In the last post I talked about liberty, especially economic liberty, versus some of its rivals. What follows goes well beyond the original question, but I thought it worth mentioning.
There is a widely held belief that individual liberty is somehow at odds with the Christian faith, especially ‘Sermon On the Mount’-ish teachings such as ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ and the dictum from the Old Testament and often repeated in the New Testament, ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is a constant undercurrent of this alleged incompatibility from sources like Jim Wallis and Sojourners, just to name one group. This assumed incompatibility is so pervasive that many Christian defenders of liberty feel compelled to apologize for liberty in some way.
But it is the ‘Christian’ collectivists who in fact have all the explaining to do. Not only is Christian ethical teaching compatible with liberty, it demands it.
We must constantly remind ourselves just what it is that collectivists want to do. They want to impose an economic agenda on others by force. Just how loving can it be to impose an economic agenda on your neighbors by force? Those who despise liberty often also claim to hate violence. How can those who claim to hate violence want to use the force of the state to force their neighbors to follow their economic schemes? Christians who attempt to advocate state-imposed collectivism have made a deal with the Devil.
Some Christians not particularly friendly with state-enforce collectivism will still rather cavalierly claim that matters like politics and economics are simply not all that important to ‘spiritual’ Christians. Christianity, they say, is about doing good to others, not worrying about economic systems.
How can Christians, who claim to love their neighbors as themselves, be unconcerned about the use of force on innocent people? Just how ‘spiritual’ can you be if you are willing to stand silently by as your neighbors are made cannon fodder for some collectivist ideology? In what sense is this ‘doing good’ to anyone?
Christians who advocate political liberty should never allow themselves to be put on the defensive. It is those who want to impose their schemes on others by the force of the state that should be called to account on the basis of the Christian faith.