Our interest in free markets and local economy develops along two lines, one defensive and one offensive.
The offensive line of thought builds up the concept of local economy, personal responsibility and an interest in the other that is a fruit of God’s grace and Christianity. It invites. It persuades. The defensive is, shall we say, destructive. It tears at the idol and would break its legs and have it lying on its face, as did the Philistine god before the ark. It dissuades.
My notice of political candidates the past two weeks serves these lines. Defensively, we want to see candidates as offering political solutions and to consider that politics cannot solve problems that are outside its power and competence. Salvation in an earthly sense is not administrative or arising from Tennessee Codes Annotated and the like. Indeed, we want Christian men who defend liberty to hold office. But we want to restrain our hope for the limited good they can accomplish.
Offensively, my interest in candidates gives us to consider that grace might just be a better way to build human society. Grace, liberty and Christianity are the message of the gospel.
Newspaper backs libertarian
Our interest in local economy and free markets thus bring into view questions such as the national elections Nov. 6 for federal president and state and local offices. Since the world system presents elections as a means of determining the nation’s course, I remain unwilling to agree, and long have taken an interest in third-party candidates and voluntaryism, or secession from the voting franchise altogether.
The endorsement Wednesday by the Times Free Press of Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate from the Libertarian party, is a refreshing change from a longtime Republican newspaper editorial page. Drew Johnson, editor of the conservative editorial page, cites candidate Johnson’s free market credentials and his commitment to constitution-limited federal government.
The Times Free Press briefly tackles a question that is much alive in the world of Internet chatter such as on the Chattanooga Tea Party page on Facebook.
Some may argue that voting for a minor party candidate is a waste of a vote. While Johnson won’t win on Nov. 6, the more votes Johnson receives, the more the Republican and Democratic parties are forced to consider adopting his policies. Voting for Johnson is the most effective way to inject the ideas of liberty and limited government into the political mainstream.
Others claim that it is wise to vote for the lesser of two evils. The problem with that, however, is that voting for evil only leads to more evil. A vote is an affirmation that a candidate is on the right track, but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney clearly aren’t when it comes to limiting government, promoting individual liberty and protecting free market economic principles. Voting for bad policies and unprincipled people will only ensure that parties will give voters more of the same bad choices in the future.
Defiling ourselves with the king’s meats?
My Christian friends are frustrated when I tell them I have a principled view of the vote rather than a pragmatic one. “A vote for Gary Johnson is really a vote for Obama’s re-election,” they scold. To vote for a man of principle whom polls say cannot win is to support abortion, ObamaCare, too-big-to-fail and other tyrannies of the Democrat party. In an appeal to my pride, the critic tells me that my vote is important enough to swing the election, and so I am to feel badly if I don’t support either figurehead proffered by the U.S. political duopoly.
Writer John Loftin styles himself a “recovering republican.” He is a polemicist who almost too roughly defends a biblical worldview. He comes on the scene swinging.
“All of this is, of course, a lie, a big lie! As Christians we are not obligated in any way to choose ANYTHING on the menu set before us by the world! Not voting is not a sin. But, voting can be a sin if it dishonors Christ (which voting for Obama or Romney does.) And when we do not vote we simply do not vote. Period. Our not voting does not help elect anybody. Such pathetic, attempted guilt-tripping is absurd. In the first chapter of the book of Daniel we are told that Daniel ‘purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank ***.’ The Geneva Study Bible note on this passage says, in part, that Daniel’s refusal here was because he did not want the king ‘to entice him by this sweet poison to forget his religion and accustomed sobriety, and that in his meat and drink he might daily remember of what people he was from.’ Matthew Henry, commenting on this same passage, says, in part: ‘Daniel was still firm to his religion. Whatever they called him, he still held fast the spirit of an Israelite. These youths scrupled concerning the meat, lest it should be sinful. When God’s people are in Babylon they need take special care that they partake not of her sins.’
“As Christians in this worldly, anti-Christian culture in America, we, too, are in a type of Babylon. We, too, are faced with the choice of eating or refusing to eat from an anti-Christian, worldly, Godless menu where the two main courses are Obama and Romney. And like Daniel — lest we forget OUR religion and sin — we, too, must refuse to “eat” (vote) for either of the two choices the world gives us.”
Voting on principle does not make us responsible for national evils
I am reproached for straying from the Republican plantation and favoring a candidate such as Gary Johnson. “Well, when you help re-elect Obama, and face another of his abuses, you will have only yourself to blame.” A fair response rises from my sense of equanimity.
“When Mr. Romney approves some insult to justice or a new illegal tax, I will have you to thank for having supported him.”