What kind of libertarian are you?

Christianity is  not the only belief system that divides itself up according to fine nuances of theology.  Virtually all religions do that.  And so do secular ideologies.  For example, the Wikipedia article on “Libertarianism” cites six varieties.  So if you are a libertarian, are you a libertarian conservative, a left-libertarian, a minarchist, an anarcho-capitalist, a geolibertarian, or (my favorite) a libertarian transhumanist?

Go here to see what each of those means: Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Eric Brown

    I would be somewhere between a States’ Rights Minarchist and a Libertarian-conservative.

  • Eric Brown

    I would be somewhere between a States’ Rights Minarchist and a Libertarian-conservative.

  • Winston Smith

    I am going to call myself a Christian libertarian.

    A Christian must be a Christian first and a follower of any political philosophy second. The Christian libertarian must adhere to the law of God first and foremost, and not mistake libertarianism for libertinism. The Christian libertarian also believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than political freedom, as the only true hope of mankind, and understands that the Gospel itself provides a kind of freedom (“where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Cor. 3:17) — the ultimate freedom from sin, death and hell.

    The Christian libertarian also understands the Calvinist notion that because of the total depravity of man, man must be held in check, by law and by his own conscience. A system of checks and balances that restrains both the governed and those who would govern them, allowing no one person or group to have too much power, is essential to restraining evil.

    Where exactly one draws the lines is a subject for debate, but I believe strongly in the Tenth Amendment and federalism (which, ironically, means less of the federal government).

  • Winston Smith

    I am going to call myself a Christian libertarian.

    A Christian must be a Christian first and a follower of any political philosophy second. The Christian libertarian must adhere to the law of God first and foremost, and not mistake libertarianism for libertinism. The Christian libertarian also believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than political freedom, as the only true hope of mankind, and understands that the Gospel itself provides a kind of freedom (“where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Cor. 3:17) — the ultimate freedom from sin, death and hell.

    The Christian libertarian also understands the Calvinist notion that because of the total depravity of man, man must be held in check, by law and by his own conscience. A system of checks and balances that restrains both the governed and those who would govern them, allowing no one person or group to have too much power, is essential to restraining evil.

    Where exactly one draws the lines is a subject for debate, but I believe strongly in the Tenth Amendment and federalism (which, ironically, means less of the federal government).

  • Steven Peterson

    I’ll second Winston, but place myself on a secular scale as being a conservative subsidariast minarchist moving ever closer to being an anarcho-capitalist. I’m throwing in the subsidiarist moniker as I don’t really hold much to nation-states and centralization and believe that power should devolve as close to the local community as possible according to the principle of subsidiarity, which is generally about 99% of every government function. I could be willing to go for a Holy American Empire though, if modeled on the Holy Roman empire circa 1500.

  • Steven Peterson

    I’ll second Winston, but place myself on a secular scale as being a conservative subsidariast minarchist moving ever closer to being an anarcho-capitalist. I’m throwing in the subsidiarist moniker as I don’t really hold much to nation-states and centralization and believe that power should devolve as close to the local community as possible according to the principle of subsidiarity, which is generally about 99% of every government function. I could be willing to go for a Holy American Empire though, if modeled on the Holy Roman empire circa 1500.

  • Carl Vehse

    There are really only two varieties of libertarians: libertarians and pseudo-libertarians. I’m a Lutheran; thus I cannot be a libertarian. (BTW, there are also pseudo-Lutherans.)

  • Carl Vehse

    There are really only two varieties of libertarians: libertarians and pseudo-libertarians. I’m a Lutheran; thus I cannot be a libertarian. (BTW, there are also pseudo-Lutherans.)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I guess I could be described as a Ron Paul type libertarian. I want small government, I support abolishing abortion, I want my guns, and I want the departments of education, homeland security, HUD, and labor dismantled. My big difference is I support a large, well equipped military. And contrary to certain statements a Lutheran can be a Libertarian. It isn’t mandated that Lutherans be Republican. That’s only a bapticostal mandate.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I guess I could be described as a Ron Paul type libertarian. I want small government, I support abolishing abortion, I want my guns, and I want the departments of education, homeland security, HUD, and labor dismantled. My big difference is I support a large, well equipped military. And contrary to certain statements a Lutheran can be a Libertarian. It isn’t mandated that Lutherans be Republican. That’s only a bapticostal mandate.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @2
    “The Christian libertarian also understands the Calvinist notion that because of the total depravity of man, man must be held in check, by law and by his own conscience”

    Calvinist? John Calvin, that upstart! Try Bondage of the Will, Baby!

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @2
    “The Christian libertarian also understands the Calvinist notion that because of the total depravity of man, man must be held in check, by law and by his own conscience”

    Calvinist? John Calvin, that upstart! Try Bondage of the Will, Baby!

  • Carl Vehse

    I guess I could be described as a banana libertarian, since I have a skin. My big differences are that my skin isn’t yellow and I don’t taste like a banana… oh, and I’m not a libertarian.

  • Carl Vehse

    I guess I could be described as a banana libertarian, since I have a skin. My big differences are that my skin isn’t yellow and I don’t taste like a banana… oh, and I’m not a libertarian.

  • Winston Smith

    Dr. Luther @ 5: “I want small government … My big difference is I support a large, well equipped military.”

    That is probably a contradiction in terms. It’s very difficult to maintain a globe-straddling, ruinously expensive military with over 900 installations in some 100 countries, with the military-industrial complex necessary to support such an undertaking (and in turn be supported by tax dollars) and have small government. To support a monstrosity of that size (which the Founding Fathers would have called a standing army) you need a concept of the State as all-encompassing.

    At some point we crossed a line between Republic and Empire, from the State as a thing that serves the citizens to a thing to be supported (and worshipped and adored) by them. Was it when Lincoln conscripted northern boys to free the slaves, or when Teddy Roosevelt sent our battleships around the world as a way of shaking America’s big stick, or sometime during World Wars I and II? I don’t know, but I do know that the era of small government decreased as the size and power of the military increased.

  • Winston Smith

    Dr. Luther @ 5: “I want small government … My big difference is I support a large, well equipped military.”

    That is probably a contradiction in terms. It’s very difficult to maintain a globe-straddling, ruinously expensive military with over 900 installations in some 100 countries, with the military-industrial complex necessary to support such an undertaking (and in turn be supported by tax dollars) and have small government. To support a monstrosity of that size (which the Founding Fathers would have called a standing army) you need a concept of the State as all-encompassing.

    At some point we crossed a line between Republic and Empire, from the State as a thing that serves the citizens to a thing to be supported (and worshipped and adored) by them. Was it when Lincoln conscripted northern boys to free the slaves, or when Teddy Roosevelt sent our battleships around the world as a way of shaking America’s big stick, or sometime during World Wars I and II? I don’t know, but I do know that the era of small government decreased as the size and power of the military increased.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    DL21@6
    Right, or Luther “on Secular Authority” where he also makes the case for separation of Church and state.

    I used to think of myself as a libertarian. For the most part I support state rights, I like my guns, I think immigration could be made easier and that would solve more problems than making it harder, more or less I agree with the legalization of Drugs, even as I encourage people not to do them. But when it comes to foreign policy… Well In a dog eat dog world I would rather be the dog that eats than the dog eaten. Isolationism doesn’t work for me.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    DL21@6
    Right, or Luther “on Secular Authority” where he also makes the case for separation of Church and state.

    I used to think of myself as a libertarian. For the most part I support state rights, I like my guns, I think immigration could be made easier and that would solve more problems than making it harder, more or less I agree with the legalization of Drugs, even as I encourage people not to do them. But when it comes to foreign policy… Well In a dog eat dog world I would rather be the dog that eats than the dog eaten. Isolationism doesn’t work for me.

  • Louis

    Carl – it is not often that I agree with you, but here (#4) you are spot-on!

  • Louis

    Carl – it is not often that I agree with you, but here (#4) you are spot-on!

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @8 There is no contradiction. You don’t need a state as all encompassing. Correlation does not necessitate causation. You forget that during the great depression a time of fantastic expansion of Federal power the military was practically stripped of its funding, so we were woefully unprepared when Japan attacked Pearl.

