Crisis Has a Remarkably Silly Piece Up

Crisis Has a Remarkably Silly Piece Up May 2, 2014

denouncing Yr. Obdt. Svt. as an “Inquisitor” because I express the opinion that Libertarianism is a species of heresy. What I mean, of course, is that libertarian thought does what heresy always does: it pick out bits of Catholic teaching it likes and uses them as weapons against all the bits it doesn’t. Specifically, libertarianism tends to exalt subsidiarity over solidarity and denigrate the common good by over-emphasizing individualism. It is, as I have repeatedly argued, a philosophy for people with no children. Somehow, this opinion gets translated into an Inquisition by the fertile mind of the author and then the comboxes get going with a good old fashioned 15 Minute Hate in which readers wander far afield rehearsing my manifold sins on a variety of unrelated topics as their personal Emmanuel Goldstein.

For the record, my approach to people attracted to libertarian errors, like my approach to people attracted to other errors, is not to demand an Inquisition, nor that they be kicked them out of the Church. I don’t believe there is, in this world, such a thing a pure church and I think one of the plagues we face is laymen running around, performing Inquisitions and trying to kick out the Impure. Indeed, I once wrote a piece for Crisis about it.

Fave comment style so far, the various changes on: “This is a great article publicly criticizing Mark Shea. Look out! He just might show up to defend himself! What an uncharitable ass!”

This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came out to a compliment.

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  • Adolfo

    But don’t you understand? Libertarianism is whatever good thing we want it to be in the moment we need it to be that. Any criticism of libertarianism is false b/c whatever is criticized isn’t libertarianism at all. Really, really TRUE libertarianism is all good and possibly written into the very fabric of the universe by the hand of God.

    • Matthew

      Dude, spot on. That’s every Libertarian I’ve ever encountered.

      • Sally Wilkins

        “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble
        When you’re perfect in every way . . .”

      • Michele Quigley

        Interesting. That’s the same argument I hear for capitalism. 🙂

        • Sam Schmitt

          And for “Catholic Social Teaching” for that matter.

  • Matthew

    I’ve had my issues with libertarianism for a long time, but your comment that “it’s for people without children” is dead on.

    I think what bothers me so much about it is that the entirety of libertarianism boils down to “not my problem.” It worships the individual over everything, and I can think of few things that are as expressly anti-Christian as that sentiment. The libertarian hero Ayn Rand was an evil human being, yet her ideas echo through the libertarian philosophy as if it were scripture.

  • Damien Fisher

    When Mark Shea loses the community college professors, you know he’s in trouble. Seriously, THAT guy was they best Crisis could come up with?

    • D Hunnell

      Obviously, you have very little experience with community colleges. More and more students are using them for their first two years of college then transferring to a four year institution. It provides a really economical alternative for students who want to minimize their student debt load.

      As a community college professor, I can assure you that my students receive an education equal to or better than their peers at many four year institutions. What they do not get is the campus life but it is a worthy trade-off when it allows a college education to those who would otherwise find it unaffordable.

      It is ridiculous to suggest that working at a community college somehow makes one unqualified to contribute to the dialogue.

      • Mmm…I know there are good people working in community colleges, and some real learning that takes place there.

        But, in my state at least, academic standards are clearly less rigorous at such schools than at the flagship state universities. It is quite common to see high-GPA community-college students transfer into the flagship institution and struggle; also quite common for students at the flagship institution who are having trouble passing a subject like economics or Spanish to retake the course at the community college over the summer and sail through.

        • D Hunnell

          Clearly there is variation from institution to institution. Some four-year colleges are less rigorous than others and some community colleges are less rigorous than others. I have even seen such variation within the same institution as some professors have less rigorous academic standards than others at the same school. That does not change the fact that it is pure academic snobbery to exclude anyone who teaches at a community college from a serious discussion of public policy or Catholic social teaching.

          • That’s all quite true. I don’t think we disagree about much.

            The main reason I felt the urge to say something is that, in my day job, I’ve seen not a few students poorly served by having believed an institution’s promise of “an education equal to or better than their peers”.

            And yes, some of those institutions where the promise has proved entirely false–where the students were in fact challenged less than they had been in many of their high school classes–have been four-year schools. (At least one is itself a flagship state university.) Nonetheless, two-year schools and/or commuter schools are highly overrepresented in their number.

    • Dan C

      Ironically, the author is employed at an institution (community college) that is famous for government support and such institutions occasionally show up in the cross-hairs of libertarians. Tax payers relatively subsidize the per student tuition pretty intensely. One need only view the “in-state/out-of-state” tuition rates at his institution to note this in a crude fashion without evaluating the per credit transfer value to 4 year colleges.
      In short, he is a taker, too. He is no John Gault.

  • Tony

    I thought the article was pretty level headed, Mark, you may disagree, and the article may even be wrong, but your knee jerk reactions against anyone that disagrees with you is tiresome. I’ve mentioned to you many times, that agree with you probably 100% of the time, but you could really learn from Pope Francis, show some grace to the other side, and you may end up with some converts to the Church’s position on economic matters, instead the other side always digs in. “I completely changed my opinion from your online rant” said no one

    • Matthew

      The internet is the new public forum. This is where ideas are shared and communicated. Yes, a lot of it is babbling, but everyone is also paying attention, and opinions can be changed. Not to mention, that’s sort of what we do as writers. We rant and rave and babble about what we believe in, and when challenged, we respond. I think Mark shows a considerable amount of grace to those that disagree with him, even when he attacks them head on. I’ve learned a hell of a lot from his rants. Truthfully. Plus, his threads are better than television, and at least the conversations are more intellectual than the comboxes on other sites.

      • Tony

        Point taken, I have been disappointed in Mark’s attacks on Paul Ryan, not that I disagree with them. Its that truthfully Paul Ryan comes across to me as an earnest person. I read that Paul Ryan used to give Ayn Rand books out to his staffers, even if that story isn’t true, there is no denying that Ryan and Rand Paul have been greatly influenced by the Ayn Rand crap. But like many who are caught in sexual sin, the way to win them to the Church’s side is to offer the truth, not to trash someone who is actually trying

        • Matthew

          From what I gather with Marks more heated criticisms, is that he directs them towards those who don’t really show in attempt in trying, and instead double down on immoral behavior, while waving a Christian banner, especially those who are Catholic (or “Catholic”).

          I do agree that we need to approach dissenters with truth, but I suppose I see many of those as people outside the Church. I feel especially strong about this when it comes to pro-life issues.

          Now, we should evangelize always, even to one another, but there are many frauds who are too loud and unfortunately represent us, and they should be exposed. I feel like that’s where Mark earnestly comes from.

          • Matthew

            Oh, and Ayn Rand was the devil incarnate. “Crap” is an excellent word to describe her work.

