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The Historical Significance of Liberty

“Libertarianism (the contemporary name for principled classical liberalism) has already profoundly shaped the modern world. In much of the world, many battles have already been fought and in many places won: separation of church and state; limitation of power through constitutions: freedom of speech; debunking mercantilism and replacing it with free trade; abolition of slavery; personal freedom and legal toleration for minorities, whether religious, ethnic, linguistic, or sexual; protection of property; the defeat of Fascism, Jim Crow, Apartheid, and Communism. Far too many intellectuals and activists to name made those victories possible, but they made the world better—more just, more peaceful, and freer. They made the libertarian position on those and many other issues the baseline for reasonable political discourse."

When people think of conservatives who believe in small or limited government, they think that we are just government haters and we want to be able to have freedom so that we can attack oppress others, but it is not the case. Those who want to limit the government do so because they value the freedom of the individual. We have a healthy fear of the government's potential to oppress and limit the people. In our minds, if the governments are limited then the people can be unlimited in their potential. If the government is big than the government is potentially unlimited and naturally will limit the individuals because they will pass more laws.

Libertarianism has always been a political principle that believes all individual worldviews and belief systems should be able to exist in the world we live in. Tom Palmer describes it like this, "Libertarian ideas about rights were forged largely in the struggle for religious freedom and for the freedom of the weak who suffered oppression from the strong.” Those of us who are religious, or those of us who are less fortunate, should not be treated as “less thens” or “outcasts”. Libertarianism is all about protecting what we believe in against any outside powers, or people that might want to take it away due to disagreement.

Historically civilizations have always been run by either one individual or small groups of individuals functioning like one mind. Whether it was the Emperors of the Roman and Greek empires, the Pharaohs of Egypt or the kings over the ages, they all wanted to control the people. Their mentality was always the control of people because that is what's best for them. They do not believe that freedom could bring about a better society they were afraid of fear or freedom so instead, they told the people that they should believe in submission and subservience. This is why most rulers had one established religion for all the people on their land. If somebody had a different religious belief, it was very hard for them to exist in society due to persecution. Most people would have to flee or migrate to another society that had the same beliefs as them.

From Faith to Freedom

America was founded on the hope of religious freedom initially. The Church of England was the one main religion of England that had been established by Queen Elizabeth. She saw the fighting between Protestants and Catholics and decides to merge the two religions into one. Which we now know it as the Church of England or the Anglican Church. This outraged the Protestants. Combining two different religions was not cohesive and consistent with their beliefs. They unwillingly endured their clear definitive teaching on each doctrine of the church being watered down for the sake of political influence.

The first settlers of America took the libertarian ideal to heart, came to America and became The Separatist. The Separatists wanted to come to America because they could not stand being denied the freedom of practicing their own religion. Initially, many agreed with the Separatist but preferred to demonstrate their patriotism by fixing the country they loved instead of fleeing to uncharted lands. Some Protestants that didn't agree with the Church of England, but thought that they were called by God to fix it, stayed. These Protestant believers were called the semi-separatists. After many frustrating years, they realized the church was too established and too set in their ways to consider alternatives. So they decided to follow the separatist to America so they could function with their own religion without being oppressed or persecuted by the established church of England.

Without libertarianism, America would've taken much longer to be colonized. The desire to be free and have our individual rights protected was so strong in those few thousand people that they were willing to cross the sea risking death, and start over with nothing more than whatever they happened to be carrying. This was the first time that a country was founded purely on the desire for freedom of religion. Historically new countries, wars, and charting of new lands were meant for furthering a country’s agenda. For example, Spain wanted to spread its Catholicism to the rest of the world, so Cortez crossed the sea trying to find another way to get to Asia so they could share their beliefs with them. Normally the leadership or government would send individuals with the funding of the government to go explore on their behalf, The Separatist were so desperate to get away they were willing to forego any form of government funding and support.

The strong desire to get away from oppression and a one-track mind of thinking will drive many to do unthinkable things under normal circumstances. The Separatists had jobs, families, friends, and property. They left all that they knew to start a whole new society just because they believed in freedom. Libertarians look at this strong desire to live out this principle of freedom as admirable and desirable. Our heart’s true conviction is to not be subjugated to government control.

America and its freedom have changed so much of the world, which is why everyone wants to come here, because of that freedom. Why would we willingly give up our freedom in order to have some sort of 'free' amenities? Freedom is something that is priceless, it's more valuable than billions of dollars. Without freedom, all of your happiness can be stripped from you. All of your ability to live by your convictions can be taken from you by the government at its whim if given enough power to do so.

We have made so much progress to get to this new idea of freedom, why would we turn around and give up? Why would we, like the Israelites of the Bible willingly go back to slavery after being freed? Even though it's hard trying to use democracy to establish something less structured, it's worth it.

Tom Palmer describes the newness of libertarian thought like this,

"Libertarianism as a political philosophy appeared with the modern age. It is the modern philosophy of individual freedom, rather than serfdom or subservience; of legal systems based on the enjoyment of rights, rather than the exercise of arbitrary power; of mutual prosperity through free labor, voluntary cooperation, and exchange, rather than forced labor, compulsion, and the exploitation of the plundered by their conquerors; and of toleration and mutual co-existence of religions, lifestyles, ethnic groups, and other forms of human existence, rather than religious, tribal, or ethnic warfare. It is the philosophy of the modern world and it is rapidly spreading among young people around the globe.”

The Truth About Slavery

Slavery has always existed. Historically countries tend to make slaves of their conquered opponents. One of the first places to end enslavement was America. The principle behind the rights of slaves to freedom was the libertarian principle of the Declaration of Independence, namely that all men are created equal. Tom Palmer describes how revolutionary these ideas of liberty were in the early centuries of America.

“After the articulation and promotion of the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and political economy during the Enlightenment, the evolving moral consciousness embedded in those ideas could no longer coexist peacefully with the coercion, lawlessness, and violent control imposed on slaves. That was especially true after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and its insistence that 'all men are created equal.' Inspired by their newfound moral awareness, the early libertarians, including the leaders of the abolitionist movements, worked to shape a world in which the institutions of law, politics, and culture would be in harmony with liberty.”

Even though libertarianism as a political group is comprised of fewer constituents than other political parties, the principle behind libertarianism has existed since the founding of America. If anything, libertarianism is the foundational principle that America was built on.

This short historical recap shows you the power of liberty for past generations. The gravity of change that Liberty has had on society historically affects people from all backgrounds, whether rich or poor. Without libertarianism we would not have women voting, we would not have African-Americans free from slavery, other freedoms that we have fought for as a country over the decades and centuries. Without libertarianism, we are left with a caste system where the rich are better than the poor, or certain skin tones are better than other skin tones. One should think twice before considering Libertarianism to be illegitimate. The reminder should always be that liberty is the core of Libertarianism, and is foundational to what makes America great. I am going to end this chapter with a quote from Tom Palmer.

“Libertarians blazed the trail by pointing out the harmful effects of prohibition—on morality, on justice, on crime rates, on families, on social order—more and more political leaders are speaking out about the disastrous consequences of the war on drugs without fear of being smeared as “pro-drugs.” They include presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Brazil, countries that have suffered from the crime, the violence, and corruption brought by prohibition, as well as governors, former secretaries of state, judges, police chiefs, and many others."

Tim Bankes II

Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish

Some of my other favorite books on these subjects that are great for beginners to the liberty movement are:

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