Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 485, September 21, 2008

"The American Empire, like all empires, is about to end."

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

The (libertarian) Ten Commandments
by C.K. Kahn
xe -+at+- mdconnect -=dot=- net

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I have heard people with a conservative Christian outlook say that this country was founded on "Biblical Principles."

I do accept Biblical principles in that those of the (Protestant) Ten Commandments which apply to relations between people...

6. Thou shalt not kill
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

...are proscriptions against violence, theft and fraud. They are crimes against life, liberty and property and should either be punished or recompensed. These things are crimes, not because the Bible tells me so, but because they violate individual sovereignty. Had the Bible never been written they would still be crimes.

The others which are not specifically Godward...

5. Honour thy father and thy mother
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

...encourage filial piety and marital fidelity and discourage envy. This is simply a good way to live and conducive to a harmonious life. These virtues would be applauded both in ancient Greece and the Han Empire. Violating them brings their own punishment in the form of misery and discord. Again, had the Bible never been written this would still be true. In that respect they are spiritual failings, but not crimes -- though it could be argued adultery has to do with fraud if it involves deception or the violation of a mutual voluntary agreement.

The remainder...

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

...are matters of faithfulness, idolatry, blasphemy and ritual observance. These are matters of one's understanding of -- and relation to -- deity. Consequently they concern the individual and deity and are nobody else's business, especially not the business of someone who has a different opinion of what they comprise.

In my mind the Ten Commandments are very libertarian. This does not surprise me since their literary context is the reorganization of a society that had escaped tyranny and sought to avoid its reimposition.

I do not discount the Bible, I just do not regard it in accordance with the Five Fundamentals.


Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 485, September 21, 2008

Big Head Press