The election is upon us, and yet a record number of people are dismayed by the two "uni-party" choices. More people are googling the Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and the Libertarian Party than in any election before this one. Are libertarianism and Christianity compatible? Much of this disarray is led by Christians who can't bring themselves to vote for either candidate due to disqualifying records per the mind of a Christian, and are considering voting third party. Either Biden or Trump could ultimately prove to end up being the harbinger of the end. Maybe it's time to finally give that third party a shot? Keep reading...
Are Libertarianism and Christianity compatible? - The "yes" camp
This camp tends to make some pretty convincing arguments in favor of their view of things. The overall common argument to support their position is that too often, earthly government prevents Christians from doing their Christian duties. This covers aspects from taxation leaving less money available for Christian charity, to the restriction of free speech that often limits evangelization, and even how welfare policies encourage single parenthood through financial incentives. This is all often coming from a more conservative Christian point of view.
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls on government would be necessary.” James Madison, Federalist No. 51
This is all aside from the more common aspects like abortion, foreign policy, policing, etc. that take both sides by storm within the media. However, there are even some compelling arguments for compatibility between Christianity and Libertarianism from the liberal camp of Christians. The biggest one that stands out to me is the whole principle of the separation of Church and State. Perhaps evangelization today would be more effective if the Gospel was allowed to be preached within a more libertarian world that truly separates the two?
Who knows, maybe conversions would be much more genuine and lasting that way?
Maybe this, as opposed to how the U.S. government has always favored subsidizing the Christian faith over other religions via tax exempt status and other financial support, would allow the Holy Spirit the room it needs to work? Hypothetically speaking - if we got out of the way, the faith could look more like the Early Church than the Byzantine Church we've had in some shape or form ever since. Hypothetically.
How about from the "no" camp?
This camp tends to make some pretty convincing rebuttals to the arguments in favor of Christian Libertarianism. The easiest and most logical one (on the surface anyway) is that historically the concept has been a moot one. There's hardly any example, if any, that point at the viability of Christian Libertarianism. Not only has there *never existed a libertarian nation; there's never been one that happened to also have a strong Christian demographic at that. Some of these points could be debated, sure, but overall it's a pretty solid point.
*As explored in the article 'The question libertarians just can't answer' via Salon.com, "But think about this for a moment. If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn’t libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world?"
Some Libertarian Christians voice that their position is justified on the idea that Christians aren't suppose to be active in earthly politics, therefore a defacto libertarian. But unfortunately instead of ushering others to lead in the libertarian transformation of society, they often spend most of their energy trying to convince others not to vote at all. This of course ignores how Paul often honored Christ by participating with the lot that God gave him in life i.e. his Roman citizenship, amongst other things. There's no real example of God making it clear to the highly revered apostle that to do so would have been to sin.
Of course there are a handful of other cases against the compatibility of Christian Libertarianism. Throughout the Bible, we can see how God seemed to originally intend for a system of Judges for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. However, this quickly transitioned into a preference by the stubborn people to desire a monarchy. Then we are later revealed within the New Testament that Christ is the King of Kings, the Monarch of all Monarchs. Monarchy as a concept tends to conflict with most definitions of libertarianism and the ideology's desired mode of living life.
Are Libertarianism and Christianity compatible? - Maybe
When I stop to gauge myself within, I can honestly relate to the "Yes" camp. I too think the monstrous amount of evangelization from the Early Church was largely in part due to the unrelated nature between the Church and the State. The Holy Spirit was indeed allowed the room to thrive to the Will of God. Meanwhile, man's will has over time allowed for all sorts of confusion and deception to settle in. A 1,500 plus year history of schisms can sadly attest to that fact.
However, the argument that uses Matthew 21 and Romans 13, amongst others, is still probably the most convincing one that makes me relate to the "No camp". Even though in the U.S. it's "We the People" who are technically the government (in which God had allowed to sprout during His overall Plan long before us living here today) things have happened in which have placed more authorities over us as time went on. One could justify attempting to undo this particular order that's seen as illegal against the original government that God had allowed to be founded here. Yet that doesn't change the fact that God's Omniscience would've also foreseen that this would occur over time, and surely He still intends the plain reading of those verses about the governing authorities that are placed over us "for our own good".
So it's difficult for me to say. I certainly don't hold it against any Christian who wishes to exercise the gift of citizenship and vote within politics, even as earthly as they are indeed. I also don't blame one who wishes to not participate in it all. I do think though, that us Christians could be instrumental if God so happened to wish to use us to extend a particular age (even though history is all but predetermined). After all, nobody can box God in and claim to know when God is planning to do what. If anything, we can only theorize or know after those events had long passed in history. It's probably none of our business if God doesn't blatantly reveal it us, right?
My only real caution would be for Christians to beware of the Libertarian party, its candidates, and other personalities. I say this because there clearly seems to be a lot of activity of collusion between libertarian and liberal forces lately. You have the Silicon Valley types, as well as New York City hedge fund manager types, all sorts of celebrities and artists in between. I mean just think about it. If a politically left force could convince otherwise libertarian personalities to co-opt its socialist agenda, they'd likely be promising to spare them from ever taking the financial hit from revolution. That and they'd be spared from also becoming victims in their grand scheme.
In my upcoming science fiction dystopian novel 'A Spider In The Web', exactly this happens. The libertarian elite are allowed to keep their wealth and power in exchange for giving up their lofty ideals of licentiousness liberty for all of society to share in. The liberal elite likely force this hand after enough of their more radical policy propositions gain just enough support to tip them over the scale as a slight political majority. The wealthy, famous, and powerful get to keep on living the high life, while literally everybody else who's still alive after a cataclysm are thrust into a rigid technocracy that's based in socialism (but more high tech).
Are libertarianism and Christianity compatible? Can one just be a libertarian at heart out of principle, and yet not still vote for one of the major party's candidates as a part of the grander scheme of things? Can a non-libertarian vote and support the Libertarian party or their candidates considering the types of people they'd then be supporting? I'll let you be the judge on that. As Luther famously noted, Saint Augustine's "Two Cities" are pivotal to Christian understanding. Therefore we must perform the balancing act that exists between the City of God, and the City of the World.
Be sure to get back to me and share what your thoughts are down in the comments below. Don't forget to share on social media and bring others into the discussion!