The Bizarre Libertarian/Christian Reconstructionist Alliance

Ron Paul has just announced a new K-12 curriculum for homeschooled students—The Ron Paul Curriculum. It is comprehensive—history, economics, math, science, literature, Bible—and focuses on the “biblical principle” of self responsibility and the history of liberty. It advertises itself as incredibly academically rigorous—such that a student who makes it through will test out of the first two years of college.

All of this honestly sounds like standard fare for these circles—not unlike a more comprehensive repackaging of Douglas Wilson’s Omnibus curriculum. But here’s the weird part. The Ron Paul Curriculum’s director of curriculum development is Gary North. This Gary North:

“When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime. The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.”

Gary North is a Christian Reconstructionist who is on record endorsing the stoning of children who curse their parents, LGBTQ individuals, adulterers, fornicators, women who have had abortions or encouraged or assisted in abortions, and blasphemers. Yes, death by stoning. Public stoning, actually. Back to North:

“Why stoning? There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost. Executions are community projects—not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do ‘his’ duty, but rather with actual participants. …  That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians.”

It actually wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Gary North is today’s leading Christian Reconstructionist—and he’s also the son-in-law of the founder of Christian Reconstructionism, the late Rousas Rushdoony. Christian Reconstructionists seek to institute Old Testament Law, today, in the United States. Rushdoony is on record saying that “The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.”

One of North’s seminal books, an introduction to Christian Reconstructionism, is called “Unconditional Surrender.” Here are some excerpts:

The law of God is still morally binding. It is therefore still judicially binding.

How, then, can anyone calling himself a Christian be satisfied with anything less than the reign of Old Testament law in the civil government? Would he choose to live under Pharaoh? Would he choose to live under Belshazzar? Why, then, do so many Christians say that there’s no such thing as biblical law for today’s civil governments? Why do they choose to live under the control of something other than God’s civil law? Why do they continue to choose Egypt and Babylon as their homes? How long will they continue to argue that any law-order can be accepted by Christians, no matter where or when they live, except one law-order, namely, the law-order ordained by God for His people and delivered by Moses and the prophets? How long will they continue to defend the legitimacy of Egypt and Babylon and continue to deny the legitimacy of Jerusalem? How long will they allow themselves to be deceived by Satan’s myth of neutral laws, neutral judges, and neutral civil governments’?

And if we continue to argue that there are no such standards, that the Old Testament isn’t binding on us anymore, and that we are prohibited from exercising godly rule in terms of the Old Testament, then we have placed ourselves, in principle, under the dominion of Satan and his pagan kingdoms.

Though one generation can abandon the dominion assignment, not all of them can. Eventually, a generation of Christians becomes convinced that their God is sovereign, that God’s law is valid, and that God’s people are victors, in time and on earth. When these opinions spread across a nation, or a group within a nation, the blessings begin anew. The people cease wandering in the self-imposed wilderness. They turn back to God, His law, and His dominion assignment. They begin anew the extension of God’s kingdom, in time and on earth.

And then there’s also this quote by North:

“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel.”

Here’s what’s confusing me. Isn’t libertarianism—and Ron Paul is without argument the most prominent libertarian out there today—supposed to be about freedom from government intrusion? And if that is the case, why in the world did Ron Paul bring on Gary North—a man who wants to impose Old Testament Law on the United States, enshrining it in the nation’s civil law and stoning everyone from gays to rebellious children to adulterers—as the director of curriculum development for his new homeschool curriculum, a curriculum that bears his very name? I’m having a hard time reconciling the libertarian ideals of freedom from government interference, legal marijuana, etc., with a Christian theocracy based on the Old Testament legal code. Something extremely strange is going on here.

And for that matter, how in the world was Christian Reconstructionism’s founder, Rousas Rushdoony, able to say in the very same interview where he endorsed the stoning of LGBTQ individuals and adulterers, “I’m close to being a libertarian,” and say it completely ironically?

I didn’t grow up in a Christian Reconstructionist home. I grew up in a home that was economically libertarian but socially a part of the Christian Right—meaning that we wanted to ban abortion and only allow traditional marriage and enact new restrictions on divorce, but we would have been aghast at the idea of stoning anyone or reimposing Old Testament Law wholesale. (Unlike North, we believed that after Jesus, this law no longer applied, because he had fulfilled it.) Honestly, what I grew up with seems to be the standard line walked by evangelicals of the Christian Right.

But this leaves me puzzled. I understand how people combine Christian social conservatism with libertarian positions on economics, but I do not understand this combination of pure libertarianism with pure Old Testament law. This is entirely contradictory. You can’t idolize liberty and believe in freedom from government intrusion and also believe that the civil government should be stoning anyone who breaks Levitical Law. It just doesn’t work that way! But apparently, when it comes to The Ron Paul Curriculum, it does.

So, note to libertarians who totally think this Gary North guy is crazy and totally are all about “freedom” and “liberty”: I may not agree with your politics (largely because this country is neither a meritocracy nor a level playing field), but your movement appears to be being hijacked. You might want to do something about that.

  • smrnda

    Ron Paul’s newsletter published a number of racist articles under Ron Paul’s name. His defense was that they were actually written by Lew Rockwell. I think Ron Paul would offer a similar defense here if challenged – he is franchising out his name/brand and can’t be responsible for everything that independent franchise owners happen to say.

