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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/18600/update-austrian-economics-program-denied-at-loyola-new-orleans/

Update: Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans

October 3, 2011 by

In Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans, I noted that an attempt by Austrian professors at Loyola New Orleans to establish an Austrian economics master’s program had been rejected by the “Standing Council for Academic Planning.” The program was proposed by the heroic Bill Barnett and Dan D’Amico; Walter Block is also a professor there, making this one of the strongest Austrian econ departments in the world.

The Loyola-N.O. paper The Maroon today, in Where Do Austrian Economics Fit in a Jesuit Education, reports that “The College of Business is working on a second proposal for a master’s program in Austrian economics after the first proposal was denied last spring.” Unfortunately, some Catholic factions are coming out in opposition to Austrian economics, as can be seen in the excerpts below. (h/t Michael Barnett)

“The Austrian economics master’s program would in part support the mission of Loyola, but it would undercut the mission at the same time,” said Thomas Ryan, director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry.

According to the proposal, the master’s program would follow Loyola’s mission by adhering to the analysis and importance of individuals within economics. Ryan said that the master’s program gets that part of the mission correct but leaves out Loyola’s commitment to social justice.

Daniel D’Amico, assistant professor of economics, said that focusing on individual decision making is nothing unique to Austrian economics.

“All economists attempt to adhere to methodological individualism wherein the individual is the central focus of decision making,” he said.

The Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, agreed that the program does not align with Loyola’s mission and values.

According to Kammer, Catholic social teaching takes the position of a market framed by justice and not the free market the Austrian economists propose.

There are also specific conflicts, he said, between Catholic social teaching and the Austrian view of government, unions, taxations, human life and the place of Christianity in the public sector.

Kammer said he also found problems in the Austrian economics master’s program’s funding. He said he believes Loyola would make a mistake by letting the Koch Foundation, the charitable organization derived from Koch Industries, donate such a large sum of money for the master’s program. Koch Industries is one of the largest private companies in the United States and owns operations such as pipelines and chemical refineries.

It would be a mistake, Kammer said, because of the Koch brothers’ controversial political values, which often conflict with the values of Catholic social teaching.

{ 49 comments }

Dan Car October 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

“According to Kammer, Catholic social teaching takes the position of a market framed by justice and not the free market the Austrian economists propose.”

This is a consistent statement when you take into account that religion has traditionally been about “feeling” and not actual results.

Sione October 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

The free market is justice.

Tony M. Fernández October 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Not the Catholic Church historically, but the modern Catholic Church, especially in America? Now that’s a different story. This is why people get riled up about things like social justice and feeding the poor while completely ignoring St. Paul’s writing: if a man will not work, he shall not eat. The Church has changed from wanting to convert people and truly save people to now make life comfortable. It’s a shame, though I guess I’m getting off topic.

Krzysztof Ostaszewski October 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Rev. Fred Kammer’s, S.J., ideas are quite contradictory to the ideas of Rev. Ignacio Loyola, S.J., so I am very troubled here.

JFF October 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

If 12 years of Catholic education taught me anything is that modern Catholic social teaching is far detatched from that of Loyola.

Troy Camplin October 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Someone should point them to the Spanish theologians who were some of the earliest theorists of free markets, and to the Acton Institute. And also point out that good intentions are not virtue — good intentions matched with good outcomes are.

J. Murray October 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

“And, yea, the Lord thy God sayeth, ‘Go forth and print thine money, for it is how thou shalt bring upon the Earth my powers of Creation. Engage thy presses to provide charity and sustenance to the poor. Blessed be the unions and government, for they are my voice and light upon this Earth.’”

I’d like to see THAT in a religious text.

Nile BP October 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

My boss saw me cracking up at this so I’m holding you liable if I’m fired.

Brad ONeal October 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm

It’s probably time for the professors to ‘wipe the dust off their sandals’ and bail out on Loyola. Loyola is indeed in bed with the agents committed to silencing the Christian voice in the larger public sphere. The salt has lost its saltiness and should be thrown out.

Vitor October 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm

So much for Rothbard praising catholics and bashing protestants…

Dean Wilson October 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I’m confused how a Master’s program in Austrian economics is connected to taking libertarian perspective on issues. It may be a likely outcome, but only because a humane person will recoil when cause-and-effect relationships obscured by mainstream economics are suddenly revealed. I can easily imagine a completely value-free, scientific Austrian program which simply analyzes the consequences of the “social” and “political.”

