The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Libertarianism”

Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President

By Luke Welch

Constitution

The United States Suggestitution

We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.

I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.

I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.

One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. Read more…

To Push Out A Tyrant You Need Space

crosscrownby Mark Horne

I’ve written a few posts about the rule of law and related issues. I supposed I could write a few more if I had the time. In my mind I am going in a certain directions with these posts. I’ll go ahead and get to the point in this post:

Revolution is a really stupid idea.

Perhaps I’ve left out some steps in the argument. Let me try to make it obvious.

I’ve argued (or at least claimed, hopefully with some degree of credibility) that the rule of law is a social custom. It involves a set of rules that is enmeshed in a society so that “everybody” knows them. It is analogous to a language, with a similar role for teachers and the liability to degradation—but with a similar imperviousness to planning committees. It exists apart from the government or the state. It can be found in societies that had no state (i.e. Medieval Iceland, both in its pagan and Christian forms) and in societies with a well-developed state. Read more…

Why We Need More Kuyper

By Uri Brito

Dr. W. Geensink observed of Abraham Kuyper that he was ” a man of his time as for his time.” God placed him in an uniquely suitable time for his gifts and wisdom. Kuyper published over 150 works ranging from the Holy Spirit to Art. Kuyper saw life as a display of the artistic nature of the Triune God he worshiped. For Kuyper, creation was God’s art show. He understood the need to wrestle with the needs of his countrymen, who were the beneficiaries of his wisdom. There was nothing left untouched by God. And this presupposition propelled him to not only articulate the Reformed faith in a remarkably comprehensive fashion, but also made it appealing to the common people.

We need more Abraham Kuyper because Kuyper understood that the whole man needs a whole gospel. Every square inch is tattooed with Jesus’ Name, and so every man must also. Though Kuyper understood that the unbelieving man lives a life of inconsistency, Kuyper believed that he too could benefit from the goodness of God. This common grace was the natural outflow of a God who created and who sustains his creation.

It is true we could offer some critiques of Kuyper and his policies. But what Kuyper accomplished was monumental. He was not just a savvy politician and a brilliant theologian, he laid the roots for a consistent Calvinism. His lectures lay out these principles. Calvinism for him was not just a set of theological ideas, but a comprehensive system that exalted Jesus as Lord and called us as servants to declare that reality to the world. The world may be blinded to that truth, but Kuyper taught us that the Holy Spirit is in the business of opening blind eyes. Kuyper was certainly a man of and for his time, but I’d like to argue that he is a needed man for our time.

Uri Brito is the founder of Kuyperian Commentary.

Time Magazine Names Rand Paul Most Influential

by Adam McIntosh

Time Magazine has named Rand Paul among the 100 most influential people in the world. This comes at no surprise given the level of attention Paul has garnered during his service in the U.S. Senate. The media loves controversy and Paul is certainly no stranger to it. Whether it is over balanced budgets, civil rights, airport security, military intervention or protecting children from murder, he is not afraid to defend his moral and constitutional convictions. The sad part is that such convictions are considered controversial in the first place. The good part is that Paul is recognized as having an influence on the nation. Under his listing in the magazine, Sarah Palin writes: randtime

…Sen. Rand Paul is a voice of reason awakening the public to what must be done to restore our prosperity and preserve the blessings of liberty for future generations. His brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism attracts young voters, and recently he inspired the nation with his Capraesque filibuster demanding basic answers about our use of drones.”

In the last two days Paul has questioned John Kerry on foreign aid and Janet Napolitano on airline security. I doubt he’ll get very far in convincing those two of anything. But if he can inspire young people and evangelical conservatives like Palin, then perhaps we can look for his influence to be most evident in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. For all our sakes, let’s hope so!  Read more…

Society Thrives On Law While The State Produces Anarchy

Post by Mark Horne

One of the problems with the discussions of “Libertarian Anarchism” is that the participants in the discussion do not know that

  1. There have been functional societies lacking a state.
  2. These societies have never been libertarian.

You can read about one such stateless society in David (yes, the son of Milton) Friedman’s essay on the economics of Medieval Iceland, “Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case.” After you do so, you might then have “new eyes” to use to read the book of Judges over again. Judges is another society that, before Saul, had no state, unless the religious obligation to support the Tabernacle could be considered that organization. Read more…

Further Reflections on Anarchy

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Over the last four weeks, I’ve offered a series of critiques on anarcho-capitalism. I believe anarchy is an unworkable concept because it is self-refuting; in practice it cannot operate within its premises consistently. I’ve attempted to show that it assumes conformity to an unproven principle and that it cannot deliver its promise of better, more effective justice. In this last installment I’d like to make a few more observations.

1) Christian anarchists deny the nature of God’s courtroom.