    Remember it is the constitutional duty of the federal government to provide for the mutual defense of the states. The government doesn’t need to be huge to do that. There is a lot the Federal government is doing that it doesn’t need to be doing i.e. Board of Ed, welfare, etc.

    At the same time, which is more cost effective? Having a large enough military that everybody thinks twice about messing with you or being perceived as weak enough that we are forced into a war by those who think they have a chance of winning. BTW, I would like to point out that I am not a big fan of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @8 There is no contradiction. You don’t need a state as all encompassing. Correlation does not necessitate causation. You forget that during the great depression a time of fantastic expansion of Federal power the military was practically stripped of its funding, so we were woefully unprepared when Japan attacked Pearl.

    Remember it is the constitutional duty of the federal government to provide for the mutual defense of the states. The government doesn’t need to be huge to do that. There is a lot the Federal government is doing that it doesn’t need to be doing i.e. Board of Ed, welfare, etc.

    At the same time, which is more cost effective? Having a large enough military that everybody thinks twice about messing with you or being perceived as weak enough that we are forced into a war by those who think they have a chance of winning. BTW, I would like to point out that I am not a big fan of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Tom Hering

    The basic idea behind Libertarianism seems to be that people, if left alone by government, will naturally arrive at the best arrangements for society. Which seems to suppose that man is good by nature, or at least not too bad.

    I used to be a Libertarian, but I could never square Libertarianism with man’s sinful nature – which is all too often underestimated. Or the plain fact that God thought it necessary to institute governments that don’t leave people alone, but rather act as ministers of good to those who do good, and of wrath to those who do evil (with no stated limitation that this applies to just a few spheres of life).

  • Tom Hering

    The basic idea behind Libertarianism seems to be that people, if left alone by government, will naturally arrive at the best arrangements for society. Which seems to suppose that man is good by nature, or at least not too bad.

    I used to be a Libertarian, but I could never square Libertarianism with man’s sinful nature – which is all too often underestimated. Or the plain fact that God thought it necessary to institute governments that don’t leave people alone, but rather act as ministers of good to those who do good, and of wrath to those who do evil (with no stated limitation that this applies to just a few spheres of life).

  • DonS

    None of the proffered definitions really fits my philosophy except the broad one, an advocate of individual rights. Government has its place and role, but when it expands beyond the functions it is suited for and was created for, it performs very poorly. A notion that is always overlooked is that EVERYTHING the government does is by regulation/coercion, and thus necessarily diminishes someone’s individual freedom and choice. Therefore, we should never ask government to take on a new role or program without carefully considering this intrusive factor.

    At the federal level, my view is concentrated on reminding people that the federal government is only constitutionally authorized to do a few things. However, Winston @ 8, one of them is to provide for the national defense. So, while you are right that a more robust military will necessarily grow government, I disagree that this issue creates the contradiction. The overwhelming reason why we have a large government is because of the unauthorized things government is doing, and particularly the entitlement programs it is perpetuating. The government should never budget spending, save for a true national emergency, that it cannot pay for with current year revenues, just as every other entity must budget. In practice, this means that any social welfare programs that did pass constitutional muster (probably mostly at the state and local levels) should be formulated so that eligility criteria are re-fashioned every year in accordance with budgeted revenues for that year. Common sense, really.

  • DonS

    None of the proffered definitions really fits my philosophy except the broad one, an advocate of individual rights. Government has its place and role, but when it expands beyond the functions it is suited for and was created for, it performs very poorly. A notion that is always overlooked is that EVERYTHING the government does is by regulation/coercion, and thus necessarily diminishes someone’s individual freedom and choice. Therefore, we should never ask government to take on a new role or program without carefully considering this intrusive factor.

    At the federal level, my view is concentrated on reminding people that the federal government is only constitutionally authorized to do a few things. However, Winston @ 8, one of them is to provide for the national defense. So, while you are right that a more robust military will necessarily grow government, I disagree that this issue creates the contradiction. The overwhelming reason why we have a large government is because of the unauthorized things government is doing, and particularly the entitlement programs it is perpetuating. The government should never budget spending, save for a true national emergency, that it cannot pay for with current year revenues, just as every other entity must budget. In practice, this means that any social welfare programs that did pass constitutional muster (probably mostly at the state and local levels) should be formulated so that eligility criteria are re-fashioned every year in accordance with budgeted revenues for that year. Common sense, really.

  • Cincinnatus

    Winston@8: Exactly right.

  • Cincinnatus

    Winston@8: Exactly right.

  • kerner

    Tom: @12:

    Not exactly. Libertarianism does indeed assert that individuals, left substantially alone by government, will naturally arrive at the best arrangements for society. But this is not necessarily based on a belief in the goodness of human nature. Rather, it can be based on the proposition that a very small amount of power in the hands of a lot of individual sinful people causes less damage than a lot of power in the hands of a few highly organized sinful people.

    The maxim that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely is very consistant with an understanding of of man’s fallen nature, and since great power cortrupts greatly, it is reasonable to believe overly powerful governments will become overly corrupt very quickly. Whereas small amounts of power in the hands of all individuals will corrupt them only a little.

    We might also do well to remember that the government designed by God himself for Israel (the Judges) was remarkably decentralized for its time. It was the sinful people who rejected God’s diffused power structure who called out for a king, i.e. centralized power, because they were afraid and wanted a king to “protect them”. And we know how well that worked out. I never claim that the old testiment civil rules absolutely must be applied to the modern USA, but this is at least a good reason to consider the possibility that a centralized, highly powerful, government is not God’s immutable plan for government.

  • kerner

    Tom: @12:

    Not exactly. Libertarianism does indeed assert that individuals, left substantially alone by government, will naturally arrive at the best arrangements for society. But this is not necessarily based on a belief in the goodness of human nature. Rather, it can be based on the proposition that a very small amount of power in the hands of a lot of individual sinful people causes less damage than a lot of power in the hands of a few highly organized sinful people.

    The maxim that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely is very consistant with an understanding of of man’s fallen nature, and since great power cortrupts greatly, it is reasonable to believe overly powerful governments will become overly corrupt very quickly. Whereas small amounts of power in the hands of all individuals will corrupt them only a little.

    We might also do well to remember that the government designed by God himself for Israel (the Judges) was remarkably decentralized for its time. It was the sinful people who rejected God’s diffused power structure who called out for a king, i.e. centralized power, because they were afraid and wanted a king to “protect them”. And we know how well that worked out. I never claim that the old testiment civil rules absolutely must be applied to the modern USA, but this is at least a good reason to consider the possibility that a centralized, highly powerful, government is not God’s immutable plan for government.

  • kerner

    Winston@8 and Cincinnatus @14:

    We’ve been over this on another thread, so I think I understand your position. I don’t necessarily agree that growth in size and power of a nation in relation to other nations necessarily makes that nation an empire. How is a small republic supposed to preserve its independence from the real empires around it without increasing its strength and size relative to the threatening empires? Can it not maintain its republican (note the lower case “r”) characteristics while doing so.

    I suppose your answer may be, “given the track record of the USA, not very well”, and that answer would have a lot of truth in it.

  • kerner

    Winston@8 and Cincinnatus @14:

    We’ve been over this on another thread, so I think I understand your position. I don’t necessarily agree that growth in size and power of a nation in relation to other nations necessarily makes that nation an empire. How is a small republic supposed to preserve its independence from the real empires around it without increasing its strength and size relative to the threatening empires? Can it not maintain its republican (note the lower case “r”) characteristics while doing so.

    I suppose your answer may be, “given the track record of the USA, not very well”, and that answer would have a lot of truth in it.

  • Steven Peterson

    As a Lutheran and a libertarian, I hold that the two are not incompatible at all. If we hold to a Lutheran doctrine of two kingdoms, there is nothing in Luther that specifies the size or constitutive nature of the Left Hand – only that it should restrain the evil and protect the good. I would hold that those two functions operate best at the local level and not at some centralized, over-militarized, over-bureaucratized nation-state level.

    This outlook may seem naive, but I’m befuddled by those Lutherans who assert that to restrain evil a powerful government is necessary, but seem to be blithely unaware that these governments are also comprised of the same fallen men inclined toward evil that the government exists to restrain – as if somehow the cloak of government authority provides for the infallibility of fallible men and washes clean their actions and motives.