What the objections really mean is that the social goals won’t withstand scrutiny, so no one had better start turning on lights!

A real pity for the religion with such strong roots in reason and whose followers love the Light of the World.

Per Bylund October 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I am completely with Dean here. Austrian economics makes no normative statements and makes no policy suggestions. From an Austrian economics point of view, one can only point to what would be the likely effects of a certain regulation or deregulation. Of course, Austrian economics provides the individual researcher with a lot more information on the true consequences than math-based economics, which is why Austrian economists tend to be anti-regulation. But since when is the personal conviction of adherents to a scientific tradition of importance for how to assess its scientific nature?

It is not. But these kinds of statements as those made by Rev. Fred Kammer cannot easily be brushed off – and it is our fault. Too many of us get caught up in libertarian rhetoric discussing Austrian economics. This completely undermines the science as a science, and provides anti-Austrians with the tools to dismiss not only our findings but our methodology and analytical tools. It is a shame, really.

Old Mexican October 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Re: Per Bylund,

Austrian economics makes no normative statements and makes no policy suggestions.

Rev. Kammer objection is against the methodological individualism that is the epistemological basis of Austrian economics. However, the Reverend is making a moral judgment of the method itself as if the search for knowledge lead to immoral acts. This is obviously absurd and the Reverend must know it. I believe that he is simply protecting his own set of beliefs in social justice and collectivism (or Marxism, to be more succinct) from potential challenges by different philosophies that provide a different approach to the study of human action. His beliefs are bound by a moral righteousness notwithstanding the reality of economic law and how it affects human decisions.

This means, Per, that the Reverend couldn’t care less about the non-normative aspect of Austrian economics. He expects economics to reinforce his own biases, not contradict them – it is as simple as that.

Per Bylund October 4, 2011 at 6:43 am

No, I don’t think so; I think he is basing his assessment of Austrian economics what he has heard from Austrians conflating economic analysis with libertarianism. From the article:

There are also specific conflicts, [Kammer] said, between Catholic social teaching and the Austrian view of government, unions, taxations, human life and the place of Christianity in the public sector.

This statement that Austrian economics has a “view” of these things has nothing to do with science, but it is certainly correct for an ideology (which is a collection of views). Austrian economics has no “views” of unions, taxation, or government – but analyzes the consequences of these things on the functioning of the market.

I definitely agree that he probably couldn’t care less about “the non-normative aspect” (which is more than an aspect, by the way) of Austrian economics. But he is basing his statement on what he has heard from Austrians: and he seems to recall mostly their (individual) libertarian conviction. Remember that neither Menger nor Böhm-Bawerk were libertarians, and Mises was no anarchist. It is possible to combine an Austrian approach to studying the market with many political worldviews.

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

I think he is basing his assessment of Austrian economics what he has heard from Austrians conflating economic analysis with libertarianism.

This is not true. We do not “conflate” it at all. We are well aware of the difference.

From the article:

There are also specific conflicts, [Kammer] said, between Catholic social teaching and the Austrian view of government, unions, taxations, human life and the place of Christianity in the public sector.

This statement that Austrian economics has a “view” of these things has nothing to do with science, but it is certainly correct for an ideology (which is a collection of views). Austrian economics has no “views” of unions, taxation, or government – but analyzes the consequences of these things on the functioning of the market.

Right, the mistake is his. He is a socialist and thus thinks of everything in terms of politics; for him economics is not a science, but a tool to be used to advance “social justice.” The mistake is 100% his. It is libertarians (and Austrian-libertarians) who have views on these policy matters. sure. And there is nothing wrong with this. Especially given that our views are concordant with human nature and freedom, while his are socialist and confused and dishonest.

I definitely agree that he probably couldn’t care less about “the non-normative aspect” (which is more than an aspect, by the way) of Austrian economics. But he is basing his statement on what he has heard from Austrians: and he seems to recall mostly their (individual) libertarian conviction.

So what? So he opposes the politics of most Austrians. And for that reason he couldn’t care less about our economics, since he is focused on social justice.

