Originally Posted here by Laigle’s contributor Anthony Horvath
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed Declaration of Independence
The last few months I’ve seen some strident statements of opposition against libertarians by conservatives. I’m on several email lists where I’m seeing such commentary and of course its on the web, as in this example. I personally didn’t detect a huge uptick in libertarian sentiment, but alright. I describe myself as a ‘constitutional libertarian’ and in explaining why I hope that I can shed light on what I believe are the true reasons for a rise in libertarianism- among Christians in particular. I can’t speak for them all, of course, but I think I recognize in some of their commentary some of my own thinking.
So, to begin with, let me make two important observations. First of all, when one thinks ‘libertarian’ one might immediately think licentious. However, the two are not identical terms. This leads to the second observation, the direction by which one arrives at libertarianism greatly impacts the flavor of that libertarianism. There can be no question that there are a great mass of individuals, who calling themselves libertarians, really are just people who wish to engage in whatever depravity that they want, with no one to tell them otherwise or worse- stop them. By my observation, the people coming from this direction are really your typical atheist secular humanist progressive who is perfectly happy to foist as much government as people can bear onto themselves and others- in the form of nationalized health care, eg- just so long as they can have sex with whatever and whomever they want and smoke whatever happens to come across their path.
However, someone coming at ‘libertarianism’ from the other direction, say, from a Christian perspective and a conservative, is not looking for a reason to misbehave. This is why I led off with the John Adams quote. ‘Moral and religious people’ will continue to be ‘moral and religious’ whatever freedoms or restrictions are placed on them by the government. I might say: “Libertarianism was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the [government] of any other.” There are any number of forms of government that can work with a ‘moral and religious people.’ For an amoral or immoral or anti-moral or non-religious or anti-religious people, no kind of government is going to work for the long haul. Continue reading