of the federal government.

There’s another reason increasing numbers of young people are turning to libertarianism: they’re tired of feeling manipulated. We grew up in a country that was arbitrarily divided between artificially-constructed distinctions between “right” and “left.” For example, if you opposed abortion, you were almost certainly in favor of the death penalty. If you opposed the death penalty, it was almost guaranteed you supported abortion. And everyone on the right has been telling us for thirty years that Real Christians Only Vote Republican, which turns out in practice to mean that you can only be Christian by supporting the Republican platform of torture, war, and limitless surveillance. Politicians who have threescore wives and seven hundred concubines repeatedly win elections by running against the Evul Gay who is going to take over our country and abolish Christmas (this was Karl Rove’s strategy for winning eleven different swing states in the 2004 election). Young people are tired of sloganeering and selective morality, and they’re tired of the government being all up in their biznass. This is why the recent media barrage involving Ron Paul’s racist, homophobic newsletters hasn’t diminished his support among Iowans, or among liberal gays.

 

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