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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Why I Am Not A Libertarian

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
The above quote demonstrates why libertarianism can never be something a Christian can embrace. Libertarianism ignores reality. It pretends that all men are equally capable. It is literally insane. Even a cursory glance at the world demonstrates that all men are not created equal in physical ability. Some are smarter, stronger, faster, whatever, than others are. In fact, this is so obvious that every culture in history has reacted to this fact by instituting slavery: enslaving the weaker, stupider, slower, etc. members of the culture.

Christianity was weird because it considered all men equal. It did not assert physical equality - that's stupid. It asserted instead, spiritual equality. We are all equal before God because we are each made in God's image and likeness. We all have an equal shot at salvation. Because we are in God's image, we all have equal rights before God. But even Christianity never asserted that all men are physically equal because, again, that assertion is obviously stupid. Christianity is about embracing reality, it is not about rejecting reality.

The recognition that all men are NOT created equal in ability is what justifies the state. We may all be created equal in rights, but that is pretty much where our equality ends. Draw the line wherever you want, but it must be drawn. Roughly half the population has an IQ below 100 and/or has physical disabilities serious enough to require assistance (e.g., extreme youth, age, disease, etc.). The needs of the physically weak and intellectually stupid are real needs. They really need food, housing, health care, etc.

Now, it is absolutely the case that the upper half (or third or quarter or quintile) in any population has no real, substantial use for government. As one's capabilities increase, one's need for government is correspondingly reduced. But, similarly, as one's capabilities decrease, one's need for a "nanny state" increases. A five-year old cannot be left to his own devices. S/he must frequently be forced to eat vegetables, brush teeth and go to bed. So, (roughly) half the population needs a big government, while the other half needs a small government. These two needs cannot be reconciled.

The most capable half are often tempted to ignore the lower half. Should we even have to listen to the weak and stupid? Well, if we are willing to ask a five-year old what he likes (and what parent doesn't give a child the opportunity to at least make his wishes known), then we should be willing to entertain the pleas of the less capable. That is, the lower half has a right to participate in democracy. And, since all men have equal rights, the lower half even have a right to overrule the upper half. If the upper half are not taking into account the needs of the lower half, the lower half have an absolute right to overrule their "betters" in order to make sure their own needs are taken into account.

So, yes, we have to listen to the lower half and consider what they say. Sure, as with the five-year old, we may not follow their suggestions, but we have to at least listen to them occasionally. And, whether we listen to them or not, we really do have to take care of them.

But there's the snag. The moment we recognize that we have to take care of them, even if only a bit, we have ceased to be libertarians.

Average IQ scores reported in Lynn 2006 from studies done in Europe, North America and East Asia. Each point represents the average IQ score from a single study.

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