I found an article at the Libertarian Christian Institute web page, titled:
Conservatism, liberalism, or non-aggression?
It was a guest post from Randy Peters, who writes at TheGutDoc.com.
He opens by noting that many people attribute their politics to their faith. Hmm…
I’ve always had trouble understanding how people I know have strong and sound faith can have such differing views from my own, particularly in politics.
Part of it is I can never loose sight of the fact that coercion is evil. God never coerces.
I really do not understand why that is hard to see. I don’t get how other people don’t get that.
God always allows us freedom. God does uphold consequence. Accordingly, wisdom is encouraged. Of course, I always say that pain is the only true persuader of error. Experience is a harsh teacher, but often effective.
I like his thought experiments, both the right and left.
I’ll repeat this:
I submit that when any one of us – with civil authority or without it – takes upon himself the presumption to coerce others to do as we think God would have them do, we are no longer walking humbly with God. We have become the Pharisees, enjoying our long robes and places of honor, thanking God that we are not like other men and imposing upon them grievous burdens for which we will not offer the help of our little finger. There are many human behaviors condemned in the Holy Scripture; haughtiness may be one of the most condemned.
Make no mistake: when one argues that government is to be the arbiter of compassion or righteousness, one is arguing that violence is to be the tool by which those goals are achieved; for how else does government achieve its purpose? Taxes, fines, regulations, laws boundaries all rest on the discretion of the government to use violence to enforce them. When one maintains that the state should force his neighbors to do something, he is saying that violence should be used ultimately to accomplish that directive. Note that there are areas wherein there is unanimous agreement that communities or governments are justified in using force: to defend themselves from violence, to protect the lives of their members, to stop other crimes against persons or their property. But can one say that government has a legitimate and justifiable role to use its police powers – its exclusive claim on the use of violence – to force charity? To force acts of service? To force men and women to comply with “moral laws” with which they do not agree and which may not enjoy wide-spread acceptance in a community? Furthermore, may a disciple of Christ take upon himself the authority under God to say to his neighbors, “I speak in the name of God, and I order you to do thus under pain of imprisonment or death.”
Note there are no exceptions. If there is a law, it is using the power of the state, the threat of violence, imprisonment, even death, to enforce it. “Oh, but the penalty is only $50.” Of course, that is how it starts. You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.
Sure, we try to keep punishment consistent with the crime, but we also make too many crimes. We let one drink alcohol, but we imprison the one who smokes weed. We feel sorry for the mother driving with her quarrelling toddlers in the back, and though there is nothing more distracting than that, we bother to stop, fine, even take the driving license of the mother who was texting a quick instruction while driving.
We call the 19-year-old driver negligent and criminal for texting, but we give the late commuter a pass for shaving or donning makeup while careening through rush-hour traffic.
Some claim it is justified, but carry it to the end. The 19-year-old has some reason, rational or not, that makes him (or her) bolt when the lights come on the patrol cruiser. The teen is now truly jeopardizing lives, including his own. Perhaps he crashes, perhaps the officer successfully pulls over the car, but perhaps the teen is now too far committed, perhaps even irrational, and violence ensues, arrest, or worse.
Is it worth it?
We have far too many laws. We criminalize far too many behaviors.
We justify too much in the name of safety. We rationalize too much in the name of morality and civic responsibility.
It is a sad world we live in not because of unfairness, lack of opportunity, scarcity, and want. No, it is so sad because so many soft tyrants have sufficient power to coerce.
I used a couple of widely debated examples in criminalizing drug use and texting while driving, but how about school?
Nobody talks about how absurd it is to coerce persons to education. We need not even consider the failures of the education system. We need look no farther than the simple coercion, compulsion of education and truancy laws.
Again, we pretend our punishments are evenhanded and proportional, but they are not. Seldom do those with power us it only for good, and perhaps it is even impossible to do good when the power is being used to enforce the evil of coercion from the start point.
People, persons, individuals, children of God. Yes, that is what we all are from our beginning, from even before our first breath. I bring up hard issues, and people ignore. We need to discuss. We need to look hard and freely at the facts. We need to stand and openly defend our views, and we need to examine closely our own and all others presented. We manage to live together in most instances.
We tend to fight here and there, but it is mostly about who has the power, and how it is used, especially about how it is abused.
Let’s limit the power more and more. Let us be free.
Let us live free.