    I also don’t think this is inconsistent with Paul’s libertarianism at all. His libertarianism is based on the notion of absolute property rights and government non-interference in the market. Paul is opposed to federal intrusions into civil liberties based on his belief that it’s something the federal government should not do, but he does not seem opposed to the same things happening on the state level much of the time.

    For many libertarians, the non-intervention in the market and ‘no tax’ mentality is based on the ‘thou shalt not steal.’ I’ve seen arguments that *desire for wealth* isn’t banned by the 10 commandments but coveting is. Rich people want more and they can get more, so their desires are not covetous, but poor people want things they cannot actually get and which others have, therefore, poor people are ‘covetous’ and therefore sinners but rich people are not. That’s a point that Bryan Fischer of the AFA made. You can see how this style of viewing property rights as based on the Bible makes the non-interference in the market not really based on ‘government out of our lives’ but on ‘government based on MY interpretation of the Bible.’

  • Rachel

    Libertarianism is totally, easily compatible with a strong church, because then it’s the _church_ requiring all of these harsh social measures, not the _government_. Except. When the church _is_ the government, as it was in Biblical times, they just have to flat-out ignore large portions of the Bible in order to claim libertarianism exists.

    What I’ve always been curious about is how anyone who strongly believes in the Bible — especially basing their beliefs off of the Torah — can ignore the numerous tax laws in there, especially those stating that you need to give portions of your income to the foreigners, the widows, and the orphans among you:

    Deuteronomy 14:29: “so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”

    Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that G-d supports progressive tax reform and wealth redistribution. And I’m pretty sure this is compatible with, you know, every single thing Jesus said, so what’s up with that? Why can’t they just admit that they’re basing this off of Ayn Rand, not “Judeo-Christian” values?

    • The_L

      Because Rand is an atheist, and because they don’t actually read those parts of the Bible.

      • Kyle

        He is a Presbyterian, not an Atheist

      • Conuly

        Ayn Rand? SHE most definitely WAS an atheist!

    • Jolie

      “Libertarianism is totally, easily compatible with a strong church, because then it’s the _church_ requiring all of these harsh social measures, not the _government_.” Not quite, as far as I understand libertarianism. In order to be truly libertarian a state with a strong church regulating anything from how one can speak to one’s parents to what one does with one’s genitals would have to at least give people the option to opt-out of the church, case in which none of the church’s regulations would apply to them, while the church may denie them access to any common goods or even declare complete segregation.

      Extreme example: if legal protection from harm such as protection from murder is administred by the church-affiliated militia that also carries out stonings of gays and adulterers, it may choose to only extend this protection to believers. Non-believers, however, in a true libertarian state, would be free to create their own militia to protect them. Furthermore, in a true libertarian state, the church would only have the authority to stone people for homosexuality if they have (explicitly or tacitly) consented to the church’s authority- that is: they have explicitly opted-in or they have not opted out. Individual believers ,ay attempt to harm gay non-believers if the law does not forbid it, but a true libertarian state could not give them the authority/protection to do so or pass any law preventing non-believer gays from defending themselves with equal force.

  • AnonaMiss

    Libertarianism has been being hijacked (beautiful verbal construction there!) since Bush 2 failed to bring the Republican party around to the “compassionate conservatism” of spending irresponsibly in the service of conservative-approved causes. The unpopularity of Bush 2, and the on-the-record fiscal conservatism of the libertarian party, resulted in a mass exodus of movement conservatives to the label of “libertarian” despite authoritarian social policies.

    The problem is that the movement conservatives brought their political machine with them. US libertarians have never had a machine or any modern nationally recognized figures – largely because of the ‘herding cats’ phenomenon which naturally arises in a group organized around the principle of “Don’t tell me what to do” – so when nationally recognized figures who aren’t libertarian started calling themselves libertarian, there wasn’t anything libs-proper could do except roll over or abandon ship.

    The movement conservatives who now identify as libertarian do usually throw libertarians-proper a bone or two, most notably on marijuana legalization (though you can see on their faces they’re not happy about this concession) and on not installing their authoritarian rules on a federal level – as though authoritarian social policies on a state level are totally in keeping with libertarian principles.

    • Lunch Meat

      I really don’t get what philosophically distinguishes a federal government from state or city government. Isn’t a government a government?

      • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

        The standard answer is that the federal government is further from the concerns of the individual citizen than is the state, which is further than is the county, which is further than is the city, etc. It doesn’t always translate to better representation (for example, if you were black in Mississippi in the 1960s federal interference in local affairs was sometimes the only way to get any representation) but that’s one of the ideas on which federalism was built. We’ve come a long way since; in their day, the Federalists were considered the Big Government types trying to conquer the confederated states with shackles of regulation and federal power.

      • AnonaMiss

        In my opinion and libertarian-proper, not much.

        But states’ rights serves two convenient purposes for tea partiers: the first as racist dog whistle, and the second as a way to reconcile their slash-and-burn federal behavior with their authoritarian state behavior.

