Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
I thought it only fair you have a little peek at some of my correspondence. A friend writes:
I would like to personally challenge you to read, or even skim, the book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, by Ron Paul (it is not even ghost written). It is not a long, nor a complex read; fifty chapters, one per issue, usually about 5-7 pages per issue, in alphabetical order from A (Abortion, he’s opposed to it), to Z.
Actually, I’ve looked at it and, as usual, I find myself liking Ron Paul as a human being (he’s the only member of that Parliament of Whores called Congress I would trust with my wallet or my granddaughter), but not really persuaded that his philosophy is an altogether sane one. Libertarianism continues to impress me as a philosophy for people with no children. It thinks horizontally, not in generations, and sees the atomized individual, not the family, as the basic unit of society. It has the odor of the heretical spirit latching on to part of Catholic teaching (in this case, subsidiarity) and then expanding it to huge proportions while ignoring solidarity. I keep finding myself thinking that only Paul’s personal goodness keeps it from becoming insane and evil. When I meet Randian lunatics, they only confirm my feeling as they abandon their humanity and their connection with the rest of us members of the common herd of humanity and instead worship themselves as the icy ubermenschen, towering above the “looters” and the rest of lower breeds. Paul’s Randian libertarianism, without Paul’s humanity to keep it in check, is something I think would be repellent. Meanwhile, Benedict’s call for global and international governance that keeps an eye on rogue global capitalism—(”The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy.”)—seems 180 degrees opposite Paul’s confidence that the free market is exempt from original sin and will work all things to the good for them that loveth Mammon.
I repeat: I think Ron Paul is a very good man. I think he is far more prescient that any of the other embarrassments the GOP has burped up for our consideration. I agree with him about our insane economic policies, our need to end our wars of empire, our delusional refusal to deal with reality and, of course, our appalling culture of death. Should some miracle occur and he winds up on the ballot in my state, I might even vote for him.
But I don’t think that miracle will occur, and I don’t believe for a moment that our Duopoly will allow it. Nor do I think his ideas are a panacaea. He crosses the minimal threshold of decency for a pol in that he does not advocate grave and intrinsic evil. But that doesn’t mean I think he will necessarily be a good President, and it doesn’t mean I think he is fully compatible with Catholic social teaching. Still, I might vote for him if it is possible to do so. (Can’t you just feel the robotic, fanatical, unthinking, unquestioning devotion?)
But in my heart, I believe we will be stuck with Romney, who I will no more vote for than I would vote for Obama. Fun.