Our nation’s degeneration into tyranny seemed to accelerate in 2020 as a new virus and the respiratory illness caused by it, one with a fatality rate that should not have caused any more fright or alarm than the ubiquitous threat of death hanging over every one of us every day, was used by America’s tyrant-at-heart government “leaders” to force upon a once freedom loving people an increasingly absurd assortment of preventative measures lacking the one thing that might have justified them (were not the ordering of them a violation of God-given individual rights and the founding principles of this nation): evidence that they would do more good than harm, or at least that they would do some good. These assorted measures, including forcing businesses to close and ordering the public to wear cloth or paper masks through which viruses pass freely, allowed our already spendthrift Senators and Congresspeople to feel justified passing wildly irresponsible “stimulus” or “relief” measures and an even larger than usual “omnibus spending bill” batch of giveaways to foreign nations and special interests, making the insane debt accumulation of prior decades look like a miser’s austerity by comparison. Meanwhile, the president who claimed to want to “drain the swamp” again proved himself little different from the swamp’s other denizens by offering only brief opposition to the omnibus bill profligacy while urging more profligacy in the relief measures. Yet, in spite of this, once sensible and conservative people have continued to treat this big-government “debt king” narcissist, who pays lip service to beliefs his lifelong pattern of behavior suggest he can’t possibly hold, as the quasi-messianic instantiation of all their fondest hopes and highest ideals, their “anointed one” who alone is the only hope for rescuing America from the precipice, a holy warrior battling ceaselessly against establishment insiders and maybe pedophiles. That they are treating Trump the same way “progressives” treated Barack Obama, something for which they rightly mocked Obama’s effusive followers, seems lost on these “Trump train” MAGAites.
Nevertheless, the irrational exuberance of Trump supporters failed to give him enough support in battleground states to prevent the greater of the two main-party evils from becoming our next president, albeit by suspect means that those relying on mainstream media and YouTube may never hear about. Though some open and unbiased (or differently biased) news sources like NTD News and The Epoch Times have reported on these matters without (yet) getting banned from YouTube, neither these news sources nor such others as One America News (which has suffered intermittent blocks and bans by the platform) and Newsmax ever show up among that platform’s curated selection of news items for the general public. Only people who subscribe to these channels or visit them directly (or subscribe to off-platform publications) end up hearing more than one side of the story. Overall, 2020 has been more politically disappointing and rationally inexplicable than any prior election I can recall, though I suppose the 2016 Republican Party primary (which made me finally give up hope that the lesser evil GOP would ever become something other than a less bad alternative to the GEP, the Greater Evil Party) deserves the prize for second place.
Since my approach to politics is to first work out my principles then to vote in accord with those principles, regardless of (even contrary to) what I perceive to be in my personal interests in the near term, I won’t claim to empathize with or even understand what motivates most voters to do what they do. I can somewhat understand and respect pragmatic realists who always choose the less bad of the horrible Republican-Democratic options because they see no viable alternatives, but the tortured intellectual gymnastics that supporters of candidates like Obama 2008/2012 and Trump 2016/2020 go through to convince themselves and others that bad candidates are really amazing, and their extreme adoration of these candidates, is beyond my ability to comprehend. Presidential elections in this country make less sense to me all the time.
I have found that I can count on every election to demonstrate one thing, though, and it’s the same thing that every session of Congress demonstrates: Americans need to take as much power as possible away from the government that these elections sustain, and this need is urgent. As this government has grown larger and more intrusive, so that an excellent YouTube channel I discovered not too long ago (and hope will remain unbanned by the platform long enough for one of the newer, uncensored media sites to create a Roku channel as feature-rich as YouTube’s) regularly emphasizes that the US government is the largest government in world history, self-serving people of increasingly dishonorable character have become more and more motivated to seek office while honorable and moral people who would make the best public officials rarely run for office and receive little support from voters when they do. The more powerful the government becomes, the more intensely would-be tyrants and greedy parasites strive to become part of it. Continuing to choose between two increasingly bad political parties will do nothing more than vary the rate of this nation’s decline.
Though protest registration and voting for a third party can provide some relief from the evil monotony of Republican-Democratic voting, even the best of the third party options prove disappointing when one examines them closely. Some reflection on my political principles and their application, and on how I might best bring my political affiliations and actions into conformity with my political principles and (more fundamental and foundational) Christian faith, seems a worthwhile way to begin the new year.
Genuine trust in God’s absolute sovereignty, including the provisions of common grace, should make one highly libertarian in one’s politics. So should an understanding of human depravity as taught by Scripture: by spreading power among as large a number of fallen human beings as possible, so that small amounts of power are made to serve individuals’ varying interests and objectives, and their differing sinful impulses, avoids magnifying the influence of any single person or group of people, whereas centralized power makes the least suitable people, those who least value liberty and most desire to dominate others, the most strongly motivated to seek, and the most likely to acquire, election to public office.
At the same time, alas, modern America’s Libertarian Party, along with such other secular libertarian entities as Reason, insists on making the case for liberty on the basis of values at odds with Scripture and sound morals. Prostitutes and pornographers become “sex workers,” and the harmlessness, “fun,” and economic benefits of “sex work” get extolled. Illicit narcotics shouldn’t be legalized just because individuals have a right to make their own decisions; rather, they should be legalized because they aren’t really as dangerous as people make them out to be and, in fact, can have various benefits and have been used by some worthy role models. A voluntary oath and contract, marriage, comes to be seen as contrary to individual freedom, so a novelist popular among libertarians portrays characters she considers heroic and admirable as unrepentant adulterers. And so on. Evils are really goods; dark is really light; down is really up: God’s own morals revealed in Scripture, like large and intrusive human government, must be rejected and overturned if human freedom is to flourish (Isaiah 5:18–23, Romans 1:17–32).
Now, if someone is two or more generations removed from his Christian forebears, assuming he has any Western Christian ancestry at all, he probably can’t help being what a traditionally pious Christian can only perceive as a disgusting pervert radically at odds with the moral system of Scripture. The twisted values and beliefs of amoral secular libertarianism come to him naturally. He’s just trying to be open minded and objective and, from the perspective of his Bible-rejecting worldview, he honestly has no sound basis upon which to judge “sex work” and other consensual aberrations morally objectionable. I understand that. In many ways, I applaud this person’s honesty and his effort to live in a manner consistent with his worldview.
As a Bible-believing Christian, however, I can’t join the secular libertarian movement he finds copacetic, even if we do share common objectives on a high percentage of political issues. This makes me sad. People with common objectives should be able to form common movements and make common cause on those matters about which they agree. One thing that might allow liberty-minded Christians and secular libertarians to work together on their common objectives would be to reconstruct the too secular, too amoral LP platform into a faith-friendly form that the liberty-minded Christians could accept and endorse, maintaining most of the same political objectives but justifying them on a sounder, more pious basis.
To that end, I now append my Bible-believing Christian rewrite of the Libertarian Party platform. Rather than simply rewrite it without noting where I’m making changes, I present my rewrite as a plank-by-plank review of and commentary upon the LP platform. Since I find myself tending toward the opinion that political liberty can only be practical within the bounds of an explicitly Christian and biblical moral milieu, this attempt to find common ground with secular libertarians is probably best construed as a thought experiment, along the lines of my earlier “Culture War Peace Proposal” and related remarks. In the end, I will probably settle on a viewpoint more in line with the thinking of Roman Catholic integralists or Reformed theonomists. For now, however, I’ll continue entertaining my libertarian notions.
It is also my hope that this rewrite might justify my leaving the Constitution Party in favor of the Libertarian Party. In addition to having this year again proved itself non-viable in California (which I’m beginning to suspect might secretly be a province of communist China rather than a state of individualist America), neither qualifying for the ballot nor getting enough people to sign on as write-in electors for its presidential ticket, the CP has increasingly been giving me the impression that its most active members are, in Trumpian fashion, more committed to nationalism and populism than to strict adherence to the US Constitution. Though I suppose it is better for politicians to represent the interests of the common people than the interests of a select group of elites, making populism better than the wealthy-corporatist-globalist-elitist norm, my deepest political desire is to see politicians and the political order act and function in a disinterested, unbiased way, one that is neither populist nor elitist, that treats the common masses and every group of elites the same, serving no group of citizens’ interests over the interests of any other. I do, however, think a sort of nationalism both suitable and essential for our politicians and political system, since the sole function of the US government is to protect the rights of US citizens and legal residents.
