the humble libertarian

out of many one

Sunday, August 5, 2018

100 Famous Libertarians Vol #001 - God

THUS BEGINS the Humble Libertarian's list of the 100 most famous libertarians! Number one on the list is: God.

Are you one of the many who thinks that libertarianism is somehow incompatible with Judeo-Christianity?

Do you think God–– especially the God of the Bible, of the Abrahamic religions–– is no libertarian?

He Most Definitely Is.

It wouldn't hurt you to crack open a Bible.

God is the most libertarian Person there ever was.

In the Bible when God created humanity....

Did He have a lot of rules?

No, just one, single, simple rule:

"Don't eat the fruit of this tree."

Government on the other hand...


And a lot of people think we were supposed to break God's rule, and become like gods. And know Good from Evil.

Just not without a price.

And the Book of Genesis names it.

The price of knowledge is unhappiness.

Becoming a self conscious animal is rough going, because you end up realizing that you're going to die.

And now you have to worry about the future.

Just like the man said before having another bite of that juicy digitally simulated Matrix steak.

Ignorance is bliss.

Once you gain knowledge, you have to be responsible for it.

You have to do something about what you know.

You have to worry.

Because you realize you're vulnerable. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked."

And unlike the animals you realize the future is on its way here, so you'll have to work to prepare for it.

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread..."

But there's something better than happiness.

There's the nobility and meaning of competent responsibility for yourself and your future prosperity.

I'd rather know and have to do something about it than live in blissful ignorance. And that's insane, but it's what humans are like and it's something good about us.

Then history started.

Being a libertarian, God did not want His people to be slaves in Egypt. So He helped them escape slavery.

Big win for liberty there.

Then God sets up a stateless, common law society for the Israelites with judges to arbitrate disputes and trials.

But the Children of Israel ask God for a government with a king like the other nations, and God tries to talk them out of it.

It's in the Bible.

Check out these libertarian Bible verses:

1 Samuel Chapter 8 (ESV)

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel... Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him:

"Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us."

And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

And the Lord said to Samuel:

"Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them."

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.

He said:

"These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day."

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel.

And they said, "No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."

And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord.

And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king." Samuel then said to the men of Israel, "Go every man to his city."

So God gave them what they asked for since they insisted on it so stubbornly. They used all this war propaganda.

All this worrying about foreign countries, and glory, and battles.

Same as big government advocates have always done to whip people into a frenzy and a march to the drumbeat.

Just like INGSOC.

The English Socialist government of Oceania in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia.

To unite its people against the perennial existential threat of an external enemy. So they'd be willing to put up with all the bullshit and taxes God warned about. Because God's a libertarian.

Even in ancient times He knew all about how war is the health of the state and how the state is the scourge of the people.

Guercino - Creator

But God did warn them.

It's in the Bible.

God was a libertarian.

The people were fools to want a government.

And God was very disappointed in them.

Come on! We were on the verge of creating an enlightened civilization together you stiff-necked Jews!

The ancient Israelites had remarkably advanced medical and legal practices far beyond what most of the rest of the world had achieved at the time. They were very advanced.

These Jews were doing the basics like washing their hands before eating centuries before modern, scientific, European doctors started washing their hands before doing surgery.

They had a marvelously modern legal system with substantive due process for the accused, standards of admissibility for evidence in trials, and a process for civil torts– for instance– in the case of property damage. English common law is based on it.

It's all in these ancient books.

A page from the Aleppo Codex

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy– the Pentateuch, or First Five Books of the Tanakh (Old Testament)– are the foundation of Western Civilization.

The first two books are the "Dream" of Western Civilization, its mythology. The next three are highly-developed, and very libertarian legal frameworks and best practices for health.

As the Tanakh continues, the books chronicle the history of failed states that the Israelites tried out in their pride and foolishness, instead of sticking with the anarchist, common law, stateless society that libertarian God advocated for them.

And each time God sends a prophet like Elijah, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah to warn them that they're going off the rails and destroying civilization with government again.

And that if they keep it up, they actually will be vulnerable to outside forces because they've become corrupt.

Sometimes catastrophically so.

James Tissot, The Flight of the Prisoners.

So what does God do?

He finally decides to go big or go home, and sends Himself down from Heaven to actually be a Jew (by this time the world was calling Israelites Jews, after the tribe of Judah).

No sooner than God Himself is born a humble infant, the government in the person of King Herod instantly recognizes Him as an existential threat to its hegemony.

