Guest / Limited Access /

Like many Americans these days, John Stagliano loves his country but hates his government. The entrepreneur and self-made millionaire views government as a necessary evil at best and, at worst, a restrictive and regulatory nightmare intent on usurping his personal and economic liberties.

Stagliano's antipathy is directed not only at the current Congress or administration, but at government itself. He is a major, outspoken contributor to the Cato Institute, an influential libertarian think tank. Groups like Cato have moved political debate away from discussions of good government versus bad government. Their presumption is that government, by definition, is bad. So the debate becomes big government versus small government.

G. K. Chesterton said, "The poor object to being governed badly, while the rich object to being governed at all." This is especially true of rich people like Stagliano, who makes his fortune in an industry that is particularly prone to government "interference": pornography. Stagliano produces and directs hard-core sex videos. His company, Evil Angel Video, is one of the leading players in America's $8-billion-a-year trade in sexually explicit material.

Fatal attraction
Perhaps it is not surprising that libertarianism is an attractive philosophy for a millionaire pornographer. What is surprising is the extent to which libertarian ideas have begun to influence politically active Christians, especially evangelicals.

We evangelicals are experiencing an adolescent growth spurt in our political engagement and thinking. Still heady with the zeal of newfound political activism, we haven't yet demonstrated the patience or discipline for sustained political reflection, for engaging the centuries-long conversation on ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Government Recognition Demanded
Government Recognition Demanded
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
Matters of Opinion: Should We Give Up on Government?
hide thisMarch 2 March 2

In the Magazine

March 2, 1998

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.