Libertarianism vs. Catholicism

Is Libertarianism compatible with Catholic Social Ethics? Is the State a necessary result of man’s nature? Should Catholics support the Tea Party Movement? Should Catholics support Libertarians for political office, i.e. Rand Paul for Senate or Ron Paul for President?

There are many high-profile Catholic Libertarians, i.e. Judge Andrew Napolitano, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, Jeffrey Tucker, etc. I’ve noticed that many of these Catholic Libertarians (i.e. Napolitano & Woods) are Traditional Latin-Mass Catholics. Why is this? What’s the connection with culture of the old mass?

The Tea Party’s Brain

Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence

Catholics and the Tea Party Movement

Why I Am a Catholic Libertarian

Why Catholics Don’t Understand Economics

Related Posts:
The Federal Reserve

The Next Great Depression

Thomas Woods and His Critics, The Austrian vs. Distributist Debate Among Catholics

86 Responses to Libertarianism vs. Catholicism

  • Thanks for linking my IC article!

    As for the connection between traditionalism and libertarianism, it isn’t complete – there are many trads who are devout monarchists and who promote a crypto-socialistic version of Distributism (as opposed to the libertarian version I have attempted to develop).

    That said, where it exists, I think it is the product of the simple consideration that if the regime is militantly secular, we don’t want it to continue growing and arrogating more power to itself. Thus the Tea Party/libertarianism keeps government in check, and allows the social and political breathing space needed for the faith to thrive.

    Also, I think you can read the encyclicals of Leo XIII and Pius XI in a way that renders their essential teachings compatible with a limited-government message. Of course the Papacy has always opposed individualism and unbridled libertinism, and rightly so. But on property rights, the rights of parents concerning education, the role of the state, etc. I think the traditional social teaching of the Church, especially in the American context, is quite compatible with the basic libertarian message.

    Hopefully I’ll be writing a book on all of this very soon :)

  • Joe – Christ is in our midst! First, thank you for writing the article and responding to this post so quickly. Thank you for your insightful comments as well. Please follow this conversation as it develops. Your continued insight will be very helpful to me and others.

  • Art Deco, Darwin Catholic & others – I would like to hear your judgment on the Atlantic article, The Tea Party’s Brain.

  • Let’s keep this simple, folks. Authentic Catholcs cannot support Democrats. Why? Because the official platform of that political party supports baby murdering.

    Whatever political inclinations one may have, let’s defeat the Democats this Fall. I don’t care whom you vote for, as long as it is against the Democrats.

  • Political platforms mean very little if anything at all… There are many good Pro-Life Democrats at the local, state and national levels. The Catholic Church does not endorse any political party. One could make a strong argument that Catholics could help reform the Democratic Party and return it to more reasonable positions on marriage & family, abortion, stem-cell research, etc. One could also make a strong argument that even though the Republican Party’s platform is good, in reality they have did very little to nothing in really promoting a Pro-Life agenda when they controlled both the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

  • I’m 100% with Paul Primavera. The dem party disqualifies itself based on abortion, ESCR, public (education) brainwashinhg in moral depravity, assault on the universal family, corporatism, statism, corruption, etc. Plus, that party perennially promotes class envy/hatred and consistently destroys (dirty, personal destruction campaign tactics) its opponents.

    I saw the Atlantic article as too long before it hit “meat”; and too dismissive of the tea party as a bunch of cranks (if I’m angry: it’s because my country is being run down a rat hole). And, the author cites the tea party’s BELIEF that obama stimulus and econ policies are falures. That is not belief that is FACT.

    I think a “legitimate” Catholic would vote for a libertarian over any democrat.

    I could not in conscience vote for a democrat. I believe that one will not be getting into Heaven if one votes democrat. Repent before it’s too late.

    Those are my opinions. Opinions are like elbows. Everybody has one.

  • David,

    I actually have a post planned for this week explaining why I am voting against the Democrats :)

  • “There are many good Pro-Life Democrats at the local, state and national levels.”

    Certainly not on the national level. When it came to ObamaCare almost all “pro-life” Democrats threw the pro-life cause under the bus. Compare and contrast with the Republicans in Congress, as typified by a vote on November 7 last year and which I blogged about at the time:

    Last night all but one, who voted present, of the House Republicans voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment in spite of knowing that its passage made likely the final passage of ObamaCare. Here is a statement of the House Republican Leadership issued last night before either the Stupak amendment or ObamaCare was passed:

    House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) issued the following statement in support of an amendment offered by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit federal funding of abortions under the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) health care plan:

    “We believe in the sanctity of life, and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment addresses a moral issue of the utmost concern. It will limit abortion in the United States. Because of this, while we strongly and deeply oppose the underlying bill, we decided to stand with Life and support Stupak-Pitts.

    “The danger of this bill passing without critical pro-life language was too great a risk to do otherwise. Indeed, a number of Democrat supporters of Stupak-Pitts had privately indicated to many of our colleagues that all they needed for “cover” was a vote, and they would support final passage even if the amendment failed.

    “To be clear, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment’s passage is the right thing to do. We believe you just don’t play politics with life.

    “When this bill is conferenced with the Senate, the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives must ensure that this important amendment is in the final legislation. If it does not, this same strong majority must defeat the bill.”

    Elected Republicans often receive little credit in Saint Blogs for the stalwart opposition to abortion that most of them have shown. Last night the GOP deliberately passed up the best opportunity to stop ObamaCare in the House in order to vote to make sure that no federal funding for abortion would be in ObamaCare. They deserve immense credit for this, which I am certain they will not receive.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/11/08/pro-life-republicans/

  • I asked a question in another blog, but I’d like to ask it again here.

    If the Founding Fathers had been Catholics, would they (or could they) have written a document such as the Constitution–or the Declaration for that matter? And, even before that point, if they had been Catholics, would they have ever become Founding Fathers at all. They might have been willing to come to terms with the monarchy.

    It seems to me that the Church has always been less interested in the form of government than in its benevolence, so maybe the Republic that the Founders formed would/could never have come into existence in a Catholic society.

    Catholics always seem to somehow be outside of the “idea” of America, which is how someone recently described our country: We were not so much a political system as an idea (or ideal, perhaps?). Since becoming a Catholic several years ago, I am finding reconciling America’s Founding principles with the Faith very difficult. I’m not sure, but, when I asked the question the first time on the other blog, I think that the short answer was “no”, with some caveats.

