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Part 2 of Michael Sean Winters on the Catholic Church v. libertarianism

Today is the second part of Michael Sean Winters' comments on last week's conference at Catholic University. Since my reactions are long enough for a column, I decided to share them with you. As always, read the National Catholic Reporter link now and then go on. Here is the link:

No one is saying it was illigitimate - it was just one sided. Since you have attacked him in your column, you could have invited Congressman Paul Ryan - and if you wanted to really cover the waterfront you could have invited left wing libertarians from Catholics for Choice or NORML. As far as the death penalty, you could have invited me to make the point that because all citizens are sovereign, all are responsible to protect the innocent againt dangerous killers - even in jail. If they cannot be cured, then you can either cage them until they go mad and die or hurry the process up with a lethal injection. - not to punish but for euthanasia.

Don't invite Acton. It is a parody of itself. Invite one of the Contributing Editors of the Free Liberal online magazine. Several are Catholic, but I am also local. Acton is faux libertarian. Garnett's comment shows how deep Libertarianism can go - and I add how nicely it can use organizations with the Catholic Church - such as schools and hospitals, as instrumentalities. Indeed, that relationship should expand, along with the funding, to end private for-profit prisons.

As for the spiritual poverty of the free market - it depends. One can have a good days work and be spiritually connected if this is a job that one was meant to do by God. There is no excuse, however, to take advantage of such workers and give the lions share of rewards to the executives. That is just theft.

Ryan going from Rand to Aquinas is interesting. Any first or second year philosophy student (both pre-law and minor seminary) can recite what Aquinas (and Aristotle) taught about how free will works. Because only the perfect good can compel the will and it does not exist in this life, the intellect can examine partial goods for the will to chose freely. I personally like this combined with the General Will of Rouseau in rejecting laws which require the maintenace of a police state - especially on those issues libertarians on the left focus on - alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, abortion, marriage equality, etc. While the Church can certainly suggest the truth in these areas, the state cannot without police power - aka force and violence, which libertarians reject.

Of course, since MSW does not respond to comments we will never know his reaction to this proposition published on Facebook and in the Examiner.

Trumka's story is interesting and could have featured Bing Crosby as the priest. Why don't we see that anymore? Maybe it happens in gang situations and immigration - at least I hope so. This is where left libertarians like me give a shout out for unions and solidarity - much to the chagrin of the right wingers. Of course, the consumer angle is most interesting. It means that solidarity has worked, although when wages are too low all along the scale we risk people living to work, not working to live. The old joke from the 90s still applies - I know that jobs are increasing, I have three of them (and I do - not counting blogging at Examiner). Still, worker-consumers do not become revolutionaries, which is why consumerism makes it hard for socialists to expand solidarity to its natural ends.

I would love it if professors versed in Catholic Social Teaching - or the more Protestant Social Gospel were to teach business ethics. Including Catholic socialists as speakers might be a good thing as well, although that might be the wrong audience. Possibly giving this conference as an online course may make more sense - both from CUA and licensed to others. Maybe even the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute?

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