One of the overarching questions, at least for some of us in the room, was where are the libertarians you all are talking about?Why weren’t any of them invited to speak, perhaps to engage, to explain themselves.One of the organizers answered that when he said, quite unbidden, that libertarians were not invited to engage the conference “because we are here to instruct them, not to engage them.It is similar to the Church’s instruction of communists.” drew a bright line right at the real target of the conference.
“Most Catholic defenders of laissez-fair ideology describe themselves as conservative.” But even they know such an ideology is really the “great disrupter, its gales of creative destruction sweeping away traditions, institutions, and communities that stand in its way.” Where no others did, Boudway had the courage to name names. John Di Iulio of the University of Pennsylvania gave perhaps the most disappointing talk.
I am not aware that Acton’s leadership has ever identified themselves as libertarians.
Catholic Democrats did go a little batty when Acton’s founder Father Robert Sirico published something called “Who is John Galt?
But that cannot happen if your project is less about advancing the cause of Catholic Social Teaching than it is about scoring political points and winning elections.
Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute.