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L. Neil Smith's

Number 856, January 24, 2016

We live in a moral leper colony.

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E-Book Round Up: Free is Beautiful
Reviewed by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

This particular book Free is Beautiful: Why Catholics Should be Libertarian by Randy England, caught my eye because it was refreshing to see that not all Catholics share the Marxist beliefs of their current pope. It is also interesting to see libertarian arguments being made from a Catholic standpoint. England starts off by using an Old Testament story about the period after Moses, where the Israelites were ruled by judges, who mostly settled disputes and provided leadership during a time of war. The people who were unsatisfied with the way the judges ruled went to the prophet Samuel to demand that a king be anointed. Samuel, who is not really onboard with this, prays to God for assistance. Basically God tells Samuel to let his followers have a king, but to make sure that they understand the consequences of what will happen, once a king is anointed.

Samuel tells the people that when a king is selected, he will take their property and their labor to use it for his own benefit. Samuel also told them that any prayer made for the relief of the tyranny of the king they choose, will fall on deaf ears. Sadly, the people didn't heed his warning, so once a king was anointed everything Samuel predicted came true.

England also provides quotations from St. Pius X who called private property an incontrovertible natural right. The most interesting quote regarding private property, is by St. Thomas, when he said something along the lines of an individual being more inclined to take care of property that is his as opposed to property that belongs to an entire community. England again provides us with an interesting quote, this time from John Paul II, where he says that welfare is ineffective, inefficient and lacks the humanity of voluntary charity.

What surprised me the most about Randy England is that his libertarianism seems to lean more towards the realm of Anarcho-capitalism. For some reason I had this man pegged as a miniarchist, but sure enough England proposed having the police replaced by private security. He also reminds us that a society without government, isn't necessarily a society without rules. He talked about how property owners can create their own communities and implement their own rules.

The one major disagreement that I had with England was over the issue of abortion. Not that it was that much of a surprise, since abortion is a major no-no to the Catholic Church. He dedicated an entire chapter where he comes up with a way to slowly phase it out by having a series of local bans and by slowly convincing everybody that abortion is evil. While I do respect the pro-life side of the argument, since I do have some of my own qualms about certain aspects of abortion, I still haven't been sold on the notion that aborting an underdeveloped fetus is the same as killing a fully developed person.

Now the one big elephant in the room, is how England feels about the Marxist leanings of his current pope. I would think that this would be a hard thing to ask a Catholic, since the pope's word is supposed to be infallible. Though I have heard that Judge Andrew Napolitano who is not only Catholic, but comes from the old school variety that attends masses given in Latin that the pope has dominion over moral issues, but doesn't have any over those that are political in nature. It's possible that maybe England has the same views. Though I do wonder what this current pope would think of a member of his flock advocating Anarcho-capitalism.

Despite the one minor disagreement that I had with England, I thought his book was a pleasant surprise and even for a non-Catholic like myself, it was pretty thought provoking. I recommend this book to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I especially recommend this for anybody that has Catholic friends who are interested in libertarianism, but are not sure if it is compatible with their beliefs.

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