A Biblical Defense of Anarcho-Capitalism: “No King”

It seems good at the outset to define what exactly “anarcho-capitalism” is, and to lay out a base for some proceeding posts. The simplest definition for “anarcho-capitalism” would be “capitalism without rulers”. In the anarcho-capitalist model of society, the state is eliminated and all voluntary transactions are allowed. The only rule of law is the principle of non-aggression; meaning, I can’t  harm your person or your property or use threats of violence to coerce you. In the anarcho-capitalist system, individual liberty is of the upmost importance, and to put it plainly, everything that is not pre-aggression or a threat of aggression is permissible. The Wikipedia entry on anarcho-capitalism is not terrible, and should give the reader a general idea of the economic and social philosophy. It should also be noted that anarcho-capitalism differs from anarcho-socialism in that in the former system, individual property rights are recognized.

 

Moving on now, for all my Christian readers, there will probably be some immediate objections to the idea that prostitution, drug use, and many other activities believed to be immoral should be designated ‘not illegal’. It is my intention to address these kinds of general objections and other biblical defenses for the tenants of ANCAP in a series of following posts,but for now I would like to lay the foundation from a biblical perspective, the ideal social system Yahweh instituted for His people.

 

    “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 17:6 (NASB)

 

We are often taught as Christians, that the political and social landscape described in the text of Judges 17 is one of immorality, and rebellion towards God. This most assuredly might be the case if one was to assume that there were no Israelites that sought after the will of the Lord, but to those that sought to keep the commands and recognized Yahweh as their King, how wonderful life must have been. It is important to understand that no king was given to rule over Israel until they rejected Yahweh as their King and asked for someone to rule over them “like all the nations”( 1 Samuel 8:5-6). This was exceedingly displeasing in the sight of Samuel, to the point where Yahweh sought to console him by assuring Samuel “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”  In the mind of Yahweh, His children searching for someone to rule over them was tantamount to their rejection of His rule. To put it plainly; in Yahweh’s ideal, the system He set up for His children, there was to be no man ruling over them, only Himself.

 

As we have seen from the definition of “anarchy” given above, “without rulers” or, only Yahweh as King is initially how the children of Yahweh were intended to live. Yahweh even speaks through the prophet Samuel, and tells the people what will be the result of their seeking for a ruler over them like all the nations. See if you notice any parallels to our own times.

“This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.  He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.  He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants.  He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants.  He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.  Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” – 1 Samuel 8:11-18

 

It seems evident at this point, that the political and social system given to the people of the Most High, was one in which no sole individual or group of individuals ruled over the majority, or any percentage of the people. Strictly speaking, every man did what was right in his own eyes, within the framework of the Law of Moses, and this is exactly how Yahweh wanted it. It was only as a concession, and amidst warnings of what was to come, that Yahweh gave Israel a king. I think one could even make the case, that such ruler-ship was an act of judgement upon the Israelites for their rejection of the rule of the Most High in favor of being “like all the nations”.

 

Now that the groundwork has been laid for a biblical model of the “without rulers” social system, it is my desire in future posts within this series to lay out, from a biblical perspective; moral implications, the case for property rights, what exactly is evangelism, freedom and liberty of the individual, and the pros and cons of the ANCAP system from a biblical perspective. I hope to see you then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “A Biblical Defense of Anarcho-Capitalism: “No King”

  1. Although I used to describe myself as a libertarian and an Anarcho-Capitalist (that’s how most people would still label me today), I’d really like to think of myself as just an Orthodox Christian. I embraced the Eastern Christian tradition 13 years ago, and that was a radical transformation. However, after being introduced to the writings of a very influential Tennessee preacher named David Lipscomb, by Laurence Vance several years ago, I guess I have an entirely new perspective on civil government. I suppose that’s why I published the audiobook edition of his work “Civil Government: It’s Origin, Mission and Destiny and the Christian’s Relation to It”.

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    1. I have a good friend that is a member of the EOC and he and I have had quite a few stimulating conversations. I am not really associated with any denomination, though I suppose I would identify as an Anabaptist. I had never heard of Lipscomb before, and after a brief search on the Internet, it seems his views are fairly in line with a man named Greg Boyd who is head teaching pastor of a church near me in St. Paul. Boyd is a Christian Anarchist, and has been very influential in the shaping of my own views. His book “A Myth of a Christian Nation” is an excellent read, and one I would highly recommend. Can you send me a link as to where the audiobook you mentioned is available?

