The Curiousness of Calvinist Libertarianism and Gary NorthApril 3, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Anarchism, Decentralism, Political theory, Religion | 1 Comment
The Curiousness of Calvinist Libertarianism and Gary North
by Lysander’s Ghost
“There is no neutrality. One’s presuppositions about the nature of God, man, law, causation, and time shape one’s interpretation of all facts. There is no brute factuality, as Cornelius Van Til insisted; there is only interpreted factuality.” (Gary North, Conspiracy in Philadelphia, p. 7)
Gary North has contributed an enormous volume of printed work that has been part of the libertarian movement or at least an interesting cross traveler for several decades. Most visible are his 700+ articles at LewRockwell.com, probably all of which are supportive of, or at the least, not inconsistent with radical libertarian anarchism.
This article exists precisely because Gary North is often very insightful. Some of his excellent writings include critical analyses of the Federal Reserve, his arguments for a lifestyle of thrift, advice on market timing, support for home schooling and the Robinson Curriculum, the PhD glut and minimizing college costs, explaining the methods governments influence the price of gold, and highlighting Deuteronomy 20:5-8 as a religious argument not only against a military draft, but against all modern enlistment contracts as well.
This article has many quotes from his book “Conspiracy in Philadelphia” in part because so much of it is not only right, but uniquely original and persuasive to libertarian oriented thinking. He argues and provides persuasive evidence that the Constitutional Convention of 1789 itself was a coup d’etat. This article starts with an assumption that his evidence of such is persuasive and overwhelming. Since he may be the primary re-discoverer of this perspective of history, his perspective on the composition, motives, and goals of the warring parties of pre-Constitutional USA could provide a strong influence on readers to accept his further conclusions.
North identifies the parties at odds in pre-revolutionary America as a Masonic/deistic/unitarian/natural law alliance, along with those they influenced, which includes Federalists and Anti-Federalists on one side, and the Trinitarian Calvinists as represented by the heirs of John Winthrop as the other. I argue that instead the division is between centralists and decentralists, with centralists being the party who created the coup, instituting the Constitution. However, as decentralism had popular support, the centralist coup disguised their replacement for the Articles of Confederation with a false appearance of decentralism and natural law, but they did not mean it. As Lysander Spooner wrote in 1867, the writers of the Constitution, “said a great many good things, which they did not mean, and meant a great many bad things, which they dared not say; that these men, under the false pretence of a government resting on the consent of the whole people, designed to entrap them into a government of a part; who should be powerful and fraudulent enough to cheat the weaker portion out of all the good things that were said, but not meant, and subject them to all the bad things that were meant, but not said.” (NoTreason, No. 1, sec. X)
To begin, I admit my non-neutrality in this review. I come from a Christian anarchist perspective fundamentally hostile in many ways to North’s religion. This article is an unrepentant argument for where I disagree with him. Eventually in some other article, I hope to enlighten the reader to my Christian anarchist perspective that was nearly exterminated from the US, by both the carrot and stick of government suppression.
To summarize my bias, my heritage is of the Churches of Christ influenced by the anarchist David Lipscomb1 and before him the classical liberal Alexander Campbell. Campbell was, according to supporters and opponents alike, influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment and took a perspective influenced by the triumvirate of Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and John Locke which led him to reject his Calvinist Presbyterian heritage. The Biblical interpretations developed were believer-rationalist. (As opposed to non-believer rationalist or believer-mysticist.) So while other sects were indecisive regarding contemporary miraculous events, those influenced by Campbell would disbelieve in post-Apostolic supernatural events or expect some odd religious experience to overtake oneself. Instead it focused on religion as an individual decision by people who are able to choose to do good or evil.
Gary North, is, more than anything a Calvinist, many of his arguments seem to present a radical Calvinist view for free markets, but to find out his desired “end stage” free society (if not a misnomer) his writings on libertarian websites are silent and you must delve into his massive quantity of religious writings. Every interpretation of factuality for North is symbolically tied to defending Calvinism and opposing its enemies. But do some of his more significant historical narratives and concept associations hold up?