    • chezami

      Tony: Look at the hatefest in those comboxes. I’ve offered a perfectly reasonable critique of the errors of libertarianism. I’ve called for no Inquisition. I’ve denounced nobody. The kneejerkery is not where you seem to think it is.

      • Ken Crawford

        I don’t think it’s fair to critique the article based on the hatefest in the comboxes. While the headline is over the top, in the comments the editor admits it was his choice of words, not the writers (what is it with editors!?!). No where in the article does the writer indicate you’re staging an Inquisition.

        So while I generally agree with your perspective that libertarianism leans towards if not embraces heresy, I think you could take a more charitable tone towards the writer, who at least appears to be trying to keep some semblance of an unimpassioned tone in his.

      • Eh. The comboxes seem to be about the same mix of lunacy, thoughtful discussion, spite, glib ripostes, and personal axe-griding as I see most places.

      • Cypressclimber

        OK, so the commenters are mean. The only beef you seem to have with the article itself is the headline’s reference to “inquisition,” which is innocuous.

        • chezami

          Nope. The core of my disagreement with the silly piece itself centers here: “It is difficult to tell if Shea and those of like-mind reject the libertarian position simply because, in their view, it is a heresy—end of story—or if they’ve really examined the position and found it wanting on some logical or factual basis as well.”

          Translation. “Aside from it being heresy, has Shea considered that libertarianism still a great idea?”

          That’s a silly argument. And as Robert George pointed out libertarianism *is* a species of heresy.

          By the way, thank you for laboring to get Fr. Z. readers to see that torture is wrong.

          • Cypressclimber

            Well, here was my takeaway — from the article and the larger debate about “libertarianism.”

            We have to be precise in our terms. Libertarianism as anthropology/morality/theology can be labeled heresy. I won’t argue the point, mainly because I would have to work too hard on a pleasant Saturday afternoon!

            “Libertarianism” as a term applied to observations or preferences about how we relate to government, to the market, and to each other — arising from, let’s say, skepticism or pessimism about government, about people, and/or about a general approach to politics and policy…

            Is not, in itself, a heresy (i.e., without the first part).

            A lot of us call ourselves “libertarian” in this sense, if for no other reason for lack of better terminology, or because we’re going with the terms as people tend to use them.

            For reasons I probably don’t have to explain, I’m less bothered if people describe me as a “libertarian” than I am when they call me a “Republican.” I’d call myself a “conservative,” but there’s the whole mess of the Bush years. So I tend to mash words together instead.

            I took the Crisis article as responding to you by emphasizing “libertarianism” of the second category, and not really engaging with your observations about libertarianism in the first category.

            Maybe not good critical thinking — but not something worthless, either.

            • HornOrSilk

              The problem is the party is founded on the anthropological principles which are in error, and demonstrate clear combination of materialism and egotism, or absolute individualism without solidarity, and a denial of the authority of government to do its duty (justice), that yes, we can say they fall under the general auspices of heresy. It is for similar reasons many medieval heretics, like the Cathars, got busted.

              • Cypressclimber

                Fair enough, but a lot of folks — me included — will describe ideas, policies, and even people as “libertarian” in a way that I think reasonably is understood with a lower-case “l.”

                Also, most people who are involved in political parties don’t think about them as consistent philosophical expressions. That’s not what political parties are, not even the Libertarian Party. After all, look who they nominated the last time, or time before. It was — his name escapes me at the moment — a GOP ex-congressman who was anything but a philosophically consistent libertarian.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Russell Kirk agrees with your diagnosis: “In any society, order is the first need of all. Liberty and justice may be established only after order is tolerably secure. But the libertarians give primacy to an abstract liberty. Conservatives, knowing that ‘liberty inheres in some sensible object,’ are aware that true freedom can be found only within the framework of a social order, such as the constitutional order of these United States. In exalting an absolute and indefinable ‘liberty’ at the expense of order, the libertarians imperil the very freedoms they praise.”

    I especially enjoy linking that article because it’s from Modern Age, and you recently linked to an article by Panichas, its long-time editor (who succeeded Kirk), and because GKC plays a strong role in the article, specifically his work The Poet and the Lunatics. Kirk writes that “by 1929 we encounter a writer very unlike Mill exposing the absurdities of affected eccentricity and of doctrinaire libertarianism: G. K. Chesterton”. Speaking of lunatics, Kirk’s opinion of libertarians is not a kind one: “[G]enuine libertarians are mad – metaphysically mad”.

    • Benjamin2.0

      Kirk’s opinion of libertarians is not a kind one: “[G]enuine libertarians are mad – metaphysically mad”.

      There’s nothing unkind about this, unless the context condemns it. I think It’s the most evenhanded criticism of Libertarianism in this thread. It’s not the stated conclusions which condemn Libertarianism, but its axioms and how they direct the application of these conclusions. A Libertarian might very well argue for the legalization of now-illegal drugs for the sake of denying the government the power to coerce an individual regarding what he may or may not put into his body. The trouble is the amoral nature of the thing which then becomes a macro-level political morality to be distinguished from personal morality. Libertarianism would do well to be tempered by Natural Law or (dare I say it?) Catholic moral theology. The former amalgam might just end up being Conservatism and the latter Distributism, though.

    • That linked article is fantastic, Ivan. I was on Gawker a few days ago, reading the discussion that followed a post about Cliven Bundy, and it just confirmed Kirk’s point:

      [G]enuine libertarians are mad – metaphysically mad. Lunacy repels, and political lunacy especially. I do not mean they are dangerous; they are repellent merely, like certain unfortunate inmates of ‘mental homes.’ They do not endanger our country and our civilization…. There exists no peril that American national policy, foreign and domestic, will be in the least affected by libertarian arguments…. But one does noot choose as a partner even a harmless political lunatic. (349, emphasis mine)

      American Conservatives, perhaps especially Christian conservatives, smell like Bundy’s wretched cattle. We didn’t follow Kirk’s advice, and even though there’s no danger of libertarian metaphysical mistakes being enshrined into any kind of law, the mere repetition of their rhetoric has had a real and – more to the point – repelling effect on the conservative movement. We have become obnoxious to the rest of society.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I do not have the time right now to say a lot, but I would like to point out that, at least in my experience, the more angry someone is when hearing or reading comments that they dislike, such as the Libertarian reaction to Mark’s expression of his common sense opinions, which are also based on the church social teaching, is a measure of how unbearably correct that opinion is – they have to defend their own point of view at all cost, and of course denigrating the “messenger” instead of the “message” is much easier than trying to find wound arguments. Keep up the good work, Mark, seems to me you are on the right track.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I meant “sound” arguments. Sorry

  • Kevin J. Bartell

    You’ve obviously done well, Mark. As Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin once said, “If they’re biting you, you know you’ve got ’em!”

