Libertarian Catholic

I’ve read the book Free is Beautiful: Why Catholics Should be Libertarian, by Randy England.

He makes a case that Catholics not only can be, but should be, libertarian. He distinguishes this as small “l” libertarian, as opposed to blindly following the Libertarian party platform. He has a whole chapter that seems to very solidly make the case that, due to the non-aggression principle, being pro-life is a very libertarian position (and he covers many nuances in the arguments against).

So, I’m curious to see what thoughts there are on this forum. I don’t have the book memorized, so I can’t speak for the author’s views during this discussion, but happy to throw in my own :twocents: occasionally.

I was certain this would have been discussed before, but didn’t find the thread through a simple search, so apologies if it is old ground.

Well, for the most part Catholics can be libertarian, until they come to the Free Love part. And another issue seems to be the Free Thought part.

While we subscribe to the idea that being LGBT is okay, acting on any LGBT sexual urges is sinful (free love) and Catholics love dogma and doctrine. A good third of our religion is build on dogma and doctrine (Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Catholic dogma and doctrine).

So libertarian is pretty much not for many Catholics.

Peace,
B

The only label we should have is Catholic. We support what the Bible and Church teaches. There is no need to become libertarian. Some libertarian ideas will line up with our faith, others will not. Simply believe the things in line with our faith and you’ll be okay. There is no different really between big “L” and little “l”. We shouldn’t blindly follow the Libertarian party. We also shouldn’t blindly follow some other invented ideology like this author’s idea of libertarian. Even if this idea of liberation aligns with the faith, it isn’t much use outside a political party. You can’t influence society if you can’t get someone elected. Our decision as Catholics is usually already decided for us to vote Republican due to the two party system and the modern Democratic party’s rejection of Catholic teaching.

I think it depends on what is meant by libertarian. Many libertarian policies, especially regarding economic issues, are inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

The only label we should have is Catholic. We support what the Bible and Church teaches. There is no need to become libertarian. Some libertarian ideas will line up with our faith, others will not. Simply believe the things in line with our faith and you’ll be okay. There is no different really between big “L” and little “l”. We shouldn’t blindly follow the Libertarian party. We also shouldn’t blindly follow some other invented ideology like this author’s idea of libertarian. Even if this idea of liberation aligns with the faith, it isn’t much use outside a political party. You can’t influence society if you can’t get someone elected. Our decision as Catholics is usually already decided for us to vote Republican due to the two party system and the modern Democratic party’s rejection of Catholic teaching.

Again, the author is not claiming to align oneself with whatever the political party believes. This is not a discussion of political parties, which I thought I made clear (capital “L” would be a political party). If not, I apologize.

Rather, he is arguing that, like you, our priority is to be Catholic and that Catholic doctrine teaches personal freedom (certainly to sin or not to sin), so we shouldn’t support a government system that restricts that freedom. In other words, one should be free to be virtuous and moral, not do it because one is bound by civil laws.

So I agree with you AND the question remains.

It is within this personal freedom that one finds the free love and free though ideals.

Peace,
B

Can you give an example of one?

Yes, which is why he argues against restricting personal freedom.

Why would the argument that we don’t enact laws to restrict freedom mean we condone it? In other words, is it not Catholic to say that it isn’t the government’s job to regulate marriage, yet to preach vehemently that marriage is between a man and woman.

Or, at least, that would be the book’s position, I think.

In other words, Catholics also don’t believe that birth control is moral. However, we don’t advocate outlawing condoms, yet do believe we should help to convert people not to use them. Why is, say, gay marriage different?

I’m also not sure why we would be against “free thought”? One should be free to think whatever he wants, as long as he understands the consequences, such as mortal sin if some thoughts are entertained or acted upon. But certainly we shouldn’t have laws restricting thought, right?

Libertarians who adopt any form of Randian Objectivism, for example, and related ideas of elite privilege. More plainly, the idea that everyone is on their own, or should look out for themselves is un-Catholic. So is the general proposition of the pre-eminence of individualism. Catholic teaching requires a recognition of the duties of society to its members, and the duty of society, including governments, to care for the less fortunate.

I agree, but this seems to be an argument of the part defining the whole. Just because a libertarian could adopt a non-Christian objectivism or perspective of elite privilege doesn’t mean it is a default libertarian position, right?

More plainly, the idea that everyone is on their own, or should look out for themselves is un-Catholic.

I totally agree. I haven’t ever seen an official libertarian statement of this position. Rather, the position seems to be that humane treatment of others should come through personal charitable offerings and the private efforts you support. Rather, that it should be voluntarily done virtue.

