Murray Rothbard on Libertarianism and Christianity
I’m tolerant of everyone’s religious beliefs or non-belief. My friends include everyone from Christians and Jews to atheists and agnostics.
Of course, I’m also friends with a lot of libertarians. It’s worth noting that some of today’s most prominent liberty champions are Christian. Ron Paul is Christian. So is Rand Paul. So is Justin Amash. So are writers like Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods and Robert Murphy.
Yet, some outspoken libertarian atheists seem to relish in bashing or insulting people of faith. They can often be quite arrogant or nasty about it.
I’ve always found this to be repulsive. I’ve also always found it politically stupid. So did Murray Rothbard.
This strain in libertarianism is nothing new. Wrote Rothbard in 1987 (compliments, again, of my friend Norm Singleton):
The libertarian movement, and the Libertarian Party, will get nowhere in America—or throughout the world—so long as it is perceived… as a movement dedicated to atheism…
Many libertarians have habitually and wrongly acted as if religious people in general and Christians in particular are pariahs and equivalent to statists. This pernicious attitude, combined with aggressive luftmenschenship, has managed to turn off a huge number of middle-class Americans.
I remember one time when my magazine, The Libertarian Forum, included an article about Protestants and liberty. One libertarian asked my publisher, in bewilderment, “Why does Murray have an article about Protestants?” “For one thing,” my publisher replied, “there are a lot more Protestants in the United States than there are libertarians.” Indeed.
Rothbard was absolutely right. The liberty movement represents a wide variety of views on various subjects outside of our shared anti-statist philosophy. To each his own. Discussion and debate is inevitable and encouraged.
Still, our enemies would love nothing more than to paint the liberty movement as a bunch of atheists, heathens and libertines.
This is not true. It’s not even close to being true. And libertarians who try to convince everyday Americans that it is true—intentionally or not—are not doing our cause any favors.