Libertarians and Pro-Choice Advocates: Peas in a Pod

Libertarians and Pro-Choice Advocates: Peas in a Pod February 15, 2017

Recently somebody posted this on FB:

Image may contain: 3 people

It sparked a fascinating conversation:

Melody: Jesus was speaking to the individual, NOT the government. If your so concerned about refugees, then YOU need to get off your butt and go help them. Leave the safty of your country and go help them. I’m tired of people using Jesus to justify more government control.

Dan: You are incorrect and B16 in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate more than denounces you. Then prior to that, there is PP and Mater et Magistra.

You need to learn your faith.

Melody: I know my Faith, I also know that The Catholic Faith (plus others) teaches that it is the individual NOT the government who is responsible for caring for humanity.

Mary: Melody we don’t need to do a thing about abortion. It’s an individual choice. Is this what you are saying?

Liz: I came to the same conclusion, Mary.

This is like a little microcosm of the American Church.  Melody has absorbed the strange libertarian lie that that state is somehow free to ignore the natural law and do Whatever because the natural law applies only to individuals.  She, of course, is thinking only of the gospel commands about care for the least of these.  And she relies on the lie that things like food, shelter, and elementary demands of basic justice to human beings are “charity”.  She then proceeds to the lie that since these things are “charity” they are no business of the state.

But in fact, things like food, shelter, and health care are not charity.  They are due human beings in justice and ensuring justice is precisely the task of the state.  Therefore it is not either/or, but both/and.  We are to personally care for the least of these.  We are also to see to it that the state does too.

This is ironically illustrated by Mary, who takes Melody at her word and takes it to the conclusion the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife right ever seems to realize by pointing out that if the state is not supposed to help protect the human right of  the least of these, then it follows that the whole point of the prolife struggle to get the state to stop its laissez faire approach to abortion is without foundation.

The great irony here is that Liz, a pro-choice atheist who has been rather shocked to discover she has a lot in common with a bunch of devout, Mass-going Catholics with strong empathy for the Catholic social justice tradition finds herself suddenly in bed with Melody, a libertarian, anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Catholic who mouths all the right wing excuses for ignoring the Church on everything but abortion.

I wrote them both and told them I hope they both feel exquisitely uncomfortable being in bed with one another. Liz, at any rate, has enough of a sense of humor to appreciate the irony of her predicament.  Melody I don’t know and am not sure if she even realizes that she just made the libertarian case for every pro-choice person on planet Earth.  But Liz, I think, must realize that her pro-choice philosophy undergirds the libertarian case for the selfishness Melody is advocating–a selfishness Liz loathes.

The way out of their strange bedfellows dilemma is, of course, embrace of the complete and consistent Catholic ethic of life and rejection of the libertarianism they each selectively embrace.

No idea what will happen next.

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