I have suggested that in the next life, Jesus will act as a central planner both for the contemplative life in heaven and for the active life in paradise.

This, however, presents a problem. Freedom would seem to be a great human good. Yet if God is running the paradise economy, how can we say that freedom will exist there? Why, moreover, do we libertarians fight for freedom and capitalism in this life, when comprehensive socialism will be the order of the day in the next?

The objection is as follows. Jesus’ “central plan” can never be understood by a human being, not only with regard to the whole communion of saints but even regarding one’s own life, because He comprehends the entire infinitude of our everlasting lives, while a human can only know a finite amount. Then there is the possible nature of God’s knowledge as “uncountable.” You can only obey while trusting that Jesus’ edicts are reasonable. Even if Jesus puts you to work maintaining hellfire by shoveling coals into the divine hell-furnace for a million years while listening to the incessant screams of the damned, you will need to trust that this is all for your own / the greater good.

Since the reasons for any particular command of God or allocation of resources by God cannot be understood, no command can be questioned, either, since presumably Jesus is optimizing total happiness for an infinitely long future. Jesus can always tell you to know your place and leave central planning to the central planner.

In the starkest possible terms, is it the case that “under the pretext of economic expediency, [Jesus] has full power to relegate every citizen He dislikes to the arctic or to a desert and to assign him ‘hard labor’ for life”? (Mises, HA, 287)

Now work in paradise will be a labor of love with no disutility of labor attached to it. It will still have a cost, understood as the delay of some satisfaction of the other saints who have an interest in enjoying the things you build as soon as possible. With perfect charity, their pleasure will be your own, and it will still pay to work efficiently. Production in paradise also has two opportunity costs: contemplation in heaven and consumption in paradise. Completing any project quickly will minimize these costs even for the producer.

So, no, God is not an arbitrary omnipotent despot but is good. He will not assign to any saint work that he hates.

The second question can now be answered, too. The reason why we fight for freedom and capitalism is precisely that we learn to obey no man but only God who is uniquely qualified to be the “central planner,” unlike indeed a finite human being who is perfectly unqualified to be one. A man who wants to be socialist dictator is a pretender to the divine throne who would falsely, viciously, and disastrously usurp God’s authority.

Therefore, it is not enough for us to reject socialism in this world. It is necessary to acknowledge that while man completely lacks the competence to exercise “central planning,” God in fact can do it and ought to be given this job. We proudly refuse to obey any human tyrant but for all that freely and rationally obey God and trust His infinitely deep providential insight. The libertarian project is not complete without conceding the proper and natural sovereignty of the Son and His right to rule from on high.

Categories: Paradise


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