Ask Dr. Ruwart
Dr. Mary Ruwart is an At-Large Representative on the Libertarian National Committee, an active member of the Texas LP, and a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.
Is libertarianism the “ultimate answer” to the world’s problems?
Question: I find it very hard to find flaws in the liberty ideal. Still, I am asking a lot of questions about libertarianism, and probing the libertarian philosophy deeply, because I want to make sure it is truly the ultimate answer to the world’s problems. What are your thoughts on this?
My Short Answer: We always need to question our values and keep open minds. Otherwise, where is freedom of thought?
You say you are asking questions to determine whether liberty is the “ultimate answe”’ to the world’s problems, whether liberty will ever fail us. I would say, as trite as it sounds, that love is the ultimate answer and that liberty, or political freedom, is one aspect of that love. Without love, liberty will be fleeting. If you are looking for the ultimate answer, you need to look one step beyond liberty.
If we are loving towards each other, we won’t assault, steal from, or defraud one person to give to another. If someone is in need, we give of ourselves. If another person doesn’t want to help, we honor their choice out of that same love. When we love, we are not tempted to aggress.
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LEARN MORE: Suggested additional reading on this topic from the Liberator Online editor:
There are libertarians of every religious persuasion (and none). Here are two sources for learning more about why Christian libertarians reject force out of love and respect for others. (Libertarians of other faiths will find much to agree with in both pieces.)
* “Thoughts On the Word ‘We’” by Doug Stuart. This short piece is from the LibertarianChristians.com website, an excellent source for learning more about how some libertarian Christians believe their religious and political views are in harmony.
Excerpt: “It is not a Christian duty to ensure that our subjective preferences are imposed upon those around us who may and do have very different preferences. It is our Christian duty to love our neighbor and fight injustice. To seek a just society means we must advocate for a free society where individuals are embraced as unique and worthy of being handed the power to their own lives. We must oppose a planned social order and seek a free one because we know that groups that emerge spontaneously through free association are likelier to provide a social benefit because people are free to participate. Their benefit to the individual and to society depends largely on the extent to which these groups are joined voluntarily. Forcing people to belong to and identify with the collective effort of seeking social justice will create a society that is neither social nor just.”
* “Must a Christian be a Libertarian?” by Clifford F. Thies. economist and long-time libertarian activist, explores religion and libertarianism in this 1996 speech.
Excerpt: “Because we are commanded to love one another, we cannot be morally neutral. But because we respect the limits on our authority, and we trust in God’s plan of salvation, we do not violently intervene into the lives of others. … It’s with loving kindness, not coercive force, that we are to uphold each other.”
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Got questions? Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you’d like answers to YOUR “tough questions” on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at: ruwart@theAdvocates.org
Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can’t personally acknowledge all emails. But we’ll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.
Dr. Ruwart’s previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.
Dr. Ruwart’s outstanding book Healing Our World is available from the Advocates.