Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Christian libertarianism?

W. James Antle III reviews Andy Olree’s The Choice Principle, which purports to make the Biblical case for the night watchman state. The thrust of Olree’s argument, as presented by Antle, seems to be that not only that we can’t eliminate all the stumbling blocks to decency, but that we shouldn’t, else our faith wouldn’t be a choice. It seems to me, stated this way, the argument proves too much. Does it mean, for example, that I should let my kids have unlimited access to the internet and cable tv, else their victory over temptation not be their own? Must everyone’s faith and character be tested in a literal charnel house?

I would certainly agree that not every vice can effectively be prohibited and punished by government, but cannot some virtues be encouraged and cultivated?

In general, it seems to me that Antle’s Olree (I’m going to order the book, and so can’t yet speak of without the qualifier) relies on an anthropology that is extremely voluntaristic, which is congenial to some evangelicals (especially those who folks in the Reformed tradition would characterize as Arminian), but not necessarily to Catholics or Calvinists.

Hat tip: The Corner.

Discussions - 2 Comments

"but cannot some virtues be encouraged and cultivated?"

Obviously, yes.

Sounds backwards to me. We mostly rely on socialized values, turning people into their own "cops on the beat." We rely on law and moral authority (social control) in order to instill such values and, later, to catch "errors" in obedience to said social/cultural values. This is an interactive process...you can't have one without the other.

Like most libertarian recipes, this guy is writing in profound ignorance of actual social processes.

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