Catholics associating themselves with libertarian political thought influenced by Rothbardian principles will claim that Christianity and anarchy are not incompatible. Some will even argue that Christianity is intrinsically anarchic. This attempt to unite modernist libertarian ideology with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church is project of confused orientations.
Anarchy has two basic definitions:
- A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority.
- Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as the political ideal.
Neither one of these definitions can be applied to any social institution when viewed through the lens of Catholicism. Moreover, our created reality rebuffs the notion of anarchy due to its ordered participation with the Triune God. Anarchy is anathema in a natural order created by God.
Nature, being created by God, is imbued with telos. This means there is always an intellectually discernable moral law that ought to be obeyed due to the moral subject’s ontological participation with the Triune Creator. Contrary to the Humean mantra, an ought can most certainly be derived from an is. Even in the “stateless” Garden of Eden, God revealed himself to our first parents and gave them a law to obey. There is order, structure, law, and authority in every aspect of reality we find ourselves. To claim a realm exists apart from God is to take the first step toward secularism, atheism, and nihilism.
A ruling hierarchy existed in the Garden of Eden. Humans created in the image and likeness of God are authoritatively over the plants and animals, and Adam being created first and given headship over all of creation, is authoritatively over his wife Eve. All of which is under the authority of God. To be sure, this is not the creation of a government as modern man understands ruling authorities; it is something much deeper. Rather than setting up a constitution guided by social contract theory and given legitimacy by the will of the people, God created a hierarchic reality sustained by his conserving power and established a governing covenant. Indeed, the governing covenant established by God is entirely monarchic, and its legitimacy is not contingent upon the majority will of the people.
In addition to this, there are the Ten Commandments given to holy Moses on Mount Sinai. Through the burning bush God revealed himself as “I AM WHO AM,” the divine authority which called Moses into his position of leadership, and to whom the Israelites owed their obedient allegiance. Following the Exodus out of Egypt, God through Moses established the Mosaic covenant with the divinely revealed law as the basis of the Israeli communal bond.
Even if there were no government as defined by the Catholic libertarian, there is order, authority, rulers, and a duty to obey the structure that has been ordained by God. Adam didn’t choose to be created first, nor did he “voluntarily” agree to being the head of creation. He was created for that purpose, commanded to do it, and he obeyed. Eve didn’t choose to be created out of the rib of Adam, nor did she look to wait things out for a better suitor. She was created to be Adam’s wife, and one of the requirements was to submit to the authority of her husband. Similar examples can be found throughout the entirety of the Bible. The entire libertarian system of voluntarism, individualism, and anarchy are totally foreign to the Sacred Scriptures…unless it is the devil you wish to follow.
The being that introduced the concept of anarchy into God’s perfect creation was the serpent, which we all know as the devil. Order and anarchy cannot coexist. Catholic libertarians attempting to marry an ordered cosmos to the concept of anarchy are guilty of putting their hand to the religious plow while looking back at their previous modern assumptions.
– Lucas G. Westman