I would like to thank Eli Casteel and Kevin Gleim for articulating a letter to the editor in response to my article defending the Christian libertarian ideology. As Christians, feeling free and empowered to respond to and engage in politics is incredibly important, and I hope that this topic spurs wider conversation amongst the student body.
With that said, I continue to stand firmly behind my belief that libertarianism is a legitimate derivative of Christianity. I understand how Gleim and Casteel could view libertarianism as a “Silver Rule” ideology, or in other words, an ideology that merely does no harm but does not actively pursue good. In fact, many libertarians are atheists who approach politics from a “Silver Rule” perspective. However, that does not delegitimize the Christians who embrace libertarianism as a means of actively improving our society and helping those less fortunate.
An essential element of carrying out the “Golden Rule” in politics is using effective means to help people in need. When the government gives money to those in poverty, it does not often lead self-sufficiency. I support a limited welfare system that functions to help people weather devastating economic circumstances or to help those who absolutely cannot help themselves. However, welfare merely serves as a Band-Aid and can perpetuate long-term poverty among able-bodied welfare recipients.
The only way to rise above poverty is to become gainfully employed and employment depends on a strong free-market economy. When businesses flourish, more people can obtain jobs to become self-sufficient and productive members of society. Those who are employed then have more discretionary income. When individuals spend this money, it re-enters the economy which provides more jobs for people in need and perpetuates a cycle of growth.
Of course, the government can provide some jobs, but the salaries for these positions come from taxpayer dollars. As a result, the stronger the business climate, the more positions the government can provide. Additionally, when more individuals find employment and earn more money, they pay more in taxes to help fund welfare programs to help people in need. Clearly, a thriving free market plays an essential role in actively improving our overall quality of life, which is why I oppose excessive government intervention and regulation that impedes the success of businesses.
However, I do not idealize the free market, as Casteel and Gleim assert. It is absolutely not a perfect system, but it is the most efficient system we have at our disposal. Many libertarians, particularly those of the “Silver Rule” mindset, may be content with accepting the problems that Casteel and Gleim point out, such as systematic oppression. However, this is where we, as Christians, can become the light and the salt to the world.
It is our responsibility as citizens and as brothers and sisters in Christ to band together to help those in need, and we have the power to do so. We can rise to positions in business and make the choice to not pay women 78.3 cents for every dollar that males earn and to treat workers fairly. We can feed our neighbors who cannot afford to put dinner on the table. We can start nonprofits to support those who have been pushed to the outskirts of society. We can love and help those who experience the brunt of racism, sexism and all other forms of discrimination. We can choose to reject greed and commercialism.
If we truly want carry out God’s mission, we must step up as Christians and as individuals to fulfill the deepest needs of our society. In most cases, the government is incapable of truly lifting up the marginalized. While the state can, and should, provide some necessary services to those in need, we are not performing our duties as Christians if we place the bulk of responsibility in the hands of large government bureaucracies. We must take responsibility for enacting social change.
Contact Lindsey Hubbart at email@example.com