I have been highlighting the incompatibility of the Austro-libertarian movement with that of Catholic Social Doctrine. I will continue highlighting this incompatibility as long as the Austrian errors persist in society, and especially as they endure within the Church. The reaction against my arguments and references to official Church teaching on politics and the political economy have been less than sufficient. They amount to an incredulous stare, and have never once referenced a single passage of magisterial teaching to prove my arguments wrong. What has happened is a desperate attempt to reduce every argument against the libertarian position to the very premises that are under dispute only articulated in a slightly different way. The libertarian defense against the refutation of their position basically amounts to echoing the very principles that have been demonstrated to be incoherent.
To further show how incompatible the Austro-libertarian position is with Catholic Social Doctrine I offer this passage from Christopher Ferrara’s book, The Church and the Libertarian.
“Let us take stock of Austrian arguments versus the Church in the area of her social doctrine. Bereft of its pseudo-scientific jargon, its consequentialist ethics, and its misleading secondary source citations of Jesuit scholastics, the Austrian position reduces to a series of moral pronouncements radically opposed to Catholic teaching and indeed the entire Western tradition on commutative and distributive justice.
1) There must be absolutely no legal limits on the right to private property save those necessary to preserve one’s property from invasion by others.
2) Church teaching on the conditional or limited nature of the right to private property is wrong.
3) No man has any claim in justice on the property of another in case of dire need; any such claim would involve charity at most.
4) Church teaching on the universal destination of all property for the common good of men is wrong.
5) There is no moral limit on the amount of business profits or other material gain.
6) The Church’s teaching on the moral limits of wealth is wrong.
7) No “market” price is immorally excessive.
8) Even price gouging is a morally licit form of the “market” price.
9) All “market” prices are intrinsically just.
10) Church teaching on the just price is wrong.
11) No “market” interest rate is usurious.
12) Church teaching condemning usury is wrong.
13) There is no natural right to a just wage.
14) No “market” wage for labor is unjustly low.
15) No “market” level of executive compensation is unjustly high.
16) All “market” wages are just wages.
17) Church teaching on the just wage is wrong.
18) Labor does not have moral primacy over capital but is merely another production factor subject to payment at a “market” price to which no moral standard peculiar to labor applies.
19) Church teaching on the moral primacy of labor over capital is wrong.
20) The worker has no natural right to safe and decent working conditions, time for religious obligations, the Sunday rest, days off from labor, or a work environment that is not morally corrupting or dangerous to his health or safety, and the employer has no duty under natural law to provide these things.
21) All “market” working conditions are just.
22) Church teaching on the rights of the worker is wrong.
23) It is no violation of justice to employ children of tender years in grueling factor work.
24) Church teaching against such child labor is wrong.
25) An employer has no moral duty to provide working conditions that accommodate the modesty and maternal obligations of women workers.
26) Church teaching on an employer’s moral duty with respect to the employment of women is wrong.
27) All labor unions are more or less bad.
28) The only possible legitimate function of a union is to remind the employer that he should be paying the prevailing “market” wage.
29) The papal teaching on the natural right of workers to form labor unions is misguided and counterproductive.
30) Left to itself, the “market process” cannot produce objectively unjust outcomes that require rectification.
31) All Church teaching to the contrary is wrong.
32) Beyond preaching generally against dishonest, theft, violence and fraud, the Church has no right to impose moral limits on the “free” market or to subject “economic relationships” to moral scrutiny.
33) The Church’s teaching on her right and duty to pronounce on matters of justice in the “free” market beyond general preaching concerning good behavior is wrong.
Let the Austrians protest that this is a “caricature” of their position. But then let them prove it by specifically denying that the hold each of the enumerated positions. And let the Catholics among them specifically admit that the Church is correct in her teaching on private property, the moral limits of gain, usury, the just price, the just wage, the moral primacy of labor over capital, the rights of the worker, and her own competence to pronounce on matters of economic and social justice. And if these Catholics so admit, then let them announce their departure form the “Austrian School” of economics and the Austro-libertarian movement, and their return to conformity with the doctrines of their Church, instead of the opinions of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.
But, as things now stand, the despite the events of 2007-2009 the Austrians’ adherence to the “one true religion” remains unshakeable. Their dogmatic defense of capitalism is utterly blameless in the Meltdown only demonstrates once again that in the real world, the world ruled by the triumvirate of Big Government, Big Business and Big Finance, the Austrians’ application of “free” market principles comes down to nothing more than their attempt to justify what the common man must endure under actually existing capitalism. Which brings us at last to the tale of the great Austrian hero: Ebenezer Scrooge.”
– Christopher Ferrara, The Church and the Libertarian –
– Lucas G. Westman