Catholic Libertarianism?




McMillan, Garrett

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What are the similarities and difference between Catholic political thought and Libertarian political thought? What are the chief principles of libertarianism, and is it a self-sufficient political philosophy? What are the chief principles of Catholic political thought, and does it have anything to learn from libertarianism? To what extent, and in what ways, can the political thought of these two traditions be considered compatible, and to what extent and in what ways do they conflict with each other? This thesis will first examine the origins of libertarian thought, the concept of natural rights, and the goal of economic prosperity among the liberal political philosophers of the 17th century, alongside more contemporary libertarian thinkers. It will then examine an interpretation of the political thought of St. Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas, alongside a comparison of the doctrine of natural rights and the doctrine of natural law. Finally, this paper will examine two justifications of liberalism by contemporary Catholic authors, the first through a thorough analysis of the social encyclicals, and the second through a joint examination of Catholic principles and economic analysis.



Catholicism., Liberalism., Libertarianism., Social Encyclicals., Natural law., Natural rights., Mises., Rothbard., Locke., Hobbes., Montesquieu., Aquinas., Augustine.