To understand North one must understand John Calvin first. There is no better point than the most notorious act of John Calvin, the execution of Michael Servetus. Any radical Calvinist has to make this seem at least partly justifiable. Servetus was neither Arian, not Sabellian and accepted the divinity of Jesus, but was a non-trinitarian and an advocate of voluntary baptism, and so Calvin wrote:
“Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here, but I will not give my word for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.” (Letter to William Farel, Feb. 13, 1546)
Calvin’s authority in Geneva was significant. Servetus did not depart alive. The peaceful scientist and scholar was burned on the stake. Though killed by Calvinist religious intolerance, the Catholics and Lutherans wanted the same fate for Servetus and thanked Calvin for doing the dirty work. Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s cohort thanked Calvin’s magistrates for the execution. Before that, Servetus had to flee the Catholic Inquisition due to Calvin getting the Vienna Catholics to go after him.
But there was a contemporary defender of Servetus’ right to think and speak without fear of death for it. Sebastian Castellio wrote at the time, “When Servetus fought with reasons and writings, he should have been repulsed by reasons and writings.” In opposition to Castellio, Calvin wrote “Defense of the Orthodox Faith in the Sacred Trinity” to defend repulsing reasons and writings with executions. This should be considered even more important to understanding applied Calvinism than his Institutes of the Christian Religion3 because of its purpose to defend execution for differences of religious opinion. Castellio would further challenge the hypocrisy of Calvin’s plea for persecuted Protestants (Institutes, Preface to the King of France) when Calvin did not show the same restrain and mercy. Further applied moral comparison is seen when no Calvinist leader but only Castellio went to help the poor during a plague while Calvin considered himself too important to risk being around the ill.
The Anabaptists of the Radical Reformation deserve the true credit for bringing the principle of freedom of thought and peaceful coexistence to the West after the Dark Ages. However, they were too far from mainstream trying to avoid extermination themselves to be a strong influence. John Milton, in perhaps the most influential moral argument for toleration in his Areopagitica, spread significant and powerful arguments for freedom of thought. But even before Milton, Castellio promoted the separation of church and state in opposition to Calvin at great personal cost leading to his own poverty due to the political power of Calvin.
Murray Rothbard popularized an interesting perspective on the secularization of postmillennialism and it becoming an essential element of both Marxism and the secularized Yankee American Protestants. Murray was wrong by a tangent. Postmillennialism (supported both by Calvinists and anti-Calvinists) is a belief that implies individuals can successfully shape the future. It was in fact secularized Calvinism that was the essential element of Marxism and Yankee Protestants. Postmillennialism could be statist or not, but Calvin was statist as the social structural foundation.
So who wast most influential in secularizing Calvinism? Jean Jacques Rousseau grew up in the Calvinist stronghold of Geneva and received his childhood education by the study of Calvin’s sermons. He wrote his most influential political work, The Social Contract while a confessed Calvinist, albeit taking significant secularizing deviances. It maybe wrongly thought that Calvinism is a hard philosophy to secularize because it argues that man cannot learn of God, good, or evil except through scripture, and even then not by choice. However, in fact and application due to the authority given to the state to punish heresy and the opposition to natural law, what is secularized is the form, the social structure of Calvinism. A Calvinist society is (and was in Genevan history) one where the civil government’s duty is to enforce the absolute Calvinist creed. Calvinists actually think of this as the “proper type” of separation of church and state. Secularized Calvinism is still a society opposed to natural law, claiming it to be a myth. Instead, it merely replaces the written religious creed with the civil statute. Both theocratic Calvinism and civic Calvinism make the creeds/statutes absolute as interpreted by man via the state. Secularized Calvinism is positivism.
