Rand Paul throws his hat into the ring

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced that he is running for president.  The pro-life Libertarian offers something different from the typical alternatives.  Like conservatives, he would have a smaller government and support free market economics.  Like liberals, he would have a non-interventionist foreign policy, be skeptical of big corporations, and promote civil liberties.  Do you think this could be a winning combination?  [Read more...]

The internet’s utopian libertarianism

The Washington Post has a fascinating article about a manifesto written in 1996 entitled  A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.  (Click the link.  It’s worth reading.)  The piece is by John Perry Barlow, who articulated a utopian high-tech libertarianism that still influences the tech industry and internet culture.  His writing lauds the radical freedom and spiritual changes made possible in the cyberworld, and it is also deadset against any kind of big government, with its regulations and controls.

Read the piece by Jacob Silverman, who has written a book on the subject, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Silverman critiques Barlow for his libertarianism and his opposition to government, maintaining that his successful crusade to keep the internet independent of the government simply allowed private corporations to take over and to do what he did not want government to do.  What do you think of this? [Read more...]

Was Tolkien a libertarian?

An essay in the Intercollegiate Review explores J. R. R. Tolkien’s political views.  He said in a letter that his “political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs).” Also, “The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”  This becomes a theme, for example, in the Hobbits, who, as he says, have “hardly any government.” [Read more...]

Catholic, Calvinist, and Libertarian

David Brat, the Virginia economics professor who overthrew House Majority leader Eric Cantor in the Republican congressional primary, calls himself a “Calvinist Catholic libertarian.” Let’s hope Pope Francis doesn’t burn him at the stake!  But what could that possibly mean?

Does that make him, in effect, something like a Lutheran, holding to a sacramental spirituality that expresses salvation by grace alone, with a strong emphasis on Christian freedom?  Or is he trying to combine beliefs that can’t be combined?

Or is it mainly a matter of his social and economic theory? Julie Ingersoll explains that, after the jump. [Read more...]

Is the free market incompatible with Catholicism?

The pope’s right-hand man has essentially declared that free market economics is incompatible with Catholicism.  Speaking at a conference entitled “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case against Libertarianism,” Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, drawing on statements from Pope Francis, said that the free market economy “kills” and oppresses the poor.

His condemnation seemed to conflate Ayn Rand-style libertarianism with free market economics, but it also scored theological points against the assumptions of autonomous individualism.  Many prominent American advocates of free market economic policies–such as Rep. Paul Ryan, Father Robert Sirico,  and Michael Novak–are Roman Catholics.

Catholic conservatives, what do you make of this?  Do these arguments carry any wait for Protestants, or is Protestantism tied up with the same “autonomous individualism”? [Read more...]

Rand Paul’s standing ovation at CPAC and at Berkeley

Republican presidential contender Rand Paul wowed ‘em at Berkeley, for all of that university’s left-wing ethos.  Former labor secretary Robert Reich, now a professor there, observed that not many people can get a standing ovation at both CPAC and at Berkeley.  But such left wing/right wing dichotomies do not really account for Paul’s pro-life, pro-peace, pro-civil liberties libertarianism.  Do you think Rand Paul could forge a left/right coalition? [Read more...]


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