  • Paul, T-Shaw, & Donald – Oh yes I forgot… When I converted to Catholicism my priest issued me a RNC card. Your feelings about Democrats are similar to my own regarding the Neocons who dominate the Republican Party. Catholics have no home in either political party. We are pilgrims on a journey. I seriously doubt that Saint Peter will be checking for a RNC card when you approach the Pearly Gates. Personally I am just hoping for admittance into Purgatory and prayers from of you. I must admit though that I do long for the day of a Christian Democrat party in this country. Does anyone else share the vision of a Pro-Life and Pro-Family Democratic Party? Is that a pipe-dream just like the members of the Tea Party have about reforming our current political and monetary system?

    Joe – great minds think alike. Your mind is quite larger and more brilliant than my own. I look forward in reading your article. Good luck on making me a card-carrying Republican though :-) You could consider me a Crunchy Con. (Rod Dreher) or Traditional Conservative (Russell Kirk & Robert Nisbet) and member of the Old Right (Justin Raimondo & Bill Kauffman) with an independent streak (Wendell Berry). I guess that makes me an independent or something. I do enjoy drinking tea though.

    Team – We are drifting a little off target which is fine but allow me to gently guide us back to the topic of this post. I hope Blackadder among others can help us by answering and giving his insights to the questions below.

    1. Like all of you I am deeply concerned about the Culture of Death. Many Libertarians seem to be either extremely weak if not outright wrong on this topic.

    2. Is the Libertarian influence(s) on the Tea Party a good thing? A good portion of the movement has deep Libertarian origins and roots. Neocons have did their darnedest to co-op the movement though, i.e. Sarah Palin, etc.

    3. Is the Tea Party just a covert operation of the Republican Party, i.e. Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, etc?

    4. One could argue part of the genius of the two-party system is that it absorbs populist movements into the mainstream. It forces one or both of the parties to move in their direction. A parliamentary system doesn’t do this so well.

  • The idea of a pro-life Democrat party is a pipe dream Dave. Support for abortion is at the very core of the Democrat party, and ObamaCare demonstrated that most “pro-life” Democrats in Congress were pro-life in name only. Please review my many enthusiastic posts about Stupak before his betrayal. He played me and many other pro-lifers for a sucker and helped dispell my illusions about pro-lifers ever being a force in the party of the Jackass.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/22/a-tale-of-two-votes/

  • I haven’t much to say about The Atlantic article, other than to complain that the author does not, in discussing the utility of public expenditure to manage aggregate demand, cite a full range of economists on the point.

    As to whether Dr. Paul is the Tea Party’s brain, I had not noticed that Ron Paul’s signature causes (isolationism and gold) were notably prevalent among Tea Party candidates or in Tea Party discourse, but perhaps I am extrapolating too much from the New York scene. I have seen the Tea Party as a set of generalized complaints about taxation, public expenditure, and crony capitalism. I think Messrs. Hargrave and McClarey have been paying closer attention to what’s being said where and you should ask them.

    As for whether libertarianism is compatible with Catholic Social Teaching, you will have to ask someone who knows what they are talking about, and I do not. My reading of the social encyclicals has not been close reading and the one thing I did come away with was that it is difficult to see how they could adjudicate between live contemporary disputes and difficult to see what sort of implementable policy could flow from their precepts. Part of the reason for this difficulty is that it seems to assume a social form (a ‘house’ consisting of the master and his family, resident journeymen, and apprentices) that would have to be reconstructed de novo.

    I think Objectivism and Social Darwinism are without a doubt inconsistent with the social encyclicals. The sort of ‘Old Whig’ perspective associated with F. von Hayek, perhaps not.

  • “And, even before that point, if they had been Catholics, would they have ever become Founding Fathers at all. They might have been willing to come to terms with the monarchy.”

    I doubt if it would have made any difference. Irish Catholics certainly have never had any difficulty opposing the British crown, and many French Catholics supported the initial stages of the French Revolution.

  • Louise – I share your concerns… Refer below to all my posts and the comments contained therein on this topic.

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2010/02/founders-how-christian-were-they.html

    Both Christopher Blosser and I worked on this topic at this website/blog as well.

    http://thechurchandtheliberaltradition.blogspot.com/

  • Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrinch, and Rick Santorum are all good, but we really do need a modern-day Saint Thomas More…

  • Libertarianism as a political philosophy is about as far away from Catholic social teaching as you can get: fiscally conservative and socially liberal (even libertine). Our social teaching, on the other hand, is socially conservative and economically liberal. Sure, there are plenty of “Libertarians for Life.” There are plenty of “Democrats for Life” too, and I have come to trust them about as much as I would trust a libertarian.

  • Team American Catholic – You should find this timely interview to be helpful.

    Daniel McCarthy on the Future of the American Conservative Magazine and Taking Back the Right
    http://www.thedailybell.com/1453/Daniel-McCarthy-on-the-Future-of-the-American-Conservative-Magazine-and-Taking-Back-the-Right.html

  • Ron – I agree with you.

  • I have a few libertarian sensibilities, particularly in regards to the dangers of consolidated power, the importance of free speech, and the tyranny of the secret surveillance state, but I’m inclined to say that, to the extent to which libertarianism involves individualism and espouses an individualistic conception of the social and political order, it is incompatible with Catholic social theory. That said, I’m not sure that libertarianism has to involve individualism, so there may not have to be an incompatibility.

    There are also more technical matters where I’d expect to see Catholics and libertarians disagreeing. My guess is that libertarians would see private property as primary and the universal destination of good secondary, whereas the Catholic Church holds the reverse to be the case, and goes so far as to say that “political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good,” a statement I suspect a lot of libertarians and Tea Party members would find troubling.

  • I hope folks enjoy the McCarthy interview linked above as much as I did. Related to the interview check out these websites:

    http://www.amconmag.com/

    http://takimag.com/

    http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/

    http://buchanan.org/blog/

    Folks might also enjoy these sites as well:

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/

    http://distributistreview.com/mag/

  • In Ron Paul’s book – End the Fed- he states that anyone who would claim to be able to transcend an ideology in political/economic decisions is not being serious- but Pope Benedict warns us away from ideologies in his last encyclical- so I think there is a clear distinction between those who believe in their ideologies to a degree that is unhealthy- and those who can move freely along the various ideologies taking whatever is true or honorable in the lot, without becoming a ‘true believer’ in any ideology- of course the Catholic social doctrine will be accused of being just another ideology by those who reject the fullness of what the Church is and offers to humanity.

