Freedom of dissent, purely voluntary war without standing armies

There have been purely voluntary self-defensive wars in the past, some were in places that most libertarians are probably uncomfortable looking. In the book of Judges in the Bible, there was no formal government, no king, no police force, no army at all usually. At times of moral weakness (child sacrifice was usually the “straw”) they were seen as weak by the neighboring tribes and conquered for tribute. During some of those times Hebrew blacksmiths were banned, they had to get plows fixed by Philistine smiths.

But then one of them would “hear the call of God” and gather an army of pure volunteers only, and drive out the oppressors. After that, they all went back to their farms and their lives. Sometimes people later sought these leaders out to mediate disputes.

It was when the elders demanded a king that everything went haywire. There is nothing new under the sun, and the libertarian warnings against government were first intoned historically by Samuel. He warned them:

In First Samuel 8:11-17, Samuel laid out a long list of warnings of the ways in which having a king (government) would oppress them. It’s a good abbreviation of what our best libertarian writers talk about today. See how much it foreshadows the topic of this article! He warned them that the kings would take their sons and their daughters and make them work for him, set them to “ear the ground” –spy on them!- and take their crops and send their sons to war and put their daughters to make confections for them and so on and on. And they would be very sorry.

And sorry they were. Only one (David) was almost palatable, and even he had his weaknesses, but knew it. Finally, after Solomon’s cruel taxation in peacetime, the people rebelled and the kingdom split.

When a critical mass of Bible-believing Christians rediscover what their Holy Book says about government and taxes, and it is obviously a growing number, it will manifest itself in ways that could surprise us all, I believe, or not surprise. William Wilberforce and the mostly Christian abolitionists finally got abolition. Sure, there were “secular” Jacobins that were anti-slavery, and Wilberforce listened to them on this issue, and even coordinated on this specific issue, but abolition was his mission field. It was based in a faith that does not easily slip into the slavery of oppression in the name of freedom, like the Jacobins’ idealogical peers in France.


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