Libertarianism A Christian Heresy?
It is common knowledge that Christianity has been the predominant worldview for 2000 years in the west. Whether people like it or not you can see traces of its influence in every area of western life. It has influenced every paradigm and ideology that has been created in the west from philosophy to political ideology. Even its greatest critics have been influenced by it, such as Nietzsche and his idea of the Overman.
In this article, I’d like us to look at some of the strange similarities between libertarianism and early Christian thought. However, before we can do this you must understand what the Bible, mainly the apostle Paul, says about the relationship of Christians to the law. The apostle Paul in his writings sets forth the doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith, apart from keeping the laws of religion (Eph 2:8-10). Paul taught that when a person accepts Christ as the Messiah, they would be given the Spirit of God which would be equal to giving them a new internal moral compass to live by, resulting in them no longer needing the law of Moses or the religious law. In other words, in his thinking becoming a Christian would be similar to becoming a new person under a new constitution. This experience was so dynamic that Jesus spoke about it as a new birth (John 3:5). It was as though God would give a person a new heart or mind, on which the law was written. This new spirit would change people’s will from their own self will, to desiring to do God’s will and the power to do it. This is the reason why Paul could claim that Christians don’t live by the law, but by the Spirit. He could say that the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. He also could admonish Christians not to put themselves back under the law, but to live by the Spirit. Paul even went so far as to say that the law, or the Commandments, were abolished by the death of Christ (Eph 2:15-16).
It doesn’t take much thought to see the similarities between Christianity and the attitude that Libertarians have towards law. Their attitude is that the law is not sufficient because it does not change the person.
However, the problem with libertarianism in contrast to Christianity is not so much its teachings, as it is the raw material that it has to work with, i.e. people without the Spirit of God. The whole of Paul’s theology was based on the belief that believers had the Spirit of God that empowered them to will and to do God’s will. What the Libertarians have is nothing more than philosophical dogma which has no power to change the hearts and minds of people which is the real problem to begin with. In actuality, the Libertarian movement has enshrined their philosophy as another law similar to how the Jews and other religious people have done with the 10 Commandments and the Bible.
In this, libertarianism is very much like many philosophical and religious cults that believe if you get the right doctrinal system you can fix the world. However, many libertarians have no will to do the right thing or much less the will of God, though some strands of libertarianism lay more stress on the concept of responsibility than others, for the majority the emphasis is placed on liberty at the expense of responsibility.
Libertarianism also contains a millennial or utopian hope which reflects the belief of many early Christians. The difference is that early Christians believed that Jesus Christ would usher in the millennium or utopia with the second coming of Jesus Christ when he sets up God’s kingdom on earth. Libertarians, on the other hand, believe that humans can do it through embracing the Libertarian movement, mainly the free marked or by getting rid of all law and government, which also reflects the goal of communism as taught by Karl Marx. Marx believed that government or some form of the state was a temporary state of mankind as he moved towards a fulfilled communism utopia. Marx in his own right was a copycat of Christianity in his views of egalitarianism and the future utopia.
When considered in its historical and Christian context the Libertarian movement must be considered somewhat of a cult. Of course, some of the Libertarian’s dogma and attitudes are totally contrary to Christianity. As a movement that was crystallized in the French Revolution, they tend to hate authority of all kinds, which includes the hatred of God’s authority. If you remember, the slogan of the French Revolution was “no king, no God.” Though in recent years, the idea of God has pretty much been stripped from Libertarianism making it the most secular form of Western politics. In the past large numbers of Libertarians were non-believers and outspoken against God and religion. Even today you will find in the left-wing of the Libertarian movement, huge numbers of unbelievers and many Libertines that have rejected traditional morality in general.
Is Libertarianism compatible with Christianity? The answer is absolutely not. Libertarianism not only has its roots in Christianity but also in Liberalism and libertinism. In essence, it is nothing more than a hodgepodge of Christian doctrine and a radical form of Liberalism. To see the similarity between it and Liberalism all you have to do is put the word radical before the foundational concepts of Liberalism; radical individualism, radical egalitarianism, which would include radical democracy, which would border on mob rule. Its radical individualism has its source in Darwinism and the dogma of the survival of the fittest. Therefore, its dogmas favor the rich and the strong. I think it would be fair to say that American Libertarianism has been captured by the Koch brothers who control Reason Magazine and the Cato Foundation which in America are the leading mouthpieces for their brand of Libertarianism.