I am still working out what I think about publically funded healthcare, etc., but I just wanted to restate the reason why I left Libertarianism all those months ago. First, yes, Scripture does have a narrative of freedom and justice, but one should not forget that there are themes of social responsibility and duty throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Oddly, one conservative icon from Scripture shared all of his winnings and spoils with the poor. Sounds like a redistributionist! But his name was King David. History tells us that throughout human history, there are eras of great apathy and “libertarian triumphs” like the Gilded Age/Manifest DEstiny. When we have presidential candidates like Ron Paul see: Ron Paul: FEMA not necessary celebrating the fact that another President/politician refused to save human life, where 6,000 souls were lost during a deadly hurricane in Galveston in 1900. Talk about someone who claims to be pro-life! What an anachronistic and medieval way of looking at the world, and anti-Christian too. As if God cares if its the federal government or local people rescue those who suffer from disaster! This shows Paul’s legalism in the name of “liberty.”
Libertarianism overemphasizes freedom over duty, and this is why conservative/libertarian commitments to charity ring hollow, because charity makes notions of duty necessary. A friend shared this post recently with me on facebook: Are You entitled to Food, Housing, and Healthcare? at Political Theology.com by Meghan Clark. She argues,
” Catholic social teaching has long held that human persons are valued and have dignity simply because they are created in the image and likeness of God and not for their utility. This same principle of human dignity is legally enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And it is primarily the responsibility of the government to defend and protect those human rights. We all have a responsibility to respect the human rights of others; however, we claim those rights against the government – which in safeguarding the public order, is responsible for their protection.”
I would just like to add a couple of thoughts. First, if you read Jimmy Carter’s interview I linked to in yesterday’s post, Democrat and President Carter implemented the Women, Infant, and Children’s program as part of the Food Stamps/Supplemental Nutrition because he is pro-life, and disagreed with Roe V. Wade. Studies have also shown that those “47%” of the population who depend on the government, for the most part, are the working poor who need help to get by. Republicans, who once embraced compassionate, duty-driven conservativism, now show spite towards those poor while claiming to be Christian in most cases. Scripture warns us over and over again not to be mean those in need (Proverbs, Psalms, James) but it is libertarian legalism that leads our society turning a blind eye to injustice. In conclusion, I would also like to remark that since the USA is part of the United Nations by way of treaty, and since we are under the Geneva convention, the USA must learn to be more respectful of international law. Perhaps this explains reactionary dismissal of international institutions to begin with. This is rather surprising since Articles 16, 17, and 18 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights speak to conservative causes today. Living in the U.S. with the most workers who get the fewest hours of leisure, we overlook Sabbath as a human right itself per Article 24.
In Scripture, the widows, the orphans, and the poor are entitled (rather, the wealthy owe and are commanded to give) food and sustenance. The best science and medicine were made available to the people, both Jews and Gentiles (insiders and outsiders, thank you very much Teabagging Dominionists)by the prophets like with the story of Elisha and Naaman. Naaman was not charged for healthcare, but the man who did want Naaman to pay Elisha, Gehazi, E’s assistant was punished for doing so.
Maybe we ought to take a closer look at international law and religious ideas. Perhaps.