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Column: Ron Paul exemplifies Catholic values

By Walter Block
On January 26, 2012

For whom should Catholics vote in the Republican primary? Who should they support this November? If this community stands by its principles, there is an overwhelming case for favoring Congressman Ron Paul.


Dr. Paul has delivered 4,000 babies. Early in his medical career, he was shocked at the inhumane way our society treats these youngest members of our species. He was particularly horrified by partial birth abortions. This obstetrician-gynecologist is just about the staunchest anti-abortion advocate this side of the pope himself. Mitt Romney has waffled on this issue, as he has on pretty much every question, and the less we say about President Barack Obama's views on this matter, the better. Paul's dedication to the human person is not limited to babies. He opposes the death penalty, and his anti-imperialism war positions are perfectly congruent with his anti-abortion philosophy.


Subsidiarity is the doctrine in Catholic social thought that supports decentralization. Other things equal, preference ought to be given to the lowest level of organization possible: first, the individual and the family, then the community, the church and other voluntary groups, the city, the state and, finally but rarely, the national government, and even less so any world busybodies. As far as this doctrine is concerned, the name of this man should really be Ron "Subsidiarity" Paul. Does he not insist that Congress (a lower level of government), not the president alone (a higher one), should declare war, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution? Does he not wish to undermine Roe v. Wade by allowing each of the 50 states to decide this matter, rather than the federal government? Does he not follow the same policy with regard to ending our insane (and racist) war against drugs?

Preferential option for poor

Congressman Paul favors the free enterprise system. Laissez faire capitalism (the very opposite of crony bail-out-the-fat-cats capitalism) is the last best hope for the poor. There can be few who have done more to alleviate poverty than Bill Gates, Ray Kroc and Wal-Mart. Adam Smith's invisible hand said it best: under a small government limited to protecting rights, people are led by their self-interest to promote the public good, which, preeminently, involves enriching the poor.

Just war doctrine

Let us consider just two elements of this magnificent philosophy. First, war as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified. Second, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause.

Have Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Libya actually attacked us? Of course not. No self-defense there. The moral monstrosity of 9/11 was perpetrated mainly by Saudis; it was blow-back from prior U.S. invasions. How can stationing U.S. troops in 130 different countries be reconciled with Catholic just war theory, asks Paul.


Paul, with his "states' rights" philosophy, supports rights-violations as long as they are perpetrated by the 50 states. Nonsense. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution imposes the Bill of Rights on the latter.

Paul's anti-war stance would leave our country defenseless. Nonsense. He opposes imperialism, not self-defense. His policies would leave us safer. Our military would not seek foreign monsters to destroy, but would rather be stationed on our shores, the better to protect us. When we stop poking sticks at foreign hornet's nests, fewer of them will come here to bite us.

Those racist newsletters of his from the 1980s disqualify Ron Paul from higher office. He has apologized and disavowed them until he is blue in the face. He didn't write the offensive material and he didn't edit it; he only published it. Do Murdoch or Sulzberger read every word in their publications? Hosanna Myers states, "Ron Paul is vilified for missing a few paragraphs out of hundreds of newsletters by people who pass 2,000-page bills without reading a single word." Paul is the least racist candidate for the presidency of the U.S., and this includes Obama! Foreign and drug wars disproportionately kill and/or incarcerate young black men, and only he has opposed this injustice.

Paul is out of step with yet another vital doctrine of the Catholic Church, a motto of our own university: social justice. No. There are numerous scholars/pundits, with impeccable progressive, leftist, socialistic and liberal credentials, who favor his anti-war, anti-drug law, anti-bailouts for crony capitalist policies vis-a-vis Obama and Romney. These people are second to none in their support for social justice. Evidence on this supplied upon request.

Walter Block is an economics professor. He can be reached at

On the Record is a weekly column open to any member of Loyola's faculty and staff. Those interested in contributing can contact

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