  • Kyle,

    “My guess is that libertarians would see private property as primary and the universal destination of good secondary, whereas the Catholic Church holds the reverse to be the case, and goes so far as to say that “political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good,” a statement I suspect a lot of libertarians and Tea Party members would find troubling.”

    Not if properly understood.

    Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 8-9:

    “For God has granted the earth to mankind in general, not in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they like, but rather that no part of it was assigned to any one in particular, and that the limits of private possession have been left to be fixed by man’s own industry, and by the laws of individual races…

    …when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature’s field which he cultivates – that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right.”

    The crux of the problem is where one draws a line between violating and legitimately regulating private property.

    Only an anarchist believes that the state cannot regulate private property, since the anarchist does not believe that the state should exist at all. The anarchist sees all attempts to regulate or tax property as tyranny and theft.

    From minarchism to socialism, though, there is a spectrum of positions that fall between shifting lines demarcating what constitutes legitimate regulation and what constitutes violation.

    Anyone who accepts the legitimacy of government, even a limited, constitutional government, necessarily agrees with the basic proposition that the state has some right to regulate/tax private property.

    The question then is what the legitimate functions of government are, for it is only these that the government has a right to levy taxes to support.

  • Tim Shipe,

    How do you define ideology?

  • I’m (small i) independent. It’s that Dems are 99.94% pro-abortion and morally and pecuniarily corrupt on so many levels, the worst being demogogy and class hatred. Plus, the GOP in my CD consistently gets the RTL nod.

    In the parable, Lazarus did not blame or execrate the rich man – maybe that’s why he is in the bossom of Abraham.

    Matthew 16:23 and John 3, “Jesus turning, said to Peter: ‘Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.'”

    That passage comes to my feeble mind when I think of social justice – the things of man.

    Another: St. Augustine paraphrased from the City of God, “the only evils they recognize are (their own) illness, poverty, death. It is as if they would have everything good except themselves.”

    The Church’s first concern must be the salvation of souls.

    I see my charitable duties/responsibilities in the personal sense not in the collective. E.G., justice: I must do justice. I may not do justice by coercing or compelling (government/state is force) another to do just things.

    PS: Don’t tell the ACLU that the Dem party program is Catholic Social Justice – separation of Church and state – the lawsuits will never end!!!

  • Completely unqualified person weighing in here (also relative newbie to the board). I usually describe myself as a borderline libertarian in political matters. I view as little involvement as possible in the economy by the government to be a good thing. Generally, I think government messes up the market where the market has natural failsafes in that can release economic pressure. It’s often messy, but much more efficient than central planning. However, the reson I do not call myself libertarian is precisely because I’m Catholic. The simple fact of the matter is that libertarianism too often coincides with libertinism. And that libertarians (at least the ones I’ve encountered) usually take an apathetic attitude towards morality at best. Usually, I find them to be outright hostile to the idea of morality. I don’t know if these holds for all libertarians, but it’s certainly been my experience.

    Also, Jow, would you mind doing a post on distributism sometime. Kind of a distributism, for beginners post. I have a vague idea of distributism from what I’ve absorbed online, and it seems very…I don’t ant to say naive, but certaionly something that wouldn’t actually work with the laws of economics.

    My understanding is that distributism says that all businesses should be small, and there should be no big businesses anywhere. No corporations, not joint-stock companies, no credit cards, nothing. Just mom and pop shops, blacksmiths, and gold coins (that’s some hyperbole for humorous effect, but you get the idea). My general problem with that scenario is that every big company, r big store, started out as a small one. I currently work for a company that was started in a garage in Silicon Valley. It started out as a very small company. Now it’s one of the largest in the world. Why? Because that company made a product that people wanted. So people bought the product, the company made more money, and the company hired more people. As they hired more people, they were able to innovate more and made more products that people wanted, which grew the company. Now under distributism pseudo-feudal system, the company would have to just choose to stop growing, and stop giving customers the products that they want. Because….small is better, and fewer people having the product they want is good? Also what precisely is the mechanism that is ging to keep businesses small? And how does one make complex machines that involve manufacturing while keeping a guild system? I certainly couldn’t get a certified artisan made laptop, all made by one person. I need to have parts made by dozens of large companies, all using automated processes, and then assembled by another automated process. I suppose all these components could be made by hand, but that make the device prohibitively expensive, and there would be no digital revolution (perhaps that is what some people want). So I’m just curious how modern high0tech firm would work under the distributist guild system.

    As I see it, capitalism is not a system. When Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations, he was not advocating for a particular economic system. He was merely looking at a natural economic state (the free market) and describing in a rational, scientific way, how that system worked. A person produces a demanded product, people buy the product, the original person’s fortunes and company grow. This is really well illustrated in an episode of South Park called Something Wal-Mart This Way Comes. Basically, the town gets a Wal-Mart, which they love. Then they find out that it’s actually evil. So they burn down the Wal-Mart and decide to only shop at the mom and pop store in town. The mom and pop store grows as people buy mroe stuff from it. So it eventually becomes a huge company like Wal-Mart, and the townspeople decide to burn it down just like before. The episode ends with them all promising that this will never happen again. Which to me, is the crux of the issue. A company that provides a popular or necessary good or service grows. That’s just what it does. Distributism, as I understand, says that it shouldn’t. And I have no idea what the mechanism is to prevent it, nor why it would be desirable to do so.

    By the way, I’m sorry this post getting so long. I didn’t intend for that.

  • One could make a strong argument that Catholics could help reform the Democratic Party and return it to more reasonable positions on marriage & family, abortion, stem-cell research, etc.

    I would agree. And the best way to reform them is to not vote for them, have them lose elections (and power, which is all any party understands), and then force them to reform.

  • I recommend that everyone buy and read a copy of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

    http://www.amazon.com/Compendium-Doctrine-Pontifical-Council-Justice/dp/1574556924

    I’ve put together a handy summary of the Church’s Social Doctrine, along with a way to pray upon it:

    http://catholicpeacemaking.com/pdfs/CSDFormation.pdf

  • As for rising above ideologies, I reference Pope Benedict’s last encyclical:

    22. Today the picture of development has many overlapping layers. The actors and the causes in both underdevelopment and development are manifold, the faults and the merits are differentiated. This fact should prompt us to liberate ourselves from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways, and it should lead us to examine objectively the full human dimension of the problems. As John Paul II has already observed, the demarcation line between rich and poor countries is no longer as clear as it was at the time of Populorum Progressio[55]. The world’s wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “The scandal of glaring inequalities”[56] continues. Corruption and illegality are unfortunately evident in the conduct of the economic and political class in rich countries, both old and new, as well as in poor ones. Among those who sometimes fail to respect the human rights of workers are large multinational companies as well as local producers. International aid has often been diverted from its proper ends, through irresponsible actions both within the chain of donors and within that of the beneficiaries. Similarly, in the context of immaterial or cultural causes of development and underdevelopment, we find these same patterns of responsibility reproduced. On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.