Calvinists support a type of separation of church and state, but how meaningful could it be? Calvin’s successor and disciple, Theodore Beza also wrote “On the Punishment of Heretics by the Civil Magistrate” in 1554 to further promote the Calvinist totalitarian state position that liberty of conscious was a “diabolical doctrine.” North would similarly write, “So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” (The Failure of the American Baptist Culture, p. 25)
Before North was so blunt in stating the Calvinist position, Rousseau wrote, “…no State has ever been founded without a religious basis…Every religion, therefore, being attached solely to the laws of the State which prescribed it, there was no way of converting a people except by enslaving it, and there could be no missionaries save conquerors.” (Social Contract, Bk. 4, Sec. 8)
In Rousseau, the natural goodness of man only superficially seems opposed to Calvinist original sin. In fact, this goodness represents the Edenic era, and for Rousseau, when humans create the concept of property (remember, in Calvinism there could be no natural law for property so property is artificial) this becomes the secularized original sin and fall of man. His “General Will” is like a secularization of God, but more than that because Calvinists considered their interpretation as in their creeds absolute enough to use it to determine heresies worthy of death. Likewise Rousseau considered religious truths as determined by the legislature equally enforceable by death and wrote, “If any one, after publicly recognising these dogmas [civil religion], behaves as if he does not believe them, let him be punished by death: he has committed the worst of all crimes, that of lying before the law.” (Social Contract, Bk. 4, Sec. 8) Rousseau said the people “must be forced to be free.” Is this not identical to Calvin’s philosophy of forcing heretics to recant or die? Rousseau’s argument that the General Will is infallible also derives from Calvin’s insistence that his scriptural interpretation was correct because if “the Elect” could misinterpret, then God would be the author of confusion.
Libertarians are pretty familiar with the historical development of modern totalitarianism starting with the French Revolution, Hegel, Marx, etc. with Rousseau as a godfather of it all. Hopefully this is enough basis to show that Calvinism is the root of all of it through Rousseau.
Finally, if the sceptic still doubts Rousseau’s debt to Calvin for his Social Contract concept of total government, read his own comments on Calvin specifically regarding their agreement on political organization:
“Those who know Calvin only as a theologian much under-estimate the extent of his genius. The codification of our wise edicts, in which he played a large part, does him no less honour than his Institutes. Whatever revolution time may bring in our religion, so long as the spirit of patriotism and liberty still lives among us, the memory of this great man will be for ever blessed.” (Social Contract, Bk II, sec. 7, footnote 13)
Calvinist politics was what Rousseau learned, experienced, loved, imitated, idealized, and claimed for his own. Was the French Reign of Terror applicationally any different than Geneva’s Reign of Calvin?
“Roger Williams fled Massachusetts and headed into the wilderness of what was to become Rhode Island. Williams successfully created a new colony, but it was far more than a new colony; it was a new concept of civil government. It was a concept that has become dominant today – the distinguishing mark of political modernism. He founded a colony that was openly secular; there would be no church-state connection, or even a religion-state connection.” (CIP, p. 9)
“[Rhode Island] was the first civil order in the West to break with the concept of trinitarian civil covenantalism. This tiny colony, established self-consciously as an alternative to the theocracy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was the birthplace of modern political pluralism.” (CIP, p. 13)
Breaking with “trinitarian civil covenantalism” makes Rhode Island bad, like Servetus. Even tolerating such is just as bad, as Calvin wrote “Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are.” (Defense of the Orthodox Faith, 1554) (Although writing this article means I’m worthy of death by Calvinism, that is not the reason I use a pseudonym.)
“Theologically and philosophically, unitarianism was an eighteenth century phenomenon, with theological roots in the late seventeenth century, especially in the systematically concealed theology of the most influential unitarian in Western history, Sir Isaac Newton.” (CIP, p. xviii)
So even Isaac Newton deserves blame for the power growth of the modern American nation-state? I won’t take the tangent to defend Newton here further than to say that the excesses of strict rationalism that Newton inspired (though opposed) has been corrected by Karl Popper and critical rationalism without falling into irrationalism. It seems that politically, the Unitarians in the 18th century were the allies and heirs of the Calvinist social structure of Massachusetts, and were the major part of Boston by the end of the American Revolution. President John Adams also represents this change from Calvinist to Unitarian without a change in faith in a coercive centralized state. Unlike Servetus, American Unitarians were a half-secularized version of Calvinism that Murray Rothbard grouped as “postmillennial pietists.” Besides the direct geographical, family, and government influenced secularized Yankee Calvinism, the American Unitarians were influenced by Rousseau’s Calvinism. Their negative influence on America does not provide evidence against “freedom of religion” because, like the Calvinists and Rousseau, they did not really believe in freedom of religion as they claimed because they had not grasped that the centralized state they supported was their real religion, and one they intended to compel on others through compulsory education laws, which they were the first to implement in 1844, in Massachusetts.
