Some readers may know that I have been supporting Ron Paul in the republican presidential primary this time around. My decision developed, interestingly, at the same time that I was dong some new reading on Catholic social teaching, which by and large has the effect of discouraging libertarian ideas. This is not to say that it did not have that discouraging effect on me – it did; very much so, in fact. But at the same time, however, I was also becoming convinced that certain organs of government are being used more and more for (to put it kindly) less-than-upright purposes. A president like Dr. Paul, in my opinion, might serve to “de-fang” the organs of government which, in better times, might have put those fangs to good use.
But such things are not really the purpose of this post. The purpose is to share another, very informative post from The Distributist Review. This post, by James Baresel, highlights major differences between the principle of “subsidiarity” (an idea important to Catholic social teaching), and the libertarian idea of “small government.”
To read Beresel’s post, click HERE.
The fact is, Catholic social teaching is divergent not only from libertarianism but also from much of American liberalism as well as (gasp!) American conservatism. How could it really be otherwise? The fundamental world-view of the Catholic is derived from the belief that God is the loving, provident Creator and Redeemer of ourselves and of this world in which we live. God created us in His own image and likeness in order that we might flourish in communion with one another and with all of creation, making up a symphony unto the praise of His glory. Exaggerated notions of personal autonomy, whether they come from the individualism of the “pro-choicer”, of the capitalist, or of the libertarian, have no place in the Catholic world-view, and hence also no place in Catholic social teaching.
So am I wrong to go with the libertarian Ron Paul then? In one place in his article, Beresel considers that those who see “a libertarian presidential candidate”‘s political philosophy as “significantly flawed” but support him because they believe he might be the candidate who will “most likely accomplish greater subsidiarity” may be “entirely correct on this point.” He doubts it, though. Any thoughts?