Why I Teach About Liberty
Why I teach about Liberty
Just a couple of years back, I was a full-time rideshare driver (mainly Uber, I did over 5k rides by the time I stopped doing it full-time) When I started learning more about Liberty, I started talking to my rider about it. Usually, it would come up when we were exchanging the core personal questions (which is very common for ridesharing), like, are you married? Do you have kids? Do you do this full-time? Do you just do this on the side? Why do you do Uber? Many times, I would test the waters by bringing up that I am Christian and that I write books on the side (see amazon.com/author/timbankes to see the books I have written). I would bring up that I am writing a book about Liberty, (this book is now out, “Are You Free”).
I would ask them if they had ever heard of Libertarianism. Many had never heard of it, and some said they had. To test their knowledge if they said they had heard about it, I would ask them to define it. Almost none of them really knew what it was. They just knew that we believed in privatizing the market when possible and that libertarians believed individual freedom. These things are true, but they had no idea of any of the foundational points that undergirded those ideas. I talked to all kinds of income levels. I talked to teenagers/young adults trying to get their first entry-level job at a Taco Bell or Walmart. I also talked to multimillionaire company owners. I did not get far with any of them. That compelled me to write my above-mentioned book, Are you Free?
My experience is not unique; former Pastor and author, Edmund Opitz had the same experience throughout his 40 years at F.E.E. (Foundations for Economic Education, a think tank on a free society, where he was a teaching fellow from 1955-1992)
“When one sees a caricature of this philosophy (libertarianism) kicked around and the real thing never mentioned, the first thought is that knowledge of it is deliberately kept from students. (for reference, he earlier mentions that students are college or seminary students) Experience has taught otherwise. After perusing the books of the gospelers and welfarestaters and after conversations with you (the man who he is dialoguing over these matters within the book, whose name is Rev. John C. Bennet, Dean of the faculty and professor of Christian theology and ethics at Union Theological Seminary, NYC) and with men professionally engaged in one or the other of the various church councils for social action, I am forced to conclude that the reason why the libertarian case is not taught in seminaries is that the case is not known in theological circles! Neither is it a fashionable mode of thought among our intelligentsia; the climate of opinion is unfavorable to it. There are reasons for this state of affairs, and I hope we may sometimes have occasion to explore them together.” (Libertarian Theology of Freedom by Edmund Opitz)
So between Edmund and myself, pretty much no one knows about libertarianism.
Students (college or seminarians)
Social Gospelers and Welfarestaters (Liberals and Christian social activist)
This book was written in 1999; I was born in 1994. The same phenomenon he observed over two decades ago still holds true. No matter how much responsibility people had with the local church or their place of business, they were ignorant of the grounds of freedom. This is why when those who do not believe in freedom come pushing back with actual reasons, they are left with their pants down, not knowing what to say, other than “America was founded on freedom” or “the Constitution allows for people to have the freedom to pursue ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’” This is like telling an agnostic who is bashing Christianity that “well, my grandfather was a Pastor, and He believed in God, so that settles it for me.” Or “The men who founded my church believed that Jesus was God, thus God must be real.” Just giving personal or historical facts is not an argument. It is like saying that we should not do X thing because X thing is a law. Well, silly, just because something is a law does not make it immoral, and unfortunately, there are many things on the books now that are actually legalizing evil. The question is not whether something is law but ought it be a law in the first place? People need to do the critical analysis and be more skeptical about the world. It is ultimately presumptuous and special privilege to want to keep something around just because it has always been that way, instead of because it can be reasoned logically, practical and/or biblical to be true. Yet again, this is why I wrote the book “Are You Free” If people knew the libertarian argument, then I would not need to have written the book. I could have just gone on tightening up the arguments and appealing to people’s reason based on the things they already know. This is also why I am working on a collaborative multi-view book with my friend Jesus Archuleta (JC), where we go at it about whether Christian Libertarianism or Theonomy are more biblical views of God’s design for government. I am writing these articles, creating the Truth about Youtube channel (small explainer videos), and Labor for Truth podcast in the hope that more and more people will at least know about libertarianism, even if they will never believe in its principles. But if we are being honest, many of us already hold libertarian principles once we hear them; we just had no idea why we believed them to be true. We just grew up in America, and it is part of the Zite Gist of our land and people.
I am a huge proponent of being exposed to all arguments on a given subject. I spent four years in a Bible college (Scarborough College, the small college underneath the banner of the SBC, Southern Baptist Conventions, seminary South Western Baptist Theological Seminary, or as we called it swbts), hearing out my professors on many secondary doctrinal points, just to end up on graduation day realizing I was on the opposite side of them on those major secondary issues. Just to show you, I will do a comparison.
The professors were:
Evidentialist Apologist (for the most part)
I was (and still am) (will break all these down in future podcasts and articles)
Calvinist/Reformed (all 5 points)
Covenantal (1689 London Baptist Confession)
Amillennial Preterist (Great Commissionist)
Presuppositional Apologist (with the exception of using evidential apologetics for the reliability of Scripture as a divine source of historical fact and truth)
We must Labor for Truth, even if our outcome leaves us without anyone to agree with. Even if you end up eventually becoming a libertarian, and no one agrees with you that, that's okay. Out of my personal friend circle (not loose acquaintances), I only have one friend that is truly libertarian ( most others are conservative Republican or a mix of conservative and libertarian, many of them in part because of me challenging them). The one libertarian that I know is my best friend (he built this website, laborfortruth.com and was best man in my wedding), and he is the one who actually converted me to libertarian theory or at least he shared it with me when I did not know about it but already was holding to its principles by accident.
My hope is to be for you what he was for me. Pass it forward if you will. I hope that you will stick around and be willing to hear me out if you have never truly heard the libertarian argument (click the about liberty section to read all about it), and if you are Christian, then the biblical argument for libertarianism. After all, is that not why you came to a site with the name “Labor for Truth”? I want to end this article with a quote from one of my favorite economists, Milton Friedman. (this is also one of my favorite quotes from him, I love it so much I put it on some bookmarks that I custom made and bought off VistaPrint).
“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” Milton Friedman
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, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. 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 are:
Faith Seeking Freedom by Norman Horn, Doug Stuart , Kerry Baldwin, Dick Clark (Christian Perspective)
The Libertarian Theology of Freedom by Edmund Opitz (Christian Perspective)