This doesn’t mean our government has the authority to violate the rights of non-citizens, illegal residents, and people in other countries: no government has the authority to violate anyone’s God-given rights who has not forfeited those rights by committing crimes violating the God-given rights of others and had that forfeiture validated through due process. It does mean that it is not the job of the US government to protect the rights of non-citizens who have or wish to enter and live in the US illegally, to protect the rights of people in other countries, to ensure the legitimacy and stability of foreign governments, or to defend the sovereignty of foreign nations. These responsibilities lie with foreign peoples and their respective governments, not with the US government or US taxpayers.
I suppose, then, that you could call my viewpoint Christian nationalist libertarianism. In what follows, I will treat this viewpoint as that of a group or party of like-thinking individuals. Since it is entirely possible that I alone have this precise congeries of political convictions, the we-ness and us-ness of what follows should perhaps be seen as a literary or rhetorical device, or as an affectation. I formulate it as an alternative platform that I and my fellow Christian nationalist libertarians (if there are any) may sign on to if we join the Libertarian Party, showing that, though we find no other ballot-qualified party as near to our own views, we still cannot endorse all aspects of the LP’s current platform. If you would like to sign on to this alternative platform yourself, you may add a supportive comment. If you’d like to suggest improvements or additions, feel free to add a comment to that effect.
Please note that the footnotes and links provided, even when they appear within the rewritten platform planks, are not part of the proposed platform; they are additional commentary.
Toward a Christian Nationalist Libertarian Platform: Quotation, Commentary, and Rewriting of the LP Platform
Preface and Introduction concluded, we proceed to our platform. Topics of discussion include the preamble; statement of principles; personal liberty and self-stewardship under God; freedom of expression and communication; privacy; personal relationships; the murder of innocent and helpless unborn individuals; parental rights; crime and justice; the death penalty; self-defense and economic liberty; property and contract; the environment, energy, and resources; government finance and spending; fiscal and monetary policy, government workers, marketplace freedom, and licensing; the rights of degenerates to pay and receive payment for perversity; labor markets and education; health care and health crises; retirement and charity; securing liberty and national sovereignty, and conducting international affairs; trade and border security; rights and discrimination; representative government and election laws; the right of the people to alter, or to abolish and replace, tyrannical governments; unconstitutional administrative agencies; and how this platform’s failure to address some topics doesn’t mean it supports the status quo. These topics are followed by the closing remarks and some footnotes containing references, remarks, and asides.
Concerning the Preamble ^
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty: a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and are not forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
In the following pages we set forth our basic principles and enumerate various policy stands derived from those principles.
These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
As nationalist libertarians setting forth a platform for political action within the American nation, we Bible-believing Christian libertarians prefer a preamble stripped of this platform’s whole-world rhetoric. Though we do hope that the principles of liberty will take hold in other countries, ours is a national movement seeking to reestablish liberty in our own nation, the United States of America. In addition, since many older advocates of libertarianism have passed away since the LP first took shape and set forth its overly secular set of principles, we think the party’s “in our lifetime” goal too grandiose. We therefore adopt the following revised wording:
As Christian nationalist libertarians, we seek an American nation of liberty: a nation in which all individuals are sovereign under God over their own lives and are not forced to sacrifice or act contrary to their values in order to satisfy or benefit others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous nation, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and, though we recognize that the diversity that freedom brings will often include opinions and actions that we Christians must condemn and oppose (through persuasion, not coercion), we welcome that diversity as the necessary result of our honoring the truth that God has granted to all individuals authority over their own lives. The nation we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
In the following pages we set forth our basic principles and enumerate various policy stands derived from those principles.
These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a nation set free, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
Concerning the Statement of Principles ^
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life—accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action—accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property—accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
Note: The Statement of Principles was approved at the Convention in Dallas in 1974.
NEW STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
We Christian nationalist libertarians, who may become members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual, from the beginning of human personhood at conception to the end of it at natural death.
We hold that all individuals have the right, under God, to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, cognizant of the fact that they will stand accountable to Almighty God for their choices (Revelation 20:12–15), so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, the major political parties and most alternative parties grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and to seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life—accordingly, we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others and the abolition of the legal murder of unborn human individuals, commonly known as abortion; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action—accordingly, we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form, though we grant that communities may utilize government to ensure that forms of expression contrary to good (biblical) morals (obscenity, pornography, nudity, sexual deviance, and the like) be restricted to private venues where only consenting adults will be exposed to them; and (3) the right to property—accordingly, we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation. We do recognize, however, that those consenting to have their rights ensured by the governments of their localities, states, and the United States—either explicitly by becoming citizens or implicitly by retaining the citizenship with which they are born—thereby accept the responsibility to pay to maintain said governments through such constitutional taxes and fees as may be established for that purpose. The same principle applies to legal residents who are not citizens, since the rights of legal residents are also protected. We therefore reject the notion that all taxation is theft, much though we may agree that most current taxation is unjust and unjustifiable “legal plunder” (as Bastiat called it). We would also add, and we emphasize, that all persons not willing to pay to have their rights protected within US jurisdiction should be free to leave the US without fear of retribution from any governing authority within the US, and without having to pay any fee to give up citizenship or resident status. Additionally, because we oppose divided loyalties among American citizens, we oppose the granting of dual citizenship to any individual: anyone wishing to become or remain a US citizens should be required to give up citizenship in any other nation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights (having been instituted for the sole purpose of protecting such rights), we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
Concerning Planks 1.0, 1.1 ^
1.0 Personal Liberty
Individuals are inherently free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may rightly initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Libertarians reject the notion that groups have inherent rights. We support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.
Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.
Since human individuals do not create themselves but are, rather, created by Almighty God, they do not own themselves or their physical bodies (Romans 9:20–21). As God owns every forest animal and every domesticated animal that humans claim to own (Psalms 50:10), so he owns every human individual. While this is true in the ultimate sense, and while it is most emphatically true in the case of the elect (1 Corinthians 6:20), God has granted individuals broad stewardship authority over their minds, bodies, and possessions, and this divine recognition of human rights of ownership (in the derivative sense of stewardship under God, not an absolute sense) is presupposed and so endorsed throughout Scripture (Exodus 20:15,17; Matthew 20:15). Were this still a Christian culture, speaking of “self-ownership” would not be a problem, since all would understand that “ownership” was meant in a derivative sense equivalent to “self-stewardship under God”: God has placed into our possession certain properties that belong to him. Since this is no longer a Christian culture, however, we Bible-believing Christian libertarians must reject “self-ownership” as secular libertarians understand it. We must emphasize, for instance, that no human individual can ever correctly claim that his rights have been violated by God: in their relationship to God, human individuals have no rights, unless God in his absolute sovereignty should choose to grant them some (John 1:12).
It should be added that, though atheists and agnostics of libertarian temperament often wish to assert individual self-ownership and innate or natural individual rights, and though some may persuade themselves that there are sound philosophical arguments for believing this assertion true, a universe where God does not or may not exist, where there exists no moral authority above human individuals, offers no persuasive refutation of any individual who wishes to deny or violate the concepts of self-ownership and natural rights. Whether or not individual rights exist in a godless universe, their existence has no normative force against individual preference and will. As the Dostoevsky character rightly said, if there is no God then all is permitted. In point of fact, all is permitted because no one above the human individual exists to forbid anything, including aggression and violence against other, weaker individuals. We Christian, Bible-believing libertarians hold it to be undeniable that atheistic and agnostic libertarianism, more generally referred to as secular libertarianism, is nonsense and should persuade no one. In terms of unbelief (atheism or agnosticism), the libertarian philosophy is just an assertion of the personal preferences, the values, of libertarians, people who happen to prefer liberty and an order where individual rights are recognized and respected; individuals with different preferences needn’t feel obligated to honor the libertarians’ preferences over their own. Only in the theistic framework we Christians embrace can the libertarian philosophy be said to have normative force.
