Laurence Vance on Libertarianism

The Free Society. By Laurence M. Vance. Vance Publications, 2018. Xii + 468 pages.

Laurence Vance is best known for his work as a specialist on the King James translation of the Bible, but he is also an outstanding writer on libertarian issues. In The Free Society, he has collected a large number of his articles for the period 2005-2017, almost all of which first appeared first in or the Future of Freedom Foundation. The articles are well worth reading, as they display the author’s sharp mind and consistent outlook.

Vance, who is a conservative Christian, maintains that the Bible supports a libertarian viewpoint. That opinion puts him at odds with those religious believers who wish to use government to enforce personal morals, but Vance is undaunted: “So why do I think that religion—in this case the Christian religion—is compatible with libertarianism? Let me give you two verses of Scripture, one from the Old Testament and one from the New, since Christians accept the authority of both: Proverbs 3:30— ‘Strive not with a man without cause, if hath done thee no harm.’   1 Peter 4:15—-But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.’ These verses, my friends, embody the essence of libertarianism. Don’t kill anyone, don’t take what’s not yours, don’t do anything wrong, don’t stick your nose into someone else’s business, and don’t bother anyone if he hasn’t bothered you.” (p.20) The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $13.55 Buy New $17.54 (as of 04:55 UTC - Details)

Libertarianism, Vance, explains, should be taken in a strict way. The welfare state should be rejected, for example, not mainly because it is economically inefficient but because it violates people’s rights to take from some to give to others. “Of course, I oppose welfare payments! It is immoral to take from those who work and give it to those who don’t—even when the government does it. All charity should be private and voluntary.” (p.39)

One final illustration of Vance’s uncompromising adherence libertarian principle: “Since no parent in the United States is forced to send his child to a government school, it is a myth that we need ‘school choice’(meaning vouchers) so that children can get out of an unsafe, failing government school.” (p.85)

Vance is a consistently illuminating writer, and I highly recommend his work.