AUSTRO-LIBERTARIANISM, CATHOLICISM, AND
Jews benefit from open, individualistic societies in which barriers to upward mobility are removed, in which people are viewed as individuals rather than as members of groups, in which intellectual discourse is not prescribed by institutions like the Catholic Church that are not dominated by Jews.
Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique (1)
Various Jewish intellectual movements of the 20th century have advanced powerful ideological structures that have been harmful to Western man. The influence of some of these, such as psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School, seems to be waning in the 21st century.
However, libertarianism as championed by the Austrian School of Economics continues to be quite influential. The thesis here is that it embodies a Jewish intellectual movement in the manner of those chronicled by Prof. Kevin MacDonald.(2)
Briefly, Austrian Economics analyzes human action exclusively from the perspective of an individual agent. Austrian economists argue that mathematical models, statistics, and experimental research are unreliable means of analyzing and testing economic theory, relying instead on a metaphysics of human action. Thus, like Freudian psychoanalysis, Boasian anthropology, and the claims of the Frankfurt School, Austrian economics lacks empirical support. It endorses the strict enforcement of voluntary contractual agreements between economic agents, and holds that commercial transactions should be subject to the least possible imposition of coercive forces. In particular, it argues for an extremely limited role for government and the smallest possible amount of government intervention in the economy. Its policy prescriptions often overlap with libertarian or anarcho-capitalist solutions advocating strict protection of private property, and support
1 Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique (Blooomington, IN: Authorhouse,
2002; originally published by Praeger [Westport, CT, 1998]), xxix.
2 Ibid., 105.
70 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
for individualism in general. Austro-Libertarianism is very appealing to non-Jewish sensibilities; it conforms to their individualism and high regard for independence and free choice.
Though appealing on the surface, Austro-libertarianism is also a potential peril to people of European descent. The extreme laissez faire capitalism within a virtually state-less society which the Austrian School promotes would facilitate the power of ethnic monopolies, such as historically have been a feature of Jewish economic behavior, while the attendant moral nihilism resulting from its anarcho-capitalism violate the moral intuitions of pretty much everyone.
The Austrian School originated in the Austro Hungarian Empire in the late 19th century, with Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm Bawerk, and Friedrich Hayek.(3) Though the religious affiliations of the founders are not certain (Hayek was a cousin of Wittgenstein who is known to be Jewish), Austro-libertarian theory was promoted chiefly by two charismatic Jews, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard. Through them the Austrian School was tied to libertarian and anarchocapitalist principles advocating strict protection of private property, and support for extreme individualism.
Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard had quite different Jewish backgrounds. Mises was born in Galicia, in 1881, to a wealthy, recently ennobled Jewish family. The Mises Institute, established in his honor for the promotion of Austro-Lib ideas, adopted the Mises family coat of arms. In the upper right-hand quadrant of the coat of arms is the staff of Mercury, god of commerce and communication, for the Mises family were merchants, newspaper owners, and bankers. The red banner displays the Star of David. (4) Though the family was secular, Mises associated principally with Jews. The list of participants in Mises’ famous private seminar in Vienna, for example, shows a high proportion of Jews. (5) Even after Mises had moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1934, his agenda books from that time show that many of his social engagements were with other Jews residing in that country.
3 “Austrian School of Economics.”
4 Murray N. Rothbard, “Biography of Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973),” Ludwig
von Mises Institute. http://mises.org/about/3248
5 Richard Ebeling, “Ludwig von Mises and the Vienna of His Time, Parts I and
II.” The Freeman, May and June, 2006.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 71
Murray Rothbard, Mises’ student, was born in the Bronx in 1926, to immigrants from the Jewish leftist sub-culture of Poland. "I grew up in a Communist culture," he recalled. (6)
As typical of Jewish intellectual movements, Christianity is a principal target of the leaders of the Austrian School of Economics, just as it had been for Marx, Freud, and the Frankfurt School. Ludwig von Mises and even more so Murray Rothbard, go out of their way to attack the economic and moral teaching of Christianity and the Catholic Church. Although both maintained that as economists they were merely presenting value-neutral economic principles, their work actually addresses matters of ethics and morality. In place of the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Austro-lib movement has its own scriptures: Socialism, and Human Action, by Mises, and Man, Economy and State, by Rothbard.