“[Unitarianism] gained influence politically after 1830 in the North because most American Protestants in the North had already adopted its political conclusion regarding the necessity of a unitary state, a state that matched Unitarianism’s doctrine of God.” (CIP, p. xviii)
How does a unitary God imply a unitary state? Does a fat wallet imply a fat belly? Analogy is not proof and this important claim seems left unargued. Perhaps some Calvinist can provide an argument for this that I have not yet found.
“The political history of the United States after 1688 has essentially been the extension of Roger Williams’ view of civil government, as opposed to John Winthrop’s…. But if Rhode Island was not the explicit political-theological representative model in eighteenth-century colonial America, what was?” (CIP p. 13)
To answer his question: these two models fought, but merged. As both secularized, the “freedom of thought” of Williams became the outward face, but the total state model of Winthrop became the hidden cornerstone. Although Williams believed in believer’s baptism, like most Baptists he still supported most if not all of the 5 points of Calvinism and attacked Arminianism, and so even when Baptists occasionally try to promote freedom, they pit their belief in voluntaryism (inherent in the voluntary baptism doctrine) with their Calvinist influences. (See the TULIP.) Winthrop, besides governing constant condemnations and death sentences for heresy, considered the Native Americans had no title to the land and so made war with them. Williams intentionally tried to seek fair dealings and relations with the Native Americans. Notice that Winthrop’s actions are completely consistent with the Calvinist rejection of natural law, and William’s actions are here consistent with support for natural law. Further, it may be little more than anecdotal evidence that the Bush family is descended from Winthrop, and, as far as I can tell, not Williams.
Gary North would have the focus between the Winthrop vs. Williams model as the issue of freedom of thought. But if that is just the face, and belief or disbelief in natural law is the meaningful core, then we get a new picture where Calvinism through Rousseau in Europe, but directly through the Puritans in America built a nation that increasingly rejected natural law yet with occasional lip service to it, then the continuous decline in individual sovereignty is a direct continuation, even down to individual families of influence, from Winthrop.
Gary North specifically addresses what he calls “halfway covenantalism” in the US citing the influence of Rev. John Witherspoon and the legal theory of William Blackstone. Blackstone, as North acknowledges, promoted an “absolute judicial sovereignty of Parliament.” (CIP, p. 20) Prior to this investiture in Parliament, there was the absolute power within the King of England called the Divine Right of Kings. Absolute power transfers quickly between human institutions without cessation as long as people believe in absolute power whenever one institution gains the majority of relative power.
Blackstone believed in a face of natural law, as North quotes him, “This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other.” But North quotes Blackstone further, “But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error…the revealed law is (humanly speaking) of infinitely more authority than what we generally call the natural law… If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.” (CIP, p. 21)
So Blackstone promotes the human ability of the state to interpret scripture as infinitely more reliable than any interpretation of natural law. This is really not a defense of natural law, but a false and superficial concession like a right to beg for mercy.
North also provides evidence of the poisoning of natural law beliefs with the overlapping domination of Calvinism. ”From the time of the Puritans until about the middle of the nineteenth century, American evangelicalism was dominated by a Calvinistic vision of a Christian culture.” (The Failure of American Baptist Culture, p.5) And elsewhere, ”By the early eighteenth century, natural law doctrines were universally accepted by all educated men in the colonies.” (CIP, p. 62)
North makes a major oversimplification, ignoring the difference between superficial verses consistent natural law doctrines. Anything short of Lysander Spooner’s natural law perspective is necessarily superficial, having less power than the state. The opposite of natural law doctrine is unlimited sovereignty. Since North argues that Blackstone supported the unlimited power of parliament, and likewise the Constitution provided no external limitation, these are proof that natural law never took hold in America and was only popular as a superficial concept left over from the justification for independence.
The Federalists under Hamilton and Washington blurred the concept of natural law with an effectively unbounded legislature (despite their claims) because they could profit and secure power thereby. North intentionally perpetuates the error so as to blame natural law theory for the evils that quite naturally followed from Federalist-Constitutionalism.
