July 14, 2014
The videos of the conference are now available. After watching the conference, I noticed a pronounced lopsidedness in the content, not because all the speakers were hostile to liberty, but because the speakers came mostly from a Catholic left perspective and seem chiefly interested in trashing free markets and the libertarians who advocate them. One has to wonder if the title ought not to have been: “The Case Against the Acton Institute.”
Every speaker (except one, Msgr. Stuart Swetland) carefully avoid mentioning anything close to the one essential element of libertarianism: the nonaggression principle–which simply stated–means that one may not initiate physical force against another. I suspect that the nonaggression principle sounds too close to the Gospels and the Golden rule for comfort.
The backdrop to the conference podium displayed a message from the conference sponsor, “Bread for the World” that underlines exactly whose job the group believes it is to help the poor. The poster read: “Bread for the World — a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.” According to the Bread for the World website, they are mainly lobbyists who do not actually feed anybody.
In their presentations, the conference speakers tended to mistake the non-Christian individualism of writers like Ayn Rand as the very heart of libertarianism.
Randy England [send him mail] is a writer, criminal defense lawyer, frequent co-host of the Freedom Feens broadcast and member of St. Peter Catholic Church in in Jefferson City, Missouri. He is a former prosecutor and grew up near St. Louis, Missouri. Randy is also the author of Free is Beautiful: Why Catholics should be Libertarian, Unicorn in the Sanctuary (Tan Books) and the end times novel, The Last Fisherman: A novel of the last Pope, the anti-christ and the end of the age. Visit his website.