    Will evil still exist under an extremely limited libertarian civil structure? You bet it will. But I would rather have evil localized and dispersed rather than capable of commanding vast legions of armed bureaucrats “to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

  • Steven Peterson

    As a Lutheran and a libertarian, I hold that the two are not incompatible at all. If we hold to a Lutheran doctrine of two kingdoms, there is nothing in Luther that specifies the size or constitutive nature of the Left Hand – only that it should restrain the evil and protect the good. I would hold that those two functions operate best at the local level and not at some centralized, over-militarized, over-bureaucratized nation-state level.

    This outlook may seem naive, but I’m befuddled by those Lutherans who assert that to restrain evil a powerful government is necessary, but seem to be blithely unaware that these governments are also comprised of the same fallen men inclined toward evil that the government exists to restrain – as if somehow the cloak of government authority provides for the infallibility of fallible men and washes clean their actions and motives.

    Will evil still exist under an extremely limited libertarian civil structure? You bet it will. But I would rather have evil localized and dispersed rather than capable of commanding vast legions of armed bureaucrats “to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

  • Louis

    Steve, do not understimate the power of local government to oppress and other make life miserable. Also, you present a false dictomy: All -Powerfull central government vs soft local government. These aren’t the only options. The best governmentn, on a pragmatic level, seems to be a government with multiple spheres of what I call “critical tension”, or balancing powers, or something like that. That is why I like a constiutional Monarchy, with strong regional governments – sort of what Canda should be on paper, although I’d prefer a stronger position for the Monarch than what we currently have – you can blame that on Victoria’s retreat from the world after Albert’s death. But, as my either posts here indicate, I’m not a believer in any ideal system, too. We really need to get away from this thing that Christianity leads us to one specific form of government, whehter that be American libertarianism, Democracy, Tsarist Autocracy or whatever. Some are better than others, none are ideal. Heck, I can even make a good case for Feudalism!

    The best ones are the ones that consciously or unconsiously take into account man’s sinfullness. Hence my agreement with Carl.

  • Louis

    Steve, do not understimate the power of local government to oppress and other make life miserable. Also, you present a false dictomy: All -Powerfull central government vs soft local government. These aren’t the only options. The best governmentn, on a pragmatic level, seems to be a government with multiple spheres of what I call “critical tension”, or balancing powers, or something like that. That is why I like a constiutional Monarchy, with strong regional governments – sort of what Canda should be on paper, although I’d prefer a stronger position for the Monarch than what we currently have – you can blame that on Victoria’s retreat from the world after Albert’s death. But, as my either posts here indicate, I’m not a believer in any ideal system, too. We really need to get away from this thing that Christianity leads us to one specific form of government, whehter that be American libertarianism, Democracy, Tsarist Autocracy or whatever. Some are better than others, none are ideal. Heck, I can even make a good case for Feudalism!

    The best ones are the ones that consciously or unconsiously take into account man’s sinfullness. Hence my agreement with Carl.

  • ptl

    Two of the best things about local governments are 1) in theory, it should be easier to change since the players are closer to home and 2) in the event you cannot change, it is much easier to relocated to some other “local” area than it would be to move to another nation, eh? Of course, this doesn’t make it perfect, but it beats feeling powerless and insignificant as a “citizen” in a large, slow moving, impersonal state? But each to their own!

  • ptl

    Two of the best things about local governments are 1) in theory, it should be easier to change since the players are closer to home and 2) in the event you cannot change, it is much easier to relocated to some other “local” area than it would be to move to another nation, eh? Of course, this doesn’t make it perfect, but it beats feeling powerless and insignificant as a “citizen” in a large, slow moving, impersonal state? But each to their own!

  • Tom Hering

    “… the proposition that a very small amount of power in the hands of a lot of individual sinful people causes less damage than a lot of power in the hands of a few highly organized sinful people.” – kerner @ 15.

    I agree with Louis @ 18. There are always those few who are very good at accumulating power, locally. This results in something more oppressive than a faraway, centralized government – as questioning or opposing local power can directly affect your job, your prospects and your reputation. Even daily life in your neighborhood. There is no tyranny as bad as that of the local strong man.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the proposition that a very small amount of power in the hands of a lot of individual sinful people causes less damage than a lot of power in the hands of a few highly organized sinful people.” – kerner @ 15.

    I agree with Louis @ 18. There are always those few who are very good at accumulating power, locally. This results in something more oppressive than a faraway, centralized government – as questioning or opposing local power can directly affect your job, your prospects and your reputation. Even daily life in your neighborhood. There is no tyranny as bad as that of the local strong man.

  • Cincinnatus

    @20:

    One word: HOA’s.

    Which is really two words inexplicably abbreviated by three letters–no doubt a demonstration of the raw power wielded by HOA’s even over English naming conventions.

  • Cincinnatus

    @20:

    One word: HOA’s.

    Which is really two words inexplicably abbreviated by three letters–no doubt a demonstration of the raw power wielded by HOA’s even over English naming conventions.

  • kerner

    Tom @20:

    Right. Which is why we have checks and balances in our government. But it also supports the libertarian point that individuals should be left alone as much as possible by all governments, national and local. Also, that the individual, the person able to wield the least amount of power possible, should be the one entrusted with it whenever possible. And, the main role of government ought to be restraining individuals from misusing the little power they have by abusing their neighbors (i,e, punishing the evil doers). On a national scale, the government’s role also includes protecting citizens from external threats.

    Of course this is not anything like a perfect system, and individuals will continue to sin, against each other and themselves and God. But it is the “best” system only to the extent that it causes gives man’s sinful nature less opportunity to harm others.

  • kerner

    Tom @20:

    Right. Which is why we have checks and balances in our government. But it also supports the libertarian point that individuals should be left alone as much as possible by all governments, national and local. Also, that the individual, the person able to wield the least amount of power possible, should be the one entrusted with it whenever possible. And, the main role of government ought to be restraining individuals from misusing the little power they have by abusing their neighbors (i,e, punishing the evil doers). On a national scale, the government’s role also includes protecting citizens from external threats.

    Of course this is not anything like a perfect system, and individuals will continue to sin, against each other and themselves and God. But it is the “best” system only to the extent that it causes gives man’s sinful nature less opportunity to harm others.

  • ptl

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton

    Duh, there is nothing new under the sun, and no one is saying anything new about power in the hands of the wrong folks, whether at the local level or beyond. For gawd’s sake, it happens with dominant fathers in families, it happens with bullies at school, it happens in the workplace with a-hole bosses, etc. etc….

    The question is which one is easier to change and/or escape from and maybe more likely, across the board, minimize the abuse? Pick you poison….we will never rid the planet of abusive power players, so what system best works to minimize their effectiveness and opportunity to grab that power in the first place?

    Some people think the system of government originally started in the US offered just that kind of possibility…..not perfect, just the best one yet?

    But each to their own….at least we still get to choose our poison :)

  • ptl

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton

    Duh, there is nothing new under the sun, and no one is saying anything new about power in the hands of the wrong folks, whether at the local level or beyond. For gawd’s sake, it happens with dominant fathers in families, it happens with bullies at school, it happens in the workplace with a-hole bosses, etc. etc….

    The question is which one is easier to change and/or escape from and maybe more likely, across the board, minimize the abuse? Pick you poison….we will never rid the planet of abusive power players, so what system best works to minimize their effectiveness and opportunity to grab that power in the first place?

    Some people think the system of government originally started in the US offered just that kind of possibility…..not perfect, just the best one yet?

    But each to their own….at least we still get to choose our poison :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis said (@18), “Steve, do not understimate the power of local government to oppress and other make life miserable.” Indeed. Apparently libertarian fans, touting the freedom that comes from small, local governments, have never encountered a homeowners association.

    Oh wait, now I see that Cincinnatus beat me to this (@21). Well, consider this a slight expansion on his comment.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis said (@18), “Steve, do not understimate the power of local government to oppress and other make life miserable.” Indeed. Apparently libertarian fans, touting the freedom that comes from small, local governments, have never encountered a homeowners association.

