March 16, 2015

Paleo, Not Neo-Libertarianism

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

The libertarian political philosophy rest on a single maxim: “One shall not initiate force against another individual’s life or property.”  That is about it.  It tells you nothing else.  It does not tell you the meaning of life, neither does it provide an ethical code.  It refuses to address whether or not A is preferred over B and it certainly does not tell you whether or not God exists and whether He is worthy of praise.

Of course, the non-theist might attempt to justify the maxim given all sorts of “first principles,” but cannot.  It has been shown that a conclusion cannot provide more information that the premise(s).  Or more simply, one cannot derive “ought” from “is.”

Only by revelation can one know that it is wrong to break the above maxim.  The Christian God provides such revelation in Scripture.

That aside, it is important to note that, as the libertarian movement continues to grow because of the mass youth who are tired of a corrupt statist system, it is becoming more and more “socially liberal.”  In other words, these neo-libertarians have made it their goal in life to accuse the traditionalists of not really being libertarians because, say, we might oppose same-sex marriage or drug use.  Unfortunately for them, such an accusation rests on assumptions that lie outside of the libertarian framework.

If one agrees that to initiate violence against another is wrong, it is in no way contradictory to also hold, as I do, that God has declared marriage to be between one man and one woman.  When they claim that the conservative is not a libertarian because of such a personal conviction, they are incorrectly adding to the libertarian doctrine.

In fact, it is those people who are self-contradictory, for they claim that I should not judge right from wrong according to my standards while at the same time, they are indeed dismissing me by exercising judgement.  To be a libertarian does not mean that the thinker must suddenly abandon his background, his creeds, his convictions, or his preferences.  On the contrary!  Libertarianism enforces that right!

Any one of my readers will know that I am unashamedly personally conservative.  Do they really need me to take the time to attempt and prove this is not self-contradictory with the maxim at the beginning of this post?

At its deepest level, my libertarian conviction is simply an extension of my religious thought.  I simply apply the same restrictions that individuals in society have been given (no stealing, murdering, etc) to the State itself (which of course, contrary to the opinion of far too many idolaters, is made up of people).

The neo-libertarians have left the libertarian creed.  They have expanded it and added to it, thereby distorting it into an excuse to declare war on the traditionalists, the conservatives, and those who believe in God.

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