        The arena in which I think states’ rights are appropriate, actually, is environmental issues. As much as I like wilderness, it’s never quite sat right with me that Alaska has so much of its environmental policy set by people thousands of miles away who will never have to deal with the consequences of their actions. (e.g. I heard on NPR a month ago about a small Alaskan town which is trying to get a permit to build a road through a designated wilderness, because anytime someone has a medical emergency it’s faster to wait for a helicopter from the nearest city with a hospital than to take the roundabout roads allowed by federal law.) Obviously there are plenty of environmental laws which need to be passed at the federal level because it would be against the business interests of any one state to adopt them when there are other states those businesses could flee to – but I feel like when a decision impacts solely or primarily one state, that should become a state issue.

      • AnonaMiss

        I left out that such permits do not exist under the current state of the law, so it’s not so much “trying to get a permit” (reasonable barrier) as “having to fight for a one-time exception to ANWAR” (unreasonable barrier).

  • Jason Dick

    Personally, I think the primary problem here is that most Libertarians seem to have made the mistake of equating freedom with economic freedom. That is, a free, unregulated market with no taxes is the ultimate freedom.

    These social issues, I believe, aren’t about freedom: they’re about morality. Freedom is already accomplished by shrinking the government and reducing regulations. But the government still needs to do the duty of enforcing the law which, to them, means enforcing moral codes of right and wrong. And this is fundamentally important to them because they believe in the just world hypothesis: the belief that moral rightness will bring about prosperity and good fortune. So if we want to have a good nation to live in, we have to live by God’s laws.

  • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

    Well, there are all kinds of “libertarian” in the US. There are “Libertarians,” members of the actual Libertarian Party, who I’ve always considered nice folks who long ago realized that they couldn’t win races for city councils or county commissioners and decided to focus on fun runs at the U.S. presidency every four years instead. There are all kinds of lowercase libertarians, though. Among those are the “right-libertarians,” who are basically libertarians more closely aligned with the crazy hodgepodge of alliances on the American “right” than the crazy hodgepodge of alliances on the American “left.” Basically, right-libertarians are usually people that most Democrats would call right-wingers; they’re distinguished from right-wing Republicans in that they usually want to take gun rights, property rights, and cutting the size of government further than Republicans do. They may or may not apply the same principle to religious freedom, sexual freedom, equal rights for minorities, etc. (There are also left-libertarians, of course, and cranky, contrarian-libertarians like me. But we can leave them aside for now.)

    So why would right-libertarians accept the idea of a Gary North homeschool curriculum?

    Well, first of all, they probably have no idea who that is unless they study the particular issue of Christian dominionism or whatever North calls his version. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: “Gary North” sounds like a famous porn star. This is even more likely when you consider that Ron Paul’s name is being used to sell it; North’s involvement is a lot like a ghost writer’s role in an autobiography. His name is on it, his involvement isn’t hidden, but I doubt anybody’s buying it because they want the next hot new thing from Gary North (maybe from Peter North, but that’s probably disappointing.)

    However, the next question is . . . if they do find out that North wrote it, and they do find out about North’s frightening ravings about stoning people . . . would they still buy the curriculum?
    Well, they might, for two reasons:

    1. They might actually agree with North, even if they tell themselves they would stop far short of his more “extreme positions.” Consider Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan, for instance. Both have said and done some crazy things, but both still enjoy strong support (Sharpton is considerably more mainstream, but to be fair, I don’t think he ever threatened to destroy the United States with a magical orbiting battle station.) Why haven’t their supporters renounced them? I think it’s at least partially because they think of these men as good, well-intentioned, and insightful people who just “go too far sometimes.” And I think Paul supporters react to accusations of racist newsletters and theocratic propaganda the same way. Most of them are those “right-libertarians,” meaning that as long as Paul focuses on gun rights, low taxes, small government and economic freedom for the individual, they’re not looking as hard at other areas. Many of them come from evangelical Christian backgrounds, and if they don’t consider themselves strict Christian fundamentalists, they’ve associated and gotten along with those fundamentalists all their lives (even if that meant avoiding the “Bible-thumpers.”) They don’t see such attitudes as particularly threatening or unusual; Christianity is the default, and fundamentalism is just another flavor. It just may not occur to them to question it.

    2. Secondly, and again I stress that I’m just guessing here, I think the other thing Paul has in common with people like Farrakhan is that many of his supporters are willing to forgive much because they don’t see alternatives. Love him or hate him, Farrakhan has a following in parts of Chicago because there are people in some neighborhoods who don’t think they can trust anybody but Farrakhan to work in their interests. This is really not that different from the U.S. government supporting people like the Shah of Iran . . . the old saying goes, “He may be a sonofabitch, but he’s [i]our[/i] sonofabitch.”
    If people who consider themselves libertarian or right-libertarian had others with Paul’s political stature competing with Paul for leadership of their movement, things might be different (although there are no guarantees.) But as they see it, if you want some kind of libertarian-ish representation in Congress, you can have either Paul (R-TX) or Paul (R-TN). If he says or does something you disagree with, you can cast him off, but you can’t really replace him.

    That could all be completely wrong, but it’s the best I’ve got at the moment.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      A very minor thing- the formatting here uses “” instead of “[" and "]“. I didn’t know that for ages, and I wish I’d asked sooner instead of muddling along and failing at formatting.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

        Grr “>” and “<".

      • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

        The lack of a preview or auto-formatting feature doesn’t help. It’s usually quote tags that screw me up here, because it’s not a typical HTML code to my knowledge, so it’s confusing to me that it’s a supported tag when otherwise the site seems to use HTML formatting.

