Times can get odd if you live long enough. A pagan best described as a mystic who is also a philosophical Taoist as well as an Anarchist went to a Roman Catholic mass celebrating the conformation into the Church of young people of middle school age. Yes, yours truly went to Mass. No lightning was experienced and I had a good time in a lot of ways.
The people were very warm and inviting, but of course I did not care to tell anyone about my personal beliefs and doubt anyone wanted to know them anyway. I was interested in the homily given by the Bishop who was presiding over the celebration of conformation. He talked mainly about how Christians were called to love the “other” as he loves himself. Christians are called to love everyone he said. At one point he said that Jesus Christ demanded that we love the God we can not see by loving the neighbour that we can see. Yes, but what is his definition of love? What are we called to do in his view? He said that to love someone does not even mean you have to like them as some people are not very likable. Ain’t that the God’s honest truth! But to love the “other” in the Catholic view of this Bishop was to “will the good for the other” and then to “act on it”. Hmmmm. I see no problem with individuals trying to voluntarily help others. None at all.
I realized that the central message that the Catholics are preaching if this Bishop from the “social justice” wing of the church was to be believed is compatible with our libertarian message of voluntary cooperation among people. The God of the Catholics will not force you to drop your vices or to “save” yourself — you have to do that yourself of your own free will. If their God will not force a man to save his own soul then surely they see that government should not protect him from his own follies and vices. Surely they see that government should not tell a man to not smoke a little pot.
In fact, it took very little searching on the Internet to find that there is a long anarchist tradition among the Catholics. And when you toss in all the other Christians in the mix, I found that Christian Anarchy is not a contradiction in terms at all. Of course it would be nice if they would just say, as my pagan ancestors did, that as you do no harm to anyone else you may do as you please: but, dressed up in the Christian myth is the idea the God tells you what you should do and no force is involved — and no man or group of men should try to do more than God does!
Radical libertarianism and anarchist philosophy starts with the non-aggression principle which prohibits the initiation of force, fraud, or threat against the innocent. The only legitimate use of force is in the defence of life or property. The idea applies to individuals, groups, gangs, states, nations, or any human network of individuals. So, if a thing is wrong for an individual to do, it is also wrong for agents of the state to do. Every government relies on the kind of aggression that would be criminal if used by an individual — the initiation of violence. I don’t see how the Jesus believing Christian could argue with that.
But human society needs order to function. This can be accomplished through voluntary, nonviolent means. Every Catholic at every Mass should see all the non-aggressive actions going on all around them. The Catholics already teach that authority based on reciprocity and trust is more powerful than that based on physical coercion. I have come to believe that the Roman Catholic could well be a good ally of ours in our search for freedom and liberty on this earth in the here and now.
I do have to fess up and confess that I know that Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell are Catholic and they have been at the center of anarcho-capitalism for a long, long time. I don’t know if they are typical Catholics in any way but they seem to feel that their faith and radical libertarianism is compatible.
I will have to mull over the Roman Catholic as anarchist idea. I hope that we can find allies among them.