  • frdlongenecker

    Storm in a teacup

    • Catholic Fast Food Worker

      hey frdlongenecker! Good to see you. A storm is coming, brace yourself, & bring some popcorn.

    • Dan C

      Not true. Libertarianism infects those who ten years ago would have called themselves “orthodox” as well as those brave enough to still do so.

      Prominent libertarians get very positive play on many websites- Sam Gregg is one and you have raved about him.

      For those once claiming “Benedict love”, it is hard to see Ratzinger/Benedict teaching in any of these Catholics who are libertarian.

      Libertarianism is the right’s permitted heresy. Elizabeth Scalia is a self-confessed classical liberal, and she is the Catholic portal editor here.

      This is beyond a discussion of prudential policy-making. This is about the role of the common good and who gets to determine this, as well as the fundamental relationship of personal property and the individual. It is not a small matter.

  • Morris

    Libertarianism (as opposed to the thing that people ignorant of what libertarianism actually is proclaim vociferously that libertarianism is) is simply and exclusively a political philosophy describing the legitimate use of force in society. It is not a moral framework or an economic framework. Mark’s reaction to libertarians (or what he thinks are libertarians) seems to stem from some bad personal interaction he had with somebody who quoted Ayn Rand and self-identified as a libertarian (possibly while spitting on Mark’s mom?). As a Catholic with 6 children so far, I find the idea that libertarianism is for people without children quite childish. When you find people equating libertarianism with Ayn Rand you know immediately that they have no idea what they’re talking about. Ayn Rand despised libertarians, and Murray Rothbard (“Mr. Libertarian”) was not fond of Rand.

    • Adolfo

      See? Libertarianism is never what you think it is.

      • Morris

        Your simplistic criticism can just as easily be turned on Catholicism.

        • Adolfo

          Except there is such a thing as Catholic dogma so we can look it up.

          • Benjamin2.0

            You certainly wouldn’t hear it in the current media, though. You’d have to go to the source. One wonders where you get your libertarianism-related information.

  • Elmwood

    Libertarianism = enlightenment heresy

    Conservatism = enlightenment heresy

    Progressivism = enlightenment heresy

    Catholicism/Orthodoxy = truth

    • Morris

      Libertarianism is concerned with the use of violence in society. That is all. It is not anything else.

      • Elmwood

        I’m sure progressivism can also be reduced to an innocuous tenet as well by some.

      • Matt Talbot

        No, Morris, if we define it descriptively (i.e., what does that word connote in the United States of the present moment?), it is more than that.

        The species of Libertarianism as it actually occurs in the United States opposes, in principle, government interference in others’ affairs, particularly in the economic realm. This is antithetical to Church teaching on the subject, which assigns the government the duty to interfere for the common good.

        One thing about that “use of violence” I keep hearing about: that seems to be a way for libertarians to define virtually everything the government does as “the use of force” which is “true” in a very narrow and careful sense, but as used by libertarians it is a cudgel to wave every time we ask our government to act in the common good.

        • Morris

          Again, your “definition” begs the question…”what does that word connote TO WHOM”. If you ask most people, they think of Ayn Rand or the Koch brothers, because they have been misinformed by pretty much anybody writing about libertarianism except those who actually know what it is.

          How exactly does the Church assign the government the duty to interfere for the common good in its teachings? How is interference defined? Who defines the “good”? Is there such “good” being done by the government in the United States at the present moment? Does this good include murdering brown people by the tens of thousands across the world for the benefit of the ruling elite? Or paying for abortions with tax dollars?

          Again, you offer a criticism with “seems to be a way…” making my case yet again. And, in fact, there is indeed violence at the end of every equation involving the government, which is getting more and more comfortable using said violence against its own.

          • Matt Talbot

            Morris – again, I’m using the commonly-understood definition of the word. Putting aside the possibility of a “No True Scotsman” fallacy, and while my definition may not be acceptable to some libertarians, I would venture an educated guess that it would be the consensus definition at, say, a Cato Institute gathering.

            in fact, there is indeed violence at the end of every equation involving
            the government

            Well, in the sense that we’ve given the government the power to enforce laws, sure. That’s how these things work. But the way that fact is often distorted – “So what you’re saying is, you want the government to point a flamethrower at your dear granny unless she obeys the traffic laws???!!!11!!” – paints a deeply distorted picture of the role of the use of force by the government we’ve hired.

            • Morris

              Just because Cato says “We’re libertarians” doesn’t make them so, any more than a gathering of the local owners of the means of production calling themselves the Marx-Engels Club would mean very much, even if people in the area figured “they must be MArxists cuz they say they are.” Mormons call themselves Christians.

              There is no distortion needed of the role of the use of force by the government “we” have hired (have “we”?) on dear granny; fortunately technology has advanced to the point where people can record it all on video. It won’t take much effort to find the Protect and Serve fraternity dishing out some law and order on women and children.

              • Dan C

                The “No True Scotsman” fallacy. You have excluded all but yourself and a few others as true libertarians.

                • Morris

                  Not so, if you actually look at what people do and say. Cato may say “We’re libertarians” but they then engage in actions which are not in line with the idea of liberty for all. You are in effect saying that anyone who claims to be libertarian is indeed then libertarian, in which case it makes no sense for Mark Shea to declare “libertarianism” a heresy because there is no such thing; you can’t define it, he can’t define it, and according to you, I can’t define it. But if one realizes that libertarianism means, in simple terms, “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff” then one can see that Cato doesn’t really practice this, nor does Paul Ryan, etc. You may have heard “Love, and do as you will.” Libertarianism can’t be a heresy because it is not a religion and makes no claims in that realm. It offers Catholics or Mormons or Baptists or Muslims or Jews the framework for choosing how they want to live.

                  Perhaps you or Mark can help us all out by telling us what a true libertarian is, so we know what the heresy is.

                  • Matt Talbot

                    “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff”

                    What if “their stuff” is “theirs” through unjust means? What if some people are hurting some other people – yes, yes, we have flamethrowers for that, but I mean, what if people are suffering economic injury due to injustices that are structural to capitalism? What if society ends up with a few plutocrats and lots of broke rabble? (And make no mistake: the less capitalism is regulated, the more it moves toward that state. It really is structural.)

                    Nothing to be done? Are we to just go up to their mansions as individuals and ask to speak to the owner and ask him to change his mind and pay workers a fair wage, and if he’s not in the mood/the yacht needs a helipad/Ayn Rand spoke to him in a seance and commanded that he be even more heartless to the Unwashed?

                    Do we just walk walk away with a shrug?

                    Progressive taxation and government regulation weren’t just dreamed up one day by people who wanted to hurt people and take stuff. It was a response to a situation in which freedom was becoming a notional thing given the utter dominance of an overclass of wealthy industrialists who were well on their way to purchasing all the levers of real power in the United States.

