The Dangers Of Unharnessed Libertarianism

There is a sense among some Christians that movement Libertarianism provides a Christian response to various strands of the Marxism we currently face. (Cultural Marxism, Fabianism, Corporatism, Fascism, etc..) R. J. Rushdoony was under no illusion to that end. While Rushdoony advocated a form of Libertarianism it was always Libertarianism in a decidedly Christian and Theonomic social order. In other words, RJR despoiled the Libertarian Egyptians but he despoiled them while making the Libertarians serve the Christian worldview vision.

Repeatedly Rushdoony reminded us of Max Stirner who was one of the greatest foils to Karl Marx. Stirner was a kind of extreme prototypical Libertarian. He was Ayn Rand before Ayn Rand was Ayn Rand. Stirner was an Egoist, which means that he considered self-interest to be the root cause of an individual’s every action, even when he or she is apparently doing “altruistic” actions. This principle is the radii of all movement Libertarianism.

The centrality of the sovereign individual is seen throughout Stirner’s writing. A few examples will suffice,

“I am everything to myself and I do everything on my account.” [The Ego and Its Own, p. 162].

Even love is an example of selfishness, “because love makes me happy, I love because loving is natural to me, because it pleases me.” [Ibid., p. 291]

He urges others to follow him and “take courage now to really make yourselves the central point and the main thing altogether.”

As for other people, he sees them purely as a means for self-enjoyment, a self-enjoyment which is mutual: “For me you are nothing but my food, even as I am fed upon and turned to use by you. We have only one relation to each other, that of usableness, of utility, of use.” [Ibid., pp. 296-7]

Obviously this hyper individualism of Stirner — this emphasis of the many (individual by individual) over the one (collective) — was not something that Marx could countenance. Rushdoony notes of the collision of Stirner and Marx,

“The most vehement book written by Karl Marx was against Max Stirner; because Max Stirner pushed this idea to its logical conclusion, the meaninglessness of all things and therefore the legitimacy of all acts. He is the man who accused the atheists of his day of being closet Christians because they didn’t practice incest and other perversions, and Marx recognized that Stirner was right. But if Stirner were allowed to establish his thinking and successfully convert men to his position, there could be no socialist order. So he wrote a two-volume diatribe against Stirner.”

and elsewhere,

“Max Stirner was a logical, a consistent, atheist and an anarchist. And Max Stirner said in his book The Ego and His Own, that atheism required one to disbelieve in the validity of any law, because since there is no God there is no truth, no right, no wrong, no good, no evil, no sovereignty in the world, except man doing what he pleases. And in his book he turned on the atheists and the liberals of his day. He accused them of being closet Christians and he said ‘how many of you are ready to practice incest with your daughter, sister, or mother? Until you are, and if what I say horrifies you, you are simply manifesting the fact that you are a closet Christian. You are talking about not believing in God but you are believing in all his rules, you are still under theology rather than autonomy, And if you are still obeying your civil magistrate, your civil government, you’re still believing there is some validity to any law other than the biology of your own being.’”

Stirner absolutized Marx but he absolutized Marx in the indivdiualistic Libertarian direction.

Because of this Rushdoony saw that movement Libertarianism was but the opposite side of the coin to movement Marxism. Rushdoony saw that Libertarianism gone to seed was merely Marxism come into its own for the individual. Consistent Libertarianism was merely Marxism for the individual.

Now some will try to save movement Libertarianism by appealing to the “Non aggression principle.” They would contend we Christians can support Libertarianism as long as we apply the “non aggression principle.” The problem here though is that we must have some standard for what counts for “aggression.” And if we take what the Scripture, as God’s Law Word, teaches as God’s standard for aggression then we will find ourselves, as Christians, advocating for penalties that the movement Libertarians would insist fall under the rubric of the Non aggression principle.

This explains why the Christian dance with libertarianism needs to be thought through. Yes, there are aspects of Lbertarianism that Biblical Christians whole-heartedly embrace but those aspects are only embraced in the context of a bible informed Christian social order.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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