Larken Rose is an anarchocapitalist who posed these questions to someone who is opposed to anarchism. I’d like to answer his questions from a Christian theonomist perspective.
I have learned a lot from anarchocapitalists, and Larken in particular makes a lot of good points. I’d agree wholeheartedly with much of what anarchists say, but I think they don’t have a philosophical foundation for their system (which only Christianity can provide), though I love to see them ripping our current system to shreds.
So here are his five questions. I’ll put his writing in italics and answer the question just below each question.
1) Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves?
No human can delegate any moral rights. However, absolute morality, which Larken appeals to even though he’s not a Christian, can only come from God’s law. Part of God’s law specifies that there is one purpose and only one purpose for government: to punish evildoers. So there is a group of people (which would be a tiny fraction of the size of our current government) who do have the right to preside over trials and aid the people in carrying out justice.
I’m still trying to figure out what anarchists believe about how to punish criminals, so I don’t want to misrepresent what they believe, but I think there are some anarchists who would agree with that preceding paragraph.
To pick on the non-Christian viewpoint a little, Larken says that moral rights can’t be delegated, but why not? It seems to me that apart from God’s definition of good and evil, whoever has the most guns gets to define morality however they want. He might say that we learn right from wrong by Kindergarten, and I’d say that is because we’re created in God’s image. So he’s resting his whole view on blind faith that we all seem to know right from wrong, when there can be no such thing as absolute morality apart from Christianity.
2) Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right?
As previously stated, judges have the right to preside over a trial and sentence someone to the proper, just punishment. The kings in Israel were not to wield executive power or to establish an army, but were the supreme judge of the land.
3) Is there any process (e.g., constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?
No. This is a good point. I tried to express this to people in my community who supported the sales tax hike for roads last November. It was often like talking to a brick wall.
4) When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own?
Absolutely. God is no respecter of persons.
5) When there is a conflict between an individual’s own moral conscience, and the commands of a political authority, is the individual morally obligated to do what he personally views as wrong in order to “obey the law”?
God’s law is the standard by which all other laws are to be judged. A law that contradicts God’s law doesn’t need to be obeyed. However, I’m sure Larken would agree that some battles aren’t worth fighting, or are too costly to fight. I think that even though the income tax laws amount to theft, I ought to pay them, because I have a responsibility to be with my family if I’m able. I pay the thief, because he has a gun to my head–not because I have a moral responsibility to pay.
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