                    (As Mark has pointed out more than once, this is the end result of Libertarian Dreamworld: The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must.)

                    • Morris

                      The strong do as they will today, now, in this current system. Progressive taxation and government regulation were in fact dreamed up exactly by people who wanted to hurt people and take stuff, i.e. wealthy businessmen who realized that they could use the coercive might of the state to erect barriers to entry in their markets to keep out competition and protect their fortunes. Look at the history of regulations and look up “regulatory capture”, or look at the personnel going from US govt. to corporate America (Treasury Dept, Goldman Sachs; FDA, Monsanto; etc, ad nauseam). You are simply repeating the government-approved cartoon version of history, in which the State saved us all from the dreaded claws of robber barons. We’d all be living in dirt and eating dead cats if it weren’t for the income tax. Do some research; it’s no coincidence that the Federal Reserve Act and the income tax and the elimination of election of senators by the states all arrived at the same time.

                      The idea that the less capitalism is regulated the more society moves towards a few rich and everybody poor; again, totally unhistorical. The more regulation the less opportunity to compete and the more control the elites have, by design.

                      I have no beef with the use of the word coercion instead of violence, it doesn’t change anything. Regarding the “error” libertarians (did anybody define this yet, since it’s a heresy and all) are in regarding private property, the idea that in a libertarian society everybody would only care about themselves is simply silly. People would be the same as they are today; those who wish to give to the poor would continue to do so, and would have more to give. Those who today are kept out of certain markets would be able to compete and possibly create new technologies that benefit millions (but today the capital is diverted to crony companies who own the so-called “regulatory agency”, which means the capital can’t be used for such R&D and the new-comer is discouraged from even trying because barriers to entry are too high, the price of trying to compete too onerous precisely BECAUSE of the regulation. Try opening a bank sometime).

                      The true fantasy belongs to those who somehow believe that the current state of affairs is far superior to one in which people were not forced with the threat of guns and cages to hand over their property to be used in ways they do not agree with by people they did not assent to being ruled by.

                      Augustine, again, saw it plainly; governments are simply bands of robbers who have more strength and therefore “win”.

                    • This reply, right here, is exactly what I was talking about a couple of days ago, everybody. Is Morris right? Is Morris wrong? There are a lot of – how shall I say? – idiosyncratic claims, here.

                      Morris’s logic has a certain plausibility to it. (But on the other hand, I suspect it’s an extremely detailed and accurate map of a land that doesn’t exist.) But I don’t know that. How does one go about knowing?

                      But then a statement like this: Augustine, again, saw it plainly; governments are simply bands of robbers who have more strength and therefore “win”.

                      That’s just nonsense, Morris, and calls into question your position as a realistic human being. Governments are “simply bands of robbers”? Nobody who knows any history and any actual people involved in government can make that claim with any kind of integrity.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      It’s also not Augustine’s position, which is why he raises the question of self-defense, and points out people in government can have the authority to wield the sword, while the ordinary person does not. He also asks for the government to get involved with the Donatists.

                    • Morris

                      He also compared unjust kingdoms to bands of robbers who managed to increase in size and establish impunity from their immoral actions. Like the US today.

                    • Morris

                      Realistic human beings are the ones who see through the kabuki theatre of “us vs. them / left vs. right / D vs. R” and recognize the modern state for what it is. My family is far more deeply involved in politics at state and federal level than most, so I am speaking from experience here.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      And yet there is the “us vs them” being presented by those who think they “see through’ everything.

                    • Morris

                      Somewhat like with those in these parts who would claim to have the one true faith as opposed to everyone else? I’m not saying that any and every “us vs. them” is false, but I am certainly saying that the one presented to the sheeple voters to keep them believing that their votes actually matter is.

                  • Dan C

                    It’s the “don’t take their stuff” bit that causes the most discussion.

                    Libertarians on this matter are gravely in error and lack an understanding of the limits of private property and the proper “end” of private property. Etc.

                    The expansive definition of “violence” is also a novelty. Once it was more properly termed coercion and at least the anarcho-communitarians still use that term.

                    “Violence” tends to be histrionic and while it has purchase in today’s gladiatorial political discussion, once upon a time, cooler heads had more proper terms.

                    Calling what a decade ago was “coercion” violence is for talk radio consumption.

            • When objectivists say that they are not libertarians and libertarians say that they are not objectivists, you’ve got something a bit more than the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          • wlinden

            The Kochs are libertarians? HAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHA!
            Of course, Mark thinks that “Libertarians” run the New York Post.

          • A full examination of the subject of what government does that is good would require that we know what government does. No listing actually exists.

  • Jem

    OK … there’s an obvious set of questions to ask: why is it that so many of the most vocal Catholics are indistinguishable from libertarians, Randians, Mormons, Evangelicals, Fox News pundits, Murdoch paper op-Eds and Tea Party bloggers?

    How is it that Hannity, O’Reilly and Rupert Murdoch (Knight of the Order of St Gregory) can all be happy being Catholics?

    Why is it that so many Catholics support torture and the death penalty, but see feeding the poor or public schools as Marxism? Why have they adapted the term RINO to go after the CINOs? Why does Paul Ryan count as Catholic, but Joe Biden doesn’t? Scalia does, but Sotomayor doesn’t? Why does the *Pope* get criticized by such people when he says ‘let’s talk about abortion, but lets also talk about inequality’?

    Why, in short, do so many Catholics align so closely with Republican positions, and have a tribal revulsion against Catholics if they seem even slghtly left leaning, even by that peculiar American standard where forcing people to buy private health care from big financial institutions is seen as communism?

    Nancy Pelosi is one of the most powerful people in the country, and a devout Catholic. That is a statement of fact. So why can I say with absolute certainty that just making that factual statement will turn most comboxes into the Two Minutes Hate?

    Could it be something to do with Catholic leadership? Might senior Catholic clergy be doing or saying things that might lead people to believe that Catholicism and the Tea Party era Republican Party are basically the same thing?

    • margaret1910

      You have got to be kidding, Jem! Cardinal DOLAN as a right-winger? Bwahahahaha Have you seen what the more “conservative” Catholic people have to say about him?

      I guess it is somewhat nice to see that he is vilified by both sides. He must be doing something right.

      • Jem

        “I guess it is somewhat nice to see that he is vilified by both sides. He must be doing something right”

        He may just be completely and utterly vile, of course.

        • margaret1910

          You are such a charmer, Jem!

          • Jem

            There’s a nice piece in the Salon about how now Fred Phelps is dead, Dolan is now the #1 candidate for the new face of religious hatred. He thinks people with Obamacare are complicit in grave evil but writing checks to pedophiles is an admirable act of charity.