  • Dear Mr. McClarey:

    Might you please expound on this statement, and what you intended by including it in your answer:

    “and many French Catholics supported the initial stages of the French Revolution.”

    Regards,

    Antony

  • “and many French Catholics supported the initial stages of the French Revolution.”

    I mentioned it because the French Revolution initially was overwhelmingly popular throughout France in its initial stages, up to the middle of 1791, and to help refute the idea that Catholics are necessarily opposed to revolutions or rebellions. Although this is held by some “throne and altar” enthusiasts, it simply does not jibe with the historical record.

  • Donald is right. I’m reading St. Bellarmine’s De Laicis right now, in which he argues that the people have a right to change their form of government.

  • Check out today’s essay at The Catholic Thing, entitled “American–and Catholic”, by Robert Royal. It speaks very well to this discussion.

  • up to the middle of 1791,

    I think the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was enacted in 1790. IIRC, it was being compelled to put his signature to that which made King Louis into an unambiguous opponent of political developments.

  • Pope Pius VI condemned the Civil Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man on March 10, 1791. This began the process by which the majority of faithful Catholics began to dissent from the Revolution. Some Catholics opposed the Revolution from the inception, but 1791 was the year when mass opposition began.

  • This is in response to Louise’s question — the question about whether this counry could ever have been founded if the Founding Fathers were faithful Catholics — might not be so easily answered with a simple no. Here are two interesting quotes:

    “Though Catholic doctrine condemns tyrannicide as opposed to the natural law, formerly great theologians of the Church like St. Thomas (II-II, Q. xlii, a.2), Suarez (Def. fidei, VI, iv, 15), and Bañez, O.P. (De justitia et jure, Q. lxiv, a. 3), permitted rebellion against oppressive rulers when the tyranny had become extreme and when no other means of safety were available. This merely carried to its logical conclusion the doctrine of the Middle Ages that the supreme ruling authority comes from God through the people for the public good. As the people immediately give sovereignty to the ruler, so the people can deprive him of his sovereignty when he has used his power oppressively.” – Catholic Encyclopedia on Tyrannicide

    Also, here are some selections from ST II-II, Q.42 Article 2, “Whether sedition is always a mortal sin?”:

    Those, however, who defend the common good, and withstand the seditious party, are not themselves seditious, even as neither is a man to be called quarrelsome because he defends himself, as stated above (Question 41, Article 1). … It is lawful to fight, provided it be for the common good, as stated above (Question 40, Article 1)…Discord from what is not evidently good, may be without sin…A tyrannical government is not just, because it is directed, not to the common good, but to the private good of the ruler, as the Philosopher states (Polit. iii, 5; Ethic. viii, 10). Consequently there is no sedition in disturbing a government of this kind, unless indeed the tyrant’s rule be disturbed so inordinately, that his subjects suffer greater harm from the consequent disturbance than from the tyrant’s government. Ondeed it is the tyrant rather that is guilty of sedition, since he encourages discord and sedition among his subjects, that he may lord over them more securely; for this is tyranny, being conducive to the private good of the ruler, and to the injury of the multitude.

    I submit that what would justify rebellion against a tyrant the point of deposing, even killing, the unjust ruler, in order to establish a just ruler in his place would a fortiori justify one or more separated, relatively self-governing colonies merely rebelling from the rule of the tyrant and breaking away in order to form their own independent rule without deposing him.

    Incidentally, one of the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Maryland, was a Catholic.

  • David,

    Art Deco, Darwin Catholic & others – I would like to hear your judgment on the Atlantic article, The Tea Party’s Brain.

    Well, given the source (The Atlantic is fairly establishment-focused, Ron Paul is heavily anti-establishment) I thought it was a moderately fair article — I’m not sure I have much beyond that to say about it.

    One thing that did scrike me in reading it is that in many ways the weaker part of Austrian theory is its understanding of the business cycle and what to do in a downturn — though the article acts as if the jury has clearly returned the verdict that Keynsians understand exactly what to do in a recession, which I think is not at all the case. Keynsian stimulus doesn’t strike me as having all that great a track record, and is mainly appealing because it allows people to do things that they already want to do. I would tend to think that monetarist responses to economic contract have the best track record at this point — though there’s clearly a limit to what they can do and their mis-use can have nasty side effects.

  • Charles Carroll’s connection and that of his near family to Freemasonry is troubling.

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2005/11/how-charles-carroll-influenced-us.html

  • David,

    What is the connection of Charles Carroll to Freemasonry? The link you provide says only that his cousin was a Mason. That’s not much of a connection.

  • Many members of his near family were plus his participation in at least one Masonic ceremony is documented. Non-Masons are not permitted to participate in Masonic ceremonies, especially in his era. Was an exception made for him? That would be highly doubtful. Regardless the Masonic connections of his family gave him influence among his peers, the Founding Fathers, who were nearly all Masons themselves. Refer also to my other posts on this topic.

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2010/02/founders-how-christian-were-they.html

  • I wonder if Libertarians would agree with this below?

    From E. Cahill S.J. – The Framework of a Christian State – published in 1932

    “Besides the Church, there are two – and only two – other types of human society who existence and structure are not of mere human origin or liable to essential change. These are the Family and the State… The Family and the State are a necessary result of man’s nature. They come into existence in response to essential human tendencies and character, and to provide for needs which spring from the very nature of man… The immediate object has to do with man’s temporal interests; and their existence and scope, as well as their fundamental structure, spring from the law of nature which was ordained by God in the very act of creating man… The ultimate object of the State is to secure the temporal happiness of its members, which, in practice, is the same thing as the fuller development of their physical, intellectual and moral powers. The proximate and immediate aim of the State’s activities is to ensure peace and prosperity for all; for these are means essential to man’s temporal welfare, and can be secured only by helps which the State affords.”

