Thursday, 3 March 2016

Why Libertarianism Needs Christianity, by Adam Young

When the non-libertarian is asked the question “What is a libertarian?”, besides possibly saying “Ron Paul”, the most common answer is almost always “Ayn Rand”.

That cheering enemy of state control and bureaucracy, who bashed all of those in the pocket of government, she suggested that perhaps a man would be better off free of the tyranny of state control and, just as importantly for her as a militant atheist, from that of religion.

With the first part, I agree. With the second, not so much. 

In Rand’s case, her philosophy, that splinter of secular libertarianism called “Objectivism”, was nothing more than a rip-off version of St Thomas Aquinas’s Natural Law tradition, but without the justification for existing. 

It is strange that this woman, who spoke of the ills of thinking that Jesus died for our sins and the evilness of using “faith” instead of “reason”, was taking her ideas from one of Christianity’s finest thinkers. 

When Objectivists and atheist libertarians talk about natural rights from an atheist perspective, that turns those rights into nothing more than things that exist just “because”, or it is a “fact of reality”. 

They have no reasoning, because it makes no sense to believe in rights while being an atheist. 

Do these atheist libertarians not realise that John Locke, the core founder of the idea of natural rights and of the non-aggression principle, based his thought on the belief that all men came from Adam and Eve, and as such had no right over each other?

And what about the great liberty minded documents made in countries that we libertarians like myself and Objectivists hold dear? Were they not written by Christians?

Magna Carta was written by Christians, and specifically by Catholics. The Petition of Right was influenced by the Christian Edward Coke, and was written by Christian men.

The United States Constitution was, in a good way, a rehashed version of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government.

Freedom under law, and natural rights, both come from an exclusively Christian idea of equality and the Golden Rule.

When atheist libertarians make the case of an “anti-theistic libertarian” society, then they make, to paraphrase Russell Kirk, the curious assumption that most human beings, if only they were properly schooled, would think and act precisely like themselves.

That simply is not the case. What happens to a society that loses God is that men are left to worship only the State.

That allows the leader of the State decide the value of human life, which tends to be as much value as a person would give the core of an apple.

That was why Stalin hated the Russian Orthodox Church, and why Hitler, who was an atheist using religion to gain votes, started to replace Christian holidays with Pagan holidays. They wanted to be the Gods of Men.

When a normal man is deciding the rights of other men, then they are not really rights at all. It is easier to justify overruling freedom when you do not have anything to stop you.

The Church stops that by giving the human being worth through absolute rules given to us by the Divine Ruler who is not hungry for power.

Of course, I do not believe that the Christian Faith has been perfect for protecting the rights and liberties of the people. In fact, it can be very prejudiced when it wants to be.

But I am not the kind of person who requires a perfect solution. We only have trade-offs in life, and I for one would rather have the Christian trade-off  rather than the obvious flaws of atheism.