    Oh wait, now I see that Cincinnatus beat me to this (@21). Well, consider this a slight expansion on his comment.

  • DonS

    To clarify, libertarians are also wary of local government power, for the reasons explained above. Any government, whether local or national, wields its power using a regulatory hammer. It’s the stick, not the carrot. Necessarily, any power granted to government will reduce individual freedom, so it is, naturally, opposed to the basic libertarian value of individual freedom. So, no one should lightly declare that “government should do something!”

    As for HOA’s, you voluntarily subject yourself to them by purchasing property in an HOA neighborhood. YOU sign the Deed of Trust, which is how the HOA gains jurisdiction over you. Unfortunately, when government regulates you, it is involuntary on your part. The advantage of local government regulation is that it is easier to move out from under it if you don’t like it.

  • DonS

    To clarify, libertarians are also wary of local government power, for the reasons explained above. Any government, whether local or national, wields its power using a regulatory hammer. It’s the stick, not the carrot. Necessarily, any power granted to government will reduce individual freedom, so it is, naturally, opposed to the basic libertarian value of individual freedom. So, no one should lightly declare that “government should do something!”

    As for HOA’s, you voluntarily subject yourself to them by purchasing property in an HOA neighborhood. YOU sign the Deed of Trust, which is how the HOA gains jurisdiction over you. Unfortunately, when government regulates you, it is involuntary on your part. The advantage of local government regulation is that it is easier to move out from under it if you don’t like it.

  • Cincinnatus

    No, the advantage of local government regulation is, according to localists, that it is more sensitive to actual local concerns and circumstances, and is proportionally more capable of responding to local needs in a timely, personal fashion. I think this is a fine vision, and one that holds much promise–and it is why I consider myself, at least in part, a localist of sorts.

    While it is theoretically true that it is easier to “move out from under” local as opposed to higher ranks of power, this isn’t a very comforting statement. I don’t want more power devolved upon local governments just so it’s easier to leave if the going gets tough. Indeed, arbitrary authority is arbitrary, inappropriate, and unjust no matter where it happens.

    Interestingly, HOAs have the sheer power they do (in many locations) because local governments are too lazy to take care of what they are responsible for doing. They are often more than happy to delegate statutory and other responsibilities (like trash collection, etc.) to unaccountable HOAs that can take care of such things for a “small fee” from member–and that are, conveniently enough, not subject to most of the checks on power and constitutional requirements placed upon legitimate local governing authorities. Neither the national nor the state constitutions guarantee a “republican form of government” for all those unfortunate enough to reside in the jurisdiction of a tyrannical HOA (as I have been in the past). Combine that with the fact that HOA neighborhoods are either the only available or the only desirable neighborhoods in some locations and you have a recipe for serious abuses of power.

    I suppose this is a bit off the subject of the original discussion, but I think the object lesson is that localization by itself is only one component in the preservation of liberty. We also require “parchment barriers” and formal, constitutional restraints on any level of power.

  • Cincinnatus

    No, the advantage of local government regulation is, according to localists, that it is more sensitive to actual local concerns and circumstances, and is proportionally more capable of responding to local needs in a timely, personal fashion. I think this is a fine vision, and one that holds much promise–and it is why I consider myself, at least in part, a localist of sorts.

    While it is theoretically true that it is easier to “move out from under” local as opposed to higher ranks of power, this isn’t a very comforting statement. I don’t want more power devolved upon local governments just so it’s easier to leave if the going gets tough. Indeed, arbitrary authority is arbitrary, inappropriate, and unjust no matter where it happens.

    Interestingly, HOAs have the sheer power they do (in many locations) because local governments are too lazy to take care of what they are responsible for doing. They are often more than happy to delegate statutory and other responsibilities (like trash collection, etc.) to unaccountable HOAs that can take care of such things for a “small fee” from member–and that are, conveniently enough, not subject to most of the checks on power and constitutional requirements placed upon legitimate local governing authorities. Neither the national nor the state constitutions guarantee a “republican form of government” for all those unfortunate enough to reside in the jurisdiction of a tyrannical HOA (as I have been in the past). Combine that with the fact that HOA neighborhoods are either the only available or the only desirable neighborhoods in some locations and you have a recipe for serious abuses of power.

    I suppose this is a bit off the subject of the original discussion, but I think the object lesson is that localization by itself is only one component in the preservation of liberty. We also require “parchment barriers” and formal, constitutional restraints on any level of power.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and I was responding to DonS@25 in my above comment…

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and I was responding to DonS@25 in my above comment…

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @18,21,24

    Let me see how did that line go? Oh yeah, “why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @18,21,24

    Let me see how did that line go? Oh yeah, “why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 26, 27: I don’t think we disagree. I should have said “an advantage”, rather than “the advantage”, because I concur that another advantage of local control is that it is easier to have an influence on local government. And being here in Orange County, CA, the headquarters of HOA’s, I well appreciate your point that sometimes they are hard to avoid, although they are rather tightly regulated here in CA.

    Again, my main point is that government, at any level, should be kept to an absolute minimum, and should certainly never exceed its constitutional authority. The idea that government is good and private enterprise is bad is an absurd canard. Yes, businesses are often bad, but so is government. But, while you can avoid dealing with bad businesses (with the exception of quasi-governmental utility companies), you have no choice but to be subject to bad government, short of moving out of its jurisdiction.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 26, 27: I don’t think we disagree. I should have said “an advantage”, rather than “the advantage”, because I concur that another advantage of local control is that it is easier to have an influence on local government. And being here in Orange County, CA, the headquarters of HOA’s, I well appreciate your point that sometimes they are hard to avoid, although they are rather tightly regulated here in CA.

    Again, my main point is that government, at any level, should be kept to an absolute minimum, and should certainly never exceed its constitutional authority. The idea that government is good and private enterprise is bad is an absurd canard. Yes, businesses are often bad, but so is government. But, while you can avoid dealing with bad businesses (with the exception of quasi-governmental utility companies), you have no choice but to be subject to bad government, short of moving out of its jurisdiction.

  • ptl

    How did HOA’s get started in the first place? My guess would be as a response to the unresponsiveness of local governments….but make that LARGE local governments like in Orange County. Here out in the west, we have counties that are bigger than many of the states back out in the east. And we don’t even get our own Senators, boo hoo! My other guess would be that the framers 200 plus years ago, may have never imagined local governments as large and powerful as in Orange County (not to pick on them, just an example) as they were trying to put together a form of government for a more agrarian type of society? Not an expert on this, as it’s easy to tell. In any case, in the kind of societies and big cities we live in and complex lifestyles, it may not be compatible with what the original framers had in mind anymore? Folks in the cities are used to much more regulation and restrictions than the lucky folks out in the country…perhaps a big brother government is inevitable?

  • ptl

    How did HOA’s get started in the first place? My guess would be as a response to the unresponsiveness of local governments….but make that LARGE local governments like in Orange County. Here out in the west, we have counties that are bigger than many of the states back out in the east. And we don’t even get our own Senators, boo hoo! My other guess would be that the framers 200 plus years ago, may have never imagined local governments as large and powerful as in Orange County (not to pick on them, just an example) as they were trying to put together a form of government for a more agrarian type of society? Not an expert on this, as it’s easy to tell. In any case, in the kind of societies and big cities we live in and complex lifestyles, it may not be compatible with what the original framers had in mind anymore? Folks in the cities are used to much more regulation and restrictions than the lucky folks out in the country…perhaps a big brother government is inevitable?

  • Porcell

    I am a classical economic liberal, social conservative, and a federalist except for national diplomacy and defense that needs to be strong and commensurate with the reality of being a great power.

    Libertarians for the most part are naively optimistic about the goodness of men and lack the Judeo-Christian wisdom that knows of inevitably fallen men. That’s why in the economic sphere reasonable regulation is necessary, though the present reality is that men in federal and state government have vastly overreached their power, resulting in an administrative state with monstrous authority that has reduced potentially free, virtuous, and noble men to littleness. Our forebears fought a revolution against an overbearing state; we ought to do the same. A free people doesn’t submit to two-thousand page “reforms” of health-care and finance.

    Americans emote moralistically about being libertarians of various sorts, though most of them lack the backbone of our forebears to do something about tyranny.

