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Garnett v. Williams on libertarianism

Also today in National Capital Reporter, Michael Sean Winters comments on the latest in the Catholicism v. Libertarianism debate currently raging in the blogosphere. Raging is not the right word, it is very polite in some circles - less so in others (with Acton Institute). Neither gets to the heart of the matter and I would not expect them to, given their academic focus. You can read Garnett at and MSW at My comments, which neither of them seem to address (to their detriment as I do have the political and cultural theory background - and economic theory - to help them), are below.

Niether the religious views of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx - who wish to see the causes of Objectivism and Proletariat Revolution as the sole world view of man - with religion as a scam for the mentally weak and enslaved and therefore jettisoned by followers of the revolution can ever be accepted by Catholics - for the obvious reason that one cannot be a Catholic Atheist. There are milder forms, however. Quite a few Lutherans in the Nordic countries do very well with democratic socialism - although many reject relgion for different reasons - primarily over what is regarded as an antiquated and anti-woman sexual morality designed to serve an imaginary deity and not the sexual health of both sexes (which it should, by the way - if it does not then the Scandanavians are right - the ordination of women should be a benchmark here). There are also libertarian Catholics - which is troublesome - although many really are about freedom and are against abortion (see Ron Paul and his followers). Some libertarians are members of the Party and may or may not participate in religion while others are Republicans (see Acton) - especially if they want a piece of a governing coalition.

I contend that a Catholic can be both and can be yeast within the Church - both standing up for rights for women and gays, a morality that works for people - not for the interests of pietism and for a more just economics that the merging of liberty and community can provide - as well as a role for the Church in taking over governmental functions where it can - especially in mental health (closing most jails - which are the largest mental health providers in America) and education (especially for the non-college bound).

One final thing to clean up. Some equate the unfettered market (laissez faire) with capitalism. It is not. Write it on your mirror until you get it. Capitalism is about controling both the product markets you sell to to the greatest extent possible and the resources (including people) used to make those products (for the lowest price possible - not the most just). Like atheistic Marxism (which still can be predictively useful - see both communism and the effects of trade on labor prices), Capitalism must be crushed in favor of worker ownership and cooperation in labor, product and financial markets. Again, the Church should be a partner in this.

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