"Allow to do"
Updated: Mar 4
Its been brought to my attention (especially by American readers) that the term 'libertarian' is often mistakenly confused with the American libertarian political party, or 'libertine-ism' (Freedom to be degenerate without restraint- 2 Peter 2.10). Both of those things are NOT whats been described. Neither is it the 'Anti-Tax'movement.
The French phrase laissez faire literally means "allow to do," with the idea being "let people do as they choose." The origins of laissez-faire are associated with the Physiocrats, a group of 18th-century French economists who believed that government policy should not interfere with the operation of natural economic laws.
Full text available here, audio available there ^ (starts 6 min in)
"The state is not a god, it is just a nanny. But the state is some nanny. It is the only nanny that forces you to hire her... It is the only nanny that employs coercion, compulsion, threats, fines, and imprisonment."
The Biblical Concept of Justness
The concept of justness is a biblical one: God sends rain "on the just and on the unjust" ; Christ died for our sins, "the just for the unjust" ; there will be "a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Now, the expression just price is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. This ipso facto does not, of course, mean that the concept should be dismissed out of hand. After all, the word trinity is not in the Bible either. The Scripture does have some general principles as to when something is just and to what needs to be done justly. For instance: A just man does what is "lawful and right," judgment and rule are to be done justly, servants are entitled to what is "just and equal," and we should follow that which is "altogether just."
Although there are numerous references in the Bible to things being sold (houses, land, animals, people, food), there is generally no mention of what the items were sold for. Twice each we read of an item being sold for "full price," the price of an object being above rubies, and something being "of great price." There are only a few references to a specific price paid for something, the most well-known examples being Esau selling his birthright for "one morsel of meat" and Judas betraying the Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
Although the Scripture doesn't speak of a "just price," we do read of a "just weight" four times, a "just measure" five times, and a "just balance" two times. In fact, it even says in the Book of Proverbs that "a false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight." Since following what is "altogether just" would apply to our commercial transactions, the absence of fraud would be essential for the price of any commodity to be said to be just. But one will search the Scriptures in vain for any other concept of what constitutes a just price.
Employment in the Bible is based on the right to freely contract.
In the parable of the vineyard, a landowner contracts with some laborers early in the morning for a day's work, then another group later in the morning, and then two other groups at different times in the afternoon. Finally, when there is but an hour in the day remaining, the landowner contracts with a fifth group. At day's end, when it was time to get paid, all the workers were paid the same amount. The first group of laborers then murmured because, even though they agreed to a certain wage, the eleventh-hour workforce received the same amount.
But what was the landowner's reply to the first group? The Bible tells us that "he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?"
I suppose the first group of workers could form a union and strike for higher wages. Although there is nothing wrong with collective bargaining per se, in a real free market, and without government protection for unions, employers could freely fire employees who refused to work. It may not be in their best interests to do so, but there is no reason that they shouldn't have that option.
The state is not a god, it is just a nanny. But the state is some nanny. It is the only nanny that forces you to hire her. It is the only nanny that moonlights as a policeman to the world. It is the only nanny that employs coercion, compulsion, threats, fines, and imprisonment.
This brings up the question of the role of the state. I have maintained that it would be immoral for the state to intervene in the market. In the natural order of things, it is normal to engage in commerce with whomever and regarding whatever one desires. Why should it be considered criminal if your neighbor forcibly interferes with your buying, selling, renting, leasing, borrowing, and lending, but benevolent if the government does it? The purpose of government is supposed to be to protect life, liberty, and property. And as one of the anti-Federalists stated: "For any government to do more than this is impossible, and every one that falls short of it is defective."
If there is such a thing as a just price, then the extent to which it influences one's pricing decisions should be a function of religion, ethics, and morality — not a function of law. I will even grant that it might be immoral under certain circumstances to charge a particular price. But that doesn't mean that it should be illegal. Vices are not crimes. Saying that the just price is a moral imperative is one thing, but making it a legal device is something else that opens up the deadly can of worms of government intervention that can never be closed. The separation of market and state is just as important as separation of church and state.
The Biblical Case for Laissez-faire
There are two reasons why I must present the biblical case for laissez-faire. The first I have already mentioned: the Scripture is the Christian's authority, not a particular school of economics. The second reason is a very distressing one: the economic views of the typical Christian economist parallel that of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes.
The inequality of wealth is a particular problem for all three individuals. Here is Marx in his Das Kapital:
In proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low, must grow worse…. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation at the opposite pole.
Here is Keynes in his General Theory:
The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.
