06/06/2024 lewrockwell.com  5 min 🇬🇧 #249952

How Can a Christian Be a Libertarian?

By  Laurence M. Vance

June 6, 2024

At the recent Libertarian Party national convention, principled libertarians like Michael Rectenwald and Jacob Hornberger were rejected as the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in favor of a homosexual,  CDC libertarian who defends drag queen story hours, opposes legislation "to limit therapies and care specifically for young people who may be trans or nonbinary," and thinks that "Lew Rockwell and his work is bigoted tripe."

It took seven rounds of ballots before cultural leftist Chase Oliver received the nomination with 60.6 percent of the vote. "I will continue to bring a hopeful and positive message of liberty to both those who consider themselves libertarian and those who don't know they are libertarian yet," said Oliver in his victory speech.

But as Tom Woods has well said, Oliver "will attract zero disaffected right-wingers (and since no disaffected left-wingers are considering the LP, it's a gratuitous minus with no upside), who will now simply hold their noses and vote for Trump."

And not only will Oliver attract even fewer Christians who can't stomach Trump, he will further drive away from libertarianism conservative Christians, most of whom are registered Republicans. (Progressive Christians are a lost cause, and would no more identify as a libertarian than they would a conservative.) The appeal of Oliver outside of the Libertarian Party is important, for if the Libertarian Party wants votes, it must get them from not only libertarians, but disgruntled Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

The Libertarian Party and libertarianism are not the same thing. The Libertarian Party is a political party; libertarianism is a political philosophy.

So, what we have here are two entirely different questions:

How can a Christian be a member of, or vote for, a political party that nominates a cultural leftist like Chase Oliver?

How can a Christian be a libertarian?

To the first question I would answer: I don't know how he could. But I would also ask, how can a Christian be a member of, or vote for, a political party like the welfare/warfare  Republican Party?

To the second question I would answer: I believe that a Christian can easily and naturally be a libertarian. And not only that, I believe it is entirely possible to be a resolute social and theological conservative and at the same time be an uncompromising and hardcore libertarian. I certainly am both.

Libertarianism is not a lifestyle or social attitude. It is not a synonym for libertinism. It cannot be simplistically defined as being "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." Libertarianism has nothing to do with tradition, custom, religion, or morality-but is not inimical to these things.

Libertarianism is concerned with the proper use of force. No man may aggress against or commit nonconsensual violence against another man's person or property. Force may only be legally employed defensively against the aggression or violence of another, but must be proportional, and is neither essential nor required. The initiation of aggression or violence against the person or property of others is always wrong, even with done by government, as long as the others are engaging in peaceful, consensual conduct that doesn't violate the personal or property rights of others.

So, why would conservative Christians disagree with that?

Perhaps because they believe that the initiation of aggression or violence by government against person or property is sometimes not wrong even when someone is engaging in peaceful, consensual conduct that doesn't violate the personal or property rights of others.

Libertarianism therefore says that people should be free from individual, societal, or government interference to live their lives any way they desire, pursue their own happiness, engage in voluntary associations, accumulate wealth, assess their own risks, make their own choices, participate in any economic activity for their profit, engage in commerce with anyone who is willing to reciprocate, and spend the fruits of their labor as they see fit-as long as their conduct is peaceful, their interactions are consensual, and their actions don't violate the personal or property rights of others.

So, why would conservative Christians disagree with that?

Perhaps because they believe that sometimes the initiation of aggression or violence by government against person or property is justified even when someone is engaging in peaceful, consensual conduct that doesn't violate the personal or property rights of others.

There is nothing wrong with identifying as a social and theological conservative. I certainly do. The problem is when conservative Christians think that this should include political conservativism-an authoritarian philosophy that deems it completely appropriate for government to not only compel virtuous action instead of leaving it up to the free and voluntary choice of the individual, but also to punish people for engaging in peaceful, voluntary, and consensual actions it doesn't approve of and to take people's resources against their will and transfer or redistribute them to other Americans and foreigners as it sees fit.

Perhaps a better question should be: How can a Christian not be a libertarian?

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