April 4, 2014

Libertarianism Ruined

By In Blogs, Mitchell Thompson

One wonders how much longer the increasingly culturally progressive libertarian youth will let us social conservatives –and Reformed Christians at that! — consider ourselves libertarians.  Libertarianism used to mean agreement with the idea that no one in society is allowed to physically harm (or threaten to physically harm) another individual or his property.  Those who act in such a way are the criminals in society.  Aside from that, one could most certainly be a conservative Protestant, a believer in the God of the Bible and a subscriber to an ethical theory sourced in the revealed Word of God.

That is to say, libertarians at one point did not consider another libertarian as a lesser libertarian because he considered homosexuality wrong and promiscuity a large concern.  Fortunately, there are still good libertarians around who have not bought in to the leftist phraseology like “shaming,” “egalitarian,” and “bigotry.”

But culture itself is on a downslope.  The Mozilla CEO was just booted because he didn’t hold to a culturally approved opinion on gay marriage.  In my pessimistic estimation, libertarians as a whole will stick with the Progressivist trend.  But can a free society exist without virtue?  Yes, we are libertarians who believe in property rights and the Reformed Baptist rendition of freedom of conscience.  However, if libertarianism is tied down with a self-imposed demand that we all become moral relativists and embrace all sorts of disgusting behavior, libertarianism will be both contradictory and destroyed from the inside.  To tolerate, that is, to allow the existence of poor behavior without using the State to stop it, is necessitated by libertarianism.  But approving and embracing that behavior is not at all necessitated by libertarianism.  The libertarian can absolutely distinguish right from wrong, he may use the Bible, he may hold to conservative opinions, and none of this makes him less of a libertarian.

What I am wondering though is how long until the most powerful libertarian voices on the internet will begin to ostracize people like us from the label.  Such is the current path of the society in general, and the libertarianism movement narrowly.  Hopefully, the phrase “Reformed Libertarian” says something meaningful.

Written by Mitchell Thompson

I was born and raised in Northern California where I was homeschooled. I became a Protestant (Calvinistic) seven years ago. I was also, starting in 2006, a Buchananite conservative until I met Ron Paul during the 2008 elections. From then on I read everything I could from the Mises Institute and am now satisfied as a Rothbardian libertarian. I am slowly becoming a more confessional Reformed Baptist. Hoping to get more and more involved on this site. My Twitter handle is @MitchRThompson. Cheers.
  • KenH

    Well said.

  • Pablo Herrera

    Have you read Joel Mcdurmon’s Restoring America One County at a Time?

    • cjayengel

      I know you meant that for Mitch, but I’ll answer. I have indeed read it. I like it. I don’t agree with it in every sense, but most of it is excellent. We do, however, want to remain distinct from Christian Reconstruction. Regardless, I highly recommend the book.

  • David

    There’s a Reformed Christian in my church who essentially agrees with me on every single political issue. He even agreed with me on voluntarily ran police departments and the belief that taxation is theft after I presented those ideas. But, he still thought libertarianism was “unbiblical” until I explained to him what I meant by the term. Even as it is, he isn’t sure that my definition is the “correct” one. There is no substantial disagreement on ethics or policy, its just a disagreement over a word. He understands what I mean by “libertarian” now, but other people probably don’t (for what its worth, I’m 19, so certainly “young”, and a Reformed Christian, culturally conservative, and so fort.)

    Unfortunately, a lot of people confuse “libertarian” with “libertine” just like they confuse “anarchist” with “chaos”. Its something that can’t really be avoided, so I usually prefer the term “voluntarist”, although that one could probably be perverted to.

    • cjayengel

      Yeah libertarianism is being redefined. But it’s proper definition is: no one may aggress against life, person, and property. I don’t like voluntarist that much. I prefer “propertarian.” Which signifies that I believe in a private property order.