So is the general proposition of the pre-eminence of individualism.

I agree. I would argue it is better phrased the pre-eminence of freedom to follow God and his teachings of one’s own will, rather than government mandate.

Catholic teaching requires a recognition of the duties of society to its members, and the duty of society, including governments, to care for the less fortunate.

That certainly is a duty of our society. However, the question is whether it should be done through coercion of taxation and poorly-designed programs.

For instance, when my wife and I give to charities, we purposefully choose those in accord with our Catholic values AND which have low overhead, so more funds go to those to whom it is intended.

I don’t have that same freedom through the taxation that effectively limits (through questionably functional programs) our ability to give more to charity than we do.

Try reading some Ayn Rand. She had no problem with giving someone else a helping hand. She did say that you should only give what you can reasonably afford and that helping evil people helps evil.

So is the general proposition of the pre-eminence of individualism. Catholic teaching requires a recognition of the duties of society to its members, and the duty of society, including governments, to care for the less fortunate.

Society is merely a collection of individuals. Since it is not a moral agent in and of itself, it has no duties and no rights. Only individuals have rights.

We diverge on your last point. I think it is clear that Catholic teaching requires that Catholics support governmental programs, and not just personal giving. And that is not just limited to “charity,” but also includes just public policies on the treatment of workers, use of natural resources, and other issues.

I’ll have to study and think about that. Valid point to consider. Are there relevant sections of the Catechism you’d suggest? I don’t ask that as if I’m proposing they don’t exist, but just to expedite my search so that we can perhaps find a common ground.

Thanks!

Within the Catechism, I would start with the section on the 7th commandment, which also discusses the meaning of loving your neighbor as yourself. Of particular note are sections IV through VI:

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a7.htm

Beyond the catechism, I would recommend any of the foundational documents listed here, but the compendium on social doctrine is recommended, as are Pope Benedict and Pope Francis’ exhortations:

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/foundational-documents.cfm

These links are also helpful:

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm

I am probably closest and My Views to paleo libertarian or paleo conservative I am probably closest In My Views to paleo libertarian or paleo conservative I am probably closest to My Views to paleo libertarian or paleo conservative I am probably closest Than My Views to paleo libertarian or paleo conservative I am probably closest in my Views to paleolibertarian or paleoconservative. I honestly believe though that true libertarianism isn’t that different from paleo conservative ism I honestly believe though that true libertarianism isn’t that different from paleo conservativism I honestly believe though that Drew libertarianism isn’t that different from paleo conservative ism I honestly believe though that Drew libertarianism isn’t that different from paleo conservativism I honestly believe though that through libertarianism isn’t that different from paleolconservativism and I believe that you can be a distributist and I believe that you can be a distributed and I believed that you can be a distributist and I believe that you can be a distributive and I believe that you can be distribut in the sort of paleo belief systems in those sort of paleo belief systems in the sword of paleo belief systems in the sort of paleo believe systems in those sort of paleo systems. I think the problem with the libertarian party is that they confuse license with Liberty I think the problem with the libertarian party is that they confused license with Liberty I think the problem with the libertarian party is that they confuse licence with Liberty I think the problem with the libertarian party is that they confuse licensed with Liberty I think the problem with the libertarian party is that they confuse license with Liberty

Huh?

Libertarianism makes a mockery of the Social Kingship of Christ, as does its illegitimate step-brother liberalism.

I think most posters on this thread would benefit from reading the encyclicals of Pope Pius XI.

I’m a republican who is to the right if Rush Limbaugh in my politics and to the right of BXVI in my faith. I cannot for the life of me understand how a catholic could subscribe to the American Democratic Party. Though many do.
however, I don’t think anyone should ever say Catholics SHOULD be any party, let alone a libritarian which seems to subscribe to no enforceable morality.

How about just being a Catholic and voting for the things you prioritize in your faith?

I’m a monarchist (something that often leads to a lot of merry-making when I bring it up), but your last sentence is a very wise principle, and is consistent with the Magisterium of the Church.

As Catholics, we must not conform to the world and its principles, including its -isms. Insofar as any -ism overlaps with Catholic social teaching, we can adopt the overlapping principles. For example, subsidiarity shares some points of contact with the “small government” ethos of libertarianism. However, wherever there is an overlap, there are also areas that cannot be brought into congruence. Those who defend libertarianism must contend with such grave flaws as Rand’s denial of original sin and sin in general (through her mouthpiece, John Galt) and Murray Rothbard’s infanticidal ravings. Neither of these is compatible with what the Church teaches. :wink:

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