Mises’ Socialism (7) shows his loathing of Christianity. Although Judaism would have been entirely appropriate as a paradigm of a collectivist culture, (8) his discussion of “collectivist creeds” focuses on Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Mises attacks Christ, the Gospels and the Church as enemies of freedom and society and as fomenters of socialism and slavery. He calls Christianity a “religion of hatred,” and declares that the Church must reform herself by embracing liberalism and capitalism. (9) Mises asserted that Austrian and Catholic tenets would always be at odds: “A living Christianity cannot exist side by side with, and within, Capitalism.” (10)
Rothbard’s antipathy toward Christianity is more covert than Mises’. Rothbard befriended a number of prominent Catholics during his lifetime and found it convenient to employ terms from Catholic philosophy to justify both his ethics and his economic system. Regarded as a neo-Thomist by present day Catholic disciples, he used classical language in support of his radically non-classical theory of liberty.
Natural law, as it is generally understood in the Western tradition, is founded on the principle that the universe is governed by reason and
6 “Murray Rothbard.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard
7 Ludwig von Mises, Socialism (Indianapolis, Liberty Classics, 1981).
8 Kevin MacDonald, A People that Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary
Strategy. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse. Reprint of the 1994 book published by Praeger
(Westport, CT, 1994).
9 von Mises, Socialism, 78.
10 Jörg Guido Hülsmann, The Last Knight of Liberalism (Auburn, AL: Ludwig von
Mises Institute, 2007).
72 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
that all humans possess the ability to know and obey its law. The first principle of the natural law is to "do good and avoid evil.” Men are stewards, not owners, of their bodies and also of their property; they are not self-created and self-governed. It is misleading to speak of the “natural rights” of Man against the State, because Man and State are subject to the same moral laws.
Rothbard begins The Ethics of Liberty by paying lip service to the Catholic tradition of natural law ethics as involving goodness for a creature in the sense of “the fulfillment of what is best for that type of creature.” (11) While the Church understands rights to be circumscribed by duties of what is good for man and the common good, Rothbard defines human rights in negative terms, as limited by laws and rules.
Rothbard claims that the great failing of natural law theory from Plato and Aristotle to the Scholastics and to the present day — is to have been profoundly statist rather than individualist. Rothbard posits only two natural rights: ownership of one’s own body and ownership of private property. The only purpose of government is to prohibit the “physical invasion” of another’s person or property.
Catholic belief is founded equally on Scripture and on the accumulated wisdom of the Magisterium, the teaching body of the Church. The core of much of Catholic social and economic teaching was formulated in the Middle Ages, at a time when the Church was most successful in promoting intense Christian group identification and guarding the interests of European peoples. Though politically weakened over time by such events as the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and encroaching secularization, the enduring teachings of the Church can be seen in the behavior of its orthodox members and residually in Western law and social institutions. Though Prof. MacDonald expresses high regard for the medieval Church, he perceives it to be in tension with the European tendency toward individualism. (12) However, an institution which unified and protected the interests of Europeans for 1500 of the last 2000 years, and thereafter in diminished capacity, ought probably to be regarded as the cultural norm, and in any case, Catholic collectivism served in at least some historical periods to protect the people from exploitation by the wealthy and powerful, in-
11 Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (New York: New York University Press,
12 Kevin MacDonald, “What makes Western culture unique?” The Occidental
Quarterly 2(2) (Summer 2002), 9-38.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 73
cluding, at times, Jews. (13) Thus, it should be emphasized that Catholic collectivism must be seen as traditionally serving a group protective function.
AUSTRO-LIBERTARIAN VERSUS CATHOLIC ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
TEACHING: A COMPARISON
The Church considers the marketplace the same as any other field of human action, entirely subject to the requirements of the moral law. In other words, there is no disjunction between private and public morality. Economic “freedom” to buy and sell goods must be subordinated to the over-arching considerations of the good, private and public. Economic freedom to buy and sell must be subordinated to the achievement of a truly fulfilled human nature, both individually and commonly living within a civic body. It was for this reason that such notions as “the just price” and the “the just wage” were normative, and limitations on the use and procurement of private property were instituted.