Similar to Blackstone, Calvinism makes concessions to Biblical scripture, but at root they believed in the absolute power, even unto unlimited capital punishment, of their interpretation of scripture rather than scripture itself. Recall the Calvinist (Van Tillian) position believing only in interpreted factuality with no brute factuality. The unspeakable next conclusion is that if scripture is fact, there is no brute scriptural factuality, only interpreted scriptural factuality.
This may seem to be too rational a deduction for Calvinists, given their belief in Total Depravity. But even Calvinists must have a moment of doubt when their natural reason sees a contradiction. It is to this I appeal in Calvinist readers.
But should a criticism end with Calvin? Actually, Calvin claimed to expand on Augustine, and that is true enough. Just like Calvin had his Servetus, Augustine had his Pelagius. Twice Pelagius had the chance to defend himself from the accusations of Augustine of heresy, and both times he was acquitted. So Augustine engineered two synods with Pelagius unable to defend himself in order to get a condemnation. These synods sent their evidence also to Bishop Zosimus of Rome, and when Pelagius’ defense was received, he was again acquitted, but the acquittal was later overturned due to Augustine’s side bribing the Roman Emperor Honorius to outlaw Pelagius and his beliefs, and then the Roman state coercing Zosimus to change his position. It is only by such statism has original sin theology been ramrodded into Christianity, and opposition to it made heretical.
As followers of Augustine’s actions, the Westminster Confession of Faith would establish as strict Calvinist dogma: “…he [the Civil Magistrate] has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646, Ch. XXIII, sec. 3)
Then Rousseau took the next step. He repeated the Calvinist demand for the state to enforce religion (or a secularization) on the whole society: “For the State to be peaceable and for harmony to be maintained, all the citizens without exception would have to be good Christians.” And in the same section, “Of all Christian writers, the philosopher Hobbes alone has seen the evil and how to remedy it, and has dared to propose the reunion of the two heads [church and state] of the eagle, and the restoration throughout of political unity, without which no State or government will ever be rightly constituted.” (Social Contract, Bk IV, sec. 8)
Augustine’s belief system was an attempt to explain his own lack of ability to control his own sexual desire using his Manichaean dualism (flesh is bad, spirit is good) and Neoplatonism as a means to interpret Christian scriptures. He took the concept of Original Sin, which was most likely invented in the wildly imaginative mind of Origen, who likely created it to explain and justify infant baptism, a practice that Church Father Tertullian argued against in a manner as if he had never heard that it was actually practiced by some. Augustine expanded it to make all sexual activity, even in marriage as innately evil, and thus a baby is born due to the evil lust necessary for a man to impregnate his wife, and so an infant is thereby born in sin too.
Calvin wrote, “”Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? … The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess.” (Institutes, Bk 3, Ch 23, s. 7) And we see the belief came from Augustine.
Just as Augustine used violent coercive power of the state against the more ethical Pelagius, he had already done so against the Donatists. Augustinianism is a foundation of Catholicism and all mainstream Protestants, excluding the Radical Reformation and other Restorationist movements. Despite some good limits in his Just War Theory, libertarians should be wary of those influenced by Augustine.
North wrote of my religious heritage, “The Church of Christ may be the most self-conscious Arminian denomination m the world, whose founders left Presbyterianism in the 1820’s because they could not stand Calvinism.” (North, The Legitimacy of Revival, 1995) The problem with this statement is that Arminianism is Calvinism-lite, still accepting original sin, total depravity, involuntary baptism, and faith only. The Church of Christ rejects Arminianism because we reject these gnostic-platonic doctrines. I take the statement, “they could not stand Calvinism” as a great compliment. For those further interested, see this article of a comparison of Alexander Campbell’s religious similarities to Thomas Jefferson, particularly regarding their mutual quotes of disdain for Calvinists. www.leroygarrett.org/ac_tj/chap04.htm
Technically, rationalism is separate from libertarianism but I see it as a necessary foundation, given the limitations for human error in empiricism as warned by Karl Popper, so I address it in relation to Calvinism also.
