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Religion and Libertarianism by Walter Block

Congressman Ron Paul at an event hosted in his...

Congressman Ron Paul at an event hosted in his honor at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Please attribute to Gage Skidmore if used elsewhere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To many atheists, the claim for the existence of God is roughly on a par with the existence of the Easter Bunny, or witches, ghouls, werewolves, leprechauns, Santa Claus, whatever.

But, can theists be libertarians? Of course they can. All they need do is respect the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). What are religious people guilty of, precisely, that makes you think they can’t be libertarians? At worst, in the view of most atheists, mumble some silly words (prayers). They sing some silly songs. They read some silly fairy tale books (the Bible.) How any of this violates the NAP is totally beyond me. I don’t care if they are devil worshippers; stick pins in dolls, etc. That still would not violate the NAP. You say “when God does far, far worse.” Come on, give me a break. As you and I believe, there is no such entity, so how can He be guilty of this, let alone of anything?

Further, there are many other present day libertarians, besides Tom Woods and Ron Paul who you mention, who have also made magnificent contributions to our cause and are devout believers in religion: William Barnett II, Fr. Hank Hilton, Jeff Herbener, SJ, Guido Hulsmann, Peter Klein, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Gary North, Shawn Ritenour, Fr. James Sadowsky, SJ, Joseph Salerno, Fr. Robert Sirico, Lew Rockwell, Jeff Tucker, Laurence Vance. These names come right off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many, many more. I’m not enough of a historian to give you an equally impressive list of figures from the past who would also qualify, but I have no doubt that there are many, many of them, too.

To say that a religious person can’t be a libertarian, I think, has about the same truth value as the claim that if you like chess, baroque music, handball, swimming, running, karate, movies, chocolate, Austrian economics (to mention just a few of my own favorite things) then you cannot be a libertarian. To repeat, all that is required of a libertarian is adherence to the NAP, and none of these things I mention, or religion, should disqualify anyone.

Second to Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, even though she didn’t call herself a libertarian, even though she explicitly rejected libertarianism and was venomous toward libertarians, probably created more of us than anyone else. However, many of them, you included?, come to our movement with some Randian baggage: very strong views on aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, and an unalterable and abiding hate for religion. I single out the latter for particular condemnation, not only because it is inaccurate to conflate this with libertarianism, but for strategic reasons given below. These perspectives may all be part of Objectivism – she imposed many of her personal tastes on this philosophy of hers – but have nothing to do with libertarianism, an entirely different kettle of fish.

EXCRPT

via Religion and Libertarianism by Walter Block.

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  1. July 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    I really respect Walter Block. Even though we don’t see entirely eye to eye on religion (I’m much more open to the existence of God), he’s right on when it comes to economics. And I’m glad he doesn’t marginalize religious believers like some libertarians do.

  1. July 10, 2012 at 7:24 AM
  2. July 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM
  3. July 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM

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