Can I be a Catholic but also Anarchist Capitalist?


Which anarchist philosophers are you basing your view on? Certainly not Bakunin, Kropotkin, Berkman, Goldman, Russell ect. Free association and mutual agreement is a fundamental aspect of human existence; the question isn’t whether or not social organization should exist, but rather how it should be organized. People can’t be forced into associations, but associations can certainly agree to general rules and policies within them.

An anarchist community absolutely has agreed upon rules and policies, often times more than non-anarchistic ones. It is a matter of mutual agreement and support rather than coercion from above. An anarchist community could absolutely say that abortion clinics aren’t welcome, just as it can say that private ownership of vast tracts of land isn’t welcome. While people are free to not join the community, this doesn’t mean that the community can’t have agreed upon norms and mutual support; to say otherwise is to deny the social aspect of human nature.


But this is the whole jist of the matter, is it not? What happens in an anarchy when someone does harm you? Abortion would certainly fall under that scenario.


OK…how is redress achieved when someone decides they’ve been harmed?

Honestly–do you think the serfs did all that farm work because they thought knights were both useless and harmless?


Okay, I get what you’re saying. You mean that WITHIN an anarchist society, could a group of people get together and form a community that doesn’t allow dogs, long hair, motorcycles, hot dogs and abortion clinics, could they? Of course they could do that. That would be the voluntary association that I have mentioned. But could they go outside of their community and destroy someone else’s abortion clinics? That would violate the NAP.

Again, I have said more than once, that abortion is a difficult topic. It’s a difficult topic no matter what society you’re talking about. I know, for us Catholics, it’s pretty cut and dried. But the real world is not that simple.

I keep getting asked about how differences are settled or damages collected? Through arbitration between insurance companies. If you understand anarchy, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, then I’m not even going to try to explain it here. You’ll have to go and study it. It makes total sense when you do.

Sorry, I got to get back to work. I should not even be here.


So an insurance company/arbitration handles someone breaking into my house and stealing my TV?

We know how a contract can specify arbitration and insurance/bonding for disputes or non-performance, etc. That is nothing really unique, happens all the time. What about someone shooting my wife?


Right, and this is more than we can do under current U.S. law thanks to government force stemming from various Supreme Court decisions. That is my point. :slight_smile:

Anarchists need not sit back and passively accept abortion; we can argue against it and try to persuade others that it is wrong, just as with anything else. An anarchist society wouldn’t be compelled to allow abortion (and pay for it), however, unlike the situation we find ourselves in now.


Umm, communism sought for government to ‘wither away’. Whatever else, it did not make government a god.


You will find the most successful communists in the monasteries.


But then on the other hand, the Church has in the past at times spoken out for syndicalism, which is pursues broadly social, charity and solidarity-based goals, but outside of the mechanism of the state. It would thus be compatible with anarcho-capitalism, which does not oppose volunatry contracts or volunatry mutuality or solidairity, it just doesn’t want the state to force these things onto people.

I think people often misunderstand anarcho capitalism and fixate too much on the capitalism part. Capitalism and the market is the default part, or factory setting if you like, but there is nothing in the theory of anarcho capitalism that says people shouldn’t voluntarily make other arrangements.


The problem isn’t the anarcho so much as the capitalism; free association and absence of hierarchy can be good and natural, so syndicalism in the general sense is good and natural, but private property comes with some significant caveats in Catholic teaching.

In every treatment of anarcho-capitalist thought I’ve read there is a belief that people have an absolute right to property even beyond that which they can personally utilize. In other words, if someone owns 100 loaves of bread and there are starving people around them this person is under no obligation to give this bread away, and the starving people have no right to take the bread.

In Catholic thought and teaching that bread actually belongs to the people who need it, not the person who “owns” the loaves. This is called the universal destination of goods, and is a fairly foundational part of Catholic moral teaching when it comes to the Seventh Commandment. You see, in the above scenario it is actually the bread “owner” that is violating the Commandment by hoarding the bread, not the starving people who take it.

The whole Earth and all of its goods are made by God for the whole human race in general; private property is a right so as to ensure that each person’s share is protected, not as a positive right in and of itself. Catechism 2401-2406.

Peace and God bless!