            I think the *most* vile thing he did was try – unsuccessfully – to convince a billionaire donor that renovating the rooms of his Manhattan palace would serve the poor better than giving the money to homeless shelters.

            • margaret1910

              honestly, using is just as stupid as using lifesite news as an objective news source. You are a fool, if you think that Cardinal Dolan has done what you say. are a total idiot. All the so-called “right-wing” Catholics hate him for his liberal views. You have no idea who he is, and you don’t care to learn. I am done with you.

      • wlinden

        Yep. They had conniptions when he said on EWTN that there was no reason that women could not be cardinals.

    • Faithr

      No I don’t think you are on the right track. I think it is the issue of abortion. When the Democratic party put that into its platform, when Roe v Wade became law, a lot of Catholics had to decide to 1) pretend abortion was an unimportant issue so they could stay Democrats 2) decide the Church was wrong and they were right and stay Democrats 3) recoil in disgust and go over to the Republicans which at least gave lip service to the idea of being pro-life. A great political divide opened up. I think with the Catholics who went over to the Republicans (Reagan with his popular appeal helped this movement) they began to explore and embrace many other conservative positions too. Liberals are seen as extremists who claim to love the poor but really want to push an evermore abortion loving, sexually immoral, controlling and expanding secular government on the country. When they say more taxes for the poor or raise the minimum wage it really is a way of making the government more in control. A government the right doesn’t trust because, you know, baby murdering, freedom-denying, aggressive secularism stuff. Talk radio made the divide wider. As far as I can tell there are definite cafeteria Catholics on both sides. People like you on the liberal side like to point out the splinter in the other side’s eye while ignoring the log in your own. And it is just as bad on the other side. If we could all be Catholics first and treat each other charitably, then maybe we could move past these differences, but alas, everyone would rather say nasty things to each other. Being a good Catholic means being pro-life and anti-torture for example, but both sides pick and choose. And then scream hypocrite at their fellow Catholics across the political aisle.

      • sez

        And the modern media assist in this. They thrive on widening the divide. Plus, people are lazy, so they pick a guru like Hannity or whomever, and just parrot that guru’s ideas. When the Church says something different (such as the torture issue), they have a bit of a problem… but usually stick with their chosen guru, who has sound-bite answers to every problem. Easy!

      • Jem

        I agree that abortion has become a shibboleth, for both the right and the left. If you look at the timeline, though, your theory that lay Catholics split into two camps at the time of Roe v Wade doesn’t really hold up. It looks far more like the political right developing a wedge issue and working away at it.

        The Catholic Church never used to be obsessed with abortion, the Christian right never did. Leaving aside the issue of whether it’s right or wrong, the mantra that ‘life begins at conception’ is a very recent one – . There’s theological justification for it, of course, but until the late nineteenth century the Church followed the medical science of the day, which was that the fetus was not alive until a certain stage of development. And the fact of the matter is that while abortions have been practiced throughout history, and while you can find a handful of writings condemning it, it’s simply not a red hot issue until … well, the late 1980s, in the US.

        Reagan, rather famously – and within four months of taking office – legalized abortion in California in 1967, and twenty years later described this as ‘when I was governor, I took action to stop doctors performing illegal abortions’. Well … yes. Technically, that is correct.

        The obsession with abortion only starts really kicking into gear in the 1980s, ten years *after* Roe v Wade comes into effect. The March for Life claims 650,000 attended last year … it was 5000 in 1987.

        The idea that a fetus (say, before 10 weeks) is already a human being (rather than something with that potential) is even more recent. As noted in another thread, most Catholic hospitals even now remain happy to follow state law and treat early fetal remains (before 20 weeks) as general medical waste, rather than as human bodies.
        There wasn’t, in 1973, a moment where all Catholics stood at a fork in the road and decided to go right or left because of Roe v Wade. Instead, like the rest of the country, they picked a side in the ‘culture war’, starting in the late eighties. And it’s very important to note, although not reflected in the leadership, media portrayal and so on, that churchgoing non-Hispanic Catholics have consistently been slightly more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.

        Yes, abortion has been a rallying point, and something that’s firmed up opinions, but it really looks like the Catholics who have decided to vote Republican have picked a party on economic grounds (low taxes and spending), then justified that decision by citing that party’s stance on abortion. Does Catholicism demonize the poor? No, rather the opposite. So how does a Catholic Republican sleep at night? BECAUSE PELOSI IS KILLING BABIES.

        • Faithr

          Well, what you say here does not reflect my own experience growing up in a strongly pro-Democratic Catholic family. I attended the first March for Life. My whole Catholic high school went after we’d been given a talk on abortion. So it is not a new thing. Read the Early Church Fathers. The Catholic Church has taught that abortion is wrong from the get-go. All those early converts from Roman paganism were rejecting abortion and infanticide (and homosexual practices for that matter) to become Christians. What happened was that Catholics began to be uncomfortable in the Democratic party because of the party’s aggressive push. It takes awhile for things to develop. Over the course of the years I saw more and more people move right. My own mother, a die hard Democrat who loved FDR and JFK, in the very last election she ever voted in before she passed away, voted Republican because she was so disgusted with the pro-choice propaganda constantly being pushed on her by the Democrats. If you can be open-minded enough you should read the book Can a Catholic be a Democrat? It is the story of a state representative trying to remain faithful to his Catholic beliefs while continuing in the Democratic party. I salute those Democrats who stand up against the rabid pro-planned parenthood crowd They have to have enormous courage and strength to resist the pressure. But they are very few and far between. I am a political independent. I think both parties have got some things right and some things wrong. But it is apparent you don’t think abortion is a big deal. Another relativist in our midsts who screams justice but has no idea what it means.

          • Benjamin2.0

            I think both parties have got some things right and some things wrong. But it is apparent you don’t think abortion is a big deal. Another relativist in our midsts who screams justice but has no idea what it means.

            You have no idea how relieved I was to find someone criticizing that “widening the divide is bad” rhetoric at the end of this thread. The those-weirdoes-think-abortion-is-a-big-deal-they’re-so-dumb assertion has always cemented my opinion that the political left’s evil goes all the way to its core (not that I’m terribly comfortable holding the other, more superficially evil party at arm’s length – I have to note in this company lest I be berated as a “just as bad” Republican for my decision to criticize only one party).

        • You would really benefit by looking at the actual Catholic vote which is fairly closely split and has been for quite some time.

          Pelosi is not just killing babies. She is promoting poverty traps up and down her economic policy proposals. This Pope quite rightly rejects that welfare attitude as not more than a stopgap. I think that Pope Francis’ call for a personal engagement with the poor is finding more of a hearing on the right than the left these days though it’s going to take a good deal of time to percolate through the system before it becomes obvious.

