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Zmirak: “We are obliged to be libertarians for the duration”

The following was passed on to me by one of my favorite writers, John C. Wright (whose work I have commended before) — it’s a comment by Catholic writer John Zmirak:

… Leave aside any libertarian arguments about the proper limits of the State; this State, our State, is relentlessly secular. Its version of secularism is almost devoid of a true understanding of the Natural Law. Ironically, Natural Law–our notion of the truths and goods knowable even to pagans–is rejected out of hand by pretty much everyone but Catholics. Which renders Natural Law arguments pretty much . . . useless. In America, State action will be secular in spirit, utilitarian in execution, and in the service of the modern culture of death. Until and unless we can evangelize and overtly Christianize the State–I’m not holding my breath–we are morally obliged to shrink it, squeeze it, entangle in complications and starve it of funds however we can. We are obliged to be libertarians for the duration.

What this means is that the daydream of so many Catholics nostalgic for the “good old days” of FDR and Monsignor Ryan (the “Right Reverend New Dealer,” as he called himself), the fantasy of a pro-life Democratic party, is in fact a toxic fantasy. It’s an impure thought, to be banished the old-fashioned way: with cold showers and exercise. The proper place of Catholics, for the foreseeable future, is alongside the people at Tea Parties, supporting candidates like Ron Paul–even if some of our fellow travelers are packing heat or smell of weed.

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  • Kevin Gutzman June 30, 2009, 8:15 pm

    It’s untrue that everyone but Catholics rejects the idea that goodness and truth are knowable even to pagans. The Orthodox accept this idea, too, although they do reject the specifically Catholic tradition of Thomistic “natural law” theorizing.

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