In light of these facts, we adopt the following new wording:
NEW 1.0 Personal Liberty
By God’s grace in creating them so, individuals are inherently free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may rightly initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Libertarians reject the notion that groups have inherent rights. We also reject the idea that individual rights vary based on group membership, whether the group in view be a gender, a race, a belief system, or something else. We recognize no rights but individual rights, and we hold individual rights to be more important than any pragmatic objective in the name of which statists would abridge them.
NEW 1.1 Self-Stewardship Under God
God has given individuals authority over their bodies and minds, over their entire selves material and immaterial, making them the sole stewards thereof, though he as their creator retains ultimate ownership. As the sole stewards of themselves, they have rights over themselves that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life. Though they have authority under God to risk their lives if they choose, they do not have authority to intentionally end their lives, for God retains and alone possesses such authority.
Concerning Plank 1.2 ^
1.2 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation, or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.
We Christian nationalist libertarians recognize that when this nation’s founders spoke of “religion,” they invariably meant the Christian religion in all its denominational variety. Shared biblical heritage naturally extended the concept to include the varieties of Judaism and such secular offshoots of the Christian faith as deism and other generic varieties of monotheism, philosophically illegitimate though they may be given their retention of biblical and Christian concepts unjustified by their non-Christian, non-biblical presuppositions. We also recognize that early advocates of religious liberty, such as the Baptist preacher Roger Williams, believed freedom of conscience must extend even to the faithless and unbelieving, and we agree with these early advocates that conscience may not be compelled by man: since individuals are accountable to God alone for their belief or unbelief, no man may compel another to believe or pretend to believe other that what he does believe and voluntarily chooses to profess. We are, therefore, substantially in agreement with the Libertarian Party’s stance on religious freedom. However, in light of certain modern beliefs labeling themselves “religion,” such as Satanism which, though typically comprising atheists intending to offend Christians rather than to actually worship the Devil, professes to worship the enemy of the “nature’s God” said in this nation’s Declaration of Independence to have given individuals the rights libertarians so greatly value, we resist the blanket “any religion” application of this principle, though we are not sure how to safely avoid the implication that any belief that calls itself a “religion” should be recognized as such.
Concerning “full freedom of expression” and opposition to “government censorship, regulation, or control” of the means and acts of expressions, we have already noted our belief that governments, particularly those of local communities, though they indeed may not legitimately ban or suppress free expression in the private venues of consenting adults, may rightly regulate what forms of expression may be broadcast in the public space where both non-adults and adults who do not consent may be present, and where both non-adults and adults who do not consent have as much right to be present as anyone else. Neither obscene language, nor nudity, nor sex acts, nor photographic or filmed pornography, nor description and promotion of sexual deviance, nor any other form of expression contrary to good (biblical) morals and the standards of a given community can claim to be expressible “by right” in the public space, though all such forms of expression involving only consenting adults may claim to be expressible “by right” in consenting adults’ private venues.
NEW 1.2 Expression and Communication
Within the private venues of consenting adults, we support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation, or control of communications media and technology. In the public space, we support all forms of free expression that do not significantly risk exposing non-consenting adults or non-adults to materials violating sound (biblical) morals or the prevailing standards of the local community. Neither obscene language, nor nudity, nor sex acts, nor photographic or filmed pornography, nor description and promotion of sexual deviance, nor any other form of expression contrary to good (biblical) morals and the standards of the local community can claim to be expressible “by right” in the public space, though all such forms of expression involving only consenting adults may claim to be expressible “by right” in consenting adults’ private venues.
On matters of faith and religion, we hold that government’s sole role and only competence is to protect the right of individuals to follow the dictates of conscience in these matters by preserving religious liberty and punishing acts of force or fraud undertaken in opposition to or in support of any religion or belief system. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others, and we support the freedom of religious believers to apply their faiths to the entirety of their lives, including their politics, and to peacefully promote their beliefs in private venues and the public square.
Concerning Plank 1.3 ^
Libertarians advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.
Concerning Plank 1.4 ^
1.4 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration, or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, promote, license, or restrict personal relationships, regardless of the number of participants. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Until such time as the government stops its illegitimate practice of marriage licensing, such licenses must be granted to all consenting adults who apply.
We Christian nationalist libertarians deplore the amoral “anything goes” rhetoric prevalent among secular libertarians. Rather than limit their application of libertarian principles to questions of proper political order and the need for individuals to interact solely on a voluntary rather than coercive basis, secular libertarians often use language and arguments indicating that acts and inclinations condemned by Scripture are not only to be legally tolerated but considered morally unobjectionable and, very often, praised for bringing practical benefits. The political and interpersonal principles of liberty should not be confused with a full and correct moral system. God has revealed the full and correct moral system to which all humankind will be held accountable in the Bible, summarizing it for our benefit in both two-point (Matthew 22:36–40) and ten-point (Exodus 20:3–17) forms, and illustrating its meaning and proper application through numerous examples set in the historical and cultural contexts of his people over time. Proposed or perceived practical benefits to beliefs and behaviors contrary to this moral system we reject without reservation.
That said, we recognize that the American constitutional republic is not a reestablishment of ancient Israel’s theocratic order, true though it is that no nation has ever been ordered more rightly than Israel was as God first established it, prior to its transformation into a human monarchy because of its people’s faithlessness (Deuteronomy 4:5–8, 1 Samuel 8:7–22). In a civil order where God has not and will not offer personally to rule, where fallen human individuals (who should never be entrusted with any more power than is absolutely necessary) must make and enforce the laws, we maintain that a liberty-centered constitutional republic of the sort established by this nation’s founding documents, among which the Declaration of Independence must be considered of central philosophical importance as a summary of the nation’s core principles and the interpretive lens through which we must understand our Constitution’s original intent and fixed meaning, is the best that can be achieved this side of Christ’s return and God’s remaking of heaven and earth. We also recognize that, because spreading power among the largest number of fallen individuals possible is the surest (though not an entirely certain) way to ensure that no individual or group of people gains too much power, a representative government established democratically is preferable to undemocratic alternatives, though the legal protections against democratic excesses instituted by our nation’s founders, such as strict division and separation of powers (and the checks and balances those entail), must be maintained, possibly strengthened, and in some cases reestablished (such as by ending unconstitutional administrative agencies).
On the question of marriage and marriage licensing, while we agree that voluntary contractual arrangements between consenting adults do not need and should not require government approval, we note that there is nothing out of order in requiring that the legal body tasked with enforcing contracts be provided with and allowed to review and confirm the legality of such contracts. We therefore do not see any practical way to end government involvement in marriage contracts entirely. Additionally, because marriage is an institution established and defined by God as the union of male and female in a one-flesh procreative bond (Genesis 1:27–28, Genesis 2:21–24, Matthew 19:3–8), the word “marriage” has a fixed meaning which the fallen proclivities of some individuals have no power to change. If the government chooses to call contracts of union between persons of the same sex “marriage,” it thereby defies reality and assaults the Christian faith. We Christian nationalist libertarians, therefore, must oppose the Libertarian Party’s endorsement of non-heterosexual “marriage” licensing.
Nevertheless, we agree with the Libertarian Party that the interpersonal unions of consenting adults are not properly subject to government’s interference. We therefore propose that all government oversight of contracts of interpersonal union, whether the marriage unions of males and females in accord with God’s Word or the non-marriage unions of the godless and perverse, be rebranded as “civil unions” in all activities of all levels of government. Government is neither competent to address nor prudently trusted to handle the defining of “marriage” for American citizens and residents. Attempts by Christians and anti-Christians to use the force of government to impose the correct (biblical) or incorrect (perverse) understanding of the term “marriage” should be abandoned by all sides. If we are to live peaceably with one another in a free and open, liberty-centered society, we must get government out of the business of defining “marriage.”
