George J Marlin, Catholic author and editor, recently reviewed Samuel Gregg’s latest book, Tea Party Catholic at The Catholic Thing. He begins by saying that he knows many members of the Tea Party who are religious, but “because they do not have a consistent public philosophy that serves as the foundation of their civic activism,” they tend to “go off half-cocked and in different directions.” However, he is confident that Tea Party Catholic will “help fill this void:”
Gregg, an heir to the Michael Novak school of democratic capitalism, believes that Catholic economic and social thought has made an important contribution to “the shaping and uplifting of American life and culture.” He further argues that the Church’s “robust commitment to religious liberty. . .is quite applicable to the development of a morally ‘thick’ case for free economy and limiting the government’s economic role.”
Tea Party Catholic spells out the Catholic vision for personal and economic liberty and how “prudential application of the principles of Catholic social teaching can help alleviate the needs of the materially least among us” and help people flourish in society.
Marlin goes to talk about Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic American Founder. He says:
Carroll, Gregg points out, was also a hard-working entrepreneur who not only built up his family’s fortune, but became a noted philanthropist, He was an example of how one could succeed in a system that appreciates and promotes “freedom and the habits and institutions of economic liberty.”
To restore the economic liberty that existed in the early years of the Republic, Gregg provides some of the philosophical fodder Tea Party folks need, In readable prose, he defines the concepts of subsidiarity and the common good. And he explains how they apply to public policy issues and relate to freedom, limited government, and a free economy.
Gregg stresses that economic liberty and religious liberty are “in many respects indivisible.” This was evident when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services empowered by Obamacare – the largest economic intervention by the Federal government in America’s history – instructed the Church in January 2011 that it must supply coverage for medical services and products it considered intrinsically evil: “The inevitable diminution of economic freedom associated with the move, was now undermining the Church’s liberty to live in accordance with some of its core moral teachings . . . .Just as freedom in one sphere redounded to the well being of another, so too did an attack on one diminish the other.”
Marlin concludes with this thought:
Tea Party Catholic also explains that the sine qua non for the successful integration “between the social and economic dimensions of free societies” is the recognition of the human person’s inherent dignity, To reject the truth that man is created in the image and likeness of God “permits the rights to economic liberty, private property, and free association to be diminished in the interests of promoting grand economic plans presided over by governments that pretend to possess a capacity for knowledge that God along possesses.”
Catholics who wish to contribute to the Tea Party’s call for rebirth of liberty should consult Samuel Gregg’s book as a reliable and enlightening road map.
Tea Party Catholic is now available as an eBook! Visit TeaPartyCatholic.com to learn more or purchase a copy.
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.