The Catholic Candidate

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If Catholics Adhere to Their Traditions, They Will Vote for Ron Paul

by Walter Block

Recently by Walter Block: The Fed as a Criminal Organization

For whom should Catholics vote in the Republican primary? Who should they support this November? If this community stands by its principles, there is an overwhelming case for favoring Congressman Paul.

Pro life

Dr. Paul has delivered 4,000 babies. Early in his medical career, he was shocked at the inhumane way our society treats these youngest members of our species. He was particularly horrified by partial birth abortions. This obstetrician-gynecologist is just about the staunchest pro-life advocate this side of the pope himself. Romney has waffled on this issue, as he has on pretty much every question, and the less we say about Obama's views on this matter, the better. Paul's dedication to the human person is not limited to babies. He opposes the death penalty, and his anti-imperialism war positions are perfectly congruent with his pro-life philosophy.

Subsidiarity

This is the doctrine in Catholic social thought that supports decentralization. Other things equal, preference ought to be given to the lowest level of organization possible: first, the individual and the family, then the community, the church and other voluntary groups, the city, the state and, finally but rarely the national government, and even less so any world busybodies. As far as this doctrine is concerned, the name of this man should really be Ron Subsidiarity Paul. Does he not insist that the Congress (a lower level of government), not the President alone (a higher one), should declare war, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution? Does he not wish to undermine Roe v. Wade by allowing each of the 50 states to decide this matter, rather than the federal government? Does he not follow the same policy with regard to ending our insane (and racist) war against drugs?

Preferential option for the poor

Congressman Paul favors the free enterprise system. Laissez faire capitalism (the very opposite of crony bail-out-the-fat-cats capitalism), is the last best hope for the poor. There can be few who have done more to alleviate poverty than Bill Gates, Ray Kroc and Wal-Mart. Adam Smith's invisible hand said it best: under a small government limited to protecting rights, people are led by their self-interest to promote the public good, which, preeminently, involves enriching the poor.

Just war doctrine

Let us consider just two elements of this magnificent philosophy:

  • War as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
  • Self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause

Have Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Libya actually attacked us? Of course not. No self-defense there. The moral monstrosity of 9-11 was perpetrated mainly by Saudis; u2018twas blow-back from prior U.S. invasions. How can stationing US troops in 130 different countries be reconciled with Catholic just war theory, asks Paul.

Golden Rule

The rule, "do unto others as you would have them do to you," while not quintessentially Catholic, is certainly included, and given an important place, in this religious tradition. Congressman Paul is forever saying things like, How would we like it if they did to us (bombing innocent women and children, invading other countries, stationing our military bases there) what we are doing to them. If this way of analyzing the world does not fit in with the Catholic tradition, then nothing does. In contrast, in sharp contrast, the other candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for president claim that the reason they hate us is because of our freedoms and liberties. Nonsense on a stick. We are not all that free, as it happens. In any case, this sort of Golden Rule thinking is a Ron Paul refrain, and very consonant with Catholicism.

Objections

Ron Paul with his "states' rights" philosophy, supports rights-violations as long as they are perpetrated by the 50 states. Nonsense. The 14th amendment to the constitution imposes the Bill of Rights on the latter.

Paul's anti war stance would leave our country defenseless. Nonsense. He opposes imperialism, not self-defense. His policies would leave us safer. Our military would not seek foreign monsters to destroy, but would rather be stationed on our shores, the better to protect us. When we stop poking sticks at foreign hornet's nests, fewer of them will come here to bite us.

Paul is out of step with yet another vital doctrine of the Catholic Church, a motto of my own Loyola University New Orleans: "social justice." No. There are numerous scholars/pundits, with impeccable progressive, leftist, socialistic and liberal credentials, who favor his anti-war, anti-drug law, anti-bailouts for crony capitalist policies vis a vis Obama, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum. These commentators are second to none in their support for social justice. For evidence on this see especially here, but also here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. For further arguments in support of Catholics favoring Ron Paul, see here and here.

(A shorter version of this essay entitled "Ron Paul exemplifies Catholic values" recently appeared in The Loyola University New Orleans Student Newspaper Maroon; see here.)

Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.

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