  • Nea

    Gary North! Wow, that takes me back. I printed out a lot of his hysterical predictions that technology would fail and modern society would end on 1/1/00. We held dramatic readings at my Y2K party.

    I suppose it’s vicious of me to point out that by Gary’s own rules, he’s a false prophet, and we all know what the OT says about THEM, don’t we!

    • Wanita Panza

      SNAP! This is right on! So much for the double-edged sword they wield – it cuts both ways.

  • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

    BTW, I wrote my comment before any others had appeared. Just want to applaud the quality of comments here. Might not have bothered to make mine so involved if I’d read the others first.

    • Rachel

      Don – Agreed! I don’t normally comment on Internet blogs anymore, but I’ve made an exception for Libby’s because of the generally amazing quality of her commenters!

  • Ace of Sevens

    There are lots of “libertarians” like North. Their gripe with big government is that it has elevated what should be the dregs of society (generally including, but not limited to, racial and sexual minorites) by forcing their betters to do business with them against their better judgment and taking money by force and giving it to those who don’t deserve it. I’ve heard all the following espoused as libertarian views:

    1) A libertarian society would be optimal for prosperity.
    2) Prosperity is nice, but it isn’t really the government’s role. The government should only ensure fair play and libertarian policies are optimally fair.
    3) Some men were born to rule and others were born to serve and a libertarian government is optimal for letting the natural order assert itself.

    Many libertarians don’t seem to notice the distinction.

    • AnyBeth

      Number three reminds me of Aristotle’s views on slavery. A few centuries BCE is pretty dang regressive. That, stoning..hm.
      Onward! we march boldly into the past! Let us proudly take hold of these things we know have already failed!
      “Learn from the past” doesn’t refer to learning by imitation.

  • http://lyricalpolyphony.blogspot.com Mary

    I don’t understand how true libertarians can support what basically amounts to a theocracy either. I identify as libertarian, which for me means free market economics and social liberalism. The guiding principles behind my ideology are “an it harm none, do as you will”, Love your neighbor, and personal responsibility. I’d love to see the world at large embrace my faith and live by its mandates. But if this was not completely voluntary, always and forever, then it wouldn’t be my faith. If you mandate loving your neighbor and being faithful to your spouse, they’re officially morally meaningless. (Also, the “law is still mandated” theology has always puzzled me, both because it’s directly opposed by NT scripture and because it’s completely impossible to implement.) But….. I don’t know that Gary North is exactly a household name. I’d never heard of him before today. People may just have no clue who he is or what he stands for.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      But….. I don’t know that Gary North is exactly a household name.

      No, but Ron Paul is, and Ron Paul made this guy the director of curricular development for his homeschool curriculum based on individual responsibility and liberty.

    • The_L

      I must admit, it is deeply weird to see the Wiccan Rede used as an explanation for libertarianism.
      Not in a bad way, just…extremely unexpected.

      • http://lyricalpolyphony.blogspot.com Mary

        Ha! :) Just because I, as a Christian, don’t wholeheartedly ascribe to the entirety of other belief systems as true, doesn’t mean I can’t randomly appropriate things I see and love. :) I think it’s a great political philosophy, really. (the Rede)

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      One of the reasons I’m not libertarian is you can’t “harm none” by not paying taxes and having full economic freedom. It’s just not possible. Capitalism is, at its core, a race to profitability. That means it’s also a race to the bottom in wages, worker safety, environmental protection, product safety, and transparency. Without government applying countervailing pressure in the form of laws and regulations, we get … well, we get working conditions and products at the turn of the 19th century. It wasn’t pretty.

      So I like the Wiccan rede as philosophy quite a lot as well. Sometimes, though, you have to weigh harms, and the government “stealing” my money is far less harm done to me and others than letting corporations do whatever they want in the name of unfettered capitalism.

    • BringTheNoise

      I don’t understand how true libertarians can support what basically amounts to a theocracy either.

      I suspect the answer is that there are a lot more people who claim the libertarian label out of a sheer hatred for taxes than there are true libertarians.

  • http://thewordsonwhat.wordpress.com/ Rob F

    Many libertarians believe that there is no reason for the 14th Amendment is because you can simply “pack up and leave” if the state (or lower level of government) is oppressing you. Restricting the power of the federal government is more important because it is harder to move out of a country than out of one of its subdivisions. Basically, if you don’t like being oppressed by a national subdivision, you can move somewhere else. Such a position is weird, as we don’t live in some perverse zero-sum universe where the only way to prevent the federal government from oppressing you is to let the subdivisions oppress you.

    The reason authoritarians, reactionaries, and theocrats like this approach to rights is because it’s easier to take over a subdivision than an entire country. They want to control other people and other people’s lives, and it’s easier to do that in a subdivision. But since our 14th Amendment prevents that, they’re against it applying to the states. It should be noted that nowhere in your constitution is there an explicit right to move from one state to another. And one of the first things any authoritarian does is prevent people from leaving. Much less the fact that not everyone has the ability to simply pack up and leave.

    And the anti-14th position leads to appalling results. Consider the following example:

    A lesbian, let’s call her Alice, lives in Hawaii. She starts to suffer from cancer. The only treatment that will keep her alive is available only in Hawaii.