  • David,

    There doesn’t seem to be anything in the links you cite showing that Charles Carroll was a Mason. In fact one of the links says specifically that he was not one.

    If having family members who were Masons makes one a Mason, then I must be a Mason, since my grandfather was one.

  • Continuing from Cahill’s book

    “The Public Good – (a) Peace
    …This usually requires the maintaining of an army adequate for national defense, as well as a police force to secure internal order and tranquility.

    (b) Public Prosperity – Prosperity, in general, means a sufficient supply of the means that the individual requires for his natural welfare and happiness. It includes such goods as bodily health, food, clothing, shelter, personal freedom, private property, good reputation, mental culture suites to one’s station, and good moral and religious training.

    …It is clear, however, from what hasl already been said that there are many things necessary for temporal happiness, which the individual cannot secure without the assistance of the State. The means to meet these needs is what is technically known as Public Prosperity, which may therefore be defined as the sum of the helps and facilities, which are required in order to place private prosperity within the reach of all. Public prosperity is what the State has to provide for its citizens.

    Concrete Examples of Public Prosperity
    …Public prosperity includes utilities as roads, railways, hospitals, public institutions of all kinds, so far as these may be required to supplement private enterprise whether individual or collective. It includes, too, safe and equitable means of exchange and such a system of property laws as would normally secure to everyone an opportunity of procuring by his labour a sufficiency of material goods. Again, public prosperity requires that special provision be made for the weak, the poor, and those not endowed by nature with exceptional mental gifts, lest these be oppressed and enslaved by the wealthy and the strong.
    As a portion of this latter provision, the governing authority is bound to see that no class within the community – whether it be warlike barons surrounded by armed retainers, or financial magnates exercising an under control over the resources of the nation – become so powerful as to be a menace to the peace and safety of the people. Hence, the Sate is bound to secure, by means of of good laws and a pure administration, an equitable distribution of the material resources of the nation, so that what nature meant for the good of all be not monopolized by a few.”

  • From the very article you read regarding Charles Carroll, “historically, it is believed the reason he was identified as a Mason is that he was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the B&O Railroad.” One doesn’t participate in Masonic ceremonies unless one is a Mason. That’s has always been their standard operating procedure. When all the man’s near relatives were Masons, it’s not a stretch to say the man was one himself especially when it was publicly known that he himself participated in Masonic ceremonies. I don’t believe for a second that his family’s Masonic connections didn’t open doors and build friendships with those in power when all of them were also well known Masons themselves.

  • Charles Carroll “was commissioned with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and his cousin John Carroll in February 1774 to seek aid from Canada.” The last three of those folks were Masons. Maybe he was the one odd-ball in the whole group or maybe he wasn’t. What do you think? What’s more reasonable to believe? Benjamin Franklin was full-blown Occultist. Thomas Jefferson had a real aversion of Catholics. Why was Charles the only Catholic permitted in the public circle among these men? Did Charles Carroll sell his soul to gain political power? You look like a duck, walk like a duck, quack like a duck… You’re a duck.

  • One might perceive that many Libertarians and Tea Party members seem to worship (from a secular standpoint) the Founding Fathers. This is similar to the worship many Republicans give to Reagan. Does anybody see a problem with this mentality?

  • Charles Carroll, “historically, it is believed the reason he was identified as a Mason is that he was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the B&O Railroad.” One doesn’t participate in Masonic ceremonies unless one is a Mason.

    Why do you think that the laying of the cornerstone of the B&O Railroad was a “Masonic ceremony”?

    When all the man’s near relatives were Masons, it’s not a stretch to say the man was one himself

    What is the evidence that “all” of his near relatives were Masons? My understanding is that one of his cousins is a Mason. I’ve seen nothing to suggest, that, for example, his father was a Mason, or that his brothers were Masons, etc. In any event, the idea that someone must be a Mason because their relatives were Masons is faulty logic.

    Charles Carroll “was commissioned with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and his cousin John Carroll in February 1774 to seek aid from Canada.” The last three of those folks were Masons.

    Was John Carroll a Mason? What are you basing this on?

  • Btw, from what I can tell, Samuel Chase was not a Mason either (see, e.g., here).

  • We are getting off target, but I will answer your questions.

    It was a Masonic cornerstone for the railroad.

    I would say it’s faulty logic or unnatural to say a croc swims among a herd of ducks. Ducks swim with other ducks.

    John was the assigned chaplain, a major duty, for the laying of the Masonic cornerstone of the George Washington Monument in Baltimore. This is an exclusive privilege given to only a Mason. There are no exception to this rule. Besides the Vatican received approval from the Founding Fathers for him to be the first Catholic Bishop here. The choice of John was not by accident.

  • “We are getting off target, but I will answer your questions.”

    How did the “target” become whether Carroll was a Mason in the first place (a scandalous claim for which I have seen no evidence, only poorly supported and uncharitable inferences)? Carroll was brought up as a Catholic Founding Father, and that was only brought up by me INCIDENTALLY. It was not any sort of main argument for anything.

  • Blackadder – Samuel Chase was a Mason. Read his own family account of it among other items I could cite.

    Kevin – I wasn’t referring to you. Blackadder is asking questions of which I am responding.

    It’s a fact that only Masons are allowed to be chaplains in one of their ceremonies. It’s a fact that John had a close friendship with both Benjamin Franklin & Thomas Jefferson, neither of whom were Christian by any stretch of the imagination and both were deeply involved in several Occult organizations, one of which was the Masonic Lodge. It’s a fact that Daniel was a Mason. Were Charles and John Carroll Freemasons? The evidence leans in that direction and it’s not unreasonable to believe they were. One could also argue many of the problems of American Catholicism is rooted with John Carroll and his compromise with the American Experiment.

  • “Kevin – I wasn’t referring to you. Blackadder is asking questions of which I am responding.”

    You are responding to questions he asked you about your non-sequitur accusation that Carroll was a freemason. Since I was the one who brought up Carroll to begin with, I have asked, and still want to know, why it became a point in the first place that Charles Carroll was or was not a Mason?

  • The reason why I even linked to old posts on the Founding Fathers was because of comments by Louise above. Louise’s insight and tension he expresses above are good. His instinct there is correct I think.

  • Kevin & others – As a point of clarification the “target” I am referring to is the main topic of the post, Libertarianism vs. Catholicism. Is Libertarianism compatible with Catholicism? Libertarianism is rooted in classical liberalism. Catholicism, both philosophically and ontologically, is opposed in many ways to liberalism.

