THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 459, March 9, 2008
"There is no more useful death than
in the act of killing tyrants."
Attribute to: The Libertarian Enterprise
Libertarians don't like the word sin. Why should we? Would be tyrants use the word quite a bit to try to force us to live life their way instead of our own. There is also the issue that what is sinful for one faith (eating meat on Friday during Lent for Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans, for example) is not for others (Most Evangelical Protestants). Not to mention that there's always some spoilsport calling everything we like doing a sin. We don't like the word sin applied to or actions.
Guess what? Neither do our opponents. The fact is that the word sin has fallen out of disfavor and that's a frigging (oh no, sinful word) shame. Those who are inclined to misuse state authority don't have the inhibition of avoiding sin to hold them back. Mind you, history shows that they rarely worried about it in the first place, but rarely beats never.
For the sake of this essay we will define sin as an act that is intrinsically evil. No circumstances can make it not evil. It may be unavoidable or you may face irresistible temptation and thus not be culpable for committing a sin, but the act is still a sin. The act must be punished or pardoned by God (or your own enlightened conscience if their is no God) and if possible victims compensated.
Then once we accept the idea of sin we must promote the idea that misusing the power of the state to deny others their rights is a sin. It may be unavoidable, it may be pardonable, but it is still a sin. Victims must be compensated, and appropriate penance completed if punishment is to be avoided.
And if leaders consistently cannot avoid using their power sinfully (i.e., in a manner that violates people's rights) they must be removed from office. After all, it would be a sin on our part to force them to face so much temptation.