Tag Archives: soverignty

The family and the state

Recently, a friend of mine posted a link to an article which details how Sweden views corporal punishment.

KARLSTAD, Sweden, November 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Swedish district court has sentenced a couple to nine months each in prison and fined them the equivalent of US $10,650 after they admitted to spanking three of their four children as a normal part of their parenting methods. Corporal punishment of children by parents was made illegal in Sweden in 1979, an early step in what a U.S. parental rights lawyer called the nearly total take-over of parenting by the state in Sweden. Court documents, quoted by Sveriges Television, said that the parents, who have not been named in the press, “explained that they had used, what they themselves described as spanking, physical punishment as part of their methods for raising the children.” There is no indication of abuse by the parents in the released documents, with the court noting that the parents “had a loving and caring relationship with their children.”

Families are the building blocks of society, and so it logically follows that parents are sovereign over their (plural possessive) children. Now some might object that this sounds like slavery and that they “don’t think anyone has sovereignty over anyone, whatever the status of any given institution in society. Responsibility, yes, and certainly parents have authority over their children, within the constraints of what is morally and socially acceptable.” However this poses a couple of problems.

Parental sovereignty

Humans are contingent beings. As such we cannot be our own sovereigns. Children in particular are dependent. The question is “dependent on whom?” Naturally, I would argue, they are dependent on their parents, the beings responsible for their existence. So when I say that parents are sovereign over their children I am simply pointing out their unique relationship with their offspring.

Social acceptability

As I’ve written elsewhere, a standard of morality based on societal norms is, by definition, not a standard. The reality is that the sovereign gets to make the rules. That means God as our ultimate sovereign, parents as their childrens’ sovereign and government as the sovereign of free men1.

Government serves families, not the other way around

Here in the US, during our “wild west” days, a constraint was placed on lawmakers and courts to honor that unique relationship above all else. Consequently state intervention in family matters was rare and required a great deal of justification on the state’s part. And even then it was seen as a failing all around if the state had to intervene because that meant violating the societal flow of families being the building blocks of society and consequently government. So when we look at cases like the article above we can confidently say that Sweden is a bad place to live because it has a wrong view of how societies are built. It is not the government’s job to raise children, it is the job of their parents. At best the government can and should encourage and equip parents to form healthy and stable families, but under no circumstances should governments or voters be tempted to think that it is anyone other than the parents who get to decide what is best for their children. Signed, A father of three and a husband of one.

  1. It may shock some people to think about children as not being free, but that’s life. In fact, I would argue that a human child’s extended dependent status provides a clear rebuttal against Darwinian evolution. []
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Libertarian free will vs. compatabalism

Here is a great question I received recently via Facebook

I’ve been thinking about libertarian freedom lately. What exactly does “nature” mean? 1. The compatibilist says we can only act according to our nature, while the libertarian says we can act against it. If our nature is to sin, then couldn’t we come to Christ without His drawing since we can act against our nature? 2. Libertarians believe in causeless actions. There is no sufficient cause for us to make decisions, only “external influences”. But, if our actions were causeless, then doesn’t that undermine the cosmological argument? What are your thoughts on this? Thank you.

Additionally

The principle of causality holds that every event has an adequate cause. If this is so, then it would seem that even the act of free choice has a cause and so on back to God (or infinity). In any case, if the act of free choice is caused by another, then it cannot be caused by one’s self.” Things don’t just happen. We need causes. Likewise, our actions need a cause and they cannot originate from ourselves because then something would cause itself. Again, libertarian freedom would seem to undermine the kalam cosmological argument.

My response:

The compatabilist seeks to redefine the word “will” to mean something that, in the end, is not a “will” anymore. The compatabilist likes to equivocate on the word because they know the word MUST be used and rather than admit their system is flawed to the core, they would rather do violence to the fabric of language itself.

Once you pin them on their butchering of the English language there are really two options. 1. Get them to use words in their proper sense or 2. cease the conversation since a productive communication is impossible if your opponent is going to be so intellectually dishonest as to twist words to the degree that language itself stands in peril.

To answer further, advocates of libertarian free will (LFW) simply do not see the heart turning itself (an Augustinian statement) as an action. The will wills what the will wills. There are influences and limits that do come into play, but at some point, if we are to call the will a will, there needs to be a free and un-compelled choice between at least two possible alternatives. Otherwise we cannot be said to be free or to have willed in any meaningful sense.

As for undermining the KCA. If we are going to claim the will is necessarily part of a causal system, then we run into issues with God and His will. Is the compatabalist willing to take on the challenge of explaining the causal chain God’s will is subject to and how such a causal chain fits in with God’s aseity?

Our souls, the seats of our will, is what is made in the image of God. If our souls are causal puppets on external strings. What does that say for God?

I would therefore be weary of any man who wishes to place God’s will under causal arrest.

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