In the opening chapters of the Bible, God sets up angels at the gate of the garden to prevent sinful man from eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). The use of force is specifically described: God drove man out of the garden and if man tried to enter he would be killed. Adam was to be the guard of the garden but he failed. The angels were sent to do what Adam didn’t. This is relevant to our topic because it shows that God gives judicial authority to humanity. Later on in Scripture, the elders at the gate of each city were the judges with authority to punish and execute (Deut. 22:13-21, 25:5-10).  This creates a parallel between earthly rulers and heavenly rulers. To deny it is to ignore how the Bible is written.

God makes humanity stewards of creation to rule and reign. Jesus is the Gardener, he makes us gardeners. Jesus is the Shepherd, he makes us shepherds. Jesus is the Judge, he makes us judges. As images of God, this is the foundational way we mirror his sovereignty. The institution of civil government is set up by God to reflect his courtroom, his government. Read more…

Private Justice vs. Biblical Justice

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Anarcho-capitalists believe that all government services can be provided satisfactorily and more efficiently by the free market, including law enforcement. In their ideal society, judicial services would be offered by private agencies just like any other good or service. This must be the case if all taxation is inherently immoral.  Murray Rothbard explains:

Defense in the free society…would therefore have to be supplied by people or firms who (a) gained their revenue voluntarily rather than by coercion and (b) did not—as the State does—arrogate to themselves a compulsory monopoly of police or judicial protection. Only such libertarian provision of defense service would be consonant with a free market and a free society. Thus, defense firms would have to be as freely competitive and as noncoercive against noninvaders as are all other suppliers of goods and services on the free market.” – Man, Economy and State, chapter 13

What this means is that within any given territory, multiple judicial agencies would open up and compete for your business. Different agencies would provide different services based on different standards of law. Hypothetically, you could have a Muslim agency that operates under sharia law and a Christian agency that operates under biblical law. You simply pick which company you prefer. When two people are in conflict, their respective agencies will deliberate until they agree on the appropriate conviction and punishment. Rothbard admits that this could not work unless all agencies followed the non-aggression principle: Read more…

Is All Taxation Theft?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

In chapter two of For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard writes:

…The State habitually commits mass murder, which it calls ‘war,’ or sometimes ‘suppression of subversion’; the State engages in enslavement into its military forces, which it calls ‘conscription’; and it lives and has its being in the practice of forcible theft, which it calls ‘taxation.’”

While all of these accusations may be true, they don’t always have to be.

Read more…

Why traditional conservatism is for children, not adults


Public thought among Christians right now is headed toward a perfect storm of confusion. We are asked to choose between “libertarianism” and “conservatism” as if those were two indivisible, pure, political positions. Libertarianism, as far as it is a secular philosophy built on a non-aggression ethical imperative, does come closer to this description. (Of course, in the ancient world, adultery would be considered an act of aggression; Libertarians often seem to build more assumptions into their words than they account for.) But, for better and/or worse, conservatism has never been anything so coherent.

Yet somehow, in order to not sound or look libertarian, every demeaning novelty in legislation can get recommended as Christian wisdom. Thus a defense of regulating the size of sodas

This is local government, not the federal government, which in America is rightly one of enumerated powers, and so may do only what the Constitution says it can do. Government so far removed from the people should be correspondingly limited in its scope of action.

But state and local governments have what is called “police power,” the authority to rule broadly on matters of health, safety, and public morals. It is not libertarian to recognize this power, but it is indisputably conservative. Society is not a mere economic alliance, a trading bloc, or a mutual defense pact. It is also a moral bond between people who share a common life. So it is fair for government to protect not only public health but also the health of public morals and citizen character.

via WORLD | Why government belongs in our soda cups | D.C. Innes | March 25, 2013.

I responded to this column briefly, here. Now I’d like to add a few thoughts.


I don’t find the reasoning from “federalism” that convincing. New York City is hardly local government in any real sense. Much less are Read more…

A Christian Critique of the Non-Aggression Principle

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Congressman Ron Paul’s breakout in the public eye during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election cycles has made limited government – or “minarchy” – a popular concept across America, especially with young people. Other politicians such as Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Thomas Massie are carrying the principles of limited government forward, with conservatives rallying behind Rand as a potential nominee for president in 2016. This libertarian stream within the GOP has been known as the tea party, the liberty movement, or simply a return to the Constitution. Call it what you will, there’s no denying its influence in the political sphere.

Riding the coattails of this movement are the anarcho-capitalists. LewRockwell.com, a self-professed anarchist blog, has become a go-to resource for anyone who wishes to see civil government restrained to any degree. The site has a mixed bag of contributors including Ron Paul and theocrat Gary North. Though anarchists and minarchists share opposing worldviews they agree on many issues and are working towards a common goal, at least for the time being. Read more…

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