Here is a fascinating piece by Wendy McElroy on the Future of Freedom Foundation’s site. She writes about the man we might consider as America’s founding libertarian, Roger Williams, who favored a live-and-let-live approach toward religion, the Indians, and presumably all other aspects of life.
Read the piece, then think about how it mirrors the conflicts of our times. Many people want to use the power of the state to dictate behavior, while some advocate a government that defends people’s rights and otherwise leaves them alone. Consider the Hobby Lobby case. Our modern Puritans demand that the owners of this company submit to their edicts regarding coverage for abortion. And we have some modern Roger Williamses arguing that the government should leave them alone.
Authoritarians will always try to use whatever power they can to achieve their goals; government power is the easiest and safest.