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  2. I would steer away from a Covenant with God that ended 2 thousand years ago. How we live today is simple. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s anarchy. Rules without rulers. No king. Faith. Faith in the Creator to live the life He breathes in you.

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    1. I am not trying to “reinstate” the Mosaic Law, though I observe many facets of it that most Evangelicals nowadays do not. It is simply my desire to use scripture as a basis for my living, and this includes my political views. I hope, in the following posts, to illustrate how the ancap system is in line with the principles taught in scripture and should be embraced by all of us that have Christ as our King.

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    1. It seems to me that Yahweh did install a monarchy, so to speak, with Himself as King over His people. If it had been His ideal for another man to rule over us, He would have started there, not used it as a kind of judgement. It also seems to me that many Christians see the way the governments of the world operate and no longer wish to participate in the evils, and this makes me very happy. Many, however, are still stuck in the Constantinian view of the church, and think we ought to, by rule of law impose our morality on others. I just hope I am able to do more here than preach to the choir. In any case, I think we are on the brink of a real turning point in human history and the choices we make now and how we handle the growing angst towards our governments and other governments make for a very exciting time to be alive, and an exciting time to be a follower of Christ.

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  3. The state of Christianity today has returned to the same condition that Israel was in during the time of the judges. This statement in Judges 17:6 and 21:25 is not a positive statement about Israel, but a negative one. This sin of “doing that which was right in (their) own eyes” was what accounted for the sin of Micah in continuing in idol worship. There were no judges in the land to point out this sin or restrain the people from it. The law of God had been forsaken and replaced with subjectivism. This is exactly what we are seeing today in our postmodern, relativist culture. It is to be expected that the world will act like this, but this attitude has also entered and almost overwhelmed Christendom as we know it. Christianity is being remade in the image of imaginations of men (Rom. 1:21). The rules are being set by false teachers, and the Christian masses are quick to follow. Only those who listen to the judges of today, those with Holy Spirit and biblical discernment, will be saved in this age of apostasy.

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    1. I think perhaps you are conflating my argument a bit. I’m not advocating relativism, or some kind of postmodern thinking within the Church, quite the opposite. I’m simply attempting to illustrate that Israel had no king by design, and one was only appointed over her as an act of judgement for their wholesale rejection of Yahweh as their King. The system of Judges did not start when Israel received the Law, and Judges were only raised up for a time to deal with certain issues that arose. Israel was not designed to have a human being ruling over her, as the text explicitly states.

      From the time of Abraham, until the time of Saul, the only ruler over the people of God was Yahweh Himself. This is by design. The giving of the King was by concession and as a matter of judgement.

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  4. There was no king in Israel – The word מלך melech, which generally means king, is sometimes taken for a supreme governor, judge, magistrate, or ruler of any kind; (see Genesis 36:31, and Deuteronomy 33:5;); and it is likely it should be so understood here.

    Every man did that which was right in his own eyes – He was his own governor, and what he did he said was right; and, by his cunning and strength, defended his conduct. When a man’s own will, passions, and caprice, are to be made the rule of law, society is in a most perilous and ruinous state. Civil government is of God; and without it the earth must soon be desolated. There was a time when there was no king in England; and that was, in general, a time of scandal to religion, and oppression to men.

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    1. Again, I’m not suggesting that those within the Church cast aside the Lordship of Christ and replace Him with themselves. Those that are the people of God, by definition, recognize Him as their leader. As far as civil government being from God, I agree. The original design for the Israelites, was that they would police themselves according to the guidelines laid out within the Law. Aside from bringing personal disputes about land, or property, or other miscellaneous grievances before the Court, the people were mostly left to themselves. It is this original design for civil government that I believe is the ideal for believers now. Especially considering the evil that our governments perpetrate the world around, and that, on our dime.

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      1. My issue is with the implication that one “doing what is right in ones own eyes” is portrayed as a ‘good thing’, which, obviously it is not. You also cannot disregard Moses, Aaron, Joshua, etc as non-leaders raised up by God as they most definitely were. The issue, I believe is with “like the other nations “…not having Godly leadership per say. God, Himself, chose David to rule His people and carried into the NT we have Paul’s own admonition to submit to and obey those in authority laid out in Romans 13.

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  5. Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
    Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

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  6. I recently discovered that I too identify with anarcho-capitalism more than any other political philosophy.

    I really appreciate this post. Mainly because it’s well thought out and is another avenue into introducing people to ancap ideals. Thanks ks for this post.

    -TdP

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