From Christianity to Libertarianism: a few thoughts on Nullifying Tyranny

While back in Louisiana, I picked up a book by twin-brother authors there, “Nullifying Tyranny: Creating Moral Communities in an Immoral Society (2010).” This one is not an easy read, but it does have important arguments to share. In particular, it would be of interest to Christian Americans who are concerned about how their theology jives with what at face value may appear to be an opposing philosophy—libertarianism.

I say of interest to Christians because it draws heavily on scripture, and I suspect non-Christians would find this off-putting. They are also responding to what they describe as an “immoral nation with a secular humanist ruling elite that dominates America’s moral values.”

From there, though, the authors make the claim that the only legitimate role of government is the defense of private property. They call for skepticism of government intervention across-the-board and even go so far as to propose private provision of police services.

“Unfortunately, modern Americans find it difficult to understand that unconditional reverence for and faith in government as the primary solution to social and moral problems can result in the people slowly exchanging faith in God for faith in god-government.”

These assertions place them squarely within libertarianism, and it indicates the great potential for a coalition between libertarians and theologically informed Christians. Much of the language they use also fits precisely with what a libertarian would use—including reference to the “parasitic elements” of government who prey on the “forgotten man.”

“The truth is that using the government to acquire another man’s property against that man’s will is no different than stealing. Government, even when sanctioned by a majority vote, cannot turn an otherwise immoral act into a moral act.”

Alongside the case for limited government, based on Christian theology, they seek to heighten awareness of the American context and how individuals can work to restore a constitutional republic of republics. As you can imagine, such an attempt covers a lot of ground, but in terms of proposals, they suggest withholding consent primarily through state and local nullification, along with efforts to replace the ruling elite, including “Washington conservatives.” They also call for rejecting a secular notion of the United States, with plenty of historical backing.

If you want to better familiarize yourself with the authors before wading in, here is a video interview:

Fergus Hodgson

Director of fiscal policy studies at the John Locke Foundation, policy advisor with The Future of Freedom Foundation, and host of The Sta...

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