The Challenging, Radical Anti-Statism of the Ancient Israelites

Editor’s Pick. Written by Kevin Vallier.

I’ve recently finished reading the great political theorist Michael Walzer’s book In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible. Walzer’s thesis is that the Biblical writers were “not very interested in politics” in contrast to the ancient Greeks. In fact, “there is a strong anti-political tendency in the biblical texts.” There is no suggestion that the good life involves politics and no claim political participation is a good. The Biblical writers believed strongly in law and created and sustained one of the most complex and subtle legal cultures in history. But kings and leaders were rarely political legislators. Instead, God was the legislator and anonymous rabbis issued various, competing interpretations and extensions of that law. Law was interpreted and extended by men, but it was not their creation.

Walzer has convinced me that the ancient Israelites were radical anti-statists, but in a very different sense than many libertarians. The ancient Israelites did not support the abolition of the nation-state (though many did believe that a move to the monarchy was a rejection of God; see 1 Samuel 8). Instead, they were radical anti-statists because they didn’t care about politics. Libertarians are anti-statists in virtue of our politics, whereas the Israelites were anti-statists because they didn’t have a politics at all. For them, there were things far more important than getting rid of the state or even limiting it.

In this post, I shall argue that the ancient Israelites pose a challenge for libertarians. It is this: if you hate politics so much, why do you like talking and arguing about it? If you really want the state to go away, why do you tie your ups and downs, your joys and sorrows, to what it does? The ancient Israelites, on Walzer’s view, teach us that the best way to beat the state may be to learn to ignore it.

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Render unto Caesar… Nothing

Editor’s Pick. Written by Darryl Perry.

Yeshua did not say that taxes are lawful, nor did he counsel obedience to the Romans. In the context of a society with many competing currencies, most of which did not have Caesar’s inscription, Yushua’s response is subtly seditious. Even if one rejects the idea that all things belong to YHWH, they must acknowledge that nothing rightfully belongs to Caesar. Governments own/create nothing that they did not first take from someone else. I can think of no better argument from the Scriptures against taxation, but counceling against using the “king’s money” is a powerful rejection of “central banks.”

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Is Christianity a War Religion?

Editor’s Pick. Written by Paul Rosenberg.

Yes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. If you’ve ever spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean.

Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today.

Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong.

This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil.

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A Conversation With an Alleged Criminal: Polygamist Joe Darger on Faith and Freedom

Editor’s Pick. Interview by the Libertas Institute.

Libertas Institute: For the benefit of our readers who may not know who you are, please explain who you are and why your story is important.

Joe Darger: My name is Joe Darger, and I published a book along with my wives, and co-author Brooke Adams, titled Love Times Three. It’s our true story of a polygamous marriage. I have three wives and 24 children all together. I’m a strong advocate for the decriminalization of the polygamous culture and plural families.

LI: Many people who have seen you in the news, or the cover of your book, observe that you and your wives don’t look like polygamists they’ve seen in the media who are part of the FLDS. Why is that?

Darger: It’s a natural tendency to judge everybody on outside appearance. We make strong judgments on what a polygamist looks like, and many don’t understand that there’s huge diversity in the polygamist community. One size doesn’t fit all. Even the FLDS didn’t quite dress they way they do now until Warren Jeffs took over, so even they became more extreme.

One of the first things that has been helpful in shifting paradigms is people realizing “Oh, you look like us!” The reality is, even if we didn’t look like the average person on the street, I don’t think people are that far different. We’re all people.

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Christian Anarchism: Communitarian or Capitalist?

Written by Alexander W. Salter for

Abstract: I build on Christoyannopoulous’s (2011) compendium of Christian anarchist thought to shed light on the divergence between Christian anarcho-communitarians and Christian anarcho-capitalists. The anarcho-communitarians believe the institution of private property is contrary to the Word of Christ, while the anarcho-capitalists hold it is justifiable. I show that the anarcho-communitarians misunderstand the nature of property, rendering them unable to reconcile an apparent contradiction between Christ’s command to renounce violence and His violent cleansing of the temple. The Christian anarcho-capitalists, drawing upon the philosophy of natural law, face no such difficulty. Although their position is far from unassailable, the Christian anarcho-capitalist paradigm is currently the only theoretically consistent interpretation, and will remain so unless the Christian anarcho-communitarians can discover and advance a new theoretical framework.
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Statists Hate Free Will

Written by Jacob Hornberger for

Sometimes the cashier at the grocery store asks people whether they would like to donate one dollar to some charity. Most of the people I’ve seen say no. Whenever that happens, I think to myself how statists must be grinding their teeth in anger and rage when they hear that. If it were up to them, the state would enact a law requiring everyone to donate that one dollar.

How can I be so sure about that? Because that’s the entire foundation of the welfare state that statists have foisted upon our nation. Statists hate the idea of people being free to say “no” when it comes to charity. So, they’ve erected an enormous system that coerces people into making charitable contributions.
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