What about discrimination laws?

Anarcho-IchthusDiscrimination laws—as applied to private parties—play on the fear that, without government to keep people from favoring one person or group over another, social progress would be set back by decades. They fear that protected groups would be excluded from jobs, schools, neighborhoods and places of business.

The criteria that prompt inclusion in the so-called “protected classes” are not just the old “race, creed and color” divisions. Discrimination laws continue to create more privileged categories based on national origin, age, sex, family composition, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity, and even a person’s genetic code.
These laws proliferate in a downward spiral of ridiculousness, and there is a long way to fall. Recently the government of Greece added to its definition of “disabled” persons. The list now includes the categories of pyromaniacs, compulsive gamblers, fetishists, sadomasochists, pedophiles, exhibitionists and kleptomaniacs. It would be pointless trying to guess where this fire will jump next, for imagination simply fails.

discriminateMany discrimination laws seem to be advocated more for political advantage or to push a social agenda that many find abhorrent, but no one disagrees with the underlying truth that people ought to be treated with justice and dignity.

Like every law that attempts to force people to be nice to one another, discrimination laws are doomed to fail at anything but a superficial level. We may prevent or punish direct harm, but people are not made compassionate by threats of violence. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said:

It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Western Michigan University speech (1963)

The Church recognizes both the Christian duty to treat other people with respect and the inability of government to create that result by force of law:

Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that “everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.” No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a “neighbor,” a brother.

~ Catechism of the Catholic Church ¶ 1931

When considering modern anti-discrimination laws, we should be mindful that the discrimination laws of an earlier era—the malignant Jim Crow laws—were also brought to us by government: racial segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains, segregation of the military, public schools, public places, and public transportation. All of it deservedly came to an end in the sixties.

If equality under the law had been the end of it, the wounds of that injustice might have begun to heal by now, but the government hardly missed a beat in moving from segregation into a quota system and affirmative action, thereby enshrining the evil it sought to eliminate.

Discrimination laws are counterproductive. The one place that favoring one person over another ought to be forbidden is in government. Unfortunately government at its core is an institution hopelessly dedicated to favoring one man over another; taking from one and giving to another.

On the other hand, attempting to punish discrimination by private individuals is a futile exercise that does more harm than good. With the expansion of protected classes of workers, employers must be careful in hiring. Not many managers are likely to hire a person who may not work out when they know that the applicant cannot be fired without raising the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit.

Of course no employer would admit—and we will never know—how many pregnant women, blacks or old guys like me might have been given jobs if it were not for discrimination laws that make us radioactive.

The government could not have designed a better system to keep hatreds alive. If the federal government had stopped with the repeal of earlier discrimination laws, there was a chance that old hurts would heal and new resentments would not be fed, but government cannot leave well enough alone. Equality under the law might have been as simple as letting everyone stand up and be free, but within the logic of government, equality under the law is achieved just as well when every man is trampled as when every man is free.

[excerpted from Free is Beautiful]

Don't tread on your neighbor

Yes, Catholic libertarians are pro-life

Anarcho-IchthusTime for the 2014 March for Life — I was going to write something, but Dan Smyth at Liberty Blog has done it for me (and with fewer words): My Response to a Libertarian Case for Abortion

Afraid of government

Why God is more libertarian than we are

Adam and EveIn the beginning, man was created with free will. In paradise, Adam and Eve had complete freedom of action and only a single rule: Do not eat the fruit of one particular tree. They were free to obey or disobey. God warned them that eating the fruit of the tree would kill them, but God—having made them free—could not prevent their abuse of that freedom and so death came to our world.

We have heard the story so many times we do not stop to consider how odd this is. From a human point of view, this is very peculiar. When men wish to prevent something bad from happening, they take concrete steps to deter it. If it is in their power to stop something they do not want to happen, they stop it. If they cannot reliably stop someone from doing something, they declare it a crime and punish the offender afterwards.

From our point of view, God’s reaction to evil is shockingly different. Unlike man, God has the absolute power to stop evil from happening. He could have stopped evil at any stage. He need never have made men in the first place. He might have made us so that—like robots—we never acted wrongly, but He did not. He made man and woman in his own image, with the freedom to choose good or evil. He gave them dominion over the earth and then God declared that it was good.

Having made men who could choose evil, He might have chosen to punish evil instantly, whenever it occurred, but God did not do that either. While many wrong actions have natural consequences in this life, most of us are given a full lifespan before being called before the judge to account for our lives.

appleIn God’s wisdom, free will is so important that He gives it to every man, not just our first parents. Why did God permit such freedom? The abuse of our free will brings death and sorrow to every generation, so why did an omnipotent and good Creator risk the evil that often results? It seems free will is necessary to make men who are capable of sharing in God’s life. Only free men can become good men. True virtue requires liberty.