In sum, then:
NEW 1.4 Personal Relationships
While we reject the amoral and secular understanding of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as innate and intractable, we agree with the Libertarian Party that the liberty-centered nature of America’s constitutional order means that government has no legitimate authority to act in matters of sexual conduct between consenting adults, either to forbid such activity in private or to punish those engaged in such activity when their private activity becomes publicly known. Private perversities are private business and should not affect in any way how government treats any individual. The correction of such perversities must remain the task of morally (biblically) enlightened individuals working through persuasion, not coercion, both independently and in groups. This principle should inform law and determine how government interacts with adult individuals, from laws concerning contracts of interpersonal (civil) unions to immigration laws to laws regulating military service.
We Christian nationalist libertarians, however, resist the application of this principle to any matter involving children, who by definition may not give their consent, and so may never be said to have freely chosen, to engage in perverse (unbiblical) interpersonal arrangements. Child custody and adoption laws and legal decisions do not affect solely the consent-capable adults involved; they also affect children who cannot legally consent. We must therefore insists that, whenever children (or others incapable of giving consent) are involved, civil authorities work to ensure that the children (or consent-incapable others) are protected from the perverse interpersonal arrangements of adults who choose to act contrary to biblical morality.
The issue of those who cannot consent aside, we agree with the Libertarian Party that consenting adults must be left free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. So that advocates of a biblically and historically sound definition of “marriage” may live peaceably with Bible-rejecting advocates of alternative viewpoints, and granting that the government which must enforce contracts between individuals may legitimately require the opportunity to review and ensure the legality of such contracts, we propose that all contracts of interpersonal union between consenting adults be called “civil unions” by all levels of government, leaving debate about the definition of “marriage” and the propriety of various arrangements to individuals.
Concerning Plank 1.5 ^
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
NEW 1.5 Abortion
We Christian nationalist libertarians stand aghast at the moral cowardice of this Libertarian Party plank and its violation of the most basic principles of libertarianism. The right to life, from conception to natural death, regardless of the state of development or present function of an individual’s faculties, is the most central and essential of all the rights that libertarianism claims to honor. An act of aggression does not become acceptable because the individual attacked is very young, very immature, underdeveloped, or temporarily lacking the ability to exercise all the capacities that normal human adults may exercise. Neither does an act of aggression become acceptable because one commits it through an agent who happens to be a medical doctor.
Elective abortion must be abolished. Anyone who claims to honor individual rights but denies the right to life of individuals not yet born should neither be supported nor respected, nor should such a person be called a libertarian. The “pro-choice” view on abortion is not a “good-faith” view, period, whether justified on the basis of “evictionism” (as though one could legitimately murder renters for failure to pay) or in some other manner.
That said, we recognize the right of individuals to preserve their own lives even if doing so risks resulting in the death of another. In addition to allowing individuals to use potentially lethal force to defend themselves against aggressors using such force, this principle permits a mother who may not survive taking a pregnancy to term to have her doctor attempt an early delivery of her unborn child, even if the delivery needed to save the mother’s life must be performed at such an early point that the child’s death is likely or certain given our current state of technology. While this is commonly called a “life of the mother exception” to the prohibition of abortion, we reject this terminology. Early delivery, even early delivery certain (at present) to fail, is not abortion. Abortion is the active and intentional killing, the murder, of an innocent unborn child. It always deserves condemnation and should never be countenanced by law.
Concerning Plank 1.6 ^
1.6 Parental Rights
Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, provided that the rights of children to be free from abuse and neglect are also protected.
While we Christian nationalist libertarians accept that natural parents “have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, provided that the rights of children to be free from abuse and neglect are also protected,” we see involvement of children in the perverse (unbiblical) interpersonal arrangements of adults who are not their natural parents, such as through adoption into homosexual, polygamous, and polyandrous homes, as best avoided. We also wonder if some perverse interpersonal arrangements between natural parents and others may be properly construed as abuse of the children present in the households where such arrangements take place, though we are inclined to join the Libertarian Party in erring on the side of opposing government intrusion into these matters whenever possible.
Though polygamous and polyandrous unions may produce natural offspring, and may thus merit equal treatment under the law, homosexual unions cannot produce natural offspring. While we recognize the right of individuals to choose to involve themselves in unions incapable of natural procreation, we do not recognize any claim by individuals in such unions to a “right” to also have children while in such a union. We are therefore inclined to oppose the adoption of children into households where both parents are of the same sex while opposite-sex couples are still seeking children to adopt. We are also inclined to have government give preference in adoption law to opposite-sex couples over both polygamous and polyandrous unions, though we see these latter as more natural and more deserving of tolerance than homosexual unions. Though we urge them not to do so lest they face God’s wrath in the world to come, and though we in fact urge those experiencing homosexual impulses never to indulge them and never to form into couples with partners of their own sex (Leviticus 18:22), we grant that homosexual couples might have a right to procreate unnaturally through the use of technology. At present, we do not propose involving government in the regulation of such.
Our revised plank, therefore, reads as follows:
NEW 1.6 Parental Rights
Natural parents have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, provided that the rights of children to be free from abuse and neglect are also protected. Parents who have legally adopted children without misleading or deceiving birth parents, adoption agency personnel, or legal authorities have the same right, as do legal guardians who have become guardians without deceiving a child’s parents, legal authorities, or other relevant parties. We urge all agencies and officials involved in adoptions and assignments of guardianship to favor married heterosexual couples uninvolved in deviant practices and known to adhere to traditional morals and mores over others seeking to adopt or become legal guardians, at least in all cases where no interested party is part of a child’s immediate or extended family, but beyond this urging we do not propose to issue any specific legal directives. We instead leave these decisions to the case-by-case discretion of the individuals, agencies, and authorities involved, recognizing that complex situations may require complex and difficult solutions.
Concerning Plank 1.7 ^
1.7 Crime and Justice
Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights. Laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. We oppose the prosecutorial practice of “over-charging” in criminal prosecutions so as to avoid jury trials by intimidating defendants into accepting plea bargains.
We Christian nationalist libertarians mostly agree with this plank’s original wording, though its inclusion of a topic given its own plank later in the platform (plank 2.10) strikes us as suggesting an unhealthy obsession on the part of the plank’s framers, and though some of our changes to prior planks (notably planks 1.2 and 1.4) mandate related changes to this one. We propose the following revised wording:
NEW 1.7 Crime and Justice
Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property (and all rights subsidiary to these and necessarily implied by them), and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights. Laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm, or to breaking of local ordinances protecting equal access to public spaces, or to the violation of laws protecting children and young adults from becoming involved in the immoral practices of adults before the age of consent. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws making victimless private or consensual acts “crimes,” such as laws outlawing gambling and forbidding the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We support restitution to victims to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. We oppose the prosecutorial practice of “over-charging” in criminal prosecutions so as to avoid jury trials by intimidating defendants into accepting plea bargains, but we affirm prosecutors’ freedom to propose plea bargains in pursuit of justice, such as by allowing someone properly on trial for a greater crime to plead guilty to a lesser one in exchange for providing evidence or witnessing against someone whose conviction for a more serious crime or more numerous crimes would do more to protect the general public than the conviction of this lesser offender on an original charge.
Concerning Plank 1.8 ^
1.8 Death Penalty
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). God’s institution of the death penalty as the proper punishment for murder predates the laws of Moses and theocratic Israel. So far as we can determine from Scripture, this God-given law is valid for all time and in all places, being neither specific to Israel’s theocracy nor restricted to ancient times. While we share the Libertarian Party’s discomfort with state administration of this most profound penalty, given that biblical laws of evidence are not always respected (Deuteronomy 17:6) and that human magistrates do not always behave honorably, we Christian nationalist libertarians do not feel we have the authority to oppose God on this matter. Therefore,
NEW 1.8 Death Penalty
We consider the administration of the death penalty by the state the legitimate and proper punishment, true justice, for murder, the voluntary and intentional killing of a human being for any reason but self-defense (Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:3–4). We insist that the strictest rules of evidence be applied before its use (Deuteronomy 17:6), and we grant that judicial discretion may be required to deal with relevant forms of mitigation not based on self-defense, such as temporarily diminished capacities through involuntary exposure to mild-altering substances or disease-induced changes in mental function.