    Now one could argue as a matter of historical fact that liberalism infected the American Experiment from the very beginning through the thought of the Founding Fathers of this country. One of the primary means of promoting liberalism (and Enlightenment thought) was through the Masonic Lodges of Europe and the Americas.

  • Additionally with my quote above from Fr. Cahill, S.J. I was trying to tease out the rather apparent conflict between a view of Catholic Social Ethics, especially the role of the State, vs. a Libertarian view on this topic. The State (and its government) is a natural part of our humanity. It’s a natural good. It’s not evil. This opinion of the State seems to conflict with the common Libertarian mentality.

    In all fairness to Libertarians though, they seem to be most concerned about Statism or Collectivism, which should concern Catholics as well. Many times the Libertarians do not make important nuances about the role of the State in society though. They could be more clear on this topic. I have Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell in mind here.

    Blackadder’s insight here would be helpful.

  • Ensure to check out Blackadder’s post related to this topic as well.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/10/18/is-libertarianism-individualistic/

  • Charles Carroll turned the first spade of dirt for the B&O on July 4, 1828 in a massive public ceremony in Baltimore. He was chosen because he was the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as a stockholder and director of the B&O. The laying of the cornerstone was done by the representatives of the Masonic Lodge in Baltimore. Claiming from this that Carroll was a mason is quite a stretch.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=IEPCqQErPHAC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=charles+carroll+b%26O+railroad+cornerstone&source=bl&ots=tyK6BjQg9o&sig=GSgvB0aNxlRQhRihzy995DAUozg&hl=en&ei=iXG9TNbVJsyUnAfjxJWKDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • Ok, David, the masonic-liberalism connection, once spelled out, brings this all together. It makes sense now that you spell it out. I can’t resist offering this one note of criticism, though — besides the fact that the allegation that Carroll was a Mason is insufficiently supported by the facts at hand, it was only an incidental point and not the main argument brought to bear to answer Louise’s “instinct” as you call it (the main argument was the citation of St. Thomas Aquinas justifying the deposing of a tyrant as not qualifying per se as the mortal sin of sedition, and my own a fortiori conclusion regarding a rebellion against a tyrant for the purpose of political independence rather than one that culminates in tyrannicide). I don’t think it would be unfair of me to see the lack of a response to the main argument as telling.

  • Donald – You own cited sources confirms my position. Remember one must distinguish between public and private Masonic events. The majority of Masonic events are private meetings where non-Masons are not permitted to attend or even observe. There are also public events though. Public meaning non-Masons can observe but they do they participate or lead the ceremonies. Charles was not a casual observer, he was a participant. Non-Masons would not be permitted to do this. Is it possible that an exception to this rule could be made? Yes. Is it likely? No.

  • It was a Masonic cornerstone for the railroad.

    I’m not sure what makes a stone “Masonic” but the point is that the event wasn’t a Masonic ceremony. It was a public event attending by lots of public dignitaries. Here, for example, is a picture commemorating the ceremony. Given that it was a public ceremony, I don’t see how you can say that only Masons would have been present.

  • John was the assigned chaplain, a major duty, for the laying of the Masonic cornerstone of the George Washington Monument in Baltimore. This is an exclusive privilege given to only a Mason. There are no exception to this rule.

    Again, you’re talking about a public ceremony, not a Masonic rite. It’s not clear how Masons would even be able to ensure that everyone who participated in such ceremonies were Masons.

  • When George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States in full masonic garb, that was a public as well as masonic ceremony at which non-masons were present.

  • I have to offer a slight retraction of what I said above: the ceremony was the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol, not of the country as a whole, as I could be reasonably seen to have implied earlier, and more importantly, I was ignoring the distinction between public attendance in that ceremony and participation in it. David’s point that Carroll’s participation (he was not merely a spectator) in B&O railroad ceremomy is at least prima facie evidence of his membership in the masons is therefore on more solid footing than I acknowledged prior to this post.

  • Kevin,

    If Charles Carroll had attended the B&O groundbreaking dressed in full masonic garb then that would be evidence he was a Mason.

  • “Charles was not a casual observer, he was a participant. Non-Masons would not be permitted to do this.”

    No. This was an immensely public ceremony of which the Masons were only a part. The big draw was the ninety year old Charles Carroll as the date of July 4 indicates. Saying that this proves him to be a Mason is like saying that a Mayor of a town is a Jew because he appears and cuts the ribbon of a new business that is then blessed by a Rabbi. Carroll shoveled the first spade of dirt. None of the accounts I have seen indicate that he had anything to do with Masonic rituals regarding the cornerstone. Do you have anything else Dave to substantiate your claim that Charles Carroll was a member of the Masons?

  • To Blackadder – your point is well taken. Even if, as I said, his participation in an arguably masonic ceremony is prima facie evidence of Carroll having been a mason, as I conceded to David, that does not justify the inflation of that possibility to an ultima facie conclusion. I would require more evidence to accept that conclusion. I can’t help but wonder why, if we know that his brother John was a mason and that the other Founders were masons, why isn’t it simply a verifiable fact that Charles Carroll was a mason, too, if it is true? Why would Carroll’s membership be some sort of secret if his brother John’s membership was not? Why would we have to derive this fact as a conclusion from such scanty evidence? Why isn’t there some membership roll that we can look back on? Why isn’t there an M and a compass or an all-seeing eye on his tombstone? Why isn’t there something more conclusive to support this contention.

    And finally, as I keep saying, why is it even all that important? I was the first to mention Carroll, the Catholic Founding Father, in this thread, and it was an incidental remark – a minor point at best. If Carroll was also a mason, though that might well have made him a heretic, that hardly touches the point. It has no effect on the question of whether declaring indendence from Great Britain was morally incompatible with Catholic teaching. If it was justified, Carrol having been a mason doesn’t change that, and if it was a mortally sinful sedition, Carroll’s non-membership with the Freemasons does not excuse him.

  • Dauud,

    Republicans worship Regean and Tea-Partiers worship the Founding Fathers? Really?

    More than latria offered for generations to Franklin Delano Roosevelt by you and your Demoncat coreligionists? More than the hosannas offered to the The One, The Messiah.. B. Hussein Obama.

    Please.. get off the Kool Aid, my friend. Stop your mirror-imaging accusations.

    Neither the GOP nor Demoncats are Catholic. However the Demoncats are utterly satanic.

    Where is there greater diversity of opinion and dissent allowed? In the GOP or within the Demoncats? Was Governor Casey allowed to speak at the 1992 Convention or not?