The question to ask is: Having given us free will, did God intend that some men should sit on His throne, in His stead, and enforce His will by violence upon other men? Clearly, Jesus did not commission His Church to use compulsion to make men believe or behave, or even to pay the tithe. The Church may persuade, but she does not use violence to compel obedience.

Is there any conclusion to draw from the fact that the Vatican is the only sovereign nation that does not use violence to force its people to pay taxes? No less than any other government, the Church requires money to fund its activity. How is that need met without violence? It seems that if the cause is sufficient, people will provide the resources voluntarily. This gentle wisdom comes from Jesus, who said to His apostles: “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you.”

[Excerpted from Free is Beautiful: Why Catholics should be libertarian]

See alsoVenerable Fulton Sheen: No freedom, No virtue

Venerable Fulton Sheen: No freedom, No virtue

Catholic libertarianSome earlier posts explore the importance of liberty and free will in turning human beings into saints. In “God gives free will to make virtuous people,” there is the inevitability of evil in a universe where God wanted good men rather than robots.

In “Mind Your Own Business,” God’s oddly libertarian permissiveness regarding the evil in this world is not an invitation for men to fill the gap and to rule others lives in God’s place. Nobody likes a “busybody. “ The scriptures make it clear that the meddling of these bottom-feeders is not listed among the virtues.

fulton_sheenThe Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (died 1979) was an American Catholic archbishop, best known for his television preaching in the 1950’s (Life Is Worth Living). In 2012, he was officially recognized by the Vatican as having lived a life of “heroic virtue,” a major step towards being declared a saint.

He taught that human freedom is essential to the Divine purpose as is the possibility of evil. Men must have the freedom to do good or evil, otherwise true virtue not possible. As Archbishop Sheen wrote:

“Take the quality of freedom away from anyone, and it is no more possible for him to be virtuous than it is for the blade of grass which he treads beneath his feet to be virtuous. Take freedom away from life, and there would be no more reason to honor the fortitude of martyrs than there would be to honor the flames which kindle their faggots. Is it therefore any impeachment of God that he chose not to reign over an empire of chemicals?

Virtue in its concrete order is possible only in those spheres in which it is possible to be vicious. Man can be a saint only in a world in which it is possible to be a devil.

~Through the Year with Fulton Sheen, Servant Books, 1985 pp 110-111.

Not every vice is a crime

Free is Beautiful AudioBook – Chapter Ten: Transitioning to Liberty

Catholic libertarianFree Download – Audiobook
Chapter Ten: Transitioning to Liberty

Liberty and living right Caring for the poor without government | Will charitable giving be enough? | The power of mutual benefit associations

| Preparing for liberty | Rejecting participation in government aggression | THE END


Libertarianism and the Catholic principle of “subsidiarity.”

Few trends are more damaging than the relentless march of the state into every area of life. With each passing year, the state brazenly exposes its contempt for the dignity of the individual and thereby testifies to its own illegitimacy.

The Church recognizes that while man is a social creature, he himself is prior to society; prior to the state. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it.” CCC 1930.

Man is above the stateHuman society is first composed of its individual members, who form numerous associations for survival, companionship and every other human need. Whether the group is a family, a church or any other co-operative effort, every institution derives its governing authority from the consent of the individual person. Society has an order that must be respected.

Pope Leo XIII taught that “Man precedes the State, and possesses, prior to the formation of any State, the right of providing for the substance of his body.” Rerum Novarum, 7.

Regarding the next societal level—the family—he wrote, “[T]he domestic household is antecedent, as well in idea as in fact, to the gathering of men into a community, the family must necessarily have rights and duties which are prior to those of community, and founded more immediately in nature.” Rerum Novarum, 13.

This natural ordering of society is known as the principle of subsidiarity.

In 1931, Pope Pius XI lamented the “near extinction” of these intermediate institutions that left the individual standing alone before his master, the state. In the place of

. . . that rich social life which was once highly developed through associations of various kinds, there remain virtually only individuals and the State. This is to the great harm of the State itself; for, with a structure of social governance lost, and with the taking over of all the burdens which the wrecked associations once bore, the State has been overwhelmed and crushed by almost infinite tasks and duties.”

Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.

The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance, which would otherwise dissipate its efforts greatly. 

Quadragesimo Anno, 78 – 80.

Subsidiarity is a principle of respect, and of justice. Subsidiarity best promotes the common good at every level of society. Nations fall. Civilizations die, but every person we meet is an immortal being, higher than anything in the physical creation; above and before the state. So let’s show some respect.



Gerard Casey recommends Free is Beautiful

Anarcho-Ichthus-brushedIn today’s Lew Rockwell show, Lew interviews philosophy professor Gerard Casey of University College Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Casey is a Catholic libertarian who has a new book titled Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State. Great interview, and near the end, he recommends reading Free is Beautiful. Here is the interview: Libertarian Anarchy


Below is Dr. Casey’s excellent lecture on Religion and Economics