Concerning Planks 1.9, 2.0 ^
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights—life, liberty, and justly acquired property—against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
2.0 Economic Liberty
Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.
Concerning Plank 2.1 ^
2.1 Property and Contract
As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements [new spelling: abridgments] of such fundamental rights. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.
We Christian nationalist libertarians endorse the property-and-contract plank as written, though we would modify the spelling of one word to agree with the currently preferred American usage, as we’ve noted in brackets above.
Concerning Planks 2.2, 2.3 ^
Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.
2.3 Energy and Resources
While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
We Christian nationalist libertarians propose no substantive changes to the environment and energy-and-resources planks. Though usage authorities whom we respect prefer to use “proven” only adjectivally, so that they would advise “proved” rather than “proven” in the environment plank, we judge the use of “proven” here unproblematic in light of popular usage and sufficiently clear. We therefore endorse these planks as currently worded.
Concerning Plank 2.4 ^
2.4 Government Finance and Spending
All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. We support any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any tax for any reason. To the extent possible, we advocate that all public services be funded in a voluntary manner.
In light of our earlier remarks on the need for those whose rights are protected by a government to help fund that government, We Christian nationalist libertarians would alter this plank significantly. As with the earlier plank on abortion, we include our commentary as part of our version of this plank:
NEW 2.4 Government Finance and Spending
We Christian nationalist libertarians recognize that even the sort of minimalist government we support must be funded. We also recognize that living as a citizen or legal resident of a nation places one in a covenant with that nation’s government: as that government agrees to protect one’s rights, one agrees to fulfill certain responsibilities toward that government, most notably the responsibility to help fund it. Similar covenantal principles apply to one’s relationship with the governments of one’s state and locality. If one wishes not to consent to such covenantal relationships with the governments of one’s locality, state, or nation, one must signal that lack of consent by leaving the locality, state, or nation. One does not have a right simply to enjoy the benefits of the covenant while refusing to fulfill the reciprocal responsibilities of it.
That said, it is our judgment that the income tax violates individuals’ privacy rights by forcing employees and employers to provide extensive information to the government that they might prefer to keep to themselves. It is also our judgment that a national government performing only its constitutionally authorized functions—protecting the rights of its citizens and legal residents, and defending the nation’s sovereignty and independence—should be able to acquire sufficient revenue without resorting to an income tax. We believe the same is true of state and local governments that perform only their proper, limited functions.
We therefore join the Libertarian Party in calling for the repeal of the income tax and abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. We also join the LP’s call for the elimination of all federal programs and services not required by the US Constitution, though we grant that the ubiquity of unconstitutional programs and services, and the people’s learned dependency upon them, will make gradual elimination rather than immediate termination necessary in some cases. We, too, oppose legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors and support initiatives to reduce or abolish most taxes; we prefer, however, that the programs, services, or other expenses covered by a tax be reduced or eliminated before rather than after the tax itself is reduced or eliminated. While the LP’s “we advocate that all public services be funded in a voluntary manner” strikes us as vague and impractical, we support, whenever practical, funding public services with fees paid by those using the services and replacing services provided by public agencies with services provided by private organizations.
Concerning Planks 2.5–2.9 ^
2.5 Government Debt
Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.
2.6 Government Employees
We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment. We advocate replacing defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered in the private sector, so as not to impose debt on future generations without their consent.
2.7 Money and Financial Markets
We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combated. Those who enjoy the possibility of profits must not impose risks of losses upon others, such as through government guarantees or bailouts. We support ending federal student loan guarantees and special treatment of student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.
2.8 Marketplace Freedom
Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise.
Libertarians support the right of every person to earn an honest and peaceful living through the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services. Accordingly, we oppose occupational and other licensing laws that infringe on this right or treat it as a state-granted privilege. We encourage certifications by voluntary associations of professionals.
Concerning Plank 2.10 ^
2.10 Sex Work
The Libertarian Party supports the decriminalization of prostitution. We assert the right of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers.
We Christian nationalist libertarians decry the description of whoredom, pornography production, and similar degenerate activities as “sex work.” The “sex work” terminology seeks to remove the stigma rightly placed on these activities, but we believe the stigma should remain and that good people should continue to view the activities as immoral and repulsive. We are also aware that there is evidence that where so-called “sex work” by “consenting sex workers” is made legal, sex trafficking of minors and of non-consenting adults becomes more rather than less common, perhaps because feeding the depraved impulses of fallen people strengthens and enlarges those impulses, causing the demand for “sex work” services to outstrip the legal supply.
Nevertheless, we share with the Libertarian Party a desire to base our politics on the principles of individual liberty, even when staying true to those principles can have negative effects. If certain prostitutes genuinely do consent to “provide sexual services to clients for compensation,” neither the immoral or desperate prostitutes nor their degenerate and perverse clients have infringed on anyone’s rights through their consensual activity in private. It does not seem to us, therefore, that government has any proper authority to intervene when neither minors nor non-consenting adults are involved. When minors or non-consenting adults are involved, when sex trafficking occurs, that is another matter. Perhaps when it has stopped all efforts to police consensual “victimless crimes,” the government will find itself able to act more vigorously and effectively against rights-violating crimes like sex trafficking, thereby preventing the increase in such crimes that decriminalization of prostitution seems sometimes to produce.
Unpacking this issue provides insight into the libertarian mindset worth reflecting upon. To become liberty-centered, and so libertarian, in one’s thinking, one must discipline oneself to separate the morals that should be enforced by human law from the larger set of morals that should remain matters of individual decision in the sight of God. The former include only those where individual rights are violated, since protecting individual rights is the only proper function of law in a liberty-centered political order. The latter must remain matters for interpersonal persuasion. Adopting this stance requires getting over the idea that knowing what’s right gives one the authority to impose right behavior on others. When people engage in morally wrong behavior that does not infringe upon the rights of others, one should feel free (and often feel obligated) to preach to them, to declare the counsel of God to them that they might repent, but one should not feel free to lock them up or otherwise force them to stop doing what they’re doing.
NEW 2.10 So-Called “Sex Work”
Though we Christian nationalist libertarians believe that whoredom, pornography production, and similar degenerate activities commonly labeled “sex work” are immoral, repulsive, and rightly stigmatized by all good people, we do not see any sound basis for denying that consenting adults who wish to involve themselves in these activities, either as providers or clients, have the right to do so as the sole God-authorized stewards of themselves. We therefore, with reluctance, join the Libertarian Party in supporting decriminalization of consensual adult participation in these activities. But we warn those who choose to participate that God will hold them accountable (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, Galatians 5:19–21).
In light of evidence that sex trafficking of minors and non-consenting adults tends to increase when so-called “sex work” is decriminalized, we call for more vigorous efforts to bring sex traffickers to justice and for harsher penalties to be imposed on those convicted of sex trafficking. We urge legislators to authorize imposition of the death penalty for the most egregious cases, at the discretion of the judges and juries hearing these cases. In addition, we urge any jurisdiction that decriminalizes prostitution to set a high standard for demonstrating actual consent by providers of “sex work” services, since it seems to be the case that superficially voluntary participation in this “industry” often hides a reality of manipulation and victimization that makes claims that only “consenting adults” are involved suspect at best, preposterous at worst.
Concerning Plank 2.11, 2.12 ^
2.11 Labor Markets
Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We support the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union. Bargaining should be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability, and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
Concerning Plank 2.13 ^
2.13 Health Care
We favor a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.
NEW 2.13 Health Care and Crises
We favor a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use, and all other aspects of their medical care, including whether and to what extent to prolong their lives using artificial means. Because human individuals are God-appointed stewards and not absolute owners of themselves, however, they do not have a right to kill themselves, nor do they have a right to have someone else kill them through “assisted suicide.” People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines, to refuse vaccinations, and to take whatever precautions or risks they deem appropriate during a pandemic or similar “crisis,” following or not following the advice or “orders” of public health and other officials as they see fit, and freely gathering with other consenting adults in groups of any size they like, whether to conduct commerce in businesses they refuse to close or just to display their defiance of petty tyrants.
