How about outlining another piece of the puzzle for me as I am slow of brain, and ill suited to libertarian lingo. Does your Christianity modify your Libertarianism or is the reverse true? Since Paul in Romans 13:1-7 says that the state can legitimately use "the gun" (or the sword in 1st century non-libertarian lingo) are you debating about what the proper use of the "the gun" is? Or is the issue whether that text is to be dismissed? "it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God" seems pretty clear that some force has divine sanction. What limits do you see on that and how does it (or should it) apply today in the almost anarchistic USA?A few observations:
1. As it happens, I know Mort by his real-world name in the real-world context. I say this so that the reader will know that I speak from a factual basis in saying that he's anything but "slow of brain."
2. I don't really know how to talk about my libertarianism, because I'm unwilling to accept the category label -- for a couple of reasons that I find sufficient. One is that it puts you into the sort of disreputable company that operates the Libertarian Party today: Republicans in drag, pretty much. Another is that it implies acceptance of the idea that there exists a political-philosophical "system" -- a body of theory -- that can always produce the right answer to the problems endemic to groups of people living together. With an old-school libertarian, I can find a fair amount to agree about, but that doesn't mean I am one; I'm not.
A Christian, on the other hand, is something that I simply am. I didn't "become" one under my own power or my own initiative; and I don't think I can stop being one now, although I concede that I may be mistaken about that. This is a rambling way of saying that I don't think there's any question about any sort of political-philosophical-scientific "-ism" modifying my Christianity; we're talking about things that differ in kind, not degree.
3. Now, for Romans 13 and the post on which you commented (and, perhaps, the previous post, which was about more or less the same thing). Does Romans 13 say that "rulers" and "governing authorities" are authorized users of The Gun? The verses you cited, from the NASB:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.Certainly, this passage says that the state is authorized -- assigned, in fact -- the use of The Gun. (It says some other things about the government that is so authorized, too; more on that later.) I do not dispute this, nor did I dispute it in my posts. What I was saying is that The Gun underlies everything the state does: free school lunches just as much as "dynamic entry" drug raids by the state's black-clad thugs. I say this because it is true, and because it is a truth that I think we should keep always at the forefront of our thoughts. Our rulers do not always aim for our good; indeed, a strong argument can be made that our rulers are quite seldom motivated by our good.
Which brings me to what else this passage from scripture says about legitimately-armed government. It says that the person who does good need not fear this government -- that, on the contrary, he or she can expect praise from it. The government being talked about here is a minister of God's justice, visiting wrath upon evildoers. This government's proper authority -- not power, but authority -- is established by God. This government is a dedicated servant of God. Seen a government like that around here lately?
4. Your final question seems to me to assume something that is not in evidence. You describe the USA as "almost anarchistic." The dictionary defines "anarchism" thusly:
Main Entry: an·ar·chismI don't recognize the land where I live in those words. Where I live, we're up to our necks in "governmental authority." I live in a land where, increasingly, anything not forbidden is compulsory. Now, that doesn't mean that life is pleasant and orderly, by any means. Life is, in many places in the United State, disorderly to the point of chaos. (And I don't mean to quibble about word choice here; I'm guessing that "chaotic" goes closer to what you were thinking of.) For at least half a century now, we've been getting more and more and more government, while the tendency toward social disorders and pathologies has multiplied.
Pronunciation: 'a-n&r-"ki-z&m, -"när-
1 : a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups
2 : the advocacy or practice of anarchistic principles.
How are we to understand this? I think the passage from Romans that we've been looking at suggests an explanation. If we were living under a bad government -- a 1 Samuel 8:10-18 sort of government -- a lawless government: well, I wonder if this isn't the kind of result we might expect. How, the reader asks, can I describe our government as "lawless," when it takes a strong man to lift the Federal Register for a single year, and you'd need a pretty solid mule to haul the volumes of the tax code? By "lawless," I mean this: the federal government is supposedly created, defined, and strictly limited by a document: the U.S. constitution. And that constitution is today nothing better than a bad joke; it is routinely ignored by our masters, who have long since realized that words on paper are a poor match for The Gun, whether the words in question are those of the constitution or the scriptures. In short, I think we are ruled by a tyranny, an end to which is to be hoped for.