“Let Me Live Free While You Live Like I Tell You” – The Misplaced Morals of the Christian “Libertarian”

Statue_of_liberty_800_2Thanks to Suricou Raven at Moronality, I came across Vox Day’s blog, Vox Popoli, by way of his pro-Coulter post “Ann Is Crystal Clear”, which contends that


…women’s suffrage is completely incompatible with human liberty…

Vox backs this with the vague reasoning that “emotion” always leads to fear, which always leads to heightened preoccupation with homeland security. At least I think that’s what he means from the single sentence he devotes to the point:

“One cannot defend freedom on the basis of emotion, as fear always runs to promises of security, however nebulous.”

He slams-home his point of women-wreck-democracy-with-their-emotional-voting with the astute realization that

“…no bald politician has been elected in either the United States or the UK with the exception of Eisenhower and Churchill.”

I guess he means elected since women’s suffrage. I’m also guessing that baldness is preferable because less hair means more brains (which would actually give most women an advantage) – or it could be because the youngish Vox is, in fact, ah-hem...balding? – (and oh the irony that Vox’s email is “Vday“)
But this is so ridiculous, it hardly merits mention. What I want to speak about is this emerging trend, apparently known as Christian Libertarianism. Vox’s site has the brash sub-head of “Live Free or Die!” Denying half the population the right to vote is certainly on the right track.

True Libertarianism holds the noble principals of individual freedom and self responsibility. It advocates individuals making and accepting responsibility for their own social and economic decisions.In other words, you’re free to life your life the way you want as long as doing so doesn’t impinge on the rights of others to do the same…even when they do things you personally find depraved, dishonorable, or just plain dumb. And here’s the problem. I’m not saying you can’t be a Christian and a Libertarian, of course you can. But the moment you attempt to force others to live by the principals outlined by your religion, you are a Libertarian no longer.

In Steven Yate’s lengthy essay “How I Became A Christian Libertarian” he chronicles his intellectual journey and attempts to rationally synthesize the two disciplines.

Although Yate’s admits that “Libertarianism is rooted in a philosophy of natural rights that inhere in individuals, not groups,” and goes on to say the tenets of Christianity are not the opinions of a group but rather… well, simple truth. So it’s okay.

As far as I can tell, most Christian Libertarians explain their stance by first quoting scripture illustrating that god approves of a hands-off government and then point to a handful of bible stories that may be viewed as representing individual freedom and culpability. Right about now doubts will be cast as to whether non-Christian individuals can possibly handle this type of freedom without an overriding moral compass to keep our “appetites” in check. Instead of the government, which in the least usually forms laws based on consensus and is morphable over time, we instead have the vastly superior authority of Christ dictating allowable and prohibited behaviors. Great.

So while Christian Libertarians believe in liberty and that we all should be free to make our own choices, women should be denied reproductive rights, sex education is for the (preferably married) 21+ crowd only, and the deviancy of homosexuality should not be recognized, condoned or rewarded by the state. The fact that homeowners and straight married couples are rewarded by the government, while not exactly libertarian, is not so much of an issue.

To be fair, I did find one somewhat moderate stance. Michael Bindner, author of the site “The Christian Libertarian Party Manifesto” makes the astonishing realization that

“As Libertarians, criminalizing abortion is forever off the table.”Weigheddown

Hey, does this guy actually understand and embrace the principals of liberty? Well, no but he at least sees the hypocrisy so many others of his kind piously discount. Bindner basically says that abortion is morally wrong and we must work to stop it, but instead of outlawing the practice he wants to incentivize child-bearing and give special sliding-scale tax breaks based on the number of children in one’s family. Unfortunately, this too goes against the foundation of Libertarianism by putting the government in the role of encouraging a large-family lifestyle and once again we have the government enacting procedures that effect all of its citizens based on the views of a particular group.

He also has the idea that businesses should be forced to advance and reward women who take a year off to have a baby in the same way they would for someone who worked that year. How this could ever be measured or implemented is unclear, and if it’s good or not is not the point. This move makes him more Democrat or Socialist than anything else. The point is – it’s not Libertarian!

Like I said, this is the”moderate” CL view on non-Christian-friendly social issues.

The more common stance? Vox himself wrote an article for the Christian Conservative World Daily News in 2003, in which he explains

“The basic principle of Libertarianism is not anarchic. There are real limits. My free will ends where yours begins. Neither the community nor I have any claim whatsoever on your property or your life, and a libertarian legal system would be structured around that principle.”

So far so good. And then…

“Do not be misled by the false “pro-choice” rhetoric of the infanticidal abortionettes; when one individual decides the fate of another, it is nothing more than the ancient law of tooth and claw. Still, their very terminology is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

All the more disturbing because I basically agree with the first two-thirds of his article, which talks accurately about Libertarianism. And then he wallops you with this craziness at the end.

For some real self-contradiction and clumsy scramble of logic, check out Bindner’s section on gay rights, where he tries to find cohesion with “everyone should have personal liberty” and “but gays are abhorrent and really shouldn’t do those things.”

