Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow

Love and Liberty

Douglas Wilson

The theme we have been developing is that self-government is the ground of all other government. Men and women who cannot govern themselves will in fact be governed by others. The less government they have at home, in the heart, the more government from the outside will necessarily be imposed.

This liberty we are speaking of—at this individual level—is the liberty to do right, which is not the same thing as the liberty to do as you please. But we must be careful here.

Augustine once said that we could love God, and then do as we please. This makes sense because when we love God first, our desires will be rightly ordered. Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4). This is a safe promise for the Lord to make because when you are delighting in the Lord, your desires are not demented. Seek first the kingdom, Jesus says, and a number of other things of a more pedestrian and earthly nature will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). We may obtain these other things, but only as a function of living in such a way that seeks first the kingdom. Love God all out and then do as you please.

So if you are loving God, what you please to pursue will be hard work, laughter and joy with your family, self-discipline, a decidedly uncool life, and the resultant blessings of God. This will bring you into a real collision with tyrants, with those who take away your liberty.

But if you are loving self first then you will also come into conflict with tyrants, and serves you right. If liberty makes you think of nothing but opportunities for dissolute living, then you are the slave masters’ best friend. This is why so many on the libertarian alt-right are nothing but sub-contractors making chains for the statists to use.

If it (liberty) is not consumed with a love for God and His Word, then it is a political theory that is worse than useless.
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