Because God's a libertarian. It doesn't get any more libertarian than the government trying to hunt you down from the time you were born because it knows how libertarian you are.

Herodian Dynasty Copper Coin

I hear some of you saying the real reason King Herod tried to find and kill Jesus Christ was because he was worried Jesus would try to overthrow him and become the new king.

That's how governments think.

They see the world as a zero sum game. But we know clearly from the text that Jesus was not interested in becoming king.

In fact, the Jews were ready to crown him king when they mistakenly thought he would revolt against the Roman federal government and establish an independent Jewish state.

That was on Palm Sunday.

By Friday they were so enraged to learn that he was interested in creating a spiritual kingdom of individual self-responsibility, and not violent revolution and statecraft– that they killed him.

The Three Crosses (1653 Rembrandt)

But they didn't really kill him.

They asked the Roman government to.

And the Italians obliged.

Maybe because Jesus was a radical supporter of counter-economics to subvert the Roman government.

A New Testament scholar once told me his theory that Jesus was a Pharisee, and his criticisms of the Pharisees were his attempt to reform his own sect of Judaism, not dismantle it.

That would explain why the Sadducees were constantly debating with him, and also why the Pharisees hated him even more than the Sadducees. Internecine fights are the most savage.

So they attempted to tangle him up in a trick question:

Matthew 22:15-22 – Jesus Says Render Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's (King James Version)

"Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."

So when Jesus says "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's," couldn't we append the words "like his stupid money with his stupid Italian face and name on it..."?

Maybe minus the racism and animus.

But the point of the trick question was to trap Jesus into saying one of two dangerous things for Jesus to say:

1) Don't pay your taxes to Caesar.

2) Pay your taxes to Caesar.

If he goes with (1), they rat him out to the Italians for encouraging tax evasion and hopefully get him crucified, at least jailed.

If he goes with (2), they tell all the mob frenzied revolutionary Jews about Jesus' dangerously unpopular pro-Italian politics.

So we know the Pharisees didn't understand Jesus' answer, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's," to mean trick answer number two, "Pay your taxes to Caesar."

Because then they wouldn't have marvelled and went their way, they would have dragged him to the mob and made him tell all the revolutionary Jews that he's a Tory now.

So what does it mean to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's?

It means God's a libertarian.

Jesus was announcing the ICO for his new cryptocurrency JewCoin back in the first century, dawg.

He was encouraging the Jewish people– who were dealing with the problem of being militarily occupied by a foreign government and ruled by force– to give up the use of the Roman Empire's money as an effective way to revolt against it.

Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's– which Jesus defines as anything with his name and face on it. So all of it.

Not just what the Roman government and Italian Revenue Service scumrats (like that sellout tax-collecting Jew, Matthew) ask for.

Give him back all of his money.

And start from scratch with your own resources and let the market create money. You're Jews– you'll figure it out.

This understanding seems inherent in the passage itself, but is also supported by Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers:

"Render therefore unto Caesar.--As far as the immediate question was concerned, this was of course an answer in the affirmative. It recognised the principle that the acceptance of the emperor's coinage was an admission of his de facto sovereignty. But the words that followed raised the discussion into a higher region, and asserted implicitly that that admission did not interfere with the true spiritual freedom of the people, or with their religious duties."

(Hat tip: BibleHub)

In the last sentence of this I also hear words of advice to an idealist who lives in an imperfect world:

You can shrug off the weight of the rest of the world.

Although the world is imperfect, you are still able to render of yourself unto God what is God's, by personally striving to do your own individual best in whatever situation you find yourself.

The weight of the world does not have to rest on you.

Just the weight of your responsibility for your own choices.

Or as Robert Heinlein put it in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress:

According to The Pulpit Commentary, "render" in this passage means "give back," which supports a reading of this passage as Jesus proposing that Jews revolt by relinquishing the money of the Roman Federal Government:

"Verse 21. - Caesar's. They are constrained to answer that the coin bears the effigy of the Roman emperor. Render (ἀπόδοτε, give back, as a due) therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's (τὰ Καίσαρος)."

If he were alive today, Jesus would say to the Pharisees, "Judas, get a twenty out of your wallet." (The Gospels say Judas was the treasurer of the early Christian cult.) He'd take it out of Judas' hand and put it right up to the Pharisee's nose.

"See this? Who's name does it say right there? Henry Paulson? Well if it's got Henry Paulson's name on it... why then I think you should give it all back to him." Jesus grinned.

Researching and writing an article like this takes a lot of work, but it's what I live for. Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thank you! -Wes

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