Libertarians, big-L and small-l, seem to be of a certain type: opinionated, strong-willed, certain we are correct, fervent, and intelligent. But we also come in all sorts of different forms: Bleeding heart, religious, atheistic, pagan, smokers, drinkers, etc.
We all fail to live up to our ideals from time to time, but, as libertarians, we are all trying to promote what we see as right, and we all use different means to try to accomplish this. Which is why I get extremely frustrated when I see libertarians snarkily criticizing and personally attacking their fellow liberty-lovers for their personal beliefs and how they incorporate those beliefs into conducting their lives—particularly if those beliefs involve a religion.
You see, I am a Christian, pro-life (I think a fetus is a person, in Gina’s terms), anarchist, small-l libertarian. It took six years of calling myself a libertarian, and a year or two of running from my faith, but in that time I’ve prayed—and reasoned—my way into a justification for my beliefs; even though Christians and libertarians say the two are incompatible.
The long and short of my reasoning is that no act, no matter how moral, “good,” or beneficial the ends, is a moral one if the means are immoral; Jesus didn’t want us to steal or kill “to help the least of these”. I do think it is my moral duty to to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, not just to try to get into it; to help the poor, to live a life of loving outreach, to minister to the sick, downtrodden, and discouraged. These “goods” lose all moral validity when they are coerced into action by the state. They do not, then, come from a heart whose desire is to do good, which is what Christ asks of us, but begrudgingly from a heart that is made to do them.
So, you see, my faith and my politics mesh perfectly, but validating my faith is not the only purpose of this post.
Instead of being met with curiosity and openness when I have announced my faith, I have been personally attacked and condemned for my beliefs by other libertarians—called things such as irrational, indoctrinated, and anti-intellectual for my faith. These things are hard insults to take for any libertarian!
Libertarians should understand better than most that we can come to the same conclusion from different origins. Libertarians are a diverse group of people with a wide variety of beliefs, and we should know better than to condemn others for the non-violent ways that they live. Whether it is a strict paleo adherent condemning someone who chooses to fuel her body with nothing but McDonalds, an anarchist demonizing those who would allow some semblance of a government, or an atheist calling a fellow libertarian brainwashed, ignorant, or unreasonable for their religious beliefs, it isn’t okay for us to criticize a valid, consistent, set of libertarian values, just because they aren’t how we choose to live.
There’s a reason Ron Paul named his movement the R3VOLution: Peace and Love y’all, Peace and Love.