This is quite remarkable. Of all the political philosophies that exist, Pope Francis has singled out and attacked libertarianism.
“I cannot fail to speak of the grave risks associated with the invasion of the positions of libertarian individualism at high strata of culture and in school and university education,” the Pope said in an message sent to members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences meeting in the Vatican, reports Breitbart.
“A common characteristic of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is the idea of ‘living well’ or the ‘good life’ in the communitarian framework,” Francis said, while at the same time exalting a “selfish ideal.”
According to Breitbart, members of the Pontifical Academy are currently engaged in a workshop bearing the title “Towards a Participatory Society: New Roads to Social and Cultural Integration,” which began Friday and will run through May 2.
Francis said that libertarianism, “which is so fashionable today,” is a more radical form of the individualism that asserts that “only the individual gives value to things and to interpersonal relations and therefore only the individual decides what is good and what is evil.”
Libertarianism, he said, preaches
that the idea of “self-causation” is necessary to ground freedom and individual responsibility.
“Thus, the libertarian individual denies the value of the common good,” the pontiff stated, “because on the one hand he supposes that the very idea of ‘common’ means the constriction of at least some individuals, and on the other hand that the notion of ‘good’ deprives freedom of its essence.”
Libertarianism, he continued, is an “antisocial” radicalization of individualism, which “leads to the conclusion that everyone has the right to extend himself as far as his abilities allow him even at the cost of the exclusion and marginalization of the more vulnerable majority.”
According to this mentality, all relationships that create ties must be eliminated, the Pope suggested, “since they would limit freedom.” In this way, only by living independently of others, of the common good, and even God himself, can a person be free, he said.
First, I only wish libertarianism was half as popular as the Pope seems to think it is on college campuses.
But more significantly, the Pope has a serious misunderstanding of the philosophy of libertarianism.
There is nothing in the philosophy that prevents people to join together in any type of activities they choose, be they religious, social, whatever. Further, the only "requirement" of libertarianism is that all members come together on the beautiful non-aggression principle. There is nothing that says individuals must live independent of one another that ties must be eliminated. Libertarians believe everyone is free to associate as much or as little as one desires.There is no requirement that libertarians must live independently of "even God himself."
As Mr. Libertarian Murray Rothbard wrote:
The fact is that libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life.This is the beginning and end of the libertarian philosophy. That the Pope misses this point by a wide margin, greater than the one separating heaven and hell,is an understatement.
Further, libertarianism does not reject the idea of the common good in the sense of libertarians desiring the best political environment that would do the most good for the most people. That is, in a significant way, at the core advocacy of those who support libertarianism.
Finally, the idea that libertarianism is about the marginalization of the "more vulnerable majority." is an insult to humanity. The libertarian belief is that individuals do not need to be coerced by governments to be charitable, That at the core of humanity is a desire to be good and caring and that government attempts to use this core characteristic of humanity to institute coercion is evil.
Finally, when the Pope brings up that the majority are vulnerable, it suggests a hidden Marxist perspective the Pope has that capitalists are somehow taking advantage of all.
Here the Pope has left the world of social philosophy to wander into the world of bad economic theory. Marxist economic policies have led to more deaths, in the hundreds of millions, than any other belief.
It is astounding that the Pope would hang on to such a belief at the same time he attempts to do God's work in attempting to bring peace and harmony to the world.
Doesn't libertarianism and the non-aggression principle line up quite well with peace and harmony?
(ht Jay Stephenson)