Concerning Plank 2.14 ^
2.14 Retirement and Income Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.
Cognizant of human depravity as taught by Scripture, we Christian nationalist libertarians do not share the Libertarian Party’s optimistic assumption that charitable giving will automatically rise to meet all the needs now poorly and wastefully supplied by government programs. We do agree with the LP that caring for the poor and the retired is not among the proper functions of the federal government authorized by the US Constitution.
NEW 2.14 Retirement and Charity
The poor are always with us (Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8); retirement plans do not always work out; some do not have living family members to rely on; and people of means are morally obligated to help the truly needy when they can (Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:9–10, James 1:27). There is, however, no legitimate constitutional basis for the federal government’s current involvement in social welfare programs, whether these involve help paying for food, help paying rent, free or subsidized housing, guaranteed student loans, or the Social Security system. The massive system of programs not grounded in any of the enumerated powers granted to the national government in the US Constitution, and never yet authorized by amendments to that constitution, needs to either be gotten rid of or properly authorized through constitutional amendments.
We Christian nationalist libertarians therefore join the Libertarian Party in emphasizing that retirement planning and charity are the responsibility not of government but of individuals, working as individuals and in groups, working independently and as part of the various nongovernmental institutions of civil society. Should the work of individuals and institutions outside government fall short in fulfilling the needs of the least fortunate Americans, state and local governments whose constitutions or charters authorize such action should be considered suitable secondary instruments for providing comprehensive coverage. A preliminary step in the right direction might be to replace federally run social welfare programs with federal block grants to state and local governments providing locally designed and administered programs for the poor, the infirm, the elderly, and others in need. Funding these grants with money now being sent to foreign countries (we Christian nationalist libertarians call for an end to all federal foreign aid; it’s called the US government for a reason) would be an additional step in the right direction.
Concerning Planks 3.0–3.3 ^
3.0 Securing Liberty
The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law. We oppose the use of torture and other cruel and unusual punishments, without exception.
3.3 International Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
Concerning Plank 3.4 ^
3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.
NEW 3.4 Trade and Border Security
We Christian nationalist libertarians oppose the internationalist tone of much libertarian rhetoric. As supporters of an American political movement, our desire is to ensure the liberty and security of Americans. Though we lament the lack of freedom in many nations around the world, and though we encourage private American citizens with the means and interest to aid the oppressed in foreign countries when they can, the sole responsibility of the US government is to ensure the liberty of Americans and the security of the American nation.
As nationalists, we insist on a secure border. Where fencing or other physical obstructions are practical and useful, these “border wall” security measures should be used. Like other libertarians, we want American citizens and legal residents to be able to leave through and return across our nation’s borders easily and efficiently as they conduct personal business and commerce at home and abroad. Also like other libertarians, we want peaceful citizens and residents of other countries to be able to enter and leave our nation for the purposes of honest commerce benefiting both our nation’s people and theirs. We also agree with other libertarians in wanting to make legal immigration to our country and pursuit of citizenship here faster and more efficient, particularly when those seeking to come here are fleeing oppression. We disagree with “open border” libertarians, however, because not everyone with a desire to cross our national borders is a peaceful and honest traveler with good intentions. While this reality may be lamentable, we live in dangerous world where a secured and carefully monitored border is essential to the sovereignty of our nation and its several states. American libertarians must end their open border rhetoric and accept the reality that they are Americans as well as libertarians; they are not “citizens of the world” but citizens of the United States. We urge them to start acting like it.
Like other libertarians, we do not believe managing the commercial activities of Americans is a proper function of the US government, excepting its proper role in interstate commerce. We therefore oppose all government efforts to manage trade, whether these be subsidies to prop up favored industries and companies, large tariffs intended to make imports unaffordable rather than to raise revenue for constitutional government functions, “free trade” agreements creating complex supranational structures contrary to America’s sovereignty and independence, or sanctions against foreign governments in order to achieve global objectives in which a government tasked solely with protecting the rights of Americans has no business getting involved. People and companies in America should be free to conduct commerce with people and companies in foreign countries, and historical anecdotes like the rise to commercial prominence of Hong Kong suggest that a government which refuses to interfere with the free commerce of its people benefits those people far more than any protectionist regime. In our judgment, however, banning the import of foreign products that can be proved (not that are merely suspected or alleged) to have been produced by the involuntary labor of political prisoners, religious dissenters, or otherwise unjustly incarcerated or enslaved individuals is a legitimate exercise of federal power. Though it is not the role of the US government to protect the rights of people in foreign countries, we do believe it appropriate for the US government to ensure that US businesses and consumers do not help foreign tyrants violate the God-given rights of their nations’ people. Since the US Constitution is typically construed to allow much more than this limited and specific sort of trade intervention, we are prepared to support a constitutional amendment to more clearly circumscribe the federal government’s authority to involve itself in Americans’ commercial interactions with people and companies in foreign lands.
Concerning Plank 3.5 ^
3.5 Rights and Discrimination
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference, or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts, and other free market solutions.
While we Christian nationalist libertarians agree with this plank in substance, it uses some inadequate terminology, such as a word signaling acceptance of a secular idea that we doubt or reject (“sexual orientation”) and a term that has recently become too plastic for safe use (“bigotry”). We therefore propose alternative wording:
NEW 3.5 Rights and Discrimination
Christian nationalist libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain God-given, and so inherent or natural, rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose a legal obligation upon others to fulfill that “right,” though we grant that moral obligations not properly enforceable by law do exist. Obligations to charity and mercy toward those genuinely in need do exist, for example, but these obligations do not mean that those in need have a “right” to charity and mercy from the more fortunate, nor do they mean that the more fortunate cannot morally exercise discretion in choosing how, when, and to whom they show such charity and mercy as their means allow. Moral obligations of this sort are not an outworking of natural rights but an obligation imposed by God, and those who immorally refuse to fulfill them must answer to God (Psalm 109:16–17, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10), not to human legal authorities.
Hatred toward any individual based on that individual’s real or imagined group membership is irrational and repugnant, and we condemn it. Government should neither deny nor abridge any of an individual’s God-given rights for any reason other than conviction of a crime through due process. (Even then, the only rights to be denied or abridged are those indicated by a criminal code consonant with the US Constitution and with all applicable state and local laws, with the common law, and with relevant legal precedents.) An individual’s sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preferences, sexual inclinations or activities with other consenting adults, and any other group membership, personal characteristic, or personal practice that is not a crime for which the individual has been convicted must not affect government’s behavior toward that individual in any way. Members of private organizations, however, retain the right to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate. Government may not legitimately interfere with this, but individuals who disagree with a private organization’s standards are free to respond by refusing to support the organization or associate with its members.
Because corporations, particularly larger ones, can become coercive bodies functionally equivalent to tyrannical governments, we Christian nationalist libertarians condemn and oppose all taking of sides by private businesses and publicly traded companies in matters of social and political debate. Companies should restrict their actions to commerce and should not involve themselves in political or social activism. Corporate neutrality in these matters both ensures the freedom of conscience of politically and socially engaged employees of corporations and prevents outsize corporate influence from corrupting the free and non-coercive nature of the political and social realms in our free and open, liberty-centered republic.
Concerning Plank 3.6 ^
3.6 Representative Government
We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.
