LibJesusby Steve Lancaster  12/28/13
Jesus was the first Libertarian. There it is said, but does that make it so? There are undoubted thousands perhaps millions who would contend with that statement and have excellent reasons to dispute based on scripture and two thousand years of history. Most theologians would probably not even give the matter a second thought. Partly because they do not understand Libertarian principle; that is in such a diverse group a principle can even be defined, but also modern political thought is that Libertarians are at best agnostic and at worst atheist. The exquisiteness of the Libertarian philosophy is that doctrinaire adherence to a singular mode of thought is anathema to the Libertarian.   So, how does Jesus fit the Libertarian mold?

The integrity of the individual is the first and most important part of Libertarian philosophy. How can we be or mean anything in society if our personal liberty is violated by outside powers?  The Libertarian knows in his heart that God has established natural rights to the individual and as Jefferson said, “Among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Jesus in his entire ministry talks about a personal relationship with God. A relationship that because of free will allows man to choose how he will converse with God. Jesus rejects a religion of formula and ritual in favor of a one-to-one relationship. He had ample opportunity to recreate the dogmas of the past and rejected them; favoring instead a free man, rather than man chained to obligatory ritual for the sake of ritual.

Jesus temptations and his answers provide enlightenment about freedom. Ha-Satan, sought to tempt Jesus saying he could relieve the world of hunger if he would just turn stone to bread. Man would readily give up his freedom if Jesus would provide bread to relieve his hunger.  We see this all over the world today where thousands and millions are starving; where governments are a part of the problem by corrupting the system. To control the masses the best and most effective tactic is to control the flow of food. Who can blame a father accepting food to feed a starving child if the cost is his vote for the political regime or the rebels who will gain control if he will join them in the fight?

Jesus example is difficult to follow. For you must reject the bread of today for the bread of life. Libertarians understand intuitively not as part of a grand philosophy but as part of liberty.  Jesus rejected the argument that man must exchange bread for freedom.  Had Jesus offered bread to the masses he would have satisfied the craving for someone to worship. Jesus, instead of taking the burden of freedom in exchange for bread; Jesus offered even more freedom.

One example, which could be taken in many different ways is not an argument. Jesus is asked a question about taxes and turns it into a Libertarian response relating to property by saying, render on Caesar what is Caesar’s and onto God what is Gods. Nearly 1700 years before Adam Smith, Jesus acknowledges that property is component of liberty. Jesus set limits on what the government can ask of man and also what God can ask.

Jesus is tempted by the miraculous, and undeniably during his ministry he does perform miracles.  He is tempted to throw himself from a cliff and the argument is that 10,000 angels would hold him up from death and prove his claim as God. Jesus did not come down from the cross, when mocked because he would not enslave man with a miracle. He sought faith based given freely; but man seeks not so much God as the miraculous and will create miracles of his own to worship and adore.

Lastly, Jesus is tempted with the power to rule the world; in effect to take the robe of Caesar, to found the universal state and rule men as they should be ruled with universal peace. He is tempted to offer freedom from freedom for submission to the state, to end want, slavery and war. After all, who is more qualified to rule men than He who holds their conscience, but also their bread in His hands? Then man will know that they are weak, timid and childlike and will follow. Jesus rejected the idea of a fawning and complacent man in favor of freedom.

Thus, Jesus is a Libertarian as he would not rule man but steps away from the cliff; to use power to do good with the powers of corruption, for Jesus knows that the corrupting influence once taken can never be given back. Libertarians come in many different types, some are Marxists, some are conservative, some are liberal, and some are progressive but each will embrace freedom as they see it. Libertarians always run to the sound of battle and stand the wall against the barbarians, atheist, agnostic or believer every Libertarian in his heart agrees with Jesus. • (1541 views)

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10 Responses to Jesustarian

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I would have thought Adam was the first Libertarian. He walked around naked and didn’t like the rule against eating the apple so he went ahead and did it.

    I cannot confirm or deny the rumor that he went around sucking on a joint.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Adam was the first Libertarian

      Yes, that makes sense, Mr. Kung. And that would then make Eve the first feminist, Cain the first “pro-choicer” (of who lives and who dies) , and the snake the first Democrat. 😀

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I would consider it risky to assign any modern political sentiment to Jesus. In a world of absolute despots, politics was irrelevant to an ordinary person evangelizing among ordinary people. What, after all, are “the things that are Caesar’s”? Tiberius would argue that everything was. I’m sure Jesus, like you, would have disagreed, but we have no way of knowing where precisely he would have drawn the line. Note that liberal christophobes have attacked Jesus as pro-slavery because he said nothing against it and the Old Testament accepted it (naturally, since it was a normal part of every society).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      For what it’s worth, I heard Dennis Prager give an exegesis regarding slavery and the Old Testament. This may be (may be) another liberal myth. According to Prager, there was no permanent slavery. And any slavery that did exist was either the result of a lawful sentence pronounced upon someone (hey…someone being my servant for six months for stealing my car might not be a bad idea) or a form of indentured servitude that lasted but a few years.

