Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pope Francis Attacks Libertarianism



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?

-RW 

(ht Jay Stephenson)




25 comments:

  1. that's why the old pope got hooked, the new one is far more agreeable to the empire.

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    1. Agreed. Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) was far better from the pov of libertarianism.

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  2. Can you really be surprised? Organized religion is collectivism. You don't need organized religion to know god. Much like you don't need govt to know freedom and survival.

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    1. "Organized religion is collectivism" is itself a collectivist statement.

      Organized religion is just another form of free association, completely consistent with libertarianism on every level.

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    2. RW's main point, as I understand it, is that there's nothing wrong with collectivism. We libertarian object only to coercion, to violence.

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  3. It's ironic how this pope and the Catholic church in general have become so beholden to the ideas of Marx, who famously described religion as the opiate of the masses. That being said, the clerical class has, all down through history, served the powers that be of the State and still do and say whatever is necessary to keep in good standing with them, irrespective of preposterous contradictions.

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  4. Libertarianism is simply against the use of force against peaceful individuals. Nothing more and nothing less. If the Pope is against that, then he's arguing for the use of force against peaceful individuals. I'd like to hear his rationale. But who will challenge him? Maybe Tom Woods, who has written extensively on Catholicism and Austro-libertarianism, can invite the Pope onto his show and set him straight. Or set up a debate with former communist Walter Block.

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  5. I spend all of my time thinking up little logical truths that cannot be refuted with evidence. One is something Thaddeus Russell mentioned to Tom Woods last week and which I have been saying for decades: "Progressives" patronize minorities and women and treat them like children. Which is racist and sexist. This is why leftists go berserk the most at Trump when he proposes cutting some welfare spending program and not when he carpet bombs a wedding party. While "progressives" think minorities and women are hopeless and helpless, libertarians think they will do just fine without special privileges and subsidies. Therefore, I endlessly tell “progressives” that they are the most virulent racists and sexists imaginable*. And they still won’t unfriend me.

    I have another one of those irrefutable truths for this clueless pope and our other enemies: When they start yapping about "the collective good" and the need for state action, what they are assuming is that without the threat of violence, people will simply refuse or be unable to engage in large projects that would benefit “the community” or whatever it is that they consider to be “the collective good”. What about the roads???? What about charity??? Again, this is based upon their low opinion of average people and their own conceited and sick belief that if only they had a SWAT team they could run, they could get the populace to shape up. On the other hand, libertarians think people will do just fine in these endeavors without the need for SWAT teams or the threat of violence.

    Also, and while this probably needs evidence, this is also irrefutable: Society arises organically through voluntary cooperation. Statists just do not get that. Or, more likely, they do not want to get it because there is no room in that vision for them or their SWAT teams to shape up society.

    *This “belief system” also plays out when the US military is slaughtering peasants overseas. It’s for their own good, you know. And we know best.

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    1. Doesn't society simply exist when two or more people are in close proximity? With three, don't you get a complex society that can adjudicate differences? The state is little more than an organization to control society.

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  6. Just when I was considering a conversation to Catholicism...

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    1. Do it! Many of the great scholars of libertarian thought are Roman Catholic. It's good company.

      And libertarianism is the only political theory compatible with church teaching anyhow...you know...actually helping your neighbor and your neighbor or helping you (free trade)...not murdering or stealing from your neighbor (NAP)... I'm not sure there is a single part of the modern state that is compatible with Roman Catholicism if you take either seriously.

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  7. Well put, RW. How can we libertarians help get the word out? Libertarianism is not cruelty. It is not callousness. It is, quite the opposite, giving from the bounty of one's heart, free from coercion. We know it, but nobody else seems to. Are we failing to communicate, and if so what should we change?

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    1. Ever read "Isaiah's Job" by Albert Jay Nock?

      https://mises.org/library/isaiahs-job

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  8. Confusion is the work of The Devil. This Pope is confused by economics and coercion.

    https://catholiccitizens.org/views/57909/synod-confusion-‘of-the-devil’-archbishop-chaput/

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  9. I (Eric Morris) am reading two books now: Hoppe's "Democracy: The God that Failed" and Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth" (Vol. I). I assume the current pope is too close-minded to understand the former and too open-mouthed to write the latter.

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  10. I am a Catholic and a libertarian. I do not see any conflict between the two. I agree 100% with Bob's post. I personally donate my time and money to the Church, as do many other Catholics. There is no coercion in my donations. IMO, I am following the teachings of Jesus. I have never read where he said 'have the government take your money and give it to the poor'. In fact, he said quite the opposite - that we should give freely ourselves. Whenever

    When I read where Pope Francis has wandered outside the realm of religious dogma, I tend to ignore it. I will not comment on topics where I have no knowledge because my opinion in these matters is valueless. I would consider the Pope's comments in matters he knows nothing about to be similarly valueless, except that many misunderstand the he is not infallible and take was he says as truth when in fact it us just his opinion.

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  11. Yes, what can be more "antisocial" than freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom from coercion?

    Now consider the papacy - the defender of child molestors and tyrants, the secrecy and exclusivity of theVatican. The reliance on the free tithing and not coercion of church members.

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  12. I am a libertarian because I am a Christian.
    I think it is important for libertarians to remember that most don't disagree with us, they just don't understand what we are saying.

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  13. The Pope is a Commie. Lost cause.

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  14. In December, 1964 based upon the preponderance of the evidence I found the Federal Government to be guilty of inflicting horrific evil on mankind, and to be unworthy of my allegiance or acquiescence beyond what was necessary to retain a mind that was free make it's own moral decisions. In the intervening 53 years no evidence has surfaced to change my opinion on this question, and I fear we will be silenced by death to rob humanity of the power of a inquisitive minds. The powers that be desire to chain our minds so we may no longer freely roam the great questions of the day without an omnipotent technocracy setting our minds like one would a clock.


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  15. We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
    -Richard Dawkins

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  16. Jesus was more of a libertarian than anything. Marx was a collectivist. Jesus was a NAPer and never told people they had to do something or forced them to do it, but just modeled what he thought they should do. He never stole from the rich to give to the poor. In fact, the times that Jesus was angry in the Bible had to do with the synagogue being used for political and economic purposes. The pope is really confused here.

    Molyneux is right in his video about the pope.

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  17. The pope is just an ignorant, as we all are, human being he deludes himself into thinking he knows more than he does. Or else he's another wolf in sheep's clothing.

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