North as an explicit Calvinist places his beliefs outside of rationalism or irrationalism. “Rationalism and irrationalism are inherent in all forms of non-Christian thought.” (CIP, p. 47) But the perspective of rationalism vs. irrationalism as a false dichotomy is common to almost all irrationalists. The rationalist sees no third alternative. You may ask how can you persuade an irrationalist? Not until they first decide to accept the natural reasoning within their own mind against their artificial training.
Calvinist presuppositional apologetics starts with belief in Christian revealed scripture as truth, strictly rejecting the need or possibility for rational arguments undergirding that, as this is their foundational belief. Calvin wrote, “…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will.” (Institutes B 3, Ch 23, s. 1) In other words, if you don’t understand it is because God won’t let you understand, and don’t try as it is a secret.
Presuppositionalism also ignores the question of knowing the actual contents of scripture, much less interpretation. If I argue that that all known Greek New Testament texts contain simple and obvious errors that only make sense if translated from an original in Aramaic, how do they argue which language scripture was originally in or the books that constitute it? They argue you must start with scripture, but with no means or allowance to prove the boundaries or language of the canon of scripture, except to demand that there is one that must be enforced by the state.
According to Calvinism, you can’t judge the Bible true. God chooses those who will accept it. Following the Creed is just external evidence God has probably accepted (predestined) you. Although debating the rightness of it for the purpose of persuasion is vain, an irrationalist is not bound to consistency, and often does a combination of arguing, killing, or book burning, which ever is seems best among options of the moment. A Calvinist accepts scripture as a fixed whole without interpretational differences from the All-Powerful-Creed. There could be no debate on particular contents of scripture.
Socialism did not result in its greatest evils because of the motto “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” even if libertarians often attack that motto. Technically, libertarianism is indifferent because that motto doesn’t address the use of force or violation of rights and property.
Similarly, Calvinism does not result in its great evils because of its claim to put scripture first. Where it mimics socialism (or more accurately, socialism mimics Calvinism) is not placing meaningful limits on those in power to interpret the supposedly absolute rule(s). Whereas socialism took till Leninist-Marxism to have the chance to create totalitarian power, Calvinism took no time and it was pure Calvinist Calvinism in Geneva that created totalitarianism.
So given all this, are the Covenantal Calvinists like North libertarians? The answer seems clear, but then if you look closely, I don’t think they ever claimed to be. I am not claiming them to be dishonest. They just have some significant overlaps where we can share scholarship, and we should. But like the philosopher Bertrand Russell who made important advances for rigorous logic and metalogic, sometimes great ideas on a topic are advanced by those who don’t want to be bound by rationalism. Irrationalists love to confound others, and sometimes do so by being quite rational.
Calvinism, like Calvinist scripture perhaps, has no brute factuality. It is ironically possible to reinterpret Calvinism to be as pro-liberty as the extreme of anarcho-capitalism, as this theonomist Calvinist website tries to argue. While I wish anyone the best of luck in such an endeavor, for the reasons presented in this article, I’m sure no one will expect me to gain much enthusiasm for it.
For a very detailed proof that Calvin was not only responsible for the murder of Servetus, but of false witness and cover up, see this online book: http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/Lessons/Did%20Calvin%20Murder%20Servetus.pdf
Premillennialism was originally more the opposite. It foresaw a bad future that was unavoidable. Only with 20th century premillennialism did premillennialists actualy decide to act to bring about the evils they believed necessary before a Second Coming.
Gary North even provides some of Calvin’s sermons on his website for free under the section “Calvin Speaks”. This might be useful for a young history student who wants to show more rigorously how much Rousseau was influenced by Calvin.
Serious libertarians also debate the metaphysical existence of natural law and rights, but however they choose to define or avoid certain terminology, they still believe in acting just as if they believe in natural law. In contrast the Calvinists not only denied natural law, but acted contrary to it on principle.
Admittedly, this is unfair to group all Unitarians as such. I’m sure a more detailed history would find important exceptions.
For a detailed analysis of the overlap and differences of Calvin and Williams, see http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NXG/is_2_39/ai_n6116658
It is too much for this article, but the Anglicans starting in Virginia deserve near equal condemnation in the controlling corruption of America.
For sources and a detailed expansion, See this article on “The Sins of Augustine.” http://www.gospeltruth.net/stmorgan.htm