On the other hand, the foundation of Austro-Libertarian economics is based on the premise that unregulated markets are morally self-regulating. Thus Austro- Libertarianism is able to justify the usury, overreaching in business, the unlimited pursuit of gain, the exploitation of human beings as mere commodities, and the “absolute” right to private property, as the consequences of the market adjusting itself.
The Church. The Church defends private property, but condemns the claim of an absolute right to own and use it. Property may not be used for evil purposes. The bounty of the earth is universally destined for the common good of humanity, even if some men hold title against others to the use and ownership of property. Therefore, the rich have no absolute right to keep their goods from the poor. Reflecting the group-protective function of Catholic collectivism, the loaf of bread belongs to the starving man. (14)
13 Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory
of Anti-Semitism, (Bloomington, IN: 1stbooks Library; first published by Praeger
[Westport, CT, 1998]), Ch. 4.
14 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theological, II-II, Q.66, Westminster, MD: Christian
Classics, 1981, 5 vols.
74 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
Austro-Lib: There must be absolutely no legal limits on the right to private property. No man has any claim in justice on the property of another in case of dire need; any such claim would involve voluntary charity.15
Moral limits of wealth:
The Church: The pursuit of material gain for its own sake as opposed to the maintenance of life is a grave evil. (16) The church’s teaching on the moral limits of wealth is a matter of divine revelation.
Austro-Lib: There is no moral limit on the amount of personal and business profits or other material gain. (17)
Fair market price vs. price gouging:
The Church: The Church insists on equity in bargaining — a contract is fair, when both parties gain from it equally. Price gouging desperate people for goods and services during emergencies such as natural disasters is immoral. (Under U.S. law, price-gouging is currently criminally or civilly punishable in many states when it involves essential commodities like food and shelter.) (18)
Austro-lib: All market prices are intrinsically just; no market price is excessive. Even price gouging is a licit form of the market pricing. (19)
The Church: The Church has always condemned usury, which in its broadest sense embraces not just the taking of interest, but any form of unconscionable financial exploitation. Usury is a species of theft or fraud or both. The Church recognizes that with the rise of banking and investment markets a new market has arisen, for which it is just to charge a reasonable rental —never an excessive or immoral rate of interest.
15 All Austrian-Libertarian claims in this section are from Christopher Ferrara,
The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man,
Economy, and State (The Remnant Press, Forest Lake, MN, 2010), p. 131ff.
16 E.g., the Gospel of St. Matthew.
17 Ferrara, 195.
18 Ibid., 148,
19 Ibid., 147–157.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 75
This doctrine has been reiterated by all Catholic authorities and remains unchanged down to the present day: St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, Pope St. Leo the Great, The Council of Elvira, the Council of Arles, the First council of Nicaea, the Second Lateran Council, Pope Alexander III, Gregory IX, Urban III, Innocent III, Clement V, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Money lending in the Middle Ages simply resulted in destitution for the vast majority of the customers—especially the poorer classes—rather than economic growth for the society as a whole. Loans were made to the desperate, the unintelligent, and the profligate rather to people with good economic prospects who would invest their money to create economic growth; they were made “not to the prosperous farmer . . . but the farmer who could not make ends meet; not the successful squire, but the waster; the peasant, not when his crops were good, but when the failed; the artisan, not when he sold his wares, but when he could not find a market.
Not unnaturally, a century of such a system was more than any community could stand, and the story of Jewish usury is a continuous alternation of invitation, protection, protestation and condemnation. 20
Austro-Lib: No market interest rate is usurious. Usury cannot exist and has never existed in any time in human history. There is no distinction between reasonable interest and excessive interest. All interest rates, like all prices, are just so long as the borrower has agreed’ to pay. (21) Obviously, such a view would exonerate Jews in traditional societies from the common charge of usury.
Rights of Workers:
The Church: the Church teaches the right to a living or just wage as God-given rights. Pope St. Pius X: “The social question and its associated controversies, such as the nature and duration of labor, the wages to be paid, and workingmen’s strikes, are not simply economic in character…It is first of all moral and reli-
20 James Parkes, The Jew in the Medieval Community, 2nd ed. (New York: Hermon
Press, 1976), 360.
21 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 154–159.