But here is Robert L. White, a Christian, in Biblical Economics: Economic Myths versus Biblical Values, published just a couple of years ago:
The working of the market economy over the last 20 years has resulted in increasing inequalities, persistent poverty, chronic unemployment, and more persons without health insurance.
These increasing inequalities are "far beyond what could be considered fair and just according to historical standards."
White holds master's degrees in economics and divinity, and has worked as both a pastor and an economist. He was actually one of those 4,800 government economists I mentioned previously. I hope that White's Gospel preaching was more biblical than his economic pronouncements. Here is some more of White's "biblical economics":
If some have too much and others have too little, the answer from the Bible is that nobody should have too much and nobody should have too little. Everyone should have enough.
There is enough to go around so long as each of us takes only what each person needs.
The concept of fairness is that people are obligated to give back in proportion to what they have received.
Social justice requires that a just society be characterized by a continual improvement in the prospects of the least advantaged.
There is no theoretical or empirical reason to expect all of society's economic objectives to be met systematically by the market. In other words, justice, equity, and fairness cannot be assumed to occur automatically, and therefore need to be intentional goals and objectives in the realm of public policy.
According to White, the free-market economy is an "idol." There is a cultural war waging "between the prevailing 'free-market' ideology and biblical values." Today's "prevailing economic ideology" promotes "greed and consumerism over the common good." The lesson we are supposed to receive from Jesus' feeding of the multitudes is that "if bread is broken and shared, there will be enough for all." Because he believes that "the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer," White deplores reductions in tax rates. He rightly decries increased defense spending, but only because it diverts the funding of social programs. He favors national health care and environmentalism. He is also very concerned about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. In short, he rejects laissez-faire in favor of government intervention.
White, of course, is not alone. When noted Christian economist Donald Hay proposed eight biblical principles relating to contemporary economic life, he not only specifically excluded private property rights, he also stated that "the government should not hesitate to use the traditional tax and transfer mechanisms to ensure that those without the means to acquire the basic necessities of life are provided for." But White is typical. His trinity is the state, the earth, and social justice. He is a statist through and through.
Contrary to White, I believe that the whole spirit of the New Testament is one of laissez-faire.
By laissez-faire I mean no government intervention — no protectionism, no granting of privileges, no redistribution of wealth, no antipoverty programs, no unemployment programs, no subsidies, no price fixing, no regulation, no antitrust laws, no labor legislation, no central planning, no nanny state.
Thus, a laissez-faire economic system encompasses free markets, the free price system, free trade, entrepreneurship, consumer sovereignty, private charity, private ownership, private means of production, private property, private goods, private initiative, private innovation, freedom of contract, freedom of choice, individual responsibility, as well as the risk of loss and the potential for failure. And as Rothbard explains: "The laissez-faire or free-market doctrine does not assume that everyone always knows his own interest best; it asserts rather that everyone should have the right to be free to pursue his own interest as he deems best."
It is only natural that men have the freedom to be left alone and to do what they will with their own. Christian statists like Robert White can neither establish nor confirm their position from the New Testament without reading their conception of social justice back into the Bible, applying to the government admonitions given to individuals, and opaquely misreading the Scriptures through interventionist glasses.
Now for the obligatory disclaimer that ends all the libertarian posts...
Minarchism is simple. Its the idea that you cant enforce morality via the state (which is currently immoral in and of itself - Dan 4.17, John 17.9) as kingdom building Calvinists (or the 'religious right') try to do, but instead, as a Christian, you say 'Hi government! I wont bother you if you don't bother me! you do you, I'll do me, sound square?' (Rom 12.1-21)
'Hmmph!' says the state as he carries on digging. (Psalm 9.17, Amos 9:2)
'Super!' says the Christian, as he carries on living for Christ, reading his King James bible, and winning souls. (1 Cor 3.11-13)
The world calls this 'small government'. Christians can call this an answer to the prayer found in 1 Tim 2.1-2.
Get a libertarian Bible Believers commentary here
Check out other Libertarian-Leaning Bible Believers
And regarding Libertarianism, worry not I'm not going by the wayside and becoming 'political' all of a sudden, anybody can be see that slant through my commentaries if you've read them - Ive personally been a Right-Libertarian and Minarchist for years.
A great reading on the subject of church vs state is found in Clarence Larkins classic 'Why I am a Baptist'
Furthermore anybody getting into libertarianism (Its exploding at the minute, as our liberties are being stripped in preparation for Daniels 70th week) or wanting to know more, remember to keep your eye on the Lord and funnel EVERYTHING YOU HEAR, SEE AND READ THROUGH GODS WORD. The Authorized king James Bible.
As a false balance is an abomination (Prov 11.1) as rightly stated by Dennis knowles: