Common Objections to Reformed Libertarianism

Common Objections to Reformed Libertarianism

1. Q: What is the legitimate use of coercion according to libertarianism? Is it consistent with libertarianism to right an injustice that has nothing to do with self-defense? 1. A: proportionally responsive coercion to prior (initiatory coercion) aggression; some ‘broad-sense’ injustices are not matters of aggression and so not matters for responsive coercion; enforcing through responsive coercion restitution by aggressors to victims. 2. Q: Does libertarianism reject civil governance as such? Doesn’t Scripture tell us that civil government should enforce morality? 2. A: No, legit civil governance is administration of civil justice, that is, adjudication of civil disputes concerning aggression upon persons or property (with accompanying laws and enforcement). Civil governance may not use aggression. We distinguish morality proper from civil justice proper. Unique theocratic nature of old covenant Israel involved enforcing morality and that ‘expired’ with new covenant; it was not aggression since God owns all. 3. Q:. Doesn’t libertarianism hold to ‘atomistic’ individualism? …that societal communities are merely fictions? 3. A: Individualistic view of society is not inherent or essential to libertarianism. Praxeological ‘methodological individualist’ view of human action (only individuals act) is not equivalent to individualistic view of society. Reformed libertarianism view is that society is not a single whole, but several distinct kinds of relations, including (various kinds of) real communities / communal relations, not reducible to inter-individual relations. 4. Q: When it comes to the role of the civil magistrate, can Reformed libertarianism be consistent with the historical Reformed confessions? 4. A: Yes, those that corrected the unbiblical teaching of establishmentarianism. Also, per teaching of lawful power.

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Common Objections to Reformed Libertarianism

Question 1: What is the legitimate use of coercion according to libertarianism? Is it consistent with libertarianism to right an injustice that has nothing to do with self-defense?

Question 2: Does libertarianism reject civil governance as such? Doesn’t Scripture tell us that civil government should enforce morality?

Question 3: Doesn’t libertarianism hold to ‘atomistic’ individualism, meaning that societal communities are merely fictions?

Question 4: When it comes to the role of the civil magistrate, can Reformed libertarianism be consistent with the historical Reformed confessions?

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B.A. in Philosophy from Arizona State University. My writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology and aimed at the educated layperson. I am a confessionally Reformed Christian orthodox Presbyterian in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen (1881 – 1937)

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