76 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
gious, and for that reason its solution is to be expected mainly from the moral law and the pronouncements of religion.” (22)
Austro-lib: There is no right to a just wage. (23)
The Church: The Church prescribes rest on Sunday and time for religious observations. Constantine declared as early as 321 A.D. that on ‘the day of the Lord all those under Roman government should rest.” (24)
Austro-lib: The worker has no right to time off for religious obligations.
Reasonable Working Conditions:
Church: The worker may expect reasonable working conditions
and hours. (26)
Austro–lib: All market working condition are just. (27)
Avoidance of child labor:
The Church: Child labor should be avoided. (28)
Austro-lib: It is no violation of justice to employ children. (29)
The Church: Workers are permitted to form workers associations or unions without interference by law— an extension of guild practice. (30)
Austro-lib: All labor unions are more or less bad. (31)
Walter Block is a contemporary Jewish Austro-Libertarian, a professor of economics at Loyola University, New Orleans, a Catholic institution, and a Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is also the author of, “Defending the Undefendable: An Open Letter to
22 Pope St. Pius X, Pope Pius XI: Quadragesimo Anno, Pope Pius XII: Pentecost
Allocution, June 1, 1941, AA 33.
23 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 181–195.
24 Pope Pius XI: Rerum Novarum.
25 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 200.
26 Pope Pius XI: Rerum Novarum.
27 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 199.
28 Pope Pius XI: Rerum Novarum.
29 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 178.
30 Pope Pius XI: Rerum Novarum.
31 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 201–207.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 77
the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul.” Below are several examples of Block’s elaboration and application of Austro-libertarian economic thought as it relates to Catholic and Jewish issues. (32)
In his article, “Jewish Economics in the Light of Maimonides” Prof. Block discusses Talmudic and Halachic traditions of business regulations. He first mentions that “many of the leading exponents of the free enterprise system — such as Ludwig v. Mises, Milton Friedman, Irving Kristol, Murray Rothbard, Gary Becker, Ayn Rand and Israel Kirzer happen to have been born of the Jewish faith.” He concludes that all minority groups, especially beleaguered ones such as those of the “Jewish faith,” benefit particularly from free markets. “For the Diaspora Jews it is an insurance program.” Could one ask for a more obvious example of a Jewish libertarian preaching universalism while practicing particularism? (33)
In a recent paper, Dr. Block chastises American bishops for failing to wholeheartedly endorse the Austrian form of laissez faire capitalism. In “Neglect of the Marketplace: The Questionable Economics of America’s Bishops,” Block ironically concludes, “There is no appreciation, in this document, that the hand of a Greater Being is also at work in the free market. There is no recognition that the ‘invisible hand,’ too, is part of God’s plan. There is no awe, not even any recognition, of the magical, spiritual dimension, of the pure pristine beauty, of the marketplace. This, perhaps, is the greatest flaw of the bishops’ pastoral.” (34)
One can detect Jewish concerns lurking in Block’s “A libertarian case for free immigration.” (35) He begins with a quote: “None are too many.” This was the reply of an anonymous senior official in the government of Canadian Prime Minister McKenzie King to the question,
“How many Jews fleeing Nazi Germany should be allowed into this
32 “Walter Block.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Block
33 Walter Block, “Jewish Economics in the Light of Maimonides.” International
Journal of Social Economics 17(3), 60–68, 1990.
34 Walter Block, “Neglect of the Marketplace: The Questionable Economics of
America’s Bishops.” Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy 2, 125–160, 1985.
35 Walter Block, “A libertarian case for free immigration.” Journal of Libertarian
Studies, 13(2), 167–186, 1998. https://mises.org/journals/jls/13_2/13_2_4.pdf
78 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
country?” It is obvious from the start that Block’s Austro-libertarian position on immigration is determined not by what is good for Canada or the US but by what is good for the Jews. He defends the view that the totally free movement of goods, factors of production, money and, most important of all, people, is central to libertarian philosophy.
All migration barriers are egregious violations of laissez-faire (36) — a position that buttresses the open borders advocacy of the organized Jewish community which is, ironically perhaps, the heir to traditional Jewish collectivism and which remains a staunch proponent of Jewish group interests. From the standpoint of the Jewish community, open borders furthers Jewish group goals, but it is rationalized by Block in terms of individual freedom.
