Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez, professor of economics and politics at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, recently reviewed Samuel Gregg’s latest book, Tea Party Catholic in her column at ContraPoder.  She begins by discussing the incorrect assumption that redistribution of property and collectivism are inherently Christian commandments stating that the concept of individual freedom actually stems from Christianity.

No sólo es posible, sino natural, esbozar una postura católica en favor del gobierno limitado, el mercado libre y el progreso, afirma Samuel Gregg en su nuevo libro, Tea Party Catholic. Los seres humanos, hechos a imagen de Dios, estamos llamados a emplear nuestra libertad para convertirnos en la mejor persona que podemos ser.

El título del nuevo libro de Gregg puede despistar. No describe al nuevo movimiento conservador llamado Tea Party, cuyos allegados protestan contra altos impuestos y una deuda fiscal desbordada. Tampoco es una mera radiografía de la cultura estadounidense, vista por un inmigrante australiano. Gregg espulga tres fuentes: documentos oficiales del Vaticano, ensayos por los padres fundadores de la república, y libros por católicos en la modernidad. Así, destila el particular aporte del catolicismo a una comprensión integral de la libertad.

(Translations mine) It is not only possible, but natural, to sketch a Catholic position in favor of limited government, the free market, and progress, according to Samuel Gregg in his new book, Tea Party Catholic. Humans, made in the image of God, are called to use our liberty in order to become the best person we can be.

The title of the new book can be misleading. It does not describe the current conservative movement called the ‘Tea Party,’ whose supporters protest against taxes and overwhelming fiscal burdens. Neither is it a mere X-ray of American culture, as seen by an Australian immigrant. Gregg pulls from three sources: official Vatican documents, essays from the founders of the Republic, and books by modern Catholics. So, he distills the specifically Catholic tradition to a more fundamental comprehension of liberty.

Ríos de Rodríguez continues by explaining what she and Gregg mean by “liberty.” It is not the freedom to do whatever we so desire; she clarifies the meaning by quoting the famous Saint Augustine saying, “he that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.” There are many ways in which one can achieve liberty and flourishing. American colonists exalted religious freedom with founding father, Charles Carroll insisting that this freedom does not simply mean indifference: that all religions and beliefs are equally significant or equally unimportant. Rather it is the freedom to learn about and discover truth without threat of violence. Ríos de Rodríguez concludes with this thought:

Los católicos podemos construir puentes, con base en principios, que unifican la defensa de la libertad religiosa, con el respeto a la libertad económica y al gobierno limitado. Un gobierno que se extralimita en sus funciones y que entrampa el funcionamiento de los mercados, elige ignorar la dignidad inherente de la persona. Además, corroe el tejido social sobre el cual descansa la sociedad libre; puede destruir o desvirtuar a la familia y corroer la moral cultural.

Catholics should build their paths, founded in principles that unify the defense of religious liberty, with respect to economic liberty and limited government. A government that exceeds its functions and entraps the free market chooses to ignore the inherent dignity of the person. It also corrodes the social tissue of a free society; it can destroy or skew the family and corrode the moral culture.

Spanish readers, read all of “Progresar o florecer” here.  To learn more about or to purchase Tea Party Catholic, visit TeaPartyCatholic.com.