    The history of electoral corruption within the Demoncat Party should tell you enough about them. Even before they weren’t killing babies, they were stealing elections. You’re a Missouri Demoncat.. you should know that. Has Kansas City ever had a fair election?

  • Blackadder – A cornerstone ceremony is a Masonic tradition and ritual. It’s just one of the few ceremonies (public) that non-Masons are allowed to observe.

    Kevin – We are more in agreement than disagreement… For your consideration – the Masonic Lodge is a secret society. It was especially one in the era of the Founding Fathers. Membership in the Lodge was life or death for many. Many of the records were either lost, destroyed or not properly maintained. There is disagreement even among Masons on which Founding Fathers were Masons. I have read and seen numbers as high as 50-54 signers of the Declaration being Masons, which came from Masonic sources themselves. It was one of the primary means that the Revolution was promoted among the masses, i.e. the Boston Tea Party, etc. If you wanted to be on inside track in the Revolution this was the place to be. George Washington required membership in the Lodge among his military officers. For the sake of argument I think you would agree that even if Charles and John were not Masons their participation in public Masonic ceremonies was not prudent and could lead to perceptions that they were Masons themselves. We can agree to disagree if they were Masons themselves.

    Team American Catholic – The bigger questions that we should be asking ourselves is this one. Is the liberalism promoted by the Founding Fathers (and the Masonic Lodge) compatible with Catholic social thought? As Catholics can we take a critical eye to the thought of our Founding Fathers? Are there flaws with their enlightenment thought? Is the compromise with the American Experiment that Bishop John Carroll made one of the root causes which leads to the liberalism embraced by so many American Catholics in our era?

  • The bigger questions that we should be asking ourselves is this one. Is the liberalism promoted by the Founding Fathers (and the Masonic Lodge) compatible with Catholic social thought?

    This is a great question. To answer it, let me call as a witness Leo XIII:

    Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church.

  • Yes, the statements of Leo XIII and Pius XII are hard to reconcile with Catholic anti-Americanism.

  • Joe – Welcome back to the comments of this point. Please continue to guide us in this discussion. I think it would be helpful if Dr. Chris Burgwald would enter into this discussion as well.

    I am not interested in anti-Americanism. I would die to protect our rights as Americans as close friends of mine have already did. May they rest in peace. I pray for them at every Mass in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Team American Catholic – There is more to Pope Leo XIII’s thought than what you allude to in your comments above. Read TESTEM BENEVOLENTIAE NOSTRAE – Concerning New Opinions, Virtue, Nature And Grace, With Regard To Americanism
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/L13TESTE.HTM

    Read HUMANUM GENUS – ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON FREEMASONRY
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18840420_humanum-genus_en.html

    Read John Salza’s books and writings on Freemasonry. John is very good on this topic. Read Father Denis Fahey, C.S.S.p. on Freemasonry as well. Fahey’s works have both Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

    Read Solange Hertz’s writings on our topic. For example refer to her book, The Star-Spangled Heresy: Americanism – How the Catholic Church in America Became The American Catholic Church. Read or listen to audios from John Vennari, Gary Potter and Gerry Matatics on this topic of Americanism and the role of of Freemasonry in the founding of the American Republic. Our American History is more complex, and in some ways troubling, than you appear to be giving it. Now granted take what Traditionalists say with a grain of salt, but their perspective should be heard and not ignored.

    What I am more personally interested on digging into is the identifying how the Culture of Death is rooted in Enlightenment thought. Why has it taken firm root in the soil of liberalism? Fundamentally the Culture of Death finds it origin in sin and the fallen nature of man, but we see this played out in our context through the liberalism inherent in the American Experiment.

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2005/08/american-dream.html

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2005/09/freemasonry-and-america-part-iii.html

  • Here is Dr. Chris Burgwald’s post on liberalism very much worth reading.

    http://ressourcement.blogspot.com/2005/11/liberalism.html

  • David,

    I’ve read Leo’s encyclical on Americanism. It was a theological controversy that, in spite of the name, ended up becoming more of a problem in France than it did in America. And Leo went out of his way to make clear that he was not talking about our political system.

    I am a total theological and liturgical traditionalist. But I think when it comes to political theory, a lot of traditionalists are out of their element. Chris Ferarra’s book “The Church and the Libertarian”, for instance is one of the most frenzied and disoriented diatribes I’ve ever read. It is a book that supposedly demolishes the Austrian school that, in its 300+ pages mentions F.A. Hayek TWICE, completely distorts Locke, and contains so many logical blunders that it is almost unreadable.

    On the other hand as you’ve pointed out we have Tom Woods and Jeffery Tucker, also traditionalists, and quite the libertarians too.

  • “George Washington required membership in the Lodge among his military officers.”

    That is simply untrue Dave. Washington was a Mason but he never promulgated any requirement that Continental officers be Masons. Most Continental Generals were not Masons.

    http://www.bessel.org/gwgenmas.htm

  • I have a confession to make… I have not ordered nor read Chris Ferarra’s newest book. His past work is garbage on so many levels it makes me sick therefore I am not thrilled to read anything by him even though his current topic is something I am very interested in. Tom Woods seems to me to be much more reasonable and intelligent.

    I still haven’t bought the Libertarian or Austrian dough bait line and sinker though. It also rubs my Catholic sensibilities the wrong way. Blackadder and others are on to something. Like them I found their work very helpful, but economics is very complex. Talking about all the factors which effect the Fed are complex. Monetary, economic, political factors all merge together and things are not as simple as they like to portray them to be.

    Joe – you are very well read. You have thought about these things deeply and that’s why I admire you and your work. You remind me of another friend who has an undergrad in politics from UD and a Masters in Theology from UD. He’s always beating me up to read more and to think deeper. Both you and him are correct in being critical of my thought. Thank you my friend.

  • Donald – I should have used “promoted” or “encouraged” not required in the sentence that you are referencing. You are correct. My apologies. Surely you do not deny Washington’s long and deep history with Freemasonry though.

  • Washington was a freemason Dave, although from all accounts he was more interested in its social aspects than any other aspect of it. Washington was an immensely tolerant man as demonstrated by his attendance at Mass on several occasions and his celebrated letters to Catholics and Jews.

    http://www.sanctepater.com/2010/09/george-washington-letter-to-catholics.html

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=21

    Washington never insisted on any sort of religious test for any post, military or civil, and was the very last man to use his position to influence any one to join an organization simply because he belonged to it.