Though many misguided mainstream Catholic laity and clergy of the Vatican II sort misinterpret Christian notions of charity to justify liberal immigration policies and amnesty, traditionalists generally oppose them. Patrick Buchanan has written often on limiting immigration.
Franz Schmidberger, the former Superior General of the SSPX, a premier traditionalist Catholic organization, denounces Third World immigration into Western countries as "destroying our national identity.” (37)
AUSTRO-LIBERTARIANISM IN THE MORAL REALM: VIOLATING NORMATIVE
The Austro-Libertarian man has two rights — ownership of his body and ownership of property — but no duties. In this realm the basic precept of natural law — to do good and not evil — is absent. Since the ethics of liberty regards no behavior as immoral except violations of other’s ownership rights, all laws against drug abuse, sodomy, obscenity, pornography and prostitution as well as abortion (and by extension gay marriage, and gay adoption) are unfounded. For example, though parents own their children until they leave or run away, they have no duty to keep them alive. Since no one has a right to compel someone to do a positive act, “The parent should have
36 For a Libertarian view opposing immigration see the work of the German economist, Hans- Hermann Hoppe, especially Democracy: the God that Failed (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2001; 137–170). Hoppe aligns Libertarianism with traditional conservatism to restrict immigration.
37 Heidi Beirich, “Radical Powerhouse." Intelligence Report, #124, Winter 2006.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 79
the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.” Rothbard was certain, however, that in a libertarian society, the existence of a free baby market would bring down such neglect to a minimum38 — an indication that he too has moral intuitions that are violated by his ideologically-based arguments.
Prof. Block illustrates the application of Austro-Libertarian thought to the moral realm. For him, slavery is a totally justifiable consequence of “self-ownership.” Block finds fault with a basic premise of The Declaration of Independence, which maintains that “all men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” According to Block, the doctrine of inalienability is of questionable validity. In fact, it is almost diametrically opposed to the libertarian notion of private property and free enterprise. Block believes Jefferson was wrong in proposing “inalienable rights” for our erstwhile White country. Block maintains that everything should be legally alienable or commodifiable. For example, if a man needed money for his child’s operation he ought to be able to sign himself over as a slave to someone willing to give him the money in exchange for his liberty. “Unfortunately, this would be illegal, at least if the doctrine of inalienability (non-transferability) is valid.
If so, then you, the rich man, will not buy me into slavery, for I can run away at any time, and the forces of law and order will come to my rescue, not yours, if you try to stop me by force.” (39) Given his general concern about Jewish well-being, no doubt Block takes it for granted that his ethnic group would not be likely to be in the position of selling themselves.
Block demonstrates the Austro-Libertarian denial of the Catholic conception of natural law and indeed all traditional standards of Western morality. He writes in response to Belgian Libertarian law professor, Frank van Dun, who had defended conventional moral principles in a previous article on the limits of libertarian approaches. (40)
Van Dun offered the case of a man (A) who lied to some hikers
38 Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (New York: New York University
Press, 1998; originally published by Humanities Press [Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities
Press, 1982). http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/fourteen.asp
39 Walter Block, Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of
Rothbard, Barnett, Smith, Kinsella, Gordon, and Epstein. Journal of Libertarian Studies
17(2) (Spring 2003, 39–85). http://mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdf
40 Walter Block, “Reply to Frank van Dun, Natural Law and the Jurisprudence of
Freedom.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 18(2) (Spring 2004, 65-72).
80 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
about the safety of a bridge they were about to cross. Van Dun concluded that by his lie or his silence the man would be guilty of a criminal act. Van Dun claimed that harming a person by lying (or failing to tell the truth) entitled the victim of an accident to compensation. Block disagrees, and argues against assigning any culpability in this action because that would imply a standard of compulsory good Samaritanism or truth telling. He states that under a libertarian legal code, the man who lied or said nothing (the sin of omission) is guilty of no crime and that Van Dun would appear to be taking the naive position that one must always tell the truth. According to Block’s construal of the libertarian code, no violation of rights has been committed.
However, if the hikers had paid and therefore contractually obligated (A) to tell the truth, then, says Block, it would be an entirely a different matter. Then (A) would be “guilty of a contract violation that resulted in death, a very serious matter indeed.” From Block’s skewed viewpoint, doing the right thing is only obligatory when a person is monetarily compensated. Such a position flies in the face of normative human emotions of guilt and empathy that are fundamental to social living.
