Can I be a Catholic but also Anarchist Capitalist?


I am for very small government, at least at anything beyond the very local level. But I would be loath to use the term anarchy to describe my beliefs as to the best form of government. For a couple of reasons:

  1. philosophically the term does not match my beliefs.
  2. The history of anarchists is rather bleak/evil. If I was a flaming liberal, I would never use the term communists if for no other reason the term is equated with great evil. Anarchy is not as bad, but likely only because they never actually gained power.


I’ve never heard that and am not sure I agree.


Unfortunately, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anarcho-capitalism or rather libertarianism is not compatible with the common good and universal destination of goods as conceived of by Catholic Social Doctrine.

The Church is quite accommodating of different political beliefs and systems, provided that certain moral and societal principles are respected.

In taking individualism to an idolatrous level and neglecting the principle of solidarity, right-wing libertarianism violates the virtue of charity. It thus commits the opposite wrong from Marxian or totalitarian-statist socialism, as typified by Maduro’s Venezuela.

Ironically, left-libertarianism or libertarian anarchism is actually compatible with Catholic Social Teaching. It neither violates solidarity nor subsidiarity and a number of recognised servants of God, such as Dorothy Day, have been left-wing anarchists.

On the centre-right, Christian Democracy-style conservatism or the social market economy (combining a free market under a kind of fiscal conservatism but with very good safety nets), like in Germany under Angela Merkel, is likewise compatible with our Social Doctrine, as is the social democracy of the Scandinavians (which is a sort of capitalist-socialist hybrid without a planned economy and pro-free trade but with a very extensive welfare state) or ‘democratic socialism’ (which is further to the left than the Nordic model) as practised in an explicitly non-Marxist context in a number of countries, such as the current government of Portugal, Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland and the British Labour Party.


They never gained power because they don’t want it. Power is exactly what anarchists don’t want. Rules, no rulers. Non aggression. Freedom to choose. Contracts and associations are voluntary. Don’t harm anyone else.

The two party system that we have in the USA is nothing but control freaks and anyone who supports either of the two parties only does it because they feel they know how to run my life better than I do.


Glad someone mentioned Dorothy Day. It isn’ t everyone’s cup of tea, but left-leaning anarchism (and social philosophies that I would put in the same category) certainly has precedent in the Faith.

Anarchism is a word that has a lot of historical baggage, but it essentially boils down to subsidiarity taken to its ultimate expression. It doesn’t mean “no rules”, or even necessarily “no government” per say, but rather direct participatory forms of organization. The “leftist” element comes from the belief that such organization should be oriented towards the public good, with recognition that the individual is the primary component of the public; personal property isn’t necessarily outside the scope of this belief, though private ownership over the property that other people utilize for work and living is. In my personal experience, anarcho-capitalism often goes too far in promoting private ownership, disenfranchising the many for the rights of the few.

Anarchists can have as many, if not more, rules than others. It sure isn’t “no rules”, as anyone who has been a part of anarchist organizations can attest. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s not often I get to open up about these things on CAF; I’m the only person I know with both red-and-black circle-A and Holy Cross tattoos.


Poor interpretation of history. By gaining power, what I mean is they successively completed their revolution and at least started to implement their society without hierarchy. But their attempts were quite unpleasant. Their choice of allies similarly unpleasant.

Freedom to choose? Who ensures these freedoms? Contracts are voluntary? Who enforces these contracts? Don’t harm anyone? Are we not fallen? Who will protect us from harm?

And besides, you are describing an ultimate version of free enterprise, that’s great. But it is not capitalism by any stretch of the word. Perhaps Anarchist Free Enterprise is not an oxymoron, but Anarchist Capitalist most certainly is. Do not confuse free enterprise, which the Church teaches we all have a right to, is the same as Captialism. I would describe myself as much more of a free enterprise advocate than a capitalism advocate.

I agree completely with you about our two party system and the two parties in the US. That is the lesser of two evils. But your reaction is to fall into a utopia dream.


I’m in no utopian dream. I live in reality. I understand that anarchy will never be a reality. But I work within the system we have. What else can I do? I reluctantly pay the immoral income tax because I’m threatened with ugly force if I don’t. But I choose where I can when the government is not holding a gun to my head. And I don’t choose the lesser of the evils because my conscience will not allow me to choose evil. I rarely vote. I’m not a control freak. I live peacefully with my neighbors . . . What few I have. I live as close to anarchy as society will allow.


If you knew much about anarchy you would not ask these questions. It’s far too much to answer here.


Too many of us have been programmed to run to Mommy government to solve our problems. Our society is slowly becoming nothing but a bunch of overgrown whining babies. Mommy, mommy fix this.


Not true. Someone on Twitter phrased the problem with the objection well today:

"Social hierarchies will emerge in any society. They exist in the animal kingdom.

The measure of whether such hierarchies are ‘just’ is whether or not they are voluntary or imposed by the initiation of force."


Oh dear , @Marhan97 , you do have problems .

So all this kerfuffle in England related to Brexit is not free speech . :roll_eyes:

As for “hate speech” I would have thought that no Christian would support it . It is contrary to the teaching of Jesus , or don’t you know that ?


“Hate speech” is incredibly subjective as a standard. There’s no way you could enforce such laws equally for each citizen. And technically, saying that homosexuality is a sin and that same sex marriage is not considered marriage by the Church could be considered hateful. Because the standard is based on who takes offense


Christians don’t support hate speech but they also don’t support force and punishment towards those who do it. Jesus’ way was by example, not coersion.


Exactly. It’s an erosion of the rule of law. What is understood as “hate speech” is almost entirely up to the whim of the interests of judges and politicians. “I know it when I see it” is an incredibly dangerous principle to base the legislative system on.


How about we all just be grownups and overlook those who speak hatred? Or, as Jesus would have done, turn the other cheek.

Or do we really need Mommy government to prevent those meanies from hurting our poor widdle fee-wings?


I can see these types of laws being used against many a faithful Catholic for simply reiterating what the Church teaches.


Why not? What fundamental Catholic principles can you not uphold while still being an Anarcho-Capitalist?


I don’t think I could abide by Catholic teaching while being an Ancap on a few things. The big one being that of abortion. Then there’s issues like usury which is deemed highly immoral.


Abortion: In an Anarchist society, there would indeed be no legal structure able to punish the act of abortion. It would be a matter of culture and persuasion to dissuade women from having an abortion. Also, doctors would be able to choose themselves whether or not they want to provide the service of abortion, which is not the case in certain states and countries today. More on Libertarianism and abortion here:

“Imagine the results of a law which prohibits usury, which
can be defined as charging a rate of interest higher than the lawmaker
approves of. Since the poor and not the rich pay the
higher interest rate, the law would have its first effects on them.
The effect would be to hurt the poor, and, if anything, enhance the
rich. The law seems to be designed to protect the poor from having
to pay high interest rates, but in reality it would really make
it impossible for them to borrow money at all! If the moneylender
must choose between loaning money to the poor at rates
he regards as too low, and not loaning them any money at all, it
is not difficult to see what choice he will make.” - Walter Block


Anarcho-capitalism, in any form I’ve ever encountered, is fundamentally opposed to the universal destination of goods. This is the teaching that those in need have the right to the private property of those not in need, for example the starving person has the natural right to the bread of the well fed person.

Anarcho-capitalism typically upholds private property rights that go well beyond what Catholic teaching holds as just.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit