By Chris Rossini
Sadly, the current Pope doesn't appear to have an affinity for individual liberty and voluntary interactions between individuals. In fact, his understanding of libertarianism is sorely lacking. Libertarianism is rooted in the idea that no one (and no group) may aggressively use violence against anyone else. Violent force is for defending oneself only.
Where to begin with the Pope's latest statements?
Somehow, Pope Francis sees American universities as bastions of libertarianism.
Tom DiLorenzo at LewRockwell.com takes that myth apart:
Pope Francis recently delivered another mean-spirited, hateful diatribe about the “grave risks associated with the invasion of . . . libertarian individualism at high strata of culture and in university education.”
The Pope also believes that even more regulations should be applied to the financial markets. In other words, the Pope erroneously believes that government force can be used for the betterment of society.
Ryan McMaken of The Mises Institute dispels this mistaken idea:
The Pope has also repeatedly suggested that he believes financial markets are essentially unregulated and that many of the the world's regimes are laissez-faire minimalist states. Obviously, such claims can easily be shown to be empirically false. The financial sector is one of the most heavily regulated worldwide, and the governments in the richest countries in the world — the United States included — spend approximately one-fifth of total GDP on government welfare programs alone. Indeed, when it comes to government spending on health care — not private spending, mind you — the United States — that supposed bastion of "free-market" thinking — is the fourth highest in the world.
If the Pope really wanted to stick it to Wall Street, he'd call for the abolition of all government regulations. The Pope would call for Wall Street to compete in a free market. After all, the free market is the harshest regulator in the world. It plays no favorites and shows no mercy to anyone.
Wall Street would fight against such an idea to the death!
Wall Street firms (and every other major corporation) welcome "government regulations".
"Regulators" can be bought and controlled. That's so much easier than competing in a free market.
There are so many government regulations that hardly anyone can keep up. Even the government itself must pick and choose which regulations it's going to enforce.
Creating more regulations does nothing except hurt small business and entrepreneurs who don't have the money to hire an army of lawyers to decipher them all.
Government regulations are the best friend of big business.
Finally, the Pope goes full collectivist on us.
Tom DiLorenzo again:
In his latest attack on free societies the pope denounced libertarianism as a “selfish ideal” and a “fallacious paradigm that minimizes the common good.” Libertarianism teaches that “only the individual gives value to things,” ... He then repeated every collectivist’s mantra that “the libertarian individual denies the value of the common good.” For good measure, he also threw in the standard leftist line that freedom supposedly causes the “marginalization of the more vulnerable majority.”
To say that libertarianism is a "selfish ideal" is rather odd, since it means no aggressive violence against others. Libertarianism means "live and let live".
The ideal of libertarianism is "I keep my hands off of you and your property, and you keep your hands off of me and my property."
Allow anyone to use aggressive violence and society must necessarily fall apart. Make aggressive force "legal" and you merely expedite the process.
Finally, only individuals have the ability to value since only individuals think. We value things subjectively. One person may value (A) with every fiber of his being, while another hates (A) and a third person can care less either way.
Hundreds of millions (literally) have died at the hands of dictators who murdered for the "common good".
Live and let live...and hands off.
Libertarianism isn't complicated, and it surely is not to be feared (unless of course you have a lust for power).
With all the free literature available on the ideas of liberty and voluntaryism, one hopes the Pope Francis someday finds his way to some of it.