That is, under the circumstances described, non-sociopathic actors would feel guilt for lying and they would feel empathy for the victim. They would also fear being known as a non-cooperator within the wider social group. But for Block, abstract principles based on the metaphysics of ownership trump normative moral emotions. (41)
In his lecture, “Evictionism, Abortion and Libertarianism,” Prof. Block provides an Austrian defense for abortion. (42) He claims that a pregnant woman has only the right to evict, but not the right to kill. Why does she have the right to abort? Because (she) owns the property.” In other words, pregnancy is potentially an infringement of property rights, one of the two sacred Austro-libertarian rights. In Block’s convoluted logic an unwanted fetus is an unwanted tenant whom a
woman may rightfully evict.
41 Although the perspective developed here is based on Catholic teaching, it is
worth pointing out that evolutionary psychologists have noted the adaptive functions
of the moral emotions. See, e.g., Richard Alexander, Darwinism and Human Affairs.
(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979).
42 Walter Block, “Evictionism, Abortion and Libertarianism” (Video).
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 81
LIBERTARIANISM AND CATHOLIC INTELLECTUALS
Reflecting Block’s arguments, Jeffrey Tucker, the traditionalist Catholic editor of the Mises Institute’s website, takes this line of reasoning one step further. (43) Tucker has declared that the social, cultural, and religious conflicts associated with gay marriage and adoption are best resolved through laissez-faire. According to Tucker, adoption is a matter of the bargain and sale of parental rights, and should be completely unregulated by law. When a woman bears a child, she owns the parenting rights and can choose to starve it, give it away, or even sell it to whomever she wishes.
The fact that Catholics, even some conservative ones, are taking up the cause of Austro-libertarianism is particularly incomprehensible considering that the belief system of the Austrian School is totally at odds with established Catholic concepts of economic and moral thought. Nevertheless, Austro-Libertarianism has attracted a significant number of Catholic intellectuals including liberals, such as Robert Sirico and Michael Novak, and some who claim to be traditionalists like Lew Rockwell and Thomas Woods. (A traditionalist Catholic is one who questions the legitimacy of Vatican II, or believes that errors were introduced into Catholic teaching through it, and who wants to see the restoration of traditional liturgical forms.)
Among the think tanks and institutes created to promote the Austro-lib message are two with a noticeable Catholic membership. One of these, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, was founded and is led by a liberal Catholic priest, Rev. Robert Sirico. (44)
Sirico, a former gay activist and one-time head of Libertarians for Gay Rights, nevertheless recently co-signed a statement condemning abortion and defining marriage as between a man and a woman. (45) He has standard libertarian views on economic issues.
The second and larger institute of Catholic origin created to develop and disseminate Austro-libertarian scholarship is the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Established in 1982 and headed by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr, it is located in Auburn, Alabama. The Institute employs
43 Jeffrey Tucker, “The Gay Adoption Conundrum.” LewRockwell.com, July 8,
44 “Robert Sirico.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sirico
45 Michael Sean Winters, “Fr. Robert Sirico on gay marriages he once performed.”
National Catholic Reporter, October 18, 2010.
82 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
some 250 scholars, publishes scores of books and journals and retains an active web site with constantly changing articles. Rockwell is boasts that “Austro-libertarianism is the only truly international economic- political movement since Marxism.” (46). Let us hope not as dangerous.
While Catholic converts to Austro-lib are rewarded, traditionalists who criticize Austro-Libertarianism have been heavily criticized by the culture police of the left. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center has been suspicious of “traditionalist Catholics” for some time. Beirich warns her readers that “though tiny in comparison with the approximately 70 million Americans who are mainstream Catholics, radical traditionalist Catholics with more than 100,000 followers in the US may form the single largest group of hard-core anti-Semites in America.” (47)
Why does Beirich regard them as “hard-core anti-Semites”? Because the traditionalists, “believe that most of the theological developments within the church since Vatican II have been egregiously wrong, especially with regard to reconciling with the Jews.”
