Catholic Vote interviewed Samuel Gregg, Director of Research at the Acton Institute and author of Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy and Human Flourishing. The five question interview covers the historical Tea Party that the book discusses, Catholic social teaching, and virtuous citizenship, among other topics. Here is an excerpt:
Among the Founders, you place a great deal of emphasis upon Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Who was he, and why does he figure so largely in your book?
Tea Party Catholic makes it clear that Charles Carroll of Carrollton is someone who every Catholic American should know about. For one thing, he was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. But even fewer people know that Carroll was one of the best educated of the Founders, an enormously successful businessman (he was the wealthiest man in America at the time of the Revolution), a legislator, an economic thinker, a philosopher, and a relentless fighter for religious liberty. In a way, he was the first “Tea Party Catholic.” Carroll wrote at length about matters such as freedom and constitutional order, but he was also a very articulate defender of what we would call “the free economy.” In his correspondence, for instance, we find Carroll outlining the workings of compound interest to his friends, as well as explaining to the far-less economically-informed Benjamin Franklin (who was no intellectual slouch) why price controls are morally questionable and economically disastrous. Carroll’s financial expertise led him to make significant contributions to the economic decisions that the Continental Congress needed to make in order to bring the Revolutionary War to a successful conclusion.
In Tea Party Catholic, Samuel Gregg draws upon Catholic teaching, natural law theory, and the thought of the only Catholic Signer of America's Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton—the first “Tea Party Catholic”—to develop a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America's experiment in ordered liberty. Beginning with the nature of freedom and human flourishing, Gregg underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets as well as the welfare state's problems. Gregg then addresses several related issues that divide Catholics in America. These include the demands of social justice, the role of unions, immigration, poverty, and the relationship between secularism and big government.