      But this I cite from a vague memory. I don’t know all the details. Too bad that our Jewish scholar, Bahtlahn, did not stick around. One tries one’s best to be welcoming.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Incidentally, if you look carefully at the punctuation of the 13th Amendment, you’ll find that slavery as a punishment for crime is constitutional (though the Supreme Court would probably reject it): “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” A friend of mine once wrote a story on that premise.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Ha! Good point. I’m not for going all Medieval, but it occurs to me that a little public caning for juvenile offenses would be a good thing. And a little indentured servitude (aka “community service”) isn’t a bad thing either. It just depends what ethic has command of the criminal justice system (Andy McCarthy, are you listening?). I don’t want to have to do six weeks of community service because I used the word, “niggardly.” But if you steal some little old lady’s purse, then by all means, make the little hellion do lawn and garden work for her for a few months.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Jesus is not someone who can be packaged inside one of our earthly labels. And I am not authorized to speak for Him.

    But first and foremost, Jesus wasn’t about freedom. There is a terrific article today by Jonathon Moseley at American Thinker that I hope you all take time to read: Jesus was Middle Class. In it, Jonathon makes the case that Christianity is not a poverty program. It is a salvation program. He also tells the folly of glamorizing poverty:

    Over the centuries, church thinking has turned poverty into nearly a sacrament. So it becomes impossible to refer to people in the Bible without exaggerating how poor they were. Holiness demands proof of poverty to establish legitimacy.

    Glamorizing poverty encourages more suffering and the spread of poverty by depriving the poor of opportunities for practical help. The best thing we can do for the poor is help them no longer be poor, not laud them in song and story. The poor would rather have a new business to give them a job than hear poems and toasts romanticizing their poverty.

    It’s very likely that Jesus, before he went on his ministry, was indeed middle class. For whatever reason, Christians (and Jews) have turned their religion into worldly economic programs aimed at relieving “the poor.” This is not only not the point of Christianity, but one should remember the example of St. Francis. Yes, indeed, Francis honored his material poverty. But the vector of his Order was not toward alleviating the poor. It was quite the opposite. His pitch was “Come, join me, and be rid of your earthly possessions so that you may live the word of Christ.” He actually increased the numbers of the poor (while markedly decreasing the spiritually poor…Francis had it right).

    Nor was Jesus about a librarian-style freedom. I’ve seen people try to grasp at straws to bolster their political cause, but this takes the cake. If anything, if I believe in Jesus then I will be far less free. I will be encumbered by His teachings. My petty little inclinations (smoking pot, having abortions, going to whore houses, or whatever) will take a back seat to His commandments.

    And as I tell people (and I’m only half joking), I don’t have what it takes to be a Christian. Besides, it’s too much damn work. But never would I become a Christian because I thought Jesus was some kind of Ron Paul libertarian.

    And if ever there was a “doctrinaire adherence to a singular mode of thought,” it is being Christ-like…at least as best as we mere humans can ever achieve. The whole point of Christianity has nothing to do with flying airplanes into buildings, or working on one’s self-esteem, or propping up one’s ego, and certainly not gaining earthly liberty. It is about joining with God because we cannot make it on our own. The purpose is for His will to become our will.

    And, yes, there is indeed a certain amount of new-found freedom in setting aside one’s petty goals, grievances, bad habits, and such. That is true. But there are as many constraining things when a Christian picks up his or her cross. And the last thought in the mind of a Christian is that they are striking a blow for libertarian freedom. That’s just plain silly.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would point out here that although there is a strong libertinist strain in libertarianism, as a political philosophy it’s quite compatible with voluntarily choosing to live as Christ teaches. Hardly any do, but then few Christians do either. (It would be impossible for me, if only because of the “turn the other cheek” admonition.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I would point out here that although there is a strong libertinist strain in libertarianism, as a political philosophy it’s quite compatible with voluntarily choosing to live as Christ teaches.

        Timothy, this is where I beg to differ. Simply quitting pot smoking would be a barrier to most libertarians. And if we are to f**k with our minds like that, I can’t imagine how someone could honor god.

        And being a Christian requires often putting other people above you — an idea that is a horror to libertarians and those of the general Objectivist bent.

        Note that I didn’t call Jesus a conservative. It would be pretty stupid of me to do so. We are to follow His model, not try to stuff Jesus inside one of our much smaller political philosophies.

        Libertarians tend to be way too full of themselves. It won’t be the Paulbots who inherent the earth but the meek.

  4. Since Jesus was not only a man, but also God, painting Him with a political poster seems preposterous and not really very useful. He was in favor of human free will in that He didn’t make people believe in Him, even though, as God, He could have. Part of the reason that the Jews of the time rejected Him is that He was not interested in saving them from Roman rule. Though, having said that, I suppose it doesn’t hurt now and then to measure our political standards against His perfect standards just so long as we really know what His standards are and that we don’t distort them in order to pat ourselves on the back. I am quite tired of liberals telling me what Jesus would have me do.

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