One specific target of Beirich’s venom against the radical traditionalist movement is attorney and writer Christopher Ferrara. In his recently published book titled The Church and the Libertarian: a Defense of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Man, Economy, and State Ferrara criticizes the anti-Christian social, moral, and economic assertions of the Austrian School. (48) In a commentary written before publication of that book but after a number of articles with similar content, Beirich expresses the fear that, “the radical traditionalists may be gaining influence on the larger political scene.” She points to Christopher Ferrara, the lawyer who in 1990 started the American Catholic Lawyers Association to defend Catholics in religious and civil liberties cases, and she
46 Llewellyn H. Rockwell, “More powerful than armies.” LewRockwell.com
(April 16, 2010).
47 Heidi Beirich, “Essay: The ‘Radical Traditionalist’ Catholic Movement.”
48 Christopher Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian: a Defense of the Catholic
Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State (Forest Lake, MN: Remnant Press,
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 83
notes that Ferrara recently said Pope Benedict XVI had “abased himself by entering a synagogue.” (49)
Beirich makes it quite clear why she is enraged about traditionalist Catholics: they have held on to immutable Church teachings, including teachings about the Jews. Though traditionalists constitute a small percentage of Catholics, nevertheless Beirich is correct in regarding them as a threat. Because of their knowledge of Church teachings and their devotion to Catholic culture, most traditionalists have neither been taken in by the liberalizations of Vatican II nor by various 20thcentury Jewish intellectual movements. Since they have a strong sense of Christian group interests, they are a potential source of resistance. While Ferrara has remained a voice for traditional Catholicism, Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (B.A Harvard, Ph.D. Columbia) caved in to the SPLC pressure. Though Woods’ name had at one time been mentioned by the SPLC as a potential traditional Catholic terrorist, he has since renounced his traditional Catholic persuasion in an effort to rehabilitate himself with the SPLC (50). (After all, being blacklisted by the SPLC is not a career enhancer). Under pressure of an investigation of radical traditionalists, Dr. Woods repudiated his memberships in the Catholic traditionalist movement and in the League of the South.
Since that disavowal he has become one of the leading polemicists of the Mises Institute and has been appointed a Senior Faculty Member in Residence. His book, “The Church and the Market: a Catholic Defense of the Free Economy,” is an attempt to reconcile Austro-libertarian economic claims with Catholic dogma. It can be found in major university libraries.
Another important Catholic Austro-Libertarian is Michael Novak, an economist, theologian, and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Novak notes that an attempt “to try to run an economy by the highest Christian principles is certain to destroy both the economy and the reputation of Christianity.” (51) For Novak, there is no single religion that unifies society and is its repository of truth. Not that Chris-
49 Heidi Beirich, “Essay – The New Crusaders.” SPLC Intelligence Report, Winter,
2006, # 124.
50 Kevin MacDonald, Cultural Insurrections (Atlanta: The Occidental Press, 2007),
51 Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (New York: Simon and
84 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
tianity would be done away with; it would be allowed to modify itself to conform to the new ideology of pluralism. For this “new theology” and “new religion,” Novak finds it necessary to drain Christian dogmas of their original meaning and convert them into mere supports for corporate capitalism. The Trinity, for example, is only a “symbol.” 52 For his efforts, Novak won the 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion with an attached purse of about one million dollars. (53)
In his acceptance speech for the first Jack London Literary Prize, Prof. MacDonald delineates a number of adaptive traits typical of Jews. (54)
Among these traits are race consciousness and racial cultural pride, the need to establish networks with like-minded people, and the obligation to defend a homeland. In that speech he also touches on an additional characteristic of Jews, perhaps central to their ethnic cohesion: their religion. Though many Jews are no longer overtly devout, nevertheless, Judaism continues to be a fundamental source of their world view. It is the basis of their belief in the Jewish covenant which Jews believe bestows on them ethical superiority over the rest of humanity.
Most contemporary Jews are only a few generations away from their religiously fundamentalist roots in 19th-century Eastern Europe; age-old beliefs, including that of moral superiority, continue to be part of the Jewish mindset. There is also evidence that among today’s Jewish activists there is a realization that the contemporary secular “civil religion” Judaism should return to more traditional orthodox forms to better defend Jewish survival. (55)
For our survival it is not enough to admire the Jews’ strong sense of group identification and commitment, their religiously derived sense of superiority, and their desire for an ethnic homeland. Like them, we must again become a people with an ethnocentric sensibility and a long historical memory of ancient injuries. We ought to take the offensive and create hostile White intellectual movements and agendas. We must by all means hold fast to our core, our racial identity, and to the religion which for almost our entire history has defined us as a people.