  • Porcell

    I am a classical economic liberal, social conservative, and a federalist except for national diplomacy and defense that needs to be strong and commensurate with the reality of being a great power.

    Libertarians for the most part are naively optimistic about the goodness of men and lack the Judeo-Christian wisdom that knows of inevitably fallen men. That’s why in the economic sphere reasonable regulation is necessary, though the present reality is that men in federal and state government have vastly overreached their power, resulting in an administrative state with monstrous authority that has reduced potentially free, virtuous, and noble men to littleness. Our forebears fought a revolution against an overbearing state; we ought to do the same. A free people doesn’t submit to two-thousand page “reforms” of health-care and finance.

    Americans emote moralistically about being libertarians of various sorts, though most of them lack the backbone of our forebears to do something about tyranny.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Others have expounded above about how some libertarians, at least, are not naive about human nature and have actually subscribed to libertarianism on account of its recognition of the limits of human nature.

    If you’re going to assail straw men, at least attack ones that haven’t already been dismissed.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Others have expounded above about how some libertarians, at least, are not naive about human nature and have actually subscribed to libertarianism on account of its recognition of the limits of human nature.

    If you’re going to assail straw men, at least attack ones that haven’t already been dismissed.

  • Cincinnatus

    i.e, some have turned to libertarianism precisely because it precludes a situation in which “men in federal and state government [can] vastly overreach their power, resulting in an administrative state with monstrous authority that has reduced potentially free, virtuous, and noble men to littleness.”

    I am not a libertarian myself, but commenters in this very thread have proven that not all libertarians are starry-eyed moonbats “emoting” about the paradise that would result if only we let men do whatever they wanted.

  • Cincinnatus

    i.e, some have turned to libertarianism precisely because it precludes a situation in which “men in federal and state government [can] vastly overreach their power, resulting in an administrative state with monstrous authority that has reduced potentially free, virtuous, and noble men to littleness.”

    I am not a libertarian myself, but commenters in this very thread have proven that not all libertarians are starry-eyed moonbats “emoting” about the paradise that would result if only we let men do whatever they wanted.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, few of the libertarians whom I have met “subscribe”to the limitations of human nature. Most of them have the fetching view that if we would only allow men to do their own thing, somehow the world would be better. This was essentially the view of the French Revolution thinkers and many other modernists going back to Machiavelli and Rousseau. The twentieth- century proved this to be disastrously fallacious. It’s, also, the view of paleoc-conservatives like Paul and Buchanan who are naive about world realities. The American peoplehave sensibly relegated them to small minority status.

    On the matters of abortion and homosexuality most “libertarians” advocate allowing the good folk to do their own thing. These are real people, not straw-men.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, few of the libertarians whom I have met “subscribe”to the limitations of human nature. Most of them have the fetching view that if we would only allow men to do their own thing, somehow the world would be better. This was essentially the view of the French Revolution thinkers and many other modernists going back to Machiavelli and Rousseau. The twentieth- century proved this to be disastrously fallacious. It’s, also, the view of paleoc-conservatives like Paul and Buchanan who are naive about world realities. The American peoplehave sensibly relegated them to small minority status.

    On the matters of abortion and homosexuality most “libertarians” advocate allowing the good folk to do their own thing. These are real people, not straw-men.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@34), “The American peoplehave sensibly relegated [libertarians] to small minority status.”

    Ha! This from the same guy who said, “Any people that could elect such an incompetent fool as Obama will in the long run deservedly fail.”

    The American people: sensible when they agree with Porcell. And doomed to fail when they don’t.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@34), “The American peoplehave sensibly relegated [libertarians] to small minority status.”

    Ha! This from the same guy who said, “Any people that could elect such an incompetent fool as Obama will in the long run deservedly fail.”

    The American people: sensible when they agree with Porcell. And doomed to fail when they don’t.

  • DonS

    Porcell’s comments @ 34 well exemplify why this discussion re definitions is pointless. In his mind, libertarians are libertines. Now, this is definitely true for some, particularly those enamored with the Libertarian Party. On the other hand, I suspect most people identifying themselves as having libertarian leanings, as I do, are just looking for a new default setting for government. What we want is a government that sees its function as providing or enabling essential government services (currency, national defense, court system, police and fire protection, functional transportation system, etc.) and protecting human liberties. In some cases, the government might need to be quite large to adequately provide these services. However, otherwise, the default should be to address societal problems in a way that maximizes this protection of human liberty, for all citizens, while minimizing the size and scope of government. Our current default, of course, is to address societal problems by growing government ever larger to include the provision of additional services, at the expense of human liberty and freedom.

    Now, sometimes, this philosophy will lead to negative consequences because of human behavior (e.g. drug consumption, leading to criminal behavior). But the remedy is to address the negative consequences, to the extent that those consequences impact the liberty of other citizens, not necessarily to create a nanny state to prevent countless underlying behaviors which you think might lead to the negative consequences. In other words, you don’t have to ban alcohol to address the problem of drunk driving. Instead, ban drunk driving. You don’t have to ban fatty foods to address the health problems related to obesity. Instead, get out of the business of health care so that government doesn’t have a direct financial interest in the health of its citizens and so that health insurers can address these problems by surcharging obese policy holders, or incentivizing weight loss with premium reductions. In the long run, change your mindset so that you will accept a certain level of negative consequences as the price of human liberty.

  • DonS

    Porcell’s comments @ 34 well exemplify why this discussion re definitions is pointless. In his mind, libertarians are libertines. Now, this is definitely true for some, particularly those enamored with the Libertarian Party. On the other hand, I suspect most people identifying themselves as having libertarian leanings, as I do, are just looking for a new default setting for government. What we want is a government that sees its function as providing or enabling essential government services (currency, national defense, court system, police and fire protection, functional transportation system, etc.) and protecting human liberties. In some cases, the government might need to be quite large to adequately provide these services. However, otherwise, the default should be to address societal problems in a way that maximizes this protection of human liberty, for all citizens, while minimizing the size and scope of government. Our current default, of course, is to address societal problems by growing government ever larger to include the provision of additional services, at the expense of human liberty and freedom.

    Now, sometimes, this philosophy will lead to negative consequences because of human behavior (e.g. drug consumption, leading to criminal behavior). But the remedy is to address the negative consequences, to the extent that those consequences impact the liberty of other citizens, not necessarily to create a nanny state to prevent countless underlying behaviors which you think might lead to the negative consequences. In other words, you don’t have to ban alcohol to address the problem of drunk driving. Instead, ban drunk driving. You don’t have to ban fatty foods to address the health problems related to obesity. Instead, get out of the business of health care so that government doesn’t have a direct financial interest in the health of its citizens and so that health insurers can address these problems by surcharging obese policy holders, or incentivizing weight loss with premium reductions. In the long run, change your mindset so that you will accept a certain level of negative consequences as the price of human liberty.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Did you bother reading the thread before commenting? Not that such is mandatory, but if you had, you would discover that apparently some libertarians amongst us advocate a libertarian paradigm because it limits the power within grasp of human governance. And since anecdotal evidence apparently proves many things for you (you once knew a Czech economist, few of the libertarians you’ve ever met, etc.), many of the libertarians I have known (including myself in my pubescent libertarian phase) called themselves such because they were highly skeptical of the benefits of bestowing power over their fellows upon flawed and corruptible humans.

    That’s not, of course, to say that there aren’t many libertarians who do reside in the fanciful dreamworld of the noble savage or the autonomous rational actor (or what have you), but you can’t simply smear libertarianism as a monolithic construct built upon a single fallacious understanding of human nature.

    In fact, I thought the entire point of this post was to dispel the notion that libertarianism is in any way monolithic. We did the same for conservatism yesterday–and who knows, maybe we’ll continue the exercise tomorrow with “liberalism.”

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Did you bother reading the thread before commenting? Not that such is mandatory, but if you had, you would discover that apparently some libertarians amongst us advocate a libertarian paradigm because it limits the power within grasp of human governance. And since anecdotal evidence apparently proves many things for you (you once knew a Czech economist, few of the libertarians you’ve ever met, etc.), many of the libertarians I have known (including myself in my pubescent libertarian phase) called themselves such because they were highly skeptical of the benefits of bestowing power over their fellows upon flawed and corruptible humans.

