Weakened Catholic Church Begs for Statist Responses

Brian Brady Brian Brady 7 Comments

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If you love and value individual Liberty, regardless of how ( or if) you worship God , the crisis in the Catholic Church will have a negative effect on you.  Nick Gillespie of Reason lays out why the waning credibility of The Catholic Church will have dreadful consequences for libertarians:

This is all of obvious concern to Catholics, but the Church’s failure to earn back lost confidence and trust should be of concern to non-Catholics as well. Across the board, from major religious institutions to the media to the government, the United States is becoming a low-trust country. The major consequence of that isn’t simply people getting on with their lives. It often ends in calls for more and more government intervention into all aspects of life, even when people believe the government either to be corrupt or incompetent.

Figuratively speaking, we are evacuating many major, long-lived institutions. Or, nearly the same thing, we’re recognizing that many arrangements and organizations in our lives are played out. Fewer of us identify as Republican and Democrat, we’re more secular, and we’re less likely to be married than a few decades back. None of these is a bad thing but when our major private and public institutions fail us, trust declines and, all too often, government increases.

I won’t argue theology here but I will make the point that a robust civil society is the best defense against totalitarianism.  My friend Greg Swann offers that the nuclear family is the best defense against tyranny.

The only families who reliably raise great families – good kids who grow up to raise good kids – are what I call Testudo families: Dad has persuaded everyone in the family to progress in a metaphorical Testudo formation – everyone marches together with their shields held together overhead so each person is shielded from outside attack by all the others. They are defended not from poisoned arrows but poisonous ideas. A Testudo family is explicitly – and obviously – a distinct polis, a well-defended Hoplite redoubt.

Can’t spot ’em? Look for matching outfits from Dad to newborn, often home-made. Listen for uncommon first names, especially names sharing a theme. The easiest tell, though, is how they are organized: Dad is in charge, but everyone contributes, and everyone shares in the responsibility for maintaining, sustaining and defending the family.

Most serious people would agree that the family is the most important of civil institutions,  and a trusted Catholic Church has offered a good (as Swann called it) “road map” for upwardly mobile, functional families in a free society.   But if the Holy Father, Episcopate, and Lay Faithful choose to rhapsodize about statist answers to climate change, wealth inequality, and migrants ‘rights’ to free travel , rather than addressing what is obviously, for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, an horrific scandal among its ranks, it has no future among free people.

As Gillespie points out, free people without a trusted Catholic Church will find it harder to remain free.

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Comments 7

  1. Brian,

    As usual, I agree with much of your post but you always make one point that I can’t believe is in the same post.

    I understand your complaints about statist responses to to wealth inequality and climate change but you lose me when you talk about statist answers to “migrants ‘rights’ to free travel .” Wouldn’t the PREVENTION of a person’s free travel across a “state line” actually be the epitome of statist behavior?

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    Thanks HQ for being on topic.

    I’m not an anarchist so I think a sovereign state has the right to protect its borders and define who can’t and can’t travel and/or reside there. Having said that, I would hope that our country can craft policy which balances migrants’ access to the beacon of freedom and which benefits its citizens.

  3. Slippery slope Brian. If a State can decide who can and who cannot reside within its borders, it is not that great a leap to giving the state the power to determine how much of its resources each person living within those borders is allowed to consume.

    And to make sure I didn’t stray too far off topic, I will add that you are 100% correct that great families are the most important factor in having a great society.

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    “If a State can decide who can and who cannot reside within its borders, it is not that great a leap to giving the state the power to determine how much of its resources each person living within those borders is allowed to consume.”

    That’s some hard-core libertarian stuff, HQ. Stop teasing me.

    I’ll make you a deal. Disband the welfare state then we’ll be for open borders together.

  5. “I”ll make you a deal. Disband the welfare state then we’ll be for open borders together.”

    I am not sure that I am for open borders – remember, I am a statist but just for argument sake, how about a compromise?

    No government benefits for non-citizens. This allows anyone the opportunity to live here, but since it takes at least five years to become a citizen, no one would be moving here simply for the “government welfare.”

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