Let me start by saying that I really dislike politics. I have some ideas about the subject, but I don’t really like talking about it or promoting political agendas. The primary reason is that I don’t vest much hope in politics. Very few great things have been done by politicians, because politicians seemed to be people just like you and me; the often seem big, but for all their bigness they seem unable to do anything. Meanwhile it is left to the little people to move mountains by faith. I suppose that someday I will change my mind and fix my opinions to the bandwagon of a particular party or align myself with certain mainstream ideals, but for now, in my youth, I will continue my wilderness wanderings, wanting little to do with the promised land of the Republicans or the Egypt of the Democrats.
Curiously, however, over the past few months my interest has been spurred by a particular candidate. The slumber of my quiet rest in the realm of politics has been broken by a strange character and a man that I felt to be quite insane only four years ago. As I considered whether I could vote for him I decided that I must conquer the objections of the strongest of his opponents. The more I considered their objections, the more I realized that they carried little weight. The more I realized their weightlessness, the more I realized that, not just the candidate, but his entire scheme of thinking was a viable alternative to the approach that I had been raised in. So for a moment I will ask you to indulge me as I weigh some of the objections to Libertarianism from some of my Christian brothers.
1. Libertarianism supports gay marriage. Suppose your friend told you that he does not think you should buy a Ford. Would you then suppose that he must certainly want you to buy a Chevy? Similarly the objection to the Libertarian position makes no sense whatsoever. As I understand the Libertarian position, it considers a federal injunction via a Constitutional amendment allowing only for heterosexual marriage to be outside the scope and role of the federal government. In this I agree entirely. Allow me to suggest two considerations. First, if the federal government is given a precedent to say what sort of marriages are allowed when Christians are in the majority, who is to say that the government can’t begin promoting other sorts of marriages when the Christians are not in the majority? In other words, was it ever within the scope of the federal government to decide things like whether one should or shouldn’t pray in school or who can or can’t get married or whether or not we have the appropriate levels of healthcare. I think that many social conservatives happily overstretch the arm of government to suit their causes, but I also suppose that when the social liberals take control again, their laughter will be turned into mourning. Bear in mind that the same hand that can restrict marriage can also promote homosexuality or any other sort of lifestyle. It is a double-edged sword. A second consideration in regard to this matter is that few realize that the Libertarian message is essentially anti-federal. As I understand the Libertarian position (I am no expert), more allowance in these matters is given to the states. This opens up more interesting possibilities which fascinate me. Ultimately the Libertarian message is one that hands this issue back to local communities and churches to decide; therefore, instead of moralizing the nation, the Christian is left with the intolerable business of loving neighbors and shining out lights in the community and other such uncomfortable tasks. In this sense, the Libertarian position does more to allow the Christian equal footing with the secularist to deal with the issue of gay marriage. The Libertarian simply pushes it out of the federal agenda without supporting it or attacking it.
2. Libertarianism supports drugs. Once more the idea that allowing someone to make a decision is tantamount to supporting the wrong decision arises. This is as if God allowing Adam to decide whether or not to take the fruit in the garden somehow stands guilty for Adam’s poor decision. Drugs have consequences. So does alcohol, tobacco, food, pornography, racing, swimming, and so on. There are certain things that one can do to their body that can be judged as morally or pragmatically wrong. But is it the government’s role to tell you what you should or should not do to your body? While I certainly believe that it is the government’s role to tell me what I should or should not do to someone else’s body or property (hence laws against theft, violence, abortion, etc.), I do not believe that decisions about my own are within the purview or the prerogative of Constitutional law. We must bear in mind the same conundrum as before, namely that the same government that can restrict alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana can also tell me that I shouldn’t fast, or drink soda, or eat too much turkey on Thanksgiving. The double-edged sword surfaces once again. I could discuss the pragmatic effects of ending the war on drugs and the end of violence and border wars that would occur, but for now suffice it to say that the opposition to the war on drugs does not necessitate a capitulation to a druggie state (just as the end of Prohibition does not mean that everyone drinks, a fact I didn’t understand until I spent time in society). Permitting people to make decisions (what religion will I believe, what political opinions should I have, where should I work) has consequences, but restricting those decisions beyond the scope of natural law seems to me to result in even more dire consequences.
3. Libertarianism supports Iran over Israel. One final time we run up against our problem and once more we find the double-edged sword. But from the outset I must clarify that I wholeheartedly love Jewish people and have visited Israel and enjoy Jewish culture and their heritage, which brought me one of the things I love the most – my belief system. I do not suppose that the Libertarian feels any differently. My understanding of the position seems to clarify three matters. First, Libertarians are not anti-war. Libertarians believe that we may go to war, but that war must be declared after a formal debate and decision as is directed in the Constitution. When a Libertarian says that we ought not to be entangled in certain wars, what they mean is that we have entangled ourselves in foreign affairs in an un-Constitutional manner. Secondly, Libertarians oppose not only military aid to Israel, but to all countries. They do not see the role of the United States as the world’s bank or armory. Traditional politicians use the government in such a manner and this is why countries that we used to like have weapons of mass destruction, cool military tech, and all our old gear (i.e., Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., etc.). I don’t suppose that these favors have done much to support the nation of Israel. Finally, Libertarians oppose entangling the US government in foreign affairs in general. While this would allow Iran to continue their plotting within their own borders, it would also allow Israel to continue to do what it needs to do within her borders as well. In the mind of the Libertarian, the United States has no right to tell Israel how many settlements it wants to build or whether or not it should build another housing development in Jerusalem. The same government that can attack Iran at a whim (viz., without Constitutional authority) can place a chokehold around Israel (and currently does). The same government that can throw millions of dollars in military aid to Israel can throw tens of millions of dollars in aid to her Arab neighbors (and currently does). So once again, the Libertarian does not oppose Israel, but rather respects her and relates with her in a much better way than the current federal model does.
These key objections may not be answered to the liking of all of my readers and I wish them well in voting for the candidate they feel best represents them (it’s Constitutional, after all). But for those willing to take a journey outside the partisan bickering and the red and the blue, the road less traveled makes all the difference. Libertarianism has been a seed in the back of my mind for some time now. It is a seed that has been taking root, but has encountered several objections. It would not be fair for me to dismiss them outright, especially since some of my brothers and sisters have questioned whether these Libertarian ideals are in opposition to the Scriptures. Now that I have answered the objections to my own satisfaction I have moved into accept the position more fully. The position gives me the reasons for elements of what I have believed for so long. I’ve always believed in limited government, anti-federalist, Constitutional government. Now I know why. +1 for Ron Paul.