    That’s not, of course, to say that there aren’t many libertarians who do reside in the fanciful dreamworld of the noble savage or the autonomous rational actor (or what have you), but you can’t simply smear libertarianism as a monolithic construct built upon a single fallacious understanding of human nature.

    In fact, I thought the entire point of this post was to dispel the notion that libertarianism is in any way monolithic. We did the same for conservatism yesterday–and who knows, maybe we’ll continue the exercise tomorrow with “liberalism.”

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Anarcho-Capitalist. Fo-sho.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Anarcho-Capitalist. Fo-sho.

  • Porcell

    Actually, Todd, the American people, while undoubtedly deserving four years of Obama/Pelosi/Reid, are just now likely in the process of waking up.

    Cincinnatus, though I did read the Wiki delineation of libertarian viewpoints, I pay scant attention to the subtleties of them, or, for that matter, ordo-liberalism. My experience with both, no matter their rationalizations, is that it is much ado about little. One of the faults of our age is that people rationalize their positions with such abstractions as “min-archist”, “anarcho-capitalist, ” geo-libertarian”, and “ordo-liberalism.” While, often, people fall for this and engage in futile debate about it, it is rather better to stick to basic categories. Sorry to be such a cad about this.

  • Porcell

    Actually, Todd, the American people, while undoubtedly deserving four years of Obama/Pelosi/Reid, are just now likely in the process of waking up.

    Cincinnatus, though I did read the Wiki delineation of libertarian viewpoints, I pay scant attention to the subtleties of them, or, for that matter, ordo-liberalism. My experience with both, no matter their rationalizations, is that it is much ado about little. One of the faults of our age is that people rationalize their positions with such abstractions as “min-archist”, “anarcho-capitalist, ” geo-libertarian”, and “ordo-liberalism.” While, often, people fall for this and engage in futile debate about it, it is rather better to stick to basic categories. Sorry to be such a cad about this.

  • libertas

    Romans 13:
    “1Let every person(A) be subject to the governing authorities. For(B) there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you(C) will receive his approval, 4for(D) he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.”

    Apart from Christ, the US constitution is the highest governing authority in the USA. For this reason, I hold to a constitutional conservative liberatianism. Ultimately, all authority rests in Christ, so above all I seak Christendom in all spheres of life; family, church, goverment, and work. I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.

  • libertas

    Romans 13:
    “1Let every person(A) be subject to the governing authorities. For(B) there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you(C) will receive his approval, 4for(D) he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.”

    Apart from Christ, the US constitution is the highest governing authority in the USA. For this reason, I hold to a constitutional conservative liberatianism. Ultimately, all authority rests in Christ, so above all I seak Christendom in all spheres of life; family, church, goverment, and work. I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.” (@41)

    So, your chosen handle, “libertas” … is that just for irony’s sake, then?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.” (@41)

    So, your chosen handle, “libertas” … is that just for irony’s sake, then?

  • ptl

    Bob at 42….Christ’s law is love….boy, that should clear up everything, thanks for helping out there brother!

    tODD at 43…..what’s wrong with the views of libertas? seems to me that is what every so-called Christian would love to see. it doesn’t mean they would ram it down everyone’s tightly wound throat. it’s one thing to love to see something happen, it’s quite another to force it on others. am not sure libertas had that in mind, to be fair…..you know, trying to put the best construction on everything :)

  • ptl

    Bob at 42….Christ’s law is love….boy, that should clear up everything, thanks for helping out there brother!

    tODD at 43…..what’s wrong with the views of libertas? seems to me that is what every so-called Christian would love to see. it doesn’t mean they would ram it down everyone’s tightly wound throat. it’s one thing to love to see something happen, it’s quite another to force it on others. am not sure libertas had that in mind, to be fair…..you know, trying to put the best construction on everything :)

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Does that mean you’re advocating “willful ignorance” or “purposeful lack of nuance”? You are correct insofar as, ultimately, most things and concepts can be categorized very broadly. But doing so isn’t helpful in very many applications. Sure, most of the people commenting here or being commented about can be deemed “libertarians” very generically defined. But if we wish to dig a bit deeper, we find that that label isn’t terribly helpful. Many libertarians in America espouse a “classical liberal” paradigm of economics. Meanwhile, geolibertarians (I just learned this term!) believe that all property is held in common. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s a rather significant difference. In fact, I would have had no idea that there are libertarians who believe in the common ownership of property unless this label existed. These labels–minarchist, geolibertarian, etc.–are employed because they actually help us define concepts and legitimate permutations of a broader idea. As it happens, the political philosophies of everyone in the world can’t be crudely classed into one of (what is it today?) three (?) categories–or rather, they can, but at that point, the labels aren’t very useful.

    Of course, recognizing the validity of these labels admittedly makes it harder for you to dismiss entire categories of people with a single rhetorical flourish, but it’s a complicated world we live in, after all.

    /and I don’t see anyone using labels in an attempt merely to “rationalize” their beliefs, as if “deep down” they know they’re wrong but somehow a complicated label will save them…

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: Does that mean you’re advocating “willful ignorance” or “purposeful lack of nuance”? You are correct insofar as, ultimately, most things and concepts can be categorized very broadly. But doing so isn’t helpful in very many applications. Sure, most of the people commenting here or being commented about can be deemed “libertarians” very generically defined. But if we wish to dig a bit deeper, we find that that label isn’t terribly helpful. Many libertarians in America espouse a “classical liberal” paradigm of economics. Meanwhile, geolibertarians (I just learned this term!) believe that all property is held in common. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s a rather significant difference. In fact, I would have had no idea that there are libertarians who believe in the common ownership of property unless this label existed. These labels–minarchist, geolibertarian, etc.–are employed because they actually help us define concepts and legitimate permutations of a broader idea. As it happens, the political philosophies of everyone in the world can’t be crudely classed into one of (what is it today?) three (?) categories–or rather, they can, but at that point, the labels aren’t very useful.

    Of course, recognizing the validity of these labels admittedly makes it harder for you to dismiss entire categories of people with a single rhetorical flourish, but it’s a complicated world we live in, after all.

    /and I don’t see anyone using labels in an attempt merely to “rationalize” their beliefs, as if “deep down” they know they’re wrong but somehow a complicated label will save them…

  • Pete

    I’m disappointed at the poor turnout of Pogo Libertarians – “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • Pete

    I’m disappointed at the poor turnout of Pogo Libertarians – “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • libertas

    No I am not a theonomist. Rushdoony and Scary Gary are 2/3 brilliant and 1/3 insane. I will let you pick which part is which. I don’t think I am saying anything different that Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his Ethics pgs. 193-210

    or the google books version: pgs 55ff
    http://books.google.com/books?id=XLqkvQB5oO4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=dietrich+bonhoeffer+ethics&source=bl&ots=_dcNt9cvhD&sig=TcdDIRM3wzW_UncOfLqsyHFttB8&hl=en&ei=JwN3TKrfG4yinAfRtbH3AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    If there is a non-Lutheran theology I am tempted to, it is the Wilson, Jordan, Leithart federal vision decendents of Rushdoony.

    Thanks,

  • libertas

    No I am not a theonomist. Rushdoony and Scary Gary are 2/3 brilliant and 1/3 insane. I will let you pick which part is which. I don’t think I am saying anything different that Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his Ethics pgs. 193-210

    or the google books version: pgs 55ff
    http://books.google.com/books?id=XLqkvQB5oO4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=dietrich+bonhoeffer+ethics&source=bl&ots=_dcNt9cvhD&sig=TcdDIRM3wzW_UncOfLqsyHFttB8&hl=en&ei=JwN3TKrfG4yinAfRtbH3AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    If there is a non-Lutheran theology I am tempted to, it is the Wilson, Jordan, Leithart federal vision decendents of Rushdoony.

    Thanks,

  • Porcell

    Damn it, Pete, I’ll have to admit that I’m probably a Pogo-Libertarian. Just today, I was informed that a company investment that I thought was a sure bet went in the tank, and my wife reminded me of yet another fault.