It is not clear to us what the “election systems that are more representative of the electorate” is supposed to mean, and little in this plank strikes us as optimally worded. We Christian nationalist libertarians therefore propose the following rewrite:
NEW 3.6 Representative Government and Election Laws
Since political parties are private, voluntary organizations, they should be free to establish their own rules for nominating candidates, conducting primaries, and holding conventions. We call for an end to all government funding or subsidizing of candidates and parties, an end to legal restrictions on individuals’ and organizations’ voluntary contributions to election campaigns, and an end to laws preventing voters from being able to select candidates from outside the two major parties, such as restrictive ballot-access laws, gerrymandering, and “open” or “top two” or “jungle” primaries that both deny parties control over their own primaries and effectively exclude third-party candidates from non-primary elections. We favor laws requiring parties and candidates to fully disclose their funding sources, provided these laws allow individual donors to remain anonymous if they choose. We neither favor nor oppose the various forms of direct democracy used in various states and localities—among which are initiatives, referendums, recalls, and repeals—since, though the people may sometimes use these as checks on government, elected legislators where these are available often shirk their responsibility as representatives to select between and prudently balance competing priorities, forcing voters who are neither paid nor provided the time to act as legislators to do the hard and time-consuming work they’ve elected these representatives to do.
Concerning Plank 3.7 ^
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.
We Christian nationalist libertarians endorse the self-determination plank as written.
Adding Plank 3.8 ^
NEW Added 3.8 Unconstitutional Administrative Agencies
Since certain federal administrative agencies, such as the FAA, do serve essential safety functions, which functions might be properly within constitutional federal purview, a means to gradually move these essential functions into constitutionally constituted executive agencies possessing only executive powers, or to transform the current agencies into constitutionally compliant ones, must be found. Issuing of new regulations is a legislative function and should not be performed by executive agencies. Trying alleged violators of regulations is a judicial function and should not be performed by executive agencies or by courts controlled by executive agencies. The Congress’s granting to executive administrative agencies of extra-executive powers is unconstitutional and must be undone, albeit gradually and with care when essential safety functions are involved.
Because some administrative functions, such as ensuring the safety of mechanical and electronic devices or ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, might be performed as well and reliably, and perhaps better and more reliably, by private organizations and associations, including both non-profits and for-profit businesses, we call for ongoing exploration of ways various functions currently performed by federal administrative agencies might be privatized. Whenever needed functions can be performed as well or better without government involvement, those functions should be privatized.
Concerning Plank 4.0 ^
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.
We Christian nationalist libertarians endorse the omissions plank as written.
Closing Remarks: A Platform for a Party of One? ^
So ends the presentation of my personal political platform for the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, my postscript to a year when, in part prompted by our nation’s lurch toward tyranny since the rise to prominence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Since the Chinese people are not responsible for this virus or for the CCP’s failure to be open and honest about it, I deplore and reject Trumpian labeling of it as “the China Virus,” by the way.) Is this just a platform for a party of one, or are there others out there trying to bring their Christian and American nationalist (Americanist) convictions into harmony with their support for the US Constitution in its original meaning, seen through the lens of the Declaration of Independence and the philosophy of God-given, and so natural or inherent, individual rights underlying that declaration? Do any of these find, as I do, that whenever they feel like calling themselves libertarians, a reading of the Libertarian Party platform makes them uncomfortable doing so? Do any of them share my feeling that, though better than the Democratic Party, the Republican Party is too badly corrupted to deserve their allegiance, admittedly having been made a bit better by the rise in “America First” nationalism, but having also been made notably worse by the rise in big-government populism and protectionism?
In the middle of last year, the Constitution Party sent all of us on its mailing list complimentary copies of the newsletter it normally sends only to members of the Howard Phillips Legacy Society, an important funding source for the party. That newsletter, Victory Report No. 54 (June 2020), included a single article by Charles W. Kraut, “What happens when Truth vanishes?” After reading it, I wrote up some comments to send in response—then decided not to send them. Here they are:
Thank you again for the free copy of your donors’ newsletter, Victory Report. Though I’m not presently among those who can afford to donate to political parties, I am able to donate the following editorial remarks. None of them points to a serious enough defect to call for revising and reissuing the newsletter, and some might be matters of personal preference, but one or another of them might help improve future newsletters.
Since I never seem to get responses when I write to this address, it’s possible I’m wasting my time, of course. It’s possibly also a waste of time to say I enjoyed the newsletter and it made me feel even better about having chosen Charles Kraut in the primary over the candidate who ended up being nominated.
[page 1] “All are frightening and not suited for reading while laying on a beach” should be “All are frightening and not suitable for reading while lying on a beach.” “Suitable” instead of “suited” is more natural English and sounds less awkward (this is how it seems to me, at any rate). “Lying” should be used instead of “laying” because “laying” is the transitive verb: hens “lay” eggs, but eggs “lie” in the nest; morticians “lay” bodies in their graves, but bodies “lie” in them. (Though this may have been a one-extra-letter typographical error, confusing the terms is very common, in part because the past tense of the intransitive “lie” is “lay.” Eggs and bodies “lie” in place today, but yesterday they “lay” in place. Yesterday, by the way, chickens “laid” eggs.)
[page 2] “millions in one part of the world perpetually at war with one or the other parts of the world” should use “part” instead of “parts” in the last phrase, since “one” and “the other” are singular and “or” (unlike “and”) leaves them so.
[page 3] Re: “Let me go further out on a limb by stating that this is the way Progressives want us to view things, that man is independent in and of himself. He has a mortal body and, according to Progressive philosophy, is free to express him- or herself as he or she sees fit, free of restraints such as social mores or God’s commandments. (To get from here to Libertarianism you merely add the phrase “as long as no other person is harmed.”) Since “Libertarianism” with a capital “L” has been used, suggesting the libertarianism of the Libertarian Party specifically, I’d say this is a fair characterization, since that party is indeed dominated by amoral secularists whose concept of “liberty” goes beyond questions of what should and shouldn’t be subject to government control through legislation. Still, I generally prefer to speak of amoral secular Libertarians as “secular libertarians” because there are other people who rightly claim the name “libertarian” based on their belief that individual liberty (under God) is central to determining the proper scope of government. For instance, disciples of Christian Reconstructionist author R. J. Rushdoony often refer to themselves as “Christian libertarians.” Because it seeks to restrict government to its constitutionally enumerated powers, in fact, our Constitution Party could quite legitimately claim the “libertarian” label, even if it doesn’t wish to do so because the term “liberty” has become so corrupted in our degenerating culture that people would get the wrong idea. Thinking that some immoral things should be legal because government has no legitimate authority to regulate them (because no rights violations are involved) isn’t the same as thinking that those things should be legal because nothing is objectively immoral.
[page 3] “our day to day adherence to the teachings of that book determine the way we live our life today and the quality of our life in the next” should, technically, be “our day to day adherence to the teachings of that book determines the way we live our life in this world and the quality of our life in the next.” Since “our day to day adherence” is grammatically singular, “determines” rather than “determine” should be used. Since the grammatically correct construction sounds awkward because of the plural “teachings” in “to the teachings of that book,” something like the following recommends itself: “our day to day adherence to what that book teaches determines the way we live our life in this world and the quality of our life in the next.”
[page 4] Rather than saying that relying on “the Internet in general” can make our search for truth frustrating, it would probably be better to specify that it is an “uncritical” or “undiscerning” use of the Internet, along with biased filtering of the Internet’s resources by the Google search engine, that causes problems. One can’t say the Internet is misleading “in general” any more than one can say books or people are misleading “in general.”
[page 4] Re: “If someone speaks against something or someone, we can test the truth of their attack….” Using “their” as a singular to go with singulars like, in this case, “someone,” has long been accepted informally and colloquially, so I’m not going to say this is “incorrect.” However, this singular use of “their” has recently been enlisted by advocates of gender-identity ideology, so I prefer to avoid it. I would use “the truth of his attack” here, since I’ve chosen to re-embrace this older masculine-pronouns-for-generics usage, though earlier usage in the Victory Report suggests Kraut might prefer “the truth of his or her attack.”
[page 4] “to stand up against falsehoods and call it out for what it is” should be “to stand up against falsehoods and call them out for what they are” or “to stand up against falsehood and call it out for what it is.”
You’re right, of course. These quibbles aren’t nearly as good as a cash donation. They are, alas, all that I can prudentially spare at present.
Thank you for your time.