    Washington was a gentleman to all, even the numerous kooks who contacted him as demonstrated by this letter:

    “Mount Vernon, September 25, 1798.

    Sir: Many apologies are due to you, for my not acknowledging the receipt of your obliging favour of the 22d. Ulto, and for not thanking you, at an earlier period, for the Book8 you had the goodness to send me.

    [Note 8: Proofs of a Conspiracy &c, by John Robison.]

    I have heard much of the nefarious, and dangerous plan, and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the Book until you were pleased to send it to me. The same causes which have prevented my acknowledging the receipt of your letter have prevented my reading the Book, hitherto; namely, the multiplicity of matters which pressed upon me before, and the debilitated state in which I was left after, a severe fever had been removed. And which allows me to add little more now, than thanks for your kind wishes and favourable sentiments, except to correct an error you have run into, of my Presiding over the English lodges in this Country. The fact is, I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice, within the last thirty years. I believe notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this Country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the Society of the Illuminati. With respect I am &c.”

    [Note 9: In a letter from Snyder (Aug. 22, 1798, which is in the Washington Papers), it is stated that this book “gives a full Account of a Society of Free-Masons, that distinguishes itself by the Name of ‘Illuminati,’ whose Plan is to overturn all Government and all Religion, even natural.”]

  • David,

    I appreciate all of the compliments.

    You’re completely right to approach libertarianism and Austrian economics with caution. I hope I didn’t imply otherwise. These are not perfect ideologies, and they contradict the faith in some important areas, philosophically speaking.

    On a practical level, though, I would maintain that they can be temporary allies in our struggle against the secular Leviathan. Sadly, even Ferarra admits that, which is why the tone of his book baffles me. He basically says, “we Catholics may have to ally with libertarians”, and then proceeds to insult, distort, and vomit all over them.

  • Donald – I recognize the tolerance of Washington and many of his other positive traits and relationships. Washington was brilliant and an amazing human being. I have visited Mount Vernon twice now and each time I have spent hours there. It is an amazing estate. Washington was an amazing person. Saying that I will say this though.

    Your social aspect argument is complete BS. You don’t became a Master Mason without an enormous amount of work. And you sure don’t become a Grand Master of any Lodge, let alone of an entire State, for primarily social reasons. You are not offered to be the Grand Master of America b/c of social reasons. To reach that level of expertise in Masonry you go miles and miles deep into the Occult. That’s a fact. Guys if you haven’t figured it out by now I am former Master Mason myself… Read John Salza’s orange book published by Our Sunday Visitor and then let’s talk. John Salza is also a former Master Mason and he unpacks this in greater detail.

  • Joe – Like you I am deeply concerned about the secular Leviathan. I basically agree with you. This is maybe where Ron Paul is most correct. You kill the Leviathan by killing the Fed or at least you greatly limit the harm it can do. If you can tighten down the faucet of the monetary system by implementing the Gold standard you limit the government’s ability to fund its welfare and warfare programs. Follow the money and you will fix the problem.

    I would also caution folks to consider a more Catholic understanding of the State as I showed through the writings of E. Cahill S.J. above.

  • One of the areas which concern me regarding libertarianism is that of ethics, specifically how they often deal with the topics of abortion, contraception, stem-cell research, euthanasia, homosexuality, marriage & family. Either they are wrong or just very weak on dealing with the moral issues. Their Libertarian ideology seems unable to seriously engage these topics. Is Libertarianism capable of ending or even slowing the progress of the Culture of Death?

  • A good first step in ending the Culture of Death would be to get our bishops *all* engaged in that effort. Then, perhaps we can expect some of the Catholic politicians to start to fall in line.

  • Why do you think some Traditional Catholics are attracted to Libertarianism, especially Austrian Economics?

    Here are my thoughts on that question. Traditional Catholics tend to be counter-cultural, both in how they live within modern culture (i.e. American) but also how they live within the Post Vatican II world of Catholicism. They are independent thinkers who deeply love the truth regardless if it’s popular at the moment either in the culture in general or within the Church. I would not dare put words in the mouth of Tom Woods but I would guess he would tell us that he follows and promotes Austrian Economics b/c that’s where the greater truth resides on economic matters. He finds greater meaning in the ways of the world and of economics in what Austrian Economics teaches.

    Here is a deeper question on what I am getting at above by describing the tension I see regarding Libertarianism and Catholic ethics. Is the Libertarian view on liberty and freedom the same as a Catholic one? I have in mind an Augustinian view of freedom. One is only truly free if he follows God. If he rejects God he falls into sin and slavery. He is not free. A Libertarian view of freedom is one more of free agency. You should be free to do whatever you desire (without government interference). Is that really a correct understanding of freedom? The answers to these questions lead then into a discussion about the proper role of the State (& government) from a Catholic perspective. I recognize there is a variety of thought on how various Catholics over history have approached this topic as well.

  • I was checking out Joe’s blog and saw that he has written some posts related to our topic which are very much worth checking out. If I missed any let us know.

    Glenn Beck the What?
    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/glenn-beck-the-what/

    From Franco to Flaccid in 40 Years: Why Christians Must Embrace Liberty Instead of Government
    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/from-franco-to-flaccid-in-40-years-why-christians-must-embrace-liberty-instead-of-government/

  • I should have listened to Blosser when he told me a couple months back to check out your blog. I ignored his advice. Shame on me. Joe is the man. Here’s another post which addresses many of the same points that I was making or asking about above.

    Catholic Distributariaism: A Preemptive FAQ
    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/catholic-distributariaism-a-preemptive-faq/

  • The Superficiality of “Left” & “Right”
    We must discover that real Catholic politics are outside the Lockean spectrum, and we must learn to see ourselves as neither right nor left-Lockeans, but as Catholics, who ought to differ from one another only within the clear bounds of permissible Catholic teaching.
    http://distributistreview.com/mag/2010/10/the-superficiality-of-left-right/

    Individualism and the State: Part I
    One of the root errors of economic liberalism is known as individualism.
    http://distributistreview.com/mag/2010/07/individualism-and-the-state-part-i/

    Individualism and the State, Part II
    Leo XIII clearly argues that not only does man exist in society by nature, but that man exists in the state by nature; and further, that the state, “no less than society itself,” is a natural institution with God at its origin.
    http://distributistreview.com/mag/2010/07/individualism-and-the-state-part-ii/

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