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Showing posts from November, 2009

God and Secular Government

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Introducing scripture into any argument centered on using the coercive hand of secular government is dangerous. What is characterized as scripture is not the same for everyone in a multi-cultural society such as America. Whether or not what one set of scriptures says is okay for secular government to do is just in the eyes of the true God, promoting those actions diminishes your objections of the promotion of like actions by those who believe in the divinity of a different set of scriptures. Let's think about it.

Assuming its accuracy, this 2-part article written by Gabriel Fink uses the Book of Mormon to show that God has authorized a limited form of secular government, as well as some coercive taxation. Now, I accept the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and assuming these scriptures have been interpreted correctly, I accept as well that God has authorized limited government and coercive taxation. But this does not move me to promote limited government and some coercive taxa…

Self-Ownership and God

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In a recent essay on LDSFreemen.com, the author begins, "Contrary to libertarian philosophy, man does not have the right to full ownership of his body." He then goes on to explain in his thesis that the "the right to full ownership of the human body belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ." While I don't disagree with this belief (of course it may not be presented here correctly, theologically speaking), I do object to it being used to critique the libertarian principle of self-ownership. And here's why.

Whether or not you believe that God exists, or that he owns our bodies, it must be understood that libertarian philosophy only concerns the relationships between mortal men. It does not concern the relationship between men and animals, or men and the earth (insofar as it unrelates to other men). And it absolutely doesn't concern the relationship between men and God.

Don't misunderstand me. What a man does with himself in relation to anything may or may not…

The State and Proper Role of Government

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Among those who promote liberty, it is a fundamental principle that the proper role of government is to "secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens." Further, government can only perform those functions delegated to it by "the people". Since the people have the inherent authority to defend themselves and retaliate against wrong-doers, they are able to delegate that authority to others. The people do not have the authority to take the honestly acquired property of one person or group of people, without their consent, and give it to others. Thus, the people's government cannot possess such authority. This is the great fallacious foundation of socialism and communism, and every other form of statism and collectivism. Under this principle, it must be asked if the institution known as "the state" operates under the proper role of government. I seek to answer that question in this brief essay.

The State

We must first consider what exactly the stat…

Shouting Fire and Property Rights

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A year ago I quoted Murray Rothbard on what he had to say about shouting fire. Sheldon Richman recently argued the same thing, rather conclusively in my opinion:
The "fire in the crowded theater" matter is not an exception to free speech but a recognition of property rights, of which free speech is but a derivative. There's no right to "free speech" on someone else's property. If you buy a theater ticket and then endanger the audience by falsely yelling "fire," you have (among other things) violated the terms of your being in the theater. There's no need to claim an exception to the free-speech doctrine. Properly conceived, free speech is ultimately a property right.

The Omnipotent State

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Via Karl Hess's essay "The Lawless State", ask yourself these questions to determine how you view government:
Do you feel that the state is more important than you are?Do you feel that the state should enjoy freedoms that you do not?Do you feel that the state should be able to rise above the law?Do you feel that you could not live unless the state protected you?Do you feel that you could not thrive unless the state nourished or subsidized you?Do you feel that service to the state is more desirable or more noble than service to your self, your family, your neighbors, or your own ideals?Do you feel that it actually is a privilege to pay taxes?Do you feel that since the government, the state, is more important than any one man, that every single man should be prepared to give his all, even his life, to or for his government?Do you feel that the state is something with a life and identity of its own, beyond the men who might hold office in it?Do you feel that "the govern…

Vices Are Not Crimes

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Liberty is often categorized into types: economic freedom, political freedom, freedom of conscience, etc. One who seeks to promote freedom and liberty must consistently promote all types of liberty, so long as those freedoms do not infringe on the liberties of others. I consider moral freedom one of those liberties that must be protected.

For that we come to what is called vice. "Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property," says nineteenth century libertarian Lysander Spooner in his essay "Vices Are Not Crimes". Statists, conservatives and liberals, who use the state to promote their ends, will often support laws against vice. What vices have been prohibited have changed over time and change from one political arena to another. For example, drinking alcohol, considered a vice by many, including myself, was once prohibited in the United States in the early twentieth century, but not any longer. Smoking and chewing tobacco are not currently ill…