Jesus as an Anarchist
by Ben Stone
Could Jesus be classified as an anarchist, specifically an anarcho-capitalist? For the purpose of this article, we’re not referring to Jesus’ view on government or lack there of. We’re strictly examining Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule as compared to the anarchist Zero Aggression Principal. Anarcho-capitalism is founded on the Zero Aggression Principal and it in turn is founded on property rights. (I’ll cover property rights separately)
“The Zero Aggression Principle (non-aggression axiom, non-aggression principle, ZAP, NAP) is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the “initiation” of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle allows violent self-defense of person and property. The principle is a deontological (or rule-based) ethical stance.”
Jesus wrapped up his teaching quite well when he said, “All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
So Jesus states the famous Golden Rule then states that the entire “law and prophets” is summed up in this rule.
The Golden Rule is a simple summery of the ZAP. The two are identical in both philosophy and in practical outworking. If a man follows the Golden Rule he will be following the ZAP. And if a man follows the ZAP he will be following the Golden Rule. The Law and the Prophets are the meat and potatoes of the Old Testament and Christ’s message and sacrifice are the purposes of the New Testament. If the Golden Rule is central to the message of the New Testament and fulfillment of the Old, and the ZAP is the same as the Golden Rule, then the ZAP is one of the central messages of the Bible.
Property Rights and Economics
Who owns what?
Anarcho-capitalists believe in “self ownership”.
We assume for this discussion, that God created the heavens and the Earth and all they contain. But God didn’t create them so he could posses them. That would be completely illogical since God would have the unlimited ability to create billions of universes if he only sought to posses them. God’s actions were purposeful. When God created humans he gave them something that stands out in the animal kingdom, free will. That means that even though the source of man is God, man owns himself. He can chose to accept, reject, or ignore God. The book of Genesis gives us several accounts of the Biblical concept of property rights, but at the end of Chapter 1 God clearly states that God grants mankind complete ownership of the creation with the exception that he must go forth and subdue and fill it. Anarcho-capitalists call this Lockean Homesteading or the Lockean Proviso. Adam was even given the responsibility of naming each thing in the creation, and having the right to name an item is one sign of ownership. So we have life, self-ownership, and homesteading rights over the entire creation given to mankind as a gift. And God offers us eternal life through the gift of His sacrifice. Anarcho-capitalists recognize gift giving as one of the three legitimate ways to own property, along with homesteading and voluntary exchange. Anarcho-capitalists believe that when humans freely choose to act in the production, exchange, and consumption of property and services, we have a right to do these things so long as we do so within the boundaries of the ZAP. So what we have seen here shows that the ethics of anarcho-capitalism was central to Jesus’ teaching, and it is the economic method God uses to produce and distribute goods and services.