    Now, let’s suppose that the theocrats take over that area and institute reconstructionist law. Among other things, they’ll stone gays and lesbians to death.

    Now, let’s consider Alice’s situation. If she stays in Hawaii, she’ll avoid dying of cancer, but will be thoroughly oppressed if not executed. But if she packs up and leaves, she’ll ie of cancer. In other words, the anti-14th Amendment position requires her to die free or live oppressed. And how exactly is that a good thing?

    And to preemptively debunk possible objections:

    Alice cannot merely live on one state and get treatment in another; Hawaii is too far out in the Pacific for that to be feasible.

    And one cannot argue that Hawaii is somehow special, with people there having more of a right not to have their rights violated by state governments than people elsewhere. Besides a clearly absurd position, it is also an example of the fallacy of special pleading.

    And one cannot dodge the question by saying something like “We don’t deal in hypotheticals.” First of all, we use and discuss hypotheticals all the time. And second, it’s not my problem that you refuse to follow your reasoning to its logical conclusion.

    I hope my example shows why the anti-14th position is not at all free, but is rather quite ridiculous and leads to results no one would want. A far better position is that no level of government may oppress you, or allow you to oppress other people.

    • Nea

      Many libertarians believe that there is no reason for the 14th Amendment is because you can simply “pack up and leave”

      I’ve had that argument before. There’s an awful lot of unacknowledged privilige in the idea that people can AFFORD to pull up stakes – i.e., they have enough money to relocate, a method of transport and the money to fuel it, that they have the money to find shelter elsewhere or already own camping gear/have friends in the area, that they can find a job in the new area…

      “Just leave if you don’t like it” is the casual blow-off of someone who has means, and who means to blame the poor for being poor AND for staying in a bad situation.

      • Rosa

        Not to mention that we have an awful lot of American history in the Jim Crow South and in law enforcement around reservations, where local law enforcement prevented people from leaving bad conditions.

      • gimpi

        I think the whole “pack up and leave” idea also completely ignores the reality of people’s lives. If my state was to be taken over by one of these radical groups and my husband and I were to decide to get out, here’s some of the issues we would face:
        We own a home that would have to be sold. We both have jobs, we would need to find new ones in our new state, not a guarantee right now. My mother-in-law is in failing health, and depends on us, but she also has a network of friends and family that she would most likely refuse to leave if we moved. What do we do with her? My aunt is also very frail, and I help my cousin, providing respite care so she can get a break from the demands of caregiving. Do we just abandon these family members? We both work with volunteer organizations in our area, and have made commitments to service. Do we run out on those commitments? And so on and so on.
        In general, I feel libertarians seem to discount the affect of anything but economics and and regulation on people’s lives. In real life, we have families, friends, and commitments that matter more than economics, and make the “just move” idea mostly worthless.

      • Nea

        Gimpi-

        The Tea Party person I used to share an office with handwaved all of these objections with “There’s always a way.” No suggestions or solutions, only the dogma that if you REALLY CARE you can make the effort, and if you don’t make the effort you obviously don’t care, and if you ask for help, you’re being lazy.

        It has no bearing to real life at all, really.

      • gimpi

        Nea,
        Perhaps I should tell that to my cousin, that “there’s always a way” for her to deal with her mother’s Parkinson’s disease without our help. Or tell my mother-in-law that “there’s always a way” for her to get by without our help to get her to the doctor, to do her shopping, to help with her housework and such.
        Yeah, that will do it… what kind of lives do people who think that way really have? I can only assume they have never really had to help out a failing family member.

      • Nea

        Gimpi,

        I tried that argument and got a long screed about how she has a friend with a very sick son and that she was happy to help out THERE. (The subtext being that charity went directly from her to someone she deemed deserving.) However she felt that personal help was one thing but Government help was theft to the taxpayer and infantalizing to the recipient.

        As for people who didn’t have friends or a church to help them out and still wanted to “suck from the Government teat” – well, served them right for being like that, I guess.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    “That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians.” Wow… I would have thought it was an indication of modern Christians NOT BEING A HORRIBLE PERSON, but whatever. Please tell me no one takes this guy seriously.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      All the homeschooled kids using The Ron Paul Curriculum probably will. :(

  • pattrsn

    I don’t think Libertarians and the Christian Right are such strange bedfellows. Libertarians believe that the country should be ruled by the wealthy, with the government reduced to providing them security, and the Christian Right believe that the country should be ruled by a religion, but a religion that worships wealth. A strong secular government, that protects the interests of ordinary people, provides the same obstacle to both.

    • http://www.libertarianinternational.org Robert

      Libertarianism is alive and well at the non-partisan and venerable mother group the Libertarian International http://www.libertarianinternational.org You should get acquainted before posting these comments.

  • http://wideopenground.com Lana

    Ron Paul definitely does not believe in stoning gays. He specifically said gays should be allowed to marry in the states that have allowed it because of state rights. As a liberatarian, he has also said he thinks the government should be out of the business of marriage altogother. So I’m puzzled too.

    • Ace of Sevens

      That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think states shouldn’t stone gays. He wrote a rather strong-worded essay decrying Lawrence v. Texas.