  • Porcell

    Damn it, Pete, I’ll have to admit that I’m probably a Pogo-Libertarian. Just today, I was informed that a company investment that I thought was a sure bet went in the tank, and my wife reminded me of yet another fault.

  • libertas

    Now that I think of it……isn’t theonomist Gary North an austrian libertarian?

  • libertas

    Now that I think of it……isn’t theonomist Gary North an austrian libertarian?

  • libertas

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (bold emphais – libertas)

    The division of the total reality into the sacred and a profane sphere, a Christian and a secular sphere, creates the possibility of existence in a single one of those spheres, a spiritual existence which has no part in secular existence, and a secular existence which can claim autonomy for itself and can exercise this right of autonomy in its dealings with the spiritual sphere……….
    It may be difficult to break the spell of this thinking in terms of two spheres, but it is nevertheless quite certain that it is in profound contradiction to the thought of the Bible and to the thought of the Reformation, and that consequently it aims wide of reality. There are not tow realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world………..
    Just as Luther engaged in polemics on behalf of the secular authority against the extension of ecclesiastical power by the Roman Church, so, too, must there be a Christian or “spiritual” polemical reply to the secular element when there is a danger that this element may make itself independent, as was the case soon after the Reformation and especially in nineteenth-century German secularist Protestantism. In both of these polemical protests the process is the same: men’s attention is called to the divine and cosmic reality – Jesus Christ. Luther was protesting against a Christianity which was striving for independence and detaching itself from the reality in Christ. He protested with the help of the secular and in the name of a better Christianity. So, too, today, when Christianity is employed as a polemical weapon against the secular, this must be done in the name of a better secularity and above all it must not lead back to a static predominance of the spiritual sphere as an end in itself. It is only in this sense, as a polemical unity, that Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms is to be accepted, and it was no doubt in this sense that it was originally intended.

  • libertas

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (bold emphais – libertas)

    The division of the total reality into the sacred and a profane sphere, a Christian and a secular sphere, creates the possibility of existence in a single one of those spheres, a spiritual existence which has no part in secular existence, and a secular existence which can claim autonomy for itself and can exercise this right of autonomy in its dealings with the spiritual sphere……….
    It may be difficult to break the spell of this thinking in terms of two spheres, but it is nevertheless quite certain that it is in profound contradiction to the thought of the Bible and to the thought of the Reformation, and that consequently it aims wide of reality. There are not tow realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world………..
    Just as Luther engaged in polemics on behalf of the secular authority against the extension of ecclesiastical power by the Roman Church, so, too, must there be a Christian or “spiritual” polemical reply to the secular element when there is a danger that this element may make itself independent, as was the case soon after the Reformation and especially in nineteenth-century German secularist Protestantism. In both of these polemical protests the process is the same: men’s attention is called to the divine and cosmic reality – Jesus Christ. Luther was protesting against a Christianity which was striving for independence and detaching itself from the reality in Christ. He protested with the help of the secular and in the name of a better Christianity. So, too, today, when Christianity is employed as a polemical weapon against the secular, this must be done in the name of a better secularity and above all it must not lead back to a static predominance of the spiritual sphere as an end in itself. It is only in this sense, as a polemical unity, that Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms is to be accepted, and it was no doubt in this sense that it was originally intended.

  • Louis

    OK Libertas, if that is you view, than what about the significantly more than 5 billion of the rest of us that happen not to live in the ol’ US of A? What should our viewpoints be, since few, if any of us happen to live in “constitutional conservative libertarian” – tpye states?

  • Louis

    OK Libertas, if that is you view, than what about the significantly more than 5 billion of the rest of us that happen not to live in the ol’ US of A? What should our viewpoints be, since few, if any of us happen to live in “constitutional conservative libertarian” – tpye states?

  • ptl

    Louis at 51…..can’t answer for Libertas, but my suggestion is to try and work within your system to bring about the changes you desire. If you want it to look more like the US, then work to push your country in that direction….if you want it to look like something different, then go for that. Bottom line, the US didn’t get here overnite, and it didn’t happen without folks working hard….so you go for it and do it too. Is there really any other way?

  • ptl

    Louis at 51…..can’t answer for Libertas, but my suggestion is to try and work within your system to bring about the changes you desire. If you want it to look more like the US, then work to push your country in that direction….if you want it to look like something different, then go for that. Bottom line, the US didn’t get here overnite, and it didn’t happen without folks working hard….so you go for it and do it too. Is there really any other way?

  • libertas

    The USA isn’t much of a constitutional conservative paradise if you ask me. I see way to many guns pointed at my head. So my view would be the same in another country. Work within the system to reform it. According to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer reading I partially posted there are 4 spheres in life: family, work, church, state. Christ is head of all 4 spheres whether we recognize it or not. (I think we only receive his blessings when we recognize it)

  • libertas

    The USA isn’t much of a constitutional conservative paradise if you ask me. I see way to many guns pointed at my head. So my view would be the same in another country. Work within the system to reform it. According to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer reading I partially posted there are 4 spheres in life: family, work, church, state. Christ is head of all 4 spheres whether we recognize it or not. (I think we only receive his blessings when we recognize it)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Libertas (@50), let’s pretend for a moment that I don’t understand what Bonhoeffer is saying (whether from a lack of context or just generally not understanding Bonhoeffer). Back to your original statement (@41): “I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.” Can you explain your last clause in light of the fact that you also say (@47) you’re “not a theonomist”?

    Would this newly “shaped” Constitution still have a First Amendment, for instance? Because freedom of religion directly contradicts the First Commandment. Would divorce be outlawed? Because God hates it. Of course, he also allowed it in the Israeli theocracy he established. Would worship-service-attendance be mandatory?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Libertas (@50), let’s pretend for a moment that I don’t understand what Bonhoeffer is saying (whether from a lack of context or just generally not understanding Bonhoeffer). Back to your original statement (@41): “I would love to see the USA ruled by men who openly acknowlege Jesus’ rule, obey the US constitution and shape that constitution in obedience to Christ’s law.” Can you explain your last clause in light of the fact that you also say (@47) you’re “not a theonomist”?

    Would this newly “shaped” Constitution still have a First Amendment, for instance? Because freedom of religion directly contradicts the First Commandment. Would divorce be outlawed? Because God hates it. Of course, he also allowed it in the Israeli theocracy he established. Would worship-service-attendance be mandatory?

  • Brody Smith

    (toDD @54) I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment on divorce. Take….. Math 19:8 for example…”He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”

    Moses allowed divorce because the general moral (hardness of heart) of Israel’s society. I think that this is an important point. The more openly sinful a society is, the less effective law is going to be as a curb on sin (remember the 3 uses of the law). So yes, in a moral-Christian filled society I do think that sodomy, prostitution, divorce, adultery, and pornography could be outlawed. However, this could not be done today, due to our hardness of heart. It would do more harm than good. If we banned adultery/fornication in 20th century USA we would have to try and lock up 9/10th of our population. This is why I actually support decriminalizing drug use. The war on drugs (immoral though the drug use is) does more harm than good to our society due to our hardness of heart.

    That being said….I do think that God could bring about a more moral society in which many of the biblical laws would be useful for curbing the behavior in the few people who wanted to do it. Case by case basis.

    Clear as mud?

  • Brody Smith

    (toDD @54) I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment on divorce. Take….. Math 19:8 for example…”He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”

    Moses allowed divorce because the general moral (hardness of heart) of Israel’s society. I think that this is an important point. The more openly sinful a society is, the less effective law is going to be as a curb on sin (remember the 3 uses of the law). So yes, in a moral-Christian filled society I do think that sodomy, prostitution, divorce, adultery, and pornography could be outlawed. However, this could not be done today, due to our hardness of heart. It would do more harm than good. If we banned adultery/fornication in 20th century USA we would have to try and lock up 9/10th of our population. This is why I actually support decriminalizing drug use. The war on drugs (immoral though the drug use is) does more harm than good to our society due to our hardness of heart.

    That being said….I do think that God could bring about a more moral society in which many of the biblical laws would be useful for curbing the behavior in the few people who wanted to do it. Case by case basis.

    Clear as mud?

