Discussions on Government and Libertarianism

Posted on August 10, 2009 by Matt

While attending graduate school i was fortunate to have three of the most brilliant roomates one could imagine. Each are masters it their own fields, Andrew, Philosophy (metaphysics- free will) Brian, Literature (writing), Tim, Law. As for myself, I contributed with Theology. While many discussions and friendly (and not so friendly) arguments arose between us, the one main issue that separated me from them was their view concerning government. At that time I was clinging to the traditional Christian/republican view but their influence lead me down a completely different path. Here is the recent and continual correspondance with Andrew on the subject.

here is my first email:

hey brother. So im almost a complete libertarian. My conversion to this was much like my conversion to Christianity, long and thoughtful. I do have a couple questions/problems. What if neighbor bob decides he wants to build a nuclear reactor, this could be troublesome for his neighbors. Stuff like that, problems where personal decisions can affect large groups of people? Thats probably my main problem. Im interested in your thoughts.

for love and peace, Matthew J

Andrew’s response:

Matt,

Great to hear of your conversion! What were the reasons that led to your change in mind? Were they utilitarian in nature (e.g., libertarian societies are better off than non-libertarian ones) or more principle-based (e.g., our God-given natural rights impose restrictions on what government may or may not do)? I have a feeling that the kinds of answers you’ll find plausible to the “neighbor with nukes” scenario will hinge on these more basic presuppositions.

With peace and love,

-Andrew

PS: You’ve been reading your Aristotle or what? Explain that text message. =)

My next email:

Hey brother, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Concerning Aristotle, i was doing a little writing on axioms and wanted a little background on logic. And of course i’ve been reading my Aristotle!

As for libertarianism, what changed for me was becoming a constitutionalist and reading the writings of our founding fathers. They hated and feared governments. I realized that our country is not what was envisioned by them. That if we were true Americans, then we should rebel! For as the declaration of independence states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” Something like 99 percent of the population of the united states was against the bailouts, the majority against the war in Iraq and so on. Our government is not acting with consent of the governed.” Our Government is too big and has become destructive, i want to help shape our government back into what it was originally envisioned.

I do not really know what type i am, but perhaps I am merely a “constitutional libertarian” but perhaps if i tell you my views you could guide me! Here goes: Government is similar to religion in that they are both inherent to the human conditions and most forms of each of not very efficient. Despite the pressings of the militant atheist who claim that religion should be abolished, they do this in ignorance not realizing their fervor has pushed them into religion. Religion really means “that center of attention,” or that which encompasses and defines a person. Many atheists do not know, that the original humanist manifest referred to secular humanism as a “religion.” Further many buddihst are agnostic or even atheistic concerning the status of God, but who could claim that buddhists are not “religious.” As long as humans are passionate and dedicated religion will exists.

Likewise, as long as humans are living there will be a semblance of government. Even claiming, “I am a libertarian” is saying that you have a certain veiw about Government, even if that means you go as far as anarchy, you are still making a statement concerning Government and its function. However, I do not believe that Government is inherently bad, but it is very easy to turn bad.

When God claimed, “if man sheds blood then by man his blood shall be shed, ” he instituted human government. And gave us a glimpse of its purpose. The main purpose for government, is to establish the possibility of human flourishment and be a form of justice. Justice is a huge burden for any government to carry, for soon the alluring of “this is for their own good” will overcome and non-sensical and useless laws will result. But i do believe it to be a function of government.

To give you a better idea i will tell you laws i like and do not like. I like speeding laws but do not like seatbelt laws. Speeding laws are good because it keeps the general public safe. I do not like seatbelt laws because this appears to be a “for their own good” law. I do not like mandated state fire and police agencies or that for example even my small home town has a swat team!

As I mentioned earlier, i wouldn’t like the idea of my neighbor dabbling with Nuclear power or biological weapons. Because i believe this ultimately infringes on the rights and safeties of others. Ultimately i believe government should be an extension of natural law, and promote goodness and prosperity. I hope this gives you enough to work with.

Hey what do you think about me posting this discussion on my blog, i think it would be an interesting read.

for love and peace, Matthew J

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