  • Morris

    To help shed some light for those who are not content to have others do their thinking (and opinion-shaping) for them, here is a piece written by “Mr. Libertarian” about Ayn Rand (supposedly “Mrs. Libertarian”, if you ask Mark Shea or many commenters on his and countless other websites). Again, when you hear people condemning “libertarianism” and “libertarians” in the same sentence with “Ayn Rand”, you can safely assume they have no idea what they are talking about but have bought into a criticism they have read in many places by many others who also don’t know what they’re talking about.

    • Tony

      Dude, what are you talking about? The people in today’s libertarian movement absolutely look to Ayn Rand

      • Morris

        Dude, I’m talking about people who are actual libertarians, not just people who self-identify as libertarians because they heard the term and thought “that’s cool.” “The people in today’s libertarian movement” — who exactly do you mean? The ones who have done more to make libertarianism known to more people on the earth than anyone else, i.e. Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Murray Rothbard, et al, all of whom reject Rand? Or are you talking about Paul Ryan, who is not a libertarian?

      • wlinden

        Rand vituperated against those awful libertarians as “concept stealers” because THEY DON’T BASE THEIR IDEAS ON HER PHILOSOPHY, and her epigoni continue to do so. How many times do we need to repeat this?

  • Dbom

    Well, I like you! (and what you have to say!)

  • anna lisa

    My Dad is a flamin’ libertarian, but we all have to laugh about it, because what he preaches is not what he practices. His children and 25 grandchildren form part of his grand welfare state. It’s funny because he married the daughter of a socialist and granddaughter of one of the founders of one of the greatest labor movements. When I was a teen we held a big fundraiser at our home for the libertarian presidential candidate. Murray Rothbard was one of my father’s heroes and a guest in our home.
    With that said–I should say that I understand my father’s frustration with the idea of robbing Peter to pay Paul. My husband makes a good salary, but the government taxes our family of ten to the point of poverty. As the years pass, I have been able to understand the problems of society better, seeing that there are so many more shades of gray than simply a kneejerk reaction to what’s obviously unjust on *my* bottom line. The real bottom line for me, and for my children as well, is this: while there are individuals who are cheaters everywhere, at every level of society, the individuals that are good outnumber the bad. People of questionable conscience are always going to milk the system so they won’t have to work as hard, but I’ll leave that analysis for God– The fact remains that the biggest “milkers” are the *rich and powerful*. So long as this is the case, my family will *always* err on the side of defending the rights of the poor.
    Mark, I’ve really appreciated reading what you’ve written on Libertarianism, and I’ve forwarded some good pieces to my father. He’s read a couple of your apologetics books and thinks highly of you. He loves a good fight on this subject but he’s mellowed considerably (all I have to do is bring up his own welfare state to make him laugh at himself)…For the time being, I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to stop talking politics with my angry 17 year old. I won’t hold my breath though, and I still need to make one of those signed Rothbard books he gave him, disappear from his nightstand.
    Heh, I grew up thinking that the title “the Head Pig” was interchangeable for ‘Mr. President”. I don’t agree with doing that to a kid, but at least, my father’s unorthodox views helped me to question blind patriotism.

    Frankly, I think getting too emotionally involved in politics can easily become just another trap– another way of putting off introspection –which is one of the devil’s favorite equal opportunity tricks.

    • Would defending the rights of the poor work better using socialist or libertarian means? My observation is that our current capitalism has too high an entry bar for the poor to make it into the system, fix that and much will improve.

    • falstaff77

      My Dad is a flamin’ libertarian, but we all have to laugh about it, because what he preaches is not what he practices. His children and 25 grandchildren form part of his grand welfare state.

      As long as your father does not somehow pass his money through the government, via government force, before it arrives at his offspring, his charity is completely in keeping with libertarian philosophy.

  • kirthigdon

    I pretty much agree with the Crisis article. The term libertarian covers a lot of different orientations and schools of thought and some of them are indeed heretical and some are not. It is the same with, for example, socialism. I tend toward desiring an extreme decentralization of goods, economic and political power and a strong preference for settling differences peacefully. According to some, this would make me a good libertarian or distributist or even pacifist. And all of that seems compatible with Catholic social teaching.

    Kirt Higdon

    • Dan C

      Is there any conflict that you see with the social encyclicals?

      My read on them has the hand of European men writing them, and as such, sees no libertarianism approved, a strong support of government and its need for involvement in property redistribution, and a harsh rebuke, from the beginning, on wealth (based in the Gospels).

      As such, I see libertarianism deviate on not just policy matters (how much tax) but on the role of taxation (resulting in Joe Carter’s stance in which taxation is inherently unjust). Private property becomes an absolute and government (as the only duly authoritative representative of the community) as inconsequential.

      Isn’t this the rough outline of libertarianism on display and promoted?

      • kirthigdon

        I have no problem with the social encyclicals of the Church, but I would to some extent disagree with your read on them, which strikes me as excessively authoritarian. The Church has to work with whatever government is around at the time, whether it be the highly decentralized government of the Middle Ages or the highly centralized of today. I doubt that most libertarians consider any taxation as inherently unjust and such libertarians as Ron Unz are campaigning very hard for both federal and state increases in the minimum wage. But of course there are libertarians who fit your and Mark’s stereotype. What I object to is the attempt to herd all libertarians into this stereotype so that they can be condemned as heretics and then simply dismissed other than ranting against them. The same thing applies to the stereotyping of (for example) liberals, socialists, conservatives, Moslems, etc. etc.

        Kirt Higdon

        • Dan C

          I would say that moderate libertarians have come more to leadership, but only recently. We spent years with the very strict libertarian editorialship of Joe Carter at First Things who shaped the combox arguments and restricted opposing viewpoints. For him, Bush era tax cuts still represented confiscatory tax structures.

          • kirthigdon

            Carter is another of these people I would never have heard of without Mark repeatedly mentioning him. I dropped my subscription to First Things back in 2003 because of their support of the war against Iraq. Did Carter come after that? Most libertarians supported the position of Saint John-Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in opposition to the US war against Iraq. There were some exceptions such as Neal Boortz and I do not know Carter’s position. Most libertarians consider First Things to be a neo-con publication.

            Kirt Higdon

        • Dan C

          I think the term “confiscatory taxes” starts a conversation off on the wrong foot.

          Quite frankly, I am for stability, and find that this highly dynamic deregulated economy very unstable- so unstable as to degrade the very mediating structures so intensely venerated by conservatives as vital to community. But with high mobility required for employment, even local community becomes a difficult concept.

          With a quest for communal stability, I find the Tea Party appalling, a group willing to rip up communities and their support and institutions. This is what appears as “authoritarian.” Families cannot do well without stable economic and communal structures. The mediating structures ( Scouting, Knights of Columbus, etc) will not thrive in unstable, high- flux communal environments.

          Stability-economic and institutional stability- is required for families. Not revolutions.