We need to sustain our heritage of cultural, moral, and religious
52 Ibid., 337.
53 See http://www.templetonprize.org/abouttheprize.html.
54 MacDonald, Cultural Insurrections, 355.
55 Ibid, 358.
Pert: “Austro-Libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism” 85
preeminence. Most of all, we need to remember who our enemy is.
For millennia the legitimate pre-Vatican II Catholic Church unified all White people, defined the moral and social standards by which we live, and protected our ethnic and economic welfare. By manifesting the central teachings of Christianity, the Church sharply demarcated Christianity from Judaism, and by promulgating the idea that the New Covenant superseded the Old, it established Christian preeminence. At least until the Reformation, that is, for about 1500 years, all White people were Catholic. Other Christian sects are not alternatives, for “Protestantism is, in its ever-multiplying varieties, by its very nature subject to the popular will; the only religion that can provide a ‘religious principle’ sufficient to sustain (our people) is Roman Catholicism.” (56)
Or do we have the leisure to wait another thousand years for one of the inchoate New Age or Nordic pagan revival sects to attain philosophical maturity and general acceptance?
Perhaps all ethnically European peoples, whether currently devout or not, should consider whether it is perhaps in their best interests to define themselves once again as a Catholic community. Religions consist not only of theological teachings, but also of cultural traditions incorporating centuries of accumulated and practical survival wisdom.
It took almost a thousand years for early Christianity to evolve into the heroic, masculine, religio-political, world-accepting European manifestation that it eventually became. It is our inheritance, spiritually and perhaps even genetically. Research in behavior genetics shows that religious attitudes and values indeed have a genetic component. Since fifty percent of individual personality traits have a genetic element, “the individual differences in religious attitude, values and intensity, if combined with the notion of group personality, may contribute toward the development of a genetic approach to societal religious identity.” (57) Thus the importance of religious ritual for the continuity of group identity. (58) The Latin Mass, the ritual which has provided the unity and endurance of Western peoples, assumed its present form in the year 1000. It is attended by orthodox Catholics today.
56 Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian, 266, quoting Orestes Brownson, a famous
19th-century intellectual and convert to Catholicism.
57 James C. Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity (New York:
Oxford University Press), 1994. Russell here cites C. J. Lumsden & E. O. Wilson,
Genes, Mind and Culture: The Evolutionary Process (Harvard University Press, 1981).
58 Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity, 15.
86 The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
The world envisioned by Austro-libertarians is one without moral and economic prohibitions in which a small number of clever, amoral, international capitalists are able to reap unlimited wealth, while reducing the masses to servitude. Although promulgated in the language of moral universalism characteristic of Western intellectual discourse, it is a world ideally suited to conform to Jewish group interests.
The only Western supra-national entity, which has unified all European peoples and which has protected them against aliens with incompatible and self-serving ambitions, is the Catholic Church. It may be necessary for all of us to return to the Church Militant, to save our people.
Stolen from: The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2011
The following is a copy of my emails to the editors requesting permission to use the material. The message was sent twice, on 3 January and 19 January 2012.
I never received an answer. Too late now, because I already stole it.
Quum finis est licitus etiam media sunt liciter. Absolve me, Emendator, quia peccavi.
Oddly, when I contribute, I get a reply. Qui tacet, consentit.
-------------------------- Original Message --------------------------
Subject: AUSTRO-LIBERTARIANISM, CATHOLICISM, AND JUDAISM by Trudie Pert
From: "cwporter" [deleted]
Date: Tue, January 3, 2012 12:30 pm
Hello, I would like to post the above named article by Trudie Pert on
my website. Not only do I think it is probably the best dissection of
libertarianism I have ever seen, it is also probably the best defence
of traditional Catholicism I have ever seen. I am willing to pay any
reasonable sum to be permitted to do this. I promise to include
whatever references or notices you like and promise not to edit or
manipulate it in any way. Just as is.
No cartoons or anything detracting from its dignity.
I would very much like to plug your entire issue on libertarianism at
the same time. It is truly a remarkable piece of writing.
I will donate whatever reasonable sums you like, preferably by credit
card, possibly in installments.