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Christian liberty: are you serious??

By Darren Nelson - posted Friday, 11 May 2018


I boldly declared at the start of my speech in October last year at the inaugural LibertyFest that: “Christianity is by-far-and-away the most compatible religious faith or spiritual belief with Liberty.” Note that I include Atheism, Scientism and Statism amongst such beliefs. I will go even further now by testifying that: “Not only has Libertarianism and Austrian School economics helped lead me back to Christianity, but since then Christianity has made me a better Libertarian and Austrian School economist.” This article will draw upon this speech and more.

There is no exact date when I became a Libertarian, but it has been at least a decade possibly two. I say possibly two, as looking back with 20-20 hindsight I was more Libertine than Libertarian in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s (or in other words more Left-Libertarian than Right-Libertarian). There is an exact date for my return to Christianity, which was Easter 2015. I was originally raised a Catholic, but then drifted into many years of Agnosticism and Atheism. Although, unlike most that I know or have met, I never became aggressively religious about my Atheism. I did, however, like most become very uncomfortable with and avoided any talk of Christianity.

In my experience, most Libertarians are Atheists or Agnostics whilst most Conservatives are religious and usually of the Christian variety (at least in the Anglosphere). The former is more so the case in Australia and other countries than in America. There has, unfortunately, been little polling done on this sort of thing. However, a 2015 poll of American Libertarians showed the following: 46% Christian; 14% other religions; and 40% none.

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Before I give you a Christian Liberty 101 (of sorts) in the remainder of this article, let’s first revisit what Liberty is and is not. Legendary Austro-Libertarian Ludwig von Mises stated simply what Liberty is: “Liberty is always freedom from the government.” Mises’s greatest apprentice Murray Rothbard explained in Myth and Truth About Libertarianism what Liberty is not:

Myth #1: Liberty assumes each individual being an isolated, hermetically sealed atom, acting in a vacuum without influencing each other.

Myth #2: Liberty assumes people are Libertines and Hedonists who hanker after alternative lifestyles.

Myth #3: Liberty assumes people are always rational using cost benefit analysis, and neglects moral principles.

Myth #4: Liberty assumes Atheism and Materialism, and neglects the spiritual side of life.

Myth #5: Liberty assumes a Utopia where all people are good, and that therefore State control is not necessary.

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Myth #6: Liberty assumes that every person knows his or her own interests best.

Rothbard, in particular, rejected that Libertarianism: #2 “assumes Libertines and Hedonists”; #3 “neglects moral principles”; #4 “assumes Atheism and neglects the spiritual”; and #5 “assumes a Utopia where all people are good”. An apprentice of Rothbard, Professor Walter Block, goes further in his paper on Libertarianism and Libertinism:

For me in the early 1970s, religion was the embodiment of war, killing, and injustice. It was an unholy alliance of the Crusades, the Inquisition, religious wars, virgin sacrifice, and the burning at the stake of witches, astronomers, non-believers, free thinkers, and other inconvenient people.

At present, I view this matter very differently. Religion now seems to me one of the last best hopes for society, as it is one of the main institutions still competing valiantly with an excessive and overblown government.

I have [also] come to believe that each of us has a soul, or inner nature, or animating spirit, or personhood, or purity, or self respect, or decency, call it what you will. And [the] destruction of individual character [by atheistic, hedonistic and materialistic Statism] has grave repercussions for all of society.

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This article was first published by Liberty Works.



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About the Author

Darren Brady Nelson is an Austrian School economist, conservative-libertarian and Christian who lives in Brisbane Queensland but is originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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