Actually, from my understanding, this is not completely true. Firstly, anarcho capitalism recognizes the concept of adverse posession. So if I take something that doesn’t belong to me, and I do not seek to hide the fact that I have taken it, and the owner makes no attempt to take it back, after a certain period of time it becomes mine. This permits, for example, unowned or unclaimed land to be claimed, or people to recover goods from wrecked ships. The concept also exists (with minor variations) in Common Law and in Roman Law by the way. It also naturally regulates the size of estates. So if a landowner owns more land than he can farm or properly fence and maintain, and people adversely possess little pieces around the edges, the land will naturally shrink until it reaches such a size that the owner can actually care for it.

In other words, far from being inviolable, rights to land property require a demonstration that you are actually taking measures to care for and protect that property.

Secondly, the concept of anarcho capitalism does not recognize any single monolithic authority, but rather parallel and competing pillars of authority. So there is by definition no such thing as a land registry, because only a government can run that. Instead ownership to land is recognized by concept of witnesses. In other words, your neighbours all sign a document saying this land belongs to you, and your claim is reinforced by usage and acceptance (a bit like bitcoin). If there is any disagreement and one neighhbour refuses to witness the fact, there is no state-sponsored justice system to arbitrate. So I won’t go into all the nitty gritty details here, but at the end of the day it’s not like today that the big rich landowner can steamroller his poorer neighbours and take their land too, but on the contrary, the smaller landowners are in a stronger position.

So whereas you are right that nobody can force a rich man to share his loaves, in an anarcho capitalist society that situation would be less likely to occur as the poor neighbours would be more able to grow their own wheat and make their own bread.


Only paralleled by their infighting disagreements.


saying this land belongs to them.

(that’s what it’ll get to invariably.)


I am still waiting for an example of where this has worked for n a societal scale. After the 20th century, count me as one is is very scared of brand new ways to structure a society.


In my opinion, I am not sure if you can be a capitalist and be a Catholic.
Jesus taught that we should share the wealth.


Unless the fencing and maintenance must be personally done by the owner, then we have a recipe for unjust claiming of property; if I can hire guards and workers to maintain my fences, then I can claim far more than I can personally use.

Furthermore, If I can fit 100 loaves of bread into my house and guard them, this does not make them mine under Catholic moral teaching. Even if I can personally guard and maintain all of the food in the area, I am stealing from those who need it to survive. The ability to maintain control over something does not give one the moral right to possess it.


Right, and this is because “communism” as it is understood in the 20th century has always involved a dictatorship trying to destroy the Church, and usually committing human rights abuses as well.

In other words, it went way beyond just promoting a common property ownership.


Here’s the situation, we’re mostly not from Norway and don’t really know the political situation there or what exactly a “capitalist libertarian” in Norway might do. Terms have different meanings in different countries.

The Church generally tries to avoid forcing a political stance on its members except when it’s a case of some political regime (like Communism as practiced by the former USSR and China) trying to destroy the Church or bring it under state control.

Unless the party you want to join has been specifically denounced by the Church in your country, then probably you can be a Catholic just fine while joining it, though you may have to really think in your conscience as to whether your actions fit with Jesus’ teachings. The burden is on YOU to determine whether you’re following Christ. The Church does not tell people every move to make or create a rule for every situation.

What you will run into is likely a great many opinions of various people and even priests and bishops who say, “you can’t be a good Catholic if you are also a member of party X because it goes against the Church teaching of Y”. However, unless some official pronouncement has come down, it’s generally just one Catholic’s opinion, or one priest’s opinion, or one bishop’s opinion (the bishop in the next diocese may think something different).


This is an incomplete explanation. The Church condemned communism prior to the 20th century. Owning private property is a fundamental right.

"Private property or some ownership of external goods confers on everyone a sphere wholly necessary for the autonomy of the person and the family, and it should be regarded as an extension of human freedom” ( Gaudium et Spes , 71; emphasis added).

From the CCC:

2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.


As someone else pointed out, there are Catholic communities that practice a Christ-centered form of not owning private property.

I think the point about “assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence” is what the Church is getting at here. The Church has a problem with state seizure of private property, not with people willingly choosing to live in a communal property manner. Which comes back to the point I made about Communism basically being condemned for being anti-Church and committing human rights abuses.

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