Why did they even come into the Libertarian camp at all?

This is my point. “Yes, freedom. Freedom, except…” We all have our personal exceptions, and they are all different. If you allow any one person’s, or group of people’s exception to form a law restricting others, you are not for true freedom and liberty.

Okay, assault, theft, murder, fraud, personal violation, all these are punishable because they intrude upon the liberty of another. However, whether I wear a seatbelt in my car, or someone says fuck on the radio, or two women marry and raise children, or whether my doctor and I (or my clergy and I, or my boyfriend and I, or just me alone) decide that I don’t want to continue my pregnancy… The Libertarian stance firmly holds that none of it should be in the hands of a government that can take your money and/or lock you up not living the way it decrees.

Allowing Jesus to dictate the “exceptions” to liberty does not make the exceptions inherently okay. Your god is not my god so keep him out of my life!

So, Christian Libertarians, find a new term, you’re corrupting what was once a perfectly legitimate political stance and sullying it with god. Damn it.

One more guy – I can’t resist…

Okay, this guy is a nut-job, although reasonable enough to admit he doesn’t speak for every Christian or every Christian Libertarian.

The self-delusion goes so far that The Fountain of Truth founder Doug Newman will talk all about liberty and individual freedom, and then detail all the ways that Bush has been too lenient on abortion and homosexuals. In fact, he seems to think Libertarianism means not wanting to pay your taxes and the “the government screws everything up.” Inexplicably, though wanting to outlaw abortion and gay marriage, he seems to think the Branch Davidians should have been left alone

In the midst of a nauseating number of pages of essays, quotes, and personal rants, I found this lovely poem called “The Old Paths” (anon), with stanzas such as:

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.

Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having

Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
would behave..

Women wore the jewelry;
and Men
wore the pants.

Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;

and children looked decent.

Cursing was wicked;
Drinking was evil;
divorce was unthinkable

The flag was honored;
America was
and God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;

Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be
called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth
living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Sex was a
personal word.
Homosexual was an unheard of word,
and abortion was
an illegal word.

Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the
and churches taught the Bible.

If you believe no one should tell you how to live but others should be made to live the way you do – you’re NOT Libertarian! YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST WHO DOESN’T WANT TO PAY TAXES!

Stop using liberty as your premise, and make up a new damn term for your political leanings.


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3 Responses to ““Let Me Live Free While You Live Like I Tell You” – The Misplaced Morals of the Christian “Libertarian””

  1. Rich Paul Says:

    I happen to be pro-choice and Libertarian, but it seems to me that you overstate your case that Libertarianism precludes outlawing abortion.

    The question is whether abortion is an initiation of force. Since surely some living tissue is destroyed by an abortion, the question becomes “is that living tissue a human, and therefore entitled to protection by the state”. If it is, then abortion is an initiation of force. If it is not, then laws forbidding abortion are initiations of force. But here is the kicker: there is no rational answer to the question. It is not a provable or disprovable issue, it is a matter of definitions. Therefore it must be decided politically.

    I am pro-choice because I have no strong conviction that a fetus should legally be considered a human, and I do have a strong conviction that the mother should legally be considered a human. But if I were somehow convinced that the fetus were a human, I would have to change my stance. For whatever reason, many religions have decided that, as a matter of faith, a fetus is a human. You don’t have to agree with them, and I don’t, but I have a hard time criticizing them too harshly from coming down on what I consider to be the wrong side of an issue that lacks good answers.

  2. Blackbird Says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree with you about the matter of force, but for me the point is exactly what you mentioned: “It is not a provable or disprovable issue.” If there were proof that sentient, viable human life began at a definable stage of gestation, then the liberty of the fetus would equal that of the mother.

    But there isn’t. That means that it is a personal opinion and/or religious belief. I object to the opinions and religious beliefs of one group being legally imposed over all.

    Also, the pro-life stance too often uses the government to push an abstinence-only agenda that restricts access to basic health care, reproductive education and contraception. This is motivated by religious views that non-marital sex is an evil of society. It’s a view I don’t share, yet it directly impacts my life and my personal liberty.

  3. billdunlap Says:

    Christianity has a long history of taking over other religions. An example of this is the Catholic taking in the gods of conquered peoples and making them into saints. Libertarianism is in itself a religious movement. Instead of the Bible the libertarians have the Federalist Papers. The libertarian god is the Market Place, which is a mysterious and unseen force moving through the world.

    Libertarians serve the same purpose as Born Again Christians in the current economic situation. Libertarianism is a direct attack on labor and employee rights as well confusing personal liberty with the corporate freedom to steal without limit. The libertarians have the religious idea that somehow the marketplace will bring justice and balance to the situation where all they do is protect corporate greed. Born again Christians are a reactionary force that also attacks labor and supports the corporate freedom to steal. So it is small wonder that the two most reactionary forces in the United States today would join together.

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