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul120.html

      I should point out that the site he wrote this for belongs to Lew Rockwell, the guy who wrote the white supremacist stuff in Ron Paul’s newsletter. If he doesn’t support this stuff, he certainly thinks it’s a low priority compared to the the gold standard.

    • Steve

      Ron Paul isn’t an in shape of form for gay rights or even against anti-gay laws. He just thinks those laws should be passed by the states and not the federal government. It’s an extremely naive, short-sighted and childish view.

      His son is exactly as stupid. He just gave an interview to fundie Christians where he said that the conservatives can easily keep the “debate” going another couple decades in the conservative states and hopes to somehow change people’s opinions that way.

    • Kyle

      Exactly, that is what Christian Reconstructionism teaches! The separate church government would be head of marriage. Ron Paul also opposes gay marriage and supports local bans on homosexuality, just like Gary North. There is a common misconception about Christian Reconstruction that it is a top-down, authoritarian government when actually the civil government on the national level wouldn’t even be a quarter of the size as it is today. It would be strictly limited to its constitutional duties. Christians on my side will say that they used to think like you, how such laws would be oppressive to non-Christians, but the Holy Spirit regenerated them and they now agree with folks like me. The laws of the Bible would start with the conscience of the individual. Once you have enough individuals in a specific area under the laws of the Bible, you have a Christian city. Once you have enough Christian cities, you get a Christian county, then a Christian state government, and finally a Christian nation, the way we were founded.

  • Iris

    I couldn’t even finish reading your post. After “[...]That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians.”” everything that went through my head was “WTF what a complete nutcase” which blocked out everything else and preserved my sanity…

  • Hilary

    So he wants to go hard core Old Testament, hey? Question – is this guy keeping kosher? Does he really want to tell people that the government will prohibit any and all BBQ pig roasts? No more all you can eat lobster and shrimp fests? Goodbye surf and turf dishes. And for the record, rabbits, camels, and all birds of prey aren’t kosher either although that’s not such a big deal here. After all, nothing says small government like enforcing kashrut on each and every home and food business. You can NOT haz cheeseburger. It’ll put every pizza place out of business – no milk and meat, only veggies on your pies from now on.

    Add to this the laws about letting the land lie fallow every 7th year, try enforcing that on true red-blooded freedom ‘n’ gun lovin’ it’s-all-about-property-rights land owners.

    I know this guy is dead serious about stoning people, and I’d be first in line, but still . . . . maybe we should start stoning people, some good pot might mellow everybody out.

  • Steve

    American libertarianism – especially the infantile Ron Paul kind – is in no way about freedom from the government. Unless you mean “federal government”. Ron Paul is simply an anarcho capitalist who wants complete freedom for companies and everyone else can get fucked. He also wants to practically abolish the federal government and allow the states to do whatever they want. Including oppressing any group in whatever way they want. If a state passed laws about slavery or segregation he wouldn’t care. After all it’s not the federal government doing the oppressing.

    • Rilian

      Ron Paul is neither a L/libertarian nor an anarchist of any kind. He’s a constitutionalist. A lot of libertarians/anarchists supported him because they thought it was a good balance between the candidate they really wanted and a candidate who could win.
      Anarcho-capitalism is free market for everyone, not just for “companies”.

      • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

        “Anarcho-capitalism is free market for everyone, not just for “companies””

        In principle, sure. In practice, the larger players will run the game and everyone else has no way of fighting back if those standards don’t work for them.

  • http://www.libertarianinternational.org Robert

    Libertarianism is alive and well at the non-partisan and venerable mother group the Libertarian International http://www.libertarianinternational.org

    The GOP periodically tries to co-opt libertarianism in the public mind. It would help if the left would not play along.

    • Rachel R

      I totally agree!

  • Rain

    I guess he’s not so careful about showing his true colors now that he doesn’t have to hide it to get elected. Turns out everyone’s suspicions were right. He’s a fundie crackpot.

  • Alice

    Wow, that is seriously f-ed up. I feel sorry for the poor kids who will be forced to use the textbook.

    “You can’t idolize liberty and believe in freedom from government intrusion and also believe that the civil government should be stoning anyone who breaks Levitical Law.”

    In English certainly, but Fundie-Speak is a different language that is sometimes deceptively similar. If memory serves, the words “liberty” and “freedom” are more accurately translated as “freedom to be a slave of God (under threat of hell).” And they only think the government is demon spawn because it is secular, and therefore has no God-given right to interfere with the Special Chosen Children.

    • Karen

      I think “freedom” in Fundie-speak is something only wealthy old men should enjoy. For the rest of us Feedom Is Slavery.

  • Hilary

    This is a very small complaint before a very terrifying phenomenon – but it is through the looking glass weird at how beyond polar opposite these variations of Judaism and Christianity are yet have the same names, or almost. Reform vs Reformed. One very liberal, one so very not. Reconstructionist Jews vs Reconstructionist Christians – same modifying word, but worlds apart. Anybody reading this can go back and reference the Judaism 101 post about Torah and sources of holiness, that also includes lists and links for the 5 types of non-Orthodox Judaism including secular/humanism. Comparing the links for Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism to Reformed and Reconstructionist Protestant Christianity – they’re just so different it’s weird how the same word (or almost) can mean the exact opposite thing in different religions.

    Hilary

    • Anat

      And then there is Conservative Judaism that isn’t conservative.