          • Stability ultimately requires control of birth rates, something that I condemn. So long as two random people can provoke major expenditures in the community by having a baby, stability will ultimately prove a mirage. Community is a good and if you want it, pay for it. People are generally willing to do so but are less enthusiastic about the idea of using inefficient methods when others get the job done better.

            The great economic lesson of the 20th century is that socialist institutions simply do not work very well. They are unsustainable. The more you can cram into the private sector, the further your resources will stretch.

            • Dan C

              Actually, the most recent crash, and the Depression before it suggest that the unregulated fiscal markets are actually the cause of disruption and not socialism- which has not been a threat for decades.

              You are rewriting history.

              • The Great Depression’s cause in unregulated financial transactions is a theory that rewrites what happened. The reality is quite different. Try Amity Shlaes The Forgotten Man.

                The global financial crisis was born of a government manufactured crisis (government mandated stinker loans accumulating on the books) fleeing the regulated financial system and the legitimate anti-fraud system being weakened enough by the government to let through some distinctly false financial shenanigans.

                Triple A rating mortgage derivatives without actually going through the normal rating process should have led to a massive convulsion in the ratings industry. It hasn’t. That’s not what happens in a market made mess. Where are the new entrants seeking to capitalize on this huge mistake?

                Fiscal markets *do* cause disruption. Socialism can or might not cause disruption. The weather causes disruption. Disruption isn’t actually a bad thing per se. What’s per se bad economically is persisting in error and wasting resources when we could have learned from our mistakes, moved on to something better (which is a disruption), and used those extra resources to accomplish more of God’s plan.

                • Dan C

                  Like Marxist historical analysis, libertarian history always somehow demonstrates idiosyncratic viewpoints, with the punchline, as always, it was the government that caused the trouble. Marxist analysis always blamed capital. Libertarian analysis has a similarly predictable punchline.

                  Economic disruption that causes communal and family instability is not like the weather, but the outcome of human choices. And this disruption, if negative, is the cause of human choices that adversely affects families and communities, than it is not family-friendly. Financial instability is usually a negative for families.


                  • Remarkable, you’ve managed to completely avoid engaging with me at all and instead retreated to a fact free set of assertions that work well as superficial cut-and-paste boilerplate but little else. That’s because even the distraction examples don’t hold water.

                    A tornado just wiped out your family home, reduced your family’s economic resources by 95% and killed two family members along with flattening the entire town. No family or communal instability from that? Really? At the heart of my protest is that the world just isn’t naturally stable and that starts with climate, weather, and other natural phenomena.

                    Congrats for at least alluding to positive disruptions. You don’t treat it seriously though. Even positive disruptions will have negative consequences. It is on net, on balance, that disruptions are positive or negative.

                    Any significant legacy or inheritance will be financially disruptive for a family. Are you arguing against post death gifts? Where do the resources go in your ideal world? Legacies create disruption by their nature, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. It’s all just part of life.

                    I would suggest that families wither when they do not have enough serious challenges. Instability provides those challenges and when hedged well enough against are both disruptive and positive to family life more often than not.

                    • Dan C

                      Disaster can strike from God in many formats. Economically imposed disaster is a result of human action.

                      I assert that a virtue that policy prescriptions require is stability for families. You sound like you disagree and actually want to promote instability.

                    • When things are working well, stability is preferred. When things are working poorly, change is called for, even disruptive change. I think things are working poorly on the family front. Freezing that poor state into a really stable configuration is not something that I would favor.

            • Dan C

              Stability has no requirement on birth rates. I am unsure where this statement comes from. In a time of stable birth rates, most will inform us of enormous instability in communities, mostly derived from economic instability. It is here that is the trouble. Institutional instability from economic threats to a community’s schools, libraries, and hospitals negatively impact families.

              Libertarianism is eager for this instability, with this insatiable lust for the market to constantly churn these institutions, the families they serve, and the employees within in that romantically desired “creative destruction.”

              Communities need more than that. Stability is one of the virtues of any reasonable family-friendly public policy. No libertarian policy even comes close to this virtue and most libertarians are eager to reject stability as having any value.

              Stability is about durable, efficacious communal structures and mediating institutions, both governmental and non-governmental. These are what provide for family- friendly life in the 21st century. Libertarians are challenged to achieve that virtue in any policy.

              • You don’t seem to have considered the financial consequences of the unpredictable addition of children to a society. We spend $10k per year for 13 years of public schooling which means the presence or absence of any child shifts public expenditures by at least $130,000 and that’s assuming that the capital expenditures of opening or shutting down a school have not not been triggered by that kid. Are kids disruptive? You bet.

                People make very large financial shifts based on whether they have kids. Where they live, how they work, whether their community is busting at the seams or dying all are driven by the number of kids around. A planned parenthood world can have that sort of disruption reduced by a great deal.

                I don’t make a fetish out of avoiding disruption. No profoundly creative and influential acts occur without disruption. We aren’t equipped to map out all the consequences of these things right away so accumulated progress always leads to big, unforeseen changes, in other words disruption.

                Families do require a sort of stability but it is a fairly modest need and amply available in a more libertarian society. Consider standing stability vs dynamic stability. Libertarianism is a dynamic stability friendly philosophy.

      • This is one more mischaracterization of libertarianism which is not centered on private property but rather non-aggression. Government plays a vital role in defending societal non-aggression in much of libertarian thought. Mixing labor and capital to create private property is not unjust and too many critics of libertarianism gloss over the violence necessary for expropriation, whether threatened or actual.

        A well developed conscience is vital to the formation of any serious libertarian. So much rests on its development in the libertarian framework.

  • Iohannes

    Libertarianism is not a monarchical thought of one accord, and certain variants of libertarianism make the fundamental mistake of Pelagianism. Besides, no one is really made equal, but that doesn’t mean that the weak should be eliminated by leaving them to fend for themselves, which they couldn’t do so, and the strong preserved, but rather, the strong should serve the weak and shouldn’t ask the same measure of return from the weak since it is impossible. It is undeniable that government is prone to abuse their responsibility of charity and becomes almost irredeemably corrupted, but if left to the citizen’s own device, charity will falter as well, since the thought like everyone for himself is rather pervasive, unless there is another constraining factor, notably religion, which true liberty respects as an important and legitimate influence on the culture at large. So, if, at the minimum, religious freedom is at the heart of any strain of thought of libertarianism, it shouldn’t be so vehemently condemned.

    P.S. Mark Shea is not the subtlest person I’ve ever met, so his remark has to be interpreted with an abundance of charity. Additionally, Jeffrey Tucker, a libertarian, is also a rather devout Catholic, and a Traditionalist, though not a radical one, and a charitable dialogue is the most beneficial instead of impatience jitter with one another.

