Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Free Rider Problem (3) - Love and Generosity

Christians are all free riders on Jesus, so we cannot hate free riders. We should love freedom, more than we dislike free riders. When it comes to a choice between freedom with a few free riders tagging along and taxation with coercion, we should choose freedom. God made us free, so we will not give up freedom, just to deal with a few free riders. The gain is not worth the cost.

Christians should like being around free riders, because it gives them an opportunity to show love.

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles (Matt 5:41).
The soldier who forces you to carry his pack for a mile is a free rider. He wants a service without paying for it. The Christian should not resist or hate the free rider, but should show love him by carrying the load an extra mile.
And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well (Matt 5:41).
The person who wants your tunic without paying for it is a free rider. He wants to consume a good without paying. The Christian response is to love the free rider by giving more than him more than he expects.

God made humans free. Since he values our freedom, he does not coerce people into doing the right thing. That perspective should shape our approach to taxation. The Christian solution to free riding is not compulsory taxation, but love and generosity.

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