  • MNb

    “freedom from government intrusion?”
    Only in economical matters.

    “we believed that after Jesus, this law no longer applied, because he had fulfilled it.”
    Yeah, I have read that many times before, but never got it. It always sounded like a non-sequitur to me. But then again I always have been a dumb unbeliever.

    Gary North btw shows even less empathy than Heinrich Himmler, who at least understood that executing people gave the executioners psychological problems (hence the gas chambers).

    • http://Disqus Obliged_Cornball

      Yeah, abolishing something and “fulfilling” it are hardly mutually-exclusive categories. At least not with what I understand “abolish” to mean.

  • Anonymouse

    I just shared this information (including the wiki page) with one of the homeschool email groups that I belong to in response to a breathless announcement that this curriculum is being offered for free, and everyone went freakin’ NUTS and got all pissy and offended that I documented the reality about Gary North. Apparently it’s offensive to speak the truth to fundies?

    • Rosa

      Yes, it is. Keep doing it though, it’s good work.

  • Lisa

    It never ceases to amaze me how similar the Christian Reconstructionists and the Taliban are. Both utterly rigid and fundamentalist; both wanting their cultures to be governed by the strictest interpretation of their holy book (the Old Testament vs. Sharia law). Actually, it seems to me that the Reconstructionists are even more rigid and intolerant (to put it mildly) than the Taliban. I don’t remember reading that Sharia law advocates stoning of disobedient children. Libby Anne, as you pointed out, these folks are far, far to the right of even the evangelicals/fundamentalists.

    Does anyone have an idea how many followers the Reconstructionists have? Surely they are an extreme fringe group with few adherents?? But then … I recall reading about an Arkansas state rep who as I recall openly advocated the stoning of disobedient children based on his extreme religious beliefs, and a U.S. rep who I think said basically the same thing — one of them wrote a book about it. Really hard to believe that anyone believes this horsesh*t.

  • http://bereanobserver.blogspot.com Bob Wheeler

    For a more detailed response to this blogpost see: The Berean Observer, “Ron Paul, Gary North and Moses” (http://bereanobserver.blogspot.com/)

  • Pingback: Do we want a ‘Christian Nation’? | Lana Hobbs the Brave

  • http://yasinclub.com/blogs/66687/76345/far-cry-3-cheat far cry 3

    It’s in fact very complicated in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, therefore I only use web for that purpose, and obtain the most up-to-date news.

  • Um

    You seriously think Ron Paul’s curriculum is going to come out for stoning ANYONE? RON PAUL’s? Whatever this North guy thinks on his own time, doesn’t mean he can’t write a curriculum to someone else’s direction. We’ll find out when it comes out if he did or didn’t. But Tom Woods is writing it too. While I am not really familiar with North or whether your statements about his views are true or the sort of completely false smears we are used to seeing about Ron, I know Ron and Tom Woods, and I can’t see this project turning out the way you are suggesting.

    • Tracey

      Nice try, but any curriculum developed by a man who believed children should be stoned to death for misbehaving (any bets that this guy proclaims himself “pro-life”?) and that all Americans must live their lives according to the ramblings of Iron Age nomads is bound to have an agenda.

  • Pingback: The “Ron Paul Curriculum” and Its Ugly, Christian Reconstructionist Bedfellow | Misanthropology 101

  • Gordon Hilgers

    Ron Paul is absolutely blotto anyway. The Christian Reconstructionist movement insists Christians should rule the world, especially considering how well that worked out several centuries ago. Critics of that politicization of so-called Christian principles consider this movement to be tantamount to Nazism in America, and it should surprise no one that the Neo-Nazi group, Stormfront, backed Ron Paul in 2012.

    I’ve got a better idea: Let’s find North and stone him.

  • http://goeskaboom.insanejournal.com/ The Elite Kaboom

    Argh. As a civil libertarian myself, I am so sorry that these loons are the face of my political philosophy.They also really kind of suck at libertarianism. Their entire philosophy is to let the government get up in everyone’s business as long as they agree with the meddling, which is…. about as far away from libertarianism as you can get. If Ron Paul has any legitimacy as as a libertarian he’ll run far, far away from these people.

    Cheers from your friendly neighborhood libertarian lurker! :3

  • Rachel R

    As a Libertarian, one who wants the government out of everything possible, and as an unschooling mom of 3, I thought Ron Paul putting out a curriculum was kind of weird. Most Libertarians I know, who homeschool, are Unschoolers….because of their Libertarian non coercive, non interfering philosophy.

  • ROBERT LINGLE

    A recent “Church and State” article on this subject about Paul and North called the latter the former’s “Appalling Pal.” This article certainly capitulates North’s appalling goals for our nation. I don’t see any rational conclusions and ethical principles between those of North and radical Muslim imams who brainwash their followers to initiate suicide bombings against innocent humans. Of course the extent of North’s plan for stoning Americans is more on the scale of Hitler’s projects of gassing Jews. What worries me more about these goals is the the extent of the number of the Americans who may support them.