  • Brody Smith/libertas

    Brody Smith = libertas

  • Brody Smith/libertas

    Brody Smith = libertas

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Brody, whoa, I’m going to have to reread your comment in light of your revealed secret identity! I thought you (@55) were arguing against the earlier comment (@41) of, um, “libertas”.

    Now that I understand your position better, well, I still disagree. You’re arguing for a hypothetical future USA in which the people are less sinful, less hard-hearted, and better follow God’s will than did the Israelites. I have to ask: what makes you think it’s going to happen this time around? He delivered these people from Egypt, led them by fire and cloud, gave them the victories to take Israel, gave them their religious and civic laws, dwelt among them in the temple, and on and on.

    Didn’t matter. As Moses (and certainly not just Moses) noted, they were hard of heart. And how! You say you “think that God could bring about a more moral society”, but have you given any thought to why he didn’t bring about a more moral society, even among his chosen people!

    I have to ask, though I hope I don’t offend in doing so: are you Lutheran? I thought you were, with the Bonhoeffer quote, but you don’t sound very Lutheran.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Brody, whoa, I’m going to have to reread your comment in light of your revealed secret identity! I thought you (@55) were arguing against the earlier comment (@41) of, um, “libertas”.

    Now that I understand your position better, well, I still disagree. You’re arguing for a hypothetical future USA in which the people are less sinful, less hard-hearted, and better follow God’s will than did the Israelites. I have to ask: what makes you think it’s going to happen this time around? He delivered these people from Egypt, led them by fire and cloud, gave them the victories to take Israel, gave them their religious and civic laws, dwelt among them in the temple, and on and on.

    Didn’t matter. As Moses (and certainly not just Moses) noted, they were hard of heart. And how! You say you “think that God could bring about a more moral society”, but have you given any thought to why he didn’t bring about a more moral society, even among his chosen people!

    I have to ask, though I hope I don’t offend in doing so: are you Lutheran? I thought you were, with the Bonhoeffer quote, but you don’t sound very Lutheran.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Tom@12 said “Or the plain fact that God thought it necessary to institute governments that don’t leave people alone, but rather act as ministers of good to those who do good, and of wrath to those who do evil (with no stated limitation that this applies to just a few spheres of life).”

    I take this to probably refer to Romans 13. Now, the question is, does it really make sense to suggest that God waited until some point in the New Testament period to announce that He had instituted the state? More likely, St. Paul had some kind of prior institution of the state in mind. His reference to “the sword” suggests perhaps Genesis 9:6 as recast in Matthew 26:52. The “words of institution” for such a state are pretty specific as to function.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Tom@12 said “Or the plain fact that God thought it necessary to institute governments that don’t leave people alone, but rather act as ministers of good to those who do good, and of wrath to those who do evil (with no stated limitation that this applies to just a few spheres of life).”

    I take this to probably refer to Romans 13. Now, the question is, does it really make sense to suggest that God waited until some point in the New Testament period to announce that He had instituted the state? More likely, St. Paul had some kind of prior institution of the state in mind. His reference to “the sword” suggests perhaps Genesis 9:6 as recast in Matthew 26:52. The “words of institution” for such a state are pretty specific as to function.

  • libertas

    I guess it comes down to postmil vs. amil and I have not studied the issue enouph to make up my mind.

    Am I Lutheran? You tell me. I believe the following:
    1. Total depravity, universal sinfulness of mankind
    2. Universal objective justification and atonement.
    3. Subjective justification by grace alone (nonsynergistic)
    4. Objective means of grace….real presence..baptismal regeneration

    Since that list pretty much sums up every Lutheran sermon I have heard in my life…….

    Things I reject…..
    1. Walther’s proper distinction (Thesis VII)… Preach the law first and then the gospel. He goes on to say preach repentance first (law) then justification (gospel); justification first (gospel) then sanctification (law), absolution first (gospel) then good works (law). This is self contradictory and also contradicts his example of the pattern given in Romans which he uses to support his thesis.
    2. Walther’s proper distinction (Last Thesis)…..predominance of the Gospel in sermon….this is contradicted by his example of Romans as summary of Christian doctine back in thesis 7.
    3. I reject the notion that all the law does is acuse….yes is always accuses the old man within us, but that is not all it does. It guide, and the new man can and does delight in it.
    5.. I reject the superiority of the 14th century and 20th century lectionaries over a ‘lectio continua’ method of preaching.

    —I believe in the superiority of the historical liturgy over “church growth” (except preaching from the lectionary every time)
    —I love the theological and musical heritage of the Lutheran church.

    Things I am sceptical of but have not rejected.
    1. Closing communion to fellow belivers upon (heterodox) doctrinal line.
    2. Amillinialism

    You tell me…..is my pastor going to kick me out of communion for not being ortho enough?

  • libertas

    I guess it comes down to postmil vs. amil and I have not studied the issue enouph to make up my mind.

    Am I Lutheran? You tell me. I believe the following:
    1. Total depravity, universal sinfulness of mankind
    2. Universal objective justification and atonement.
    3. Subjective justification by grace alone (nonsynergistic)
    4. Objective means of grace….real presence..baptismal regeneration

    Since that list pretty much sums up every Lutheran sermon I have heard in my life…….

    Things I reject…..
    1. Walther’s proper distinction (Thesis VII)… Preach the law first and then the gospel. He goes on to say preach repentance first (law) then justification (gospel); justification first (gospel) then sanctification (law), absolution first (gospel) then good works (law). This is self contradictory and also contradicts his example of the pattern given in Romans which he uses to support his thesis.
    2. Walther’s proper distinction (Last Thesis)…..predominance of the Gospel in sermon….this is contradicted by his example of Romans as summary of Christian doctine back in thesis 7.
    3. I reject the notion that all the law does is acuse….yes is always accuses the old man within us, but that is not all it does. It guide, and the new man can and does delight in it.
    5.. I reject the superiority of the 14th century and 20th century lectionaries over a ‘lectio continua’ method of preaching.

    —I believe in the superiority of the historical liturgy over “church growth” (except preaching from the lectionary every time)
    —I love the theological and musical heritage of the Lutheran church.

    Things I am sceptical of but have not rejected.
    1. Closing communion to fellow belivers upon (heterodox) doctrinal line.
    2. Amillinialism

    You tell me…..is my pastor going to kick me out of communion for not being ortho enough?

  • Tom Hering

    “I guess it comes down to postmil vs. amil and I have not studied the issue enough to make up my mind.” – libertas @ 59.

    “Luther definitely is no amillennialist, that is, one who believes in only a symbolic millennium designating the undisclosed duration of the time of the church between the first and second coming of Christ. He is also not a pre-millennialist in that he does not teach a second coming of Christ prior to the literally understood millennium. Closest to Luther is, in a sense, post-millennialism in that it, at least in some of its forms, teaches a return of Christ after a literal millennium. However, Luther not only believes that the millennium is already past; he is, therefore, also free from the 19th-century optimism, that is, an increasing defeat of Satan, typically held by modern-day post-millennialists.” – The Apocalyptic Luther

  • Tom Hering

    “I guess it comes down to postmil vs. amil and I have not studied the issue enough to make up my mind.” – libertas @ 59.

    “Luther definitely is no amillennialist, that is, one who believes in only a symbolic millennium designating the undisclosed duration of the time of the church between the first and second coming of Christ. He is also not a pre-millennialist in that he does not teach a second coming of Christ prior to the literally understood millennium. Closest to Luther is, in a sense, post-millennialism in that it, at least in some of its forms, teaches a return of Christ after a literal millennium. However, Luther not only believes that the millennium is already past; he is, therefore, also free from the 19th-century optimism, that is, an increasing defeat of Satan, typically held by modern-day post-millennialists.” – The Apocalyptic Luther

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I don’t think I am really a libertarian.

    Kerner’s ideas @ 15 make a lot of sense.

    But so do Louis @ 18 and Tom @ 20.

    Anyway, a quick browse of the government’s list of its own agencies certainly seems like evidence that government may be too large.
    http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I don’t think I am really a libertarian.

    Kerner’s ideas @ 15 make a lot of sense.

    But so do Louis @ 18 and Tom @ 20.

    Anyway, a quick browse of the government’s list of its own agencies certainly seems like evidence that government may be too large.
    http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml

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