Over at Mirror of Justice, Rick Garnett raises some issues about the commentary on the recent conference "Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism." I still do not buy his charge that we are tilting at strawmen: The fact that laissez-faire does not exist in a pristine form does not mean that those who tend to look to its worldview for answers are real, not straw, and their arguments pernicious precisely because they invest the "laws of the market" with authority it does not deserve. And, I think Garnett is a bit too sanguine about the degree to which libertarian policy solutions can be separated from the repulsive anthropology that gave birth to them. But, as the debate continues, I would say that Garnett is someone with whom I often disagree, but he is clearly engaging the issues thoughtfully and in a spirit of fraternal, Catholic discussion. Part of what we need, desperately, in our culture and in our Church, is some terrain in the center where people with opposing perspectives can come together and discuss issues without vitriol and with a view towards challenging each others' thinking without challenging each others' motives. I am grateful for his commentary, even though I do not share his conclusions. Let the discussion continue.
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