While mostly editorial cavils, my first set of remarks about page 3 show some of the tension between my convictions that I’ve tried to smooth out in this political postscript to 2020 (some of this tension has been waiting to be smoothed out since I acknowledged it in a 2016 book review). Just a month before this, of course, I had decided after initial reluctance to remain a supporter of the Constitution Party after it selected its presidential candidate. That candidate, Don Blankenship, had “notoriously” called himself “Trumpier than Trump” when running for US Senate. I chose to construe this as having nationalist or “America First” policies mostly in mind, but I think many supporters, and perhaps Blankenship himself, also meant to emphasize populism. As I’ve already noted, though populism is probably better than elitism, I’d rather have neither than either. Since some emails I’ve received from Constitution Party activists have seemed pro-Trump (when I’ve sounded off in response to these, I’ve not heard back), and since providing an alternative to Trump seems to have been a low priority for Constitution Party affiliates here in California, I’m not sure how well my convictions match those of typical CP supporters. Regardless, the CP likely has no hope of becoming ballot-qualified in this state: the American Independent Party, which duplicated the GOP selection of Trump in 2016 and selected a candidate advocating single-payer government health coverage for all in 2020, has effectively blocked the way. Yet, though libertarian in many respects, I find certain planks of the Libertarian Party downright repugnant.
Notes, Supplementary Remarks, and Asides ^
 Though advocates of transforming the US government into an ever-growing bureaucracy staffed by expert administrators intruding into and overseeing all aspects of life in an America continuously “progressing” toward a socialist utopia have called themselves “progressives” long enough that even their opponents normally call them such without ironic intent, people bent on destroying all that once made America exceptional really ought to be called something else.
 The foundation, magazine, and media channel, not to be confused with the God-given rational faculty and the disciplined use thereof. The former Reason often contradicts the latter reasons, lacking their indispensable foundation (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10).
 I do realize that secular libertarians do not consider their philosophy amoral. For many of them, in fact, libertarianism seems to be the entire and only moral system they embrace, and they invariably consider themselves highly moral in terms of that system. I speak from my Bible-believing Christian perspective when I describe secular libertarianism as “amoral”: the only true morals are God’s own morals made plain in Scripture (and revealed less clearly and with less precision through humans’ God-given moral sense); failure to embrace these morals is to be without (true) morals, to be amoral.
 Though I’ve considered making the platform available for signing on one of the popular petition sites, I’ve found that the “community guidelines” for most of these are of the traditional-Christian-morals-are-forbidden-hate-speech-here variety. The twisted pseudo-morality of secularized America has become the enforced value system of most online substitutes for real community.
 Unless otherwise noted, all quotations of the Libertarian Party Platform are from the version posted at https://www.lp.org/plaform and accessed 12 September 2020, which begins with the words “As adopted by convention, July 2018. No changes were made at the 2020 convention.” Though I did not start writing this post until the end of December 2020, I downloaded my copy of the platform back in Semptember.
 Though the owner in the cited parable represents God, the parabolic analogy would not make sense if the rights of property ownership taught by Scripture were not presupposed. If one believed that an owner of property could not do with it as he pleased, one could conclude that the owner acted unjustly when he decided to pay end-of-day workers as much as he’d agreed to pay full-day workers.
 “Strong’s data for ‘power’ (1849),” BibleWorks for Windows version 7.0.012g (Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks LLC, 2006), indicates that the word here translated “power” (ἐξουσία), though it does primarily have (God-given) ability in view, includes the sense of “right” and is, in fact, translated as “right” twice in the KJV. Perhaps it may be said that when God gifts individuals with abilities he simultaneously grants them the right to exercise them.
 It is the policy of the Pious Eye site not to indulge politically correct demands to replace traditional generic usage of male nouns and pronouns (“man,” “he,” etc.) with awkward or illogical alternative constructions promoted as “gender inclusive.” When non-gendered language flows as smoothly and naturally, and makes as much logical sense, as gendered language, this site may use it; when non-gendered language strikes this site’s editor as awkward or illogically, however, the traditional gendered form will be used. For information on one variety of illogic in modern usage, see the section on “Terminological Illness” in my 10 March 2020 “Some Matters of Usage” post.
 To be honest, I’ve always found appeals to “community standards” uncomfortably vague and indeterminate. All the same, I can’t think of any better basis on which to regulate expression in the public space given that our nation’s citizens and other residents do not share common allegiance to either the objective moral authority of Scripture or a shared set of traditional mores. Given the presence of children and non-consenting adults in the public space, and given the equal rights of all to spend time in that space, the libertarian nonaggression principle by itself seems inadequate. Identifying immoral or offensive forms of expression, speech or otherwise, as acts of aggression, as “progressives” often do, makes the terms “aggression” and “nonaggression” meaningless for practical purposes. Yet it is obviously the case that not every form of expression that does not involve physical aggression should be permitted in public spaces where children and non-consenting adults have a right to spend time. For instance, devout and pious Christians in an increasingly immoral and unbelieving culture have a right to spend time in public places without being subjected to degenerates’ displays of their polymorphous perversity, and parents have a right to take their children to public places without having to encounter and explain to their children such displays. Imperfect though they are as a basis for ordinances, community standards applied by local democratic processes seem the only practical choice for a society as pluralistic as ours.
 In addition to children, non-children who are under the legal age of consent, commonly called “young adults,” and individuals with permanently or temporarily sub-adult cognitive capacities (people with certain brain defects or injuries, people under the influence of certain narcotics) are unable to give consent. Though in technical medical usage a “child” is an individual who has not yet gone through puberty, popular and common usage tend to treat “child” and “minor” as equivalent. I’ve discussed this is various prior posts, among them “Just How Evil Is Tucker Carlson?” (2019), “Moore, #MeToo Lamentations” (2017), and “Rape and Rationality” (2013). Rather than burden the platform with this particular technicality, I’ve used “child” in the informal, popular sense that most readers are likely to assume and added this “and any others who can’t consent” proviso to cover all the bases.
 To see how I myself once endorsed this “life of the mother exception,” see my 2012 “Abortion: Dialog Concerning ‘Preserve the Life of the Mother’ Exception” post. To witness my realization that calling this an “abortion-ban exception” is a mistake, see the paragraph beginning “My own tendency…” in my 2016 “Conservative Abortion-Ban-Exception Delusions” post. (I formerly had some jquery code inserting paragraph numbers for direct linking to exact locations in my old posts. Alas, it seems a framework or theme upgrade somewhere along the way has broken my code, in addition to fouling up some in-post images. Hence my specification of the target paragraph’s initial text. Until I’ve gone through the laborious process of adding per-paragraph links to old posts manually, or else found a way to mimic the manual process programmatically, I can do no better.) Concerning the wide date range between these and the present post: I make no claim to arrive at settled opinions rapidly!
 Like the Bible’s ten-point and two-point summations of God’s moral law, the “life, liberty, and property” and “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” listings of individual rights are meant to be comprehensive summaries, like top-level headings in an outline. I’ve provided the parenthetical “and all rights subsidiary to these and necessarily implied by them” for the benefit of readers not familiar with the standard terminology.
 While one common way of arguing against coercion would say that one should not coerce others into right behavior because one can never be sure one is right about what’s right, this argument from moral relativism, in addition to assuming moral knowledge is impossible (claiming to have knowledge that moral knowledge is impossible), misses the point. The point is that in matters of personal liberty one should not coerce others even when one is justifiably certain that one is right. People who can do so without harming others have a God-given right to be wrong.
 God-given rights are “natural” because they follow from the nature of human individuals as created by God. Though you will sometimes hear people argue for natural rights based on their observations of the natural world (“nature”), and though some of these arguments might seem appealing illustrations of the concept of natural rights, I think they do more harm than good most of the time. Atheists and agnostics who wish to endorse the concept of natural rights offer philosophical arguments for recognizing rights inherent in humans by nature. In my view, these atheist and agnostic arguments are products of “borrowed capital,” as Cornelius Van Til would say: they retain select Christian presuppositions to which the atheists and agnostics have no legitimate claim, thereby revealing that the atheists and agnostics, deep down, remain aware of God’s existence. The bottom line: God-given, inherent, natural rights do exist, but not everyone who believes in them is justified doing so.