  • HornOrSilk

    Is Joe still a sede or did he bounce around some more, and come to accept the government of the Catholic Church again?

  • wlinden

    People, “Libertarian”, capitalized, refers solely to the Libertarian Party. Just as “Republican” capitalized, refers to a specific party, and not to just any supporters of a republican form of government in any country. There are numerous libertarians who are not affiliated with what the late Sam Konkin called “the partyarchy”, or who want nothing to do with it, or even condemn it for betraying the Cause by taking part in a statist electoral process.
    I have pointed this out before, and Mark explained “Shut up!”

  • wlinden

    I didn’t expect the Sheavian Inquisition!

    Does that also apply to us who are not and never have been Catholic? Are we still “heretics”?

  • SteveP

    May I suggest the article at Crisis is not silly but falls into the oh-dear-I-have-an-article-due-and-I’m-in-the-middle-of-final-grades article?

  • Morris

    After you get your information on libertarians from “popular” sources, be sure to get your information on Catholics and catholicism from Fr. McBrien. He’s a priest, after all.

    • sez

      Care to give us a good, concise source for us to enlighten ourselves?

      • Morris

        I’d be glad to. Look up Murray Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”, for a “libertarian manifesto”. Perhaps not “concise”, but the non-aggression principle seems too difficult for many in these parts. There is an American state worship that even Catholics can’t seem to shake. You might also go to and search on “what is libertarianism” to get a nice smattering of the basic idea. Many commenters here seem incapable of seeing that libertarians does NOT carry with it “so that then…”; it simply offers a political framework for people to be free to be religious, be charitable, be magnanimous, be selfless, whatever they want to be. “BUT THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN WITHOUT STATE FORCING IT!” Mmm hmm…

        • Yes, please do look up Rothbard. Here he is on abortion in “For a New Liberty”: “The Catholic antiabortionist, for example, declares that all he wants fo the fetus is the rights of any human being, i.e., the right not to be murdered. But there is more involved here, and this is the crucial consideration. If we are to treat the fetus as having the same rights as humans, then let us ask: what human has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite
          within some other human being’s body? This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body. What the mother is doing in an abortin is causing an unwanted entity
          within her body to be ejected from it: If the fetus dies, this does not rebut the point that no being has a right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person’s body.”

          That’s a fair summary of Rothbard’s entire “new liberty.”

          • Morris

            As an atheist, Rothbard is bound to get things wrong, and he does so on abortion, absolutely. That is in no way “a fair summary” of his new liberty. Is there anything else you can point to, or are you content to proof-text like a good protestant?

            • Oh, but it is a fair summary of his conception of liberty: I belong to no one and no one belongs to me, the “society of absolute self-ownership.” Rothbard doesn’t limit this view to the relationship between a woman and her unborn child. Here, for instance, is Rothbard on parents and their (born) children: “Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights.”

              Now, here’s an interesting paragraph from Rothbard: “Now the man who seizes another’s property is living in basic contradiction to his own nature as a man. For we have seen that man can only live and prosper by his own production and exchange of products. The aggressor, on the other hand, is not a producer at all but a predator; he livesparasitically off the labor and product of others. Hence, instead of living in accordance with the nature of man, the aggressor is a parasite who feeds unilaterally by exploiting the labor and energy of other men. Here is clearly a complete violation of any kind of universal ethic, for man clearly cannot live as a parasite; parasites must have non-parasites, producers, to feed upon. The parasite not only fails to add to the social total of goods and services, he depends completely on the production of the host body. And yet, any increase in coercive parasitism decreases ipso facto the quantity and the output of the producers, until finally, if the producers die out, the parasites will quickly follow suit.”

              Of course, by “coercive parasitism” Rothbard means any form of social assistance to “parasites” like the truly indigent, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, orphans, and so on. So, a question: If your mother or grandmother is on Social Security or Medicare, is she a parasite?

              Last, you accuse me of isogesis, Protestant-style. That’s rich because the radical individualism at the heart of libertarianism is in fact the culmination of Protestant theology. A man, alone. Therefore the onus isn’t on me to prove that Rothbard’s views are evil. The text itself demonstrates that. The onus is on you to show how this form of radical individualism is in any way compatible with the Catholic faith, and especially Catholic Social Teaching. Good luck with that.

              • Morris

                There is no onus on me to show that anything is in any way compatible with Catholic social teaching or the Catholic faith; the onus is on those who decry libertarianism for being something that it is not. I was asked to provide some information, which I did. The information was meant to help illustrate libertarianism, which it did. Rothbard is obviously wrong on abortion, and he is an atheist so he should get a pass that, for example, Rick Santorum should not get, because Rothbard would deny the ability of the State to force you to pay money to pay for abortions, while Santorum et al regularly vote to perpetuate the status quo. Those who wish to rail against how horrible things would be under a libertarian philosophy seem to ignore how horrible things are under the current anti-libertarian situation. In the end, Rothbard would happily grant you the freedom to live in a Catholic environment where nobody was forced to pay for abortions, where Catholics could govern themselves according to Catholic social teaching, and even have a Catholic king/queen. This is not the case on the part of those who criticise libertarianism, including Catholics.

      • Morris

        According to a reviewer, this is a concise, readable, straightforward manifesto on libertarianism. I haven’t read it.

    • Dan C

      Here is a steady consequence that is a nearly universal analysis of libertarian thinking: community instability is a desired outcome, with a constant churning of chaotic communal resources for families. As such. The policies are easily labeled family-unfriendly.

      • Morris

        What exactly do you base this “instability is a desired outcome” nonsense on? What “policies” are you talking about?

        • Dan C

          We see promotion of economic instability routinely from folks adhering to libertarian values. (See TM Lutas below).

          The market and its inviolability creates many situations of “creative destruction” that are promoted heavily by free market-adhering lbertarians.

          These aspects of the market create disruption for families and communities.

          Also, I note most libertarian policy suggestions are nothing but propositions for enormous community and family disruption. We see Mr. Hargrave propose consumption taxes as opposed to progressive income taxes. Such policies enacted would be 1) regressive and 2) extremely disrputive.

          Often libertarians attempt to fantasize about ways in which taxes can be removed from: public transport, fire companies, and sometimes police departments. These are communal institutions that provide security and safety. (Also public schools.) These are all proposed disruptions and points of community instability should these policies be enacted.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    A libertarian is just a liberal without the guts to call himself a liberal.

    • Morris

      “A Catholic is just a Lutheran without the guts to call himself a Lutheran.”

      • faithandfamilyfirst

        If Lutherans acknowledge the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, recognize the Holy Father as Vicar of Christ who stands in persona Christi, and believe and obey all that Holy Mother Church teaches, then yes, Catholics are Lutherans. Or, more accurately, such Lutherans have always been Catholic. I didn’t realize that our separated brethren had returned home. Yes!!!!!