quinta-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2007

Cristianismo e Liberdade

Francis Wayland: Preacher-Economist

"Because he was a Baptist minister, it is no surprise that Wayland held to the absolute authority of the Bible. But he was equally an advocate of liberty, property, and peace. And because of his strong religious convictions, he made no attempt to separate God from these things. In fact, he grounded them in the will of God.

Politically, Wayland was a Jeffersonian, but said: "I do not wish to be connected with politics. Indeed, I dare not commit myself with politicians. No one knows what they will be next year by what they are this year." When speaking about liberty, he sounds like a contemporary libertarian:

Thus a man has an entire right to use his own body as he will, provided he do not so use it as to interfere with the rights of his neighbor. He may go where he will and stay where he please; he may work or be idle; he may pursue one occupation or another or no occupation at all; and it is the concern of no one else, if he leave inviolate the rights of everyone else; that is, if he leave everyone else in the undisturbed enjoyment of those means of happiness bestowed upon him by the Creator.

Because he believed that "men will not labor continuously nor productively" unless they receive some benefit from their labor, Wayland deplored property "held in common" because under such an arrangement there was "no connexion between labor and the rewards of labor." He insisted that the "division of property, or the appropriation, to each, of his particular portion of that which God has given to all, lays at the foundation of all accumulation of wealth, and of all progress in civilization."

Because Wayland considered all wars to be "contrary to the will of God," he believed that "the individual has no right to commit to society, nor society to government, the power to declare war."

"The operations of industry, in both belligerent nations, are thus greatly paralyzed. The destruction of property, in the district through which an army passes, is generally very great. All this must be taken from the earnings of a people; and is so much capital absolutely destroyed, from which multitudes might have reared, and have lived in prosperity."

He was against government regulation of money, and believed that government has no right "to prevent the exportation or importation of specie," "to alter the value of money," or "to fix the relative value between the precious metals."

He specifically mentions five forms of detrimental "legislative interference": the granting of monopolies, obliging someone to engage in labor or investment against their wishes, restrictions on industry, obliging someone to change his mode of employment, and sumptuary laws..

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