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A minarchist deontological libertarian AND a pre-Vatican II Catholic?

Posted: April 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm   /   by

Gosh, that sounds an awful lot the the beginning of a very abstruse joke: “A minarchist deontological libertarian AND a pre-Vatican II Catholic walk into a bar . . .” But it isn’t. In fact, the minarchist deontological libertarian and a pre-Vatican II Catholic are the same person.

In an earlier post on the subject of conservatism, libertarianism, and the left’s views of both, I said the following:

In fact, there are also highly religious libertarians who, similarly, are unwilling to see the state involved with social issues in any way that compromises core libertarian principles—Judge Andrew Napolitano being one of the most noteworthy.

This video of Judge Napolitano is worth watching. He covers a lot of ground with Nick Gillespie of Reason TV, and he makes a compelling case for core libertarian principles. Conservatives and libertarians won’t agree on all of it, but as I argue strenuously in the post, these are disagreements over nuances and shades. The core is the same; the left knows that, and opposes conservatives and libertarians alike. We should know it too.

I was fascinated—and greatly heartened—to discover that Napolitano is a Catholic. Heartened because it reinforces my belief that it is possible to be a core libertarian and yet highly religious.




Video description:

“I’ll say this plainly, I’ve said it before – Taxation is theft. It presumes the government has a higher claim on our property than we do,” says Judge Andrew Napolitano, the host of Fox Business’ Freedom Watch and the author of the new book, It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with the outspoken libertarian commentator to discuss topics ranging from abortion (the judge is fiercely pro-life) to Occupy Wall Street (he welcomes the protest against corporatism) to Rep. Ron Paul (“the Barry Goldwater” of our moment) to the role of religion in the quest for freedom.


I also found Napolitano’s analogy fascinating: Barry Goldwater is to Ronald Reagan as Ron Paul is to . . . . someone as yet unknown. Ron Paul will not be elected. Neither was Goldwater. But Goldwater set the stage for Reagan, and for conservatism’s ascendence. Ron Paul, as quirky as he is, is doing something similar. I would simply amend Napolitano’s vision to clarify that whoever is waiting in the wings, as Reagan was in Goldwater’s time, will not only be the avatar of libertarianism’s ascendence, but of the ascendence of a new fusionism.

Napolitano, a minarchist deontological libertarian AND a pre-Vatican II Catholic, shows that such things are possible.


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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A minarchist deontological libertarian AND a pre-Vatican II Catholic?