    Since my ethical code is based on the rationality of the Golden Rule and not on any of the vast number of varied, contradictory religious codes, I imagine that I would be classified by North’s disciples as a stonable blasphemer. Serving my country as a carrier pilot and a member of the National Security Agency would be no basis for leniency from Jesus’s great disciple North. If we don’t stop him I guess I will have to buy a gun or prepare to immigrate out of this wonderful democracy.
    Robert Lingle

    • JohnDale49

      “Since my ethical code is based on the rationality of the Golden Rule”

      You base your ethical code on a creation of man? How do you know this golden rule is correct? Why not Karl Marx’ morality?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I wish we could go by Karl Marx’s morality! “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Unfortunately, people aren’t nearly as altruistic as Marx thought they were, so his grand stateless vision doesn’t work. People won’t work their hardest (from each according to his ability) without some reward for it, and seeing the whole community rise at the same time just isn’t enough for most people. They need to see some personal reward above and beyond that.

        Karl Marx’s morality is flawed only in that he thought people were much nicer than they are. Because it is flawed, because it doesn’t work, we reject it as unworkable and go to a rule that does seem to work, i.e., the Golden Rule.

  • Trutherator

    This article does a disservice to Ron Paul and Gary North both. Anybody who listened to Ron Paul for about, say, 60 seconds, can NOT say he wants to impose a regime that this article says he does.

    For Gary North, I note the lack of ANY actual quote that says he wants to impose all of this -by force- on all of North America. Let’s cut the state down to size and see what happens. If you object that he might want to impose a theocracy on you, then obviously you don’t read his writings very much.

    I would stand opposed to the idea of anybody robbing your pocketbook to teach your own kids contrary to your beliefs, and if he advocated that in truth, I’d oppose it. But shallow objections to mini-quotes without contextualization, meaning interpreted in light of the other writings, just means it’s a shallow reaction.

    However, it’s pretty transparent that your true objection to Ron Paul’s curriculum, in other words, is not related to the stoning of children so much as an objection to his belief in the Bible and in Christianity in general. By their fruits ye shall know them, Jesus said, and Ron Paul’s fruits have been to OPPOSE the dominionism of autocracy in this land and the corporatocracy. He has done more than anybody to oppose the neo-cons in their faux crusades against Islam, AND YOU KNOW THAT!

    So stop posturing and using straw men.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Ron Paul is also against reproductive rights, aka women controlling their own bodies. I consider that to be a step on the road to misogynist theocracy. His economics are despicably cruel and also empirically proven to be ineffective at helping economies thrive. He’s been good at being against the war in Iraq, but that doesn’t make him Saint Ron, it makes him a man who’s been wrong on a great many things and right on a few things.

      By his fruits we shall know him? Indeed. Ron Paul’s fruits are bitter indeed, and he should not be taken as a serious leader in anything by anyone who cares about their fellow citizens.

      • Trutherator

        Ron Paul’s economics are based on the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I don’t want you to rob me, so I’d rather vote for somebody who will not take your money by force of law backed by guns of government.

        You don’t help the guy who was beaten and robbed and lying in the road by robbing and beating the “Good Samaritan” and using it to help the victim of the other guy. You make like the Good Samaritan and USE YOUR OWN MONEY, NOT YOUR NEIGHBOR’s.

    • Trutherator

      I will have to rescind my comment about Gary North, not to concede the point, but to further research on what he meant. However, I’m sure he is misrepresented. His idea of how it would work would not be to impose such rules on people that don’t agree with them.

  • Kyle Belanger

    The most “free” societies include Covenant Scotland, Calvin’s Geneva, and Puritan New England because they knew that there is a difference between liberty and anarchy. Most people who claim to be libertarians are anarchists, but Ron Paul and Gary North both teach the decentralization of government, as do all Christian Reconstructionists. The application of God’s law, according to post-millennial principles, wouldn’t be a reality until people are willing to submit to God’s law. The top priority of a Reconstructionist is to evangelize and take hold of the individual’s heart and mind. Once you have that, a nation of God’s law, in context, would be a reality because people wouldn’t be practicing immorality. If people aren’t requiring of that sin, it may be banned. A good analogy would be the agenda to ban tobacco. It starts with education of the harms of tobacco, and if they can convert the individual, after a long period of time, tobacco will become illegal. On a larger scale, that is what Christian Reconstructionism is: victory through education! “And I don’t think God has programmed us for failure” – Rousas Rushdoony.

  • JohnDale49

    This article is full of red herrings and misunderstandings of libertarianism’s core principle.

    The fact is, libertarians understand how societies function, and how they fail. Governments are inherently corrupt, so they must be downsized and their influence limited, but you then run into a problem. How do you avoid a balkanizing effect where people become estranged from each other with no binding culture? The Founders managed to pull it off for some years until the fundamental nature of the country started to change. Progressives were greedy for more government control. Conservatives fought back against collapsing social institutions.

    Libertarianism is a mere model for the size and scope of the government. It has nothing to say about the collective conscience being some hippie dippy socially liberal homosexual orgy. After all, was it that way when the Founders were around?

    No, most intellectual libertarians understand that the conservatives were right in a lot of ways, if often weak and unable to focus on reformation.

    John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, it will serve no other.”

    John Adams foreshadowed what was to come, and libertarians know the only way to a functioning society with limited government intrusion messing things up from education to the economy, is for the culture to be religiously fundamentalist, and overly suspicious of foreign or humanist elements.
    It is not a theocracy Ron Paul desires. It is a theonomy. And sooner or later, it will come to pass.