What is Mere Liberty?
Mere Liberty is about the concept of liberty at its fundamental core. There are two types of liberty - personal liberty; having to do with freedom in the physical sense, and spiritual liberty; having to do with the state of your eternal soul.
More often than not, society speaks of these two types of liberty as being mutually exclusive. That to have ultimate liberty in the physical sense is to put the state of your soul in danger, and that to have ultimate liberty in the spiritual sense, is to put the state of your physical liberty in danger. It is my contention that personal and spiritually liberty are not only compatible, but the way God intended. There is a place where these two roads meet; where personal freedom meets spiritual freedom.
It is said that politics and religion are never to be spoken about in polite society. Why? Well politics and religion tend to be very emotional charged and can cause division. But these two topic deal with personal liberty on the one hand, and spiritual liberty on the other. While it may not be polite to bring them up in refined society, it is necessary to bring them up in a free society. Politics and religion are neither inherently good or bad, but can be twisted and manipulated in order enslave and control. On the other hand they can also be used to encourage mere liberty in its truest sense.
My name is Kerry and I describe myself as a libertarian Christian. I am first and foremost a Christian, and libertarian is how I describe my political philosophy. Of course, when someone hears that I'm a libertarian Christian, the most immediate knee jerk reactions are either 1) you can't be a Christian and a libertarian, or 2) if you are a Christian, then you must be a liberal Christian.
Well I consider myself a reformed Christian. Reformed Christianity is usually marked by the five points of Calvinism. This particular doctrine is actually very conservative - even more so than most conservative Christians are comfortable with. And at the outset I'd like to take the opportunity to say that I'm not a hyper-Calvinist and reject the doctrine of hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism tends to be what "anti-Calvinists" object to. I didn't grow up Calvinist, I grew up in the Lutheran church and decided after my son was born in 2006 to challenge some of the doctrines I grew up believing. I became heavily influenced by Dr. R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Ravi Zacharius, Elyse Fitpatrick, Caroly Mahaney, and Nancy Leigh Demoss.
I have not always been a libertarian. In fact, I grew up in a Republican family hearing my father (whom I love dearly) shot out "blasted Democrats" at the television screen during the evening news. I didn't become a libertarian until the presidential primary cycle in 2007-2008. Prior to that I was a bleeding heart Republican agreeing with anything and everything the GOP told me via Fox News. This primary election cycle was the first real chance I had to participate in choosing the Republican nominee. So I did what I thought any good citizen should do, read the Constitution to find out what the role of government was and then vote for the candidate that most closely matched that. I began using the process of elimination, and came down to only one candidate who actually believed in the Constitution. This wasn't so much of a relief as it was a shock because this one candidate was a known libertarian. The only other time I had heard about libertarians, was when my father was describing a local radio show host. He said, "eh, libertarians believe in legalizing pot." I began researching and digging to find out more and my journey towards Calvinism ironically ran along the same path as my journey towards libertarianism.
None of this is to say that I believe "Jesus was a libertarian," and in fact I don't believe that we can fit the infallible Christ into the our fallible philosophies. But I have found that libertarianism lends itself very well to the Christian who has been called to live in this fallen world. It lends itself well to America's foundation which was heavily influenced by Christianity. There are of course areas where I believe Christianity and libertarianism are at odds, but I don't believe that this aught to keep any Christian from calling themselves libertarian. Actually I find the differences to be rather moot as they are not necessarily central to the theme of libertarianism, but I do intend on addressing them in a future post.
Finally, I must admit to you that I am not a Biblical scholar (although I do study theology), nor a doctor in political science (although I do study it). Any claims that I make about theology and philosophy as matters of fact, I will be appealing to appropriate authorities. My goal is to take what is commonly taught about Christianity and libertarianism and show where they meet. I affectionately refer to myself as an autodidact - or a person who is self taught. I could expound on this one thing here, but in the interest of saving tangents for my blog posts, I will simply point you to this book for the nature of self-teaching.
You will find this blog touches on many things and is not strictly a dialogue between politics and religion. I want the reader to understand a little bit about me and why I'm not simply an "idealist" who can't possibily show how Christianity and libertarianism work in practice.