The Catholic understanding of Liberty

Some libertarian-leaning bloggers are making hay over this:

This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture. (my emphasis)

If you want to understand what Rick Santorum is talking about, you have to understand this definition of liberty:

From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty. It likewise follows that freedom in these things may be tolerated wherever there is just cause, but only with such moderation as will prevent its degenerating into license and excess. And, where such liberties are in use, men should employ them in doing good, and should estimate them as the Church does; for liberty is to be regarded as legitimate in so far only as it affords greater facility for doing good, but no farther.

I expect someone who espouses the views of the apostle of objectivism would disagree with it. I’m okay with that, because I’m Catholic and choose to listen to Peter. If it means Santorum can’t keep libertarians in the fold (should he win the nomination), I guess we’ll lose in November. I wish that weren’t the case, but I’m not going to follow a lie, especially for nothing but the hope of winning an election.

Riehl World View

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