Deep Charity by Graeme Hunter

Deep Charity

The Libertarian Failure

As libertarianism grows more popular among conservatives of all kinds, including Christian conservatives, it is important for us to understand the logic of the position. Some of it is compatible with Christian orthodoxy (which does not make it true) and some is not. The libertarian position on charity is not.

Christians believe that we are under an obligation to share our goods with those in need. Libertarians, however, claim that no such obligation of charity can exist, and they rest their case on a forceful argument. If you have a financial obligation to the poor, they say, then the poor must have a corresponding right to some portion of your worldly possessions. But if they had such a right, it would involve the absurdity that property could simultaneously be yours by possession and theirs by right. Therefore, no such obligation exists.

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Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).

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