January 23, 2014

Let Freedom Ring

By In Politics

We have taken the time in many an article on this site to justify the Non-Aggression Principle on the Bible.  To justify NAP, there is much talk of the fact that rights are imputed by God and that no person is allowed to breach these rights.  No person may coerce against another person or his property unless an individual has first committed aggression against them.  Following the initiation of force, aggression is permissible in either self-defense or prosecution of the criminal.

Toward what end do we seek to uphold the Non-Aggression principle?  Besides the fact that I remain convinced that this is most consistent with the Bible, I also think that there is the wonderful goal of liberty here.  Justice is astonishingly important, but we must remember that the product of a just society is freedom.  Freedom, the classical liberals have taught us, is the end, the chief goal, of government.  We do question the socialization of government services by making them “public,” but we cannot deny that freedom and justice go hand in hand.

Freedom means that there is a lack of slavery to those who would seek to plunder person and property for their own uses.  In a free society the capital accumulation is encouraged and the society increases in prosperity and wealth as a whole.  The benefits of capital accumulation are widespread and all who participate willingly in the economy, whether buying or selling, necessarily and logically experience a gain.  Freedom, contrary to its most vocal opponents, means that all parties in an exchange are made better off.  It means that there is economic peace and a lack of the immoral and coercive transfer of wealth from either rich to poor or poor to rich.  Freedom means that consumers are more powerful than the producers, for with a sudden change of desires they can redirect resources toward what is most valuable in society.  And when yesterday’s valuable good is no longer seen as valuable to the consumer, today’s most valuable good will be something different.

Compare this scenario to the present one in which yesterday’s valuable good is shoved down the throats of the consumers despite their preferences.  Sometimes yesterday’s valuable good is maintained by subsidies, sometimes by taxing competitors, sometimes by mandates, and sometimes by completely eliminating the product of competitors altogether.  Either way, it is coercion and aggression which ensures that the consumers do not have the freedom of choice.  Such an economic system is not only the enemy of freedom; it is also the antithesis of justice and prosperity.

Freedom means that we are responsible for our actions and decisions.  Sometimes we make good ones, and we profit.  Sometimes we make poor ones, and we experience a loss.  There is more meaning to profit and loss than just the financial meanings.  Freedom means that our choices are not made for us.  There is no one to order us, upon threat of force, to invest our time and resources toward a given end.  We are not ordered to put our money in the approved places nor are we commanded to support people that our convictions warn us against.  When the way of society is voluntary, there is greater chance of making mistakes, choosing wrongly.  But there is also a greater chance of recovering from these mistakes and moving on to the next decision.  Moreover, there is no negative sanctions for success, no capital gains tax that must be paid to the expropriator who not only demands our profits, but also demands our reverence.  Now, the Scriptures do say to honor everyone, but the important aspect of freedom is that there is no immoral creature who demands it unjustly.

Freedom means that there is no consequence for preaching the gospel.  Under the plethora of hate speech laws and legion of precedent cases against private property, the ability to stand up for what is right has been severely tainted.  Elane Photography was a photography business that denied service to a gay couple for their “commitment ceremony.”  They were sued.  Here is a summary:

Willock and Collinsworth filed a discrimination charge against Elane Photography, citing New Mexico’s ban on discrimination because of sexual orientation by public accommodations. Elane never claimed it is not a public accommodation, but argued it is privileged under both the First Amendment of US Constitution and the New Mexico Religious Freedom Restoration Act to decline to photograph same-sex ceremonies as a matter of freedom of expression and free exercise of religion. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled against Elane, which appealed to the state courts.

Both the trial court and the court of appeals rejected Elane’s arguments, and the State Supreme Court agreed in an opinion by Justice Edward L. Chavez. Elane could yet petition the US Supreme Court.

Elane’s most serious arguments were the First Amendment claims, since providing photography services for same-sex ceremonies does, to some extent, involve the business’ owners in “expressive activities” that violate their religious and moral views. But the court found a substantial body of precedent for commercial businesses being required to comply with religiously-neutral anti-discrimination laws.

The secularization of society is here showing its true colors: it is willing to use the force of artificial law to command that a photographer take pictures.  But beyond that saddening lack of Christian principles in society, there is a also a blatant refusal to uphold the freedom of property rights.  When society morphs into an evil and immoral collection of individuals who do right in their own eyes, property-rights freedom will be threatened because such a freedom is the protection against being forced to act contrary to one’s convictions.  We must fight for this freedom; we must educate those closest to us.  How many Christians are willing to compromise freedom for the expansion of their own Christian ideals?  How many Christians are willing to sacrifice freedom in order to eliminate immorality?  While perhaps full of good intentions the problem is twofold: first, we are never commanded to intrude on another’s life, liberty, and property in order to expand Biblical values.  Would this not be contradictory?  But second, and more dangerously, such an activity will eventually turn around so that it is the Christian behavior and convictions that are made illegal.  Society, I think, generally has a downward trend.  In this life, progressivism usually becomes the most popular mindset and it will not be until our King’s coming that we see any shift in this trend.  To trust the State to expand our desires is to give it fuel to hamper our freedom and uplift the wayward paths of the moral relativists and the progressives.

Never sacrifice freedom for a cheap win.  To say that this will come back to haunt us is an understatement.  In fact, we see it daily.  Christians, push for freedom!  Keep the State out of our personal affairs.  For although we think we can control such an ugly beast, it will prove more powerful than us.  Rather, trust in the Holy Spirit and, as pilgrims in a foreign land, await the coming of our Lord Christ Jesus.

The right of every man to be free, to live unto his convictions, is a right that we must embrace wholeheartedly.  Every encroachment of this right is a danger to someone, somewhere.  We must not wait until we see it first hand in order for it to be meaningful.  We must let freedom ring and not give the State an inch.  We do have the right to speech, to arms, to property, to our families and children.  To let freedom ring is to declare that no other person has the just right to interfere with the life that God has given us.  To let freedom ring is to stand up for the future of our children who will grow up in a world that would be unrecognizable to our childhood selves.

To let freedom ring is to announce that we have no king but King Jesus.  No emperor, no governor, no President, no congressman shall replace Christ Jesus.  The State is the institution of freedom-infringment.

But he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

 

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com