Remember that neither Menger nor Böhm-Bawerk were libertarians, and Mises was no anarchist. It is possible to combine an Austrian approach to studying the market with many political worldviews.

Well Mises was virtually an anarchist, arguably (see this post http://www.stephankinsella.com/2009/08/was-mises-an-anarchist/ and Hoppe’s speech in Vienna at the recent Mises Supporters Summit, soon to be an article, where he observes “Moreover (and this is for those who have not read much of Mises but invariably pipe up ‘but even Mises is not an anarchist’): Certainly the younger Mises allows for unlimited secession, down to the level of the individual, if one comes to the conclusion that government is not doing what it is supposed to do: to protect life and property. And the older Mises never repudiated this position. Mises, then, as my own intellectual master Murray Rothbard noted, is a laissez-faire radical: an extremist.”

I am very proud to be a libertarian (and anarcho-libertarian at that), and a student of Austrian economics; and to have strengthened my libertarian views because of my study of Austrian economics. As a modern, radical liberal, I also would think there is something wrong with a modern adherent of Austrian economics who was nevertheless a statist: you would have to be a misanthrope to be a statist Austrian. Yes, this world is full of economic illiterates, and of socialists, and of people who think unclearly and argue dishonestly, and who cannot conceptually separate positive economics from rational political theorizing. Like this Kammer character. The blame lies exclusively in them, not in those most admirable among us who both follow sound economics and respect individual liberty.

Per Bylund October 4, 2011 at 8:02 am

Well, I don’t see much I disagree with in your comment. You’re obviously reading a lot into my comments that I neither wrote nor suggested or implied.

I was not talking about Kammer’s view of economics (which definitely does not seem to be scientific/value-free in any way), but about his interpretation of Austrian economics. And I never said “all Austrians” conflate Austrian economics and libertarianism; whether you are among the Austrians who do, I do not know – but judging from the words you use (specifically, “we”), you seem to place yourself in that group. I have but stated that there are (too many) who do conflate the two, and that is why it is hard to brush off critique as Kammer’s (even though he, as compared to others, may be an ignorant critic).

All I am saying is that it does not serve our purposes (and I’m talking about Austrians here) to let some of us conflate sound economics with libertarian ideology.

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 8:53 am

Per:

Well, I don’t see much I disagree with in your comment. You’re obviously reading a lot into my comments that I neither wrote nor suggested or implied.

Okay.

I was not talking about Kammer’s view of economics (which definitely does not seem to be scientific/value-free in any way), but about his interpretation of Austrian economics.

Which is wrong. Another error he makes. I just see no reason to blame austrians for this. In fact I think austrians, when they mix in politics,are usually explicit about it, unlikes most mainstream economists who routinely mix in main stream political normative assumptions without even realizing they are doing it–or, if htey do, disingenuously acting as if these assumptions are uncontroversial.

And I never said “all Austrians” conflate Austrian economics and libertarianism; whether you are among the Austrians who do, I do not know – but judging from the words you use (specifically, “we”), you seem to place yourself in that group.

I really don’t know who does this at all. Could you give a single clear example?

All I am saying is that it does not serve our purposes (and I’m talking about Austrians here) to let some of us conflate sound economics with libertarian ideology.

I agree they ought to be kept conceptually distinct. But I am not sure I see
a serious problem here at all

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

I disagree completely. It’s not “our fault” at all. First, the socialist Catholics here are themselves mixing politics and economics–and are wrong on both. Second, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with Austrians also being libertarians, or in libertarians using Austrian economic insights to bolster their political views. THere is nothing wrong with recognizing that most AUstrians nowadays are free market types–or with using a term like Austro-libertarian to refer to this. And even then, we still conceptually distinguish economics per se from political theory–unlike the socialist Catholics here. THe fact is most people are decent–they value peace, prosperity, and cooperation– and if they were simply economically literate they would become more libertarian. THis is exactly why most Austrians are basically libertarian. It is not a condemnation of them; it is to their credit that they have decent, civilized values, and are economically literate. To blame the best among us and say it’s our fault is deeply confused, IMO.

Per Bylund October 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

Stephan, read my comment again. And this time, try to keep your adrenaline level down a bit so that you see all the words I wrote. I do not claim it is our fault that non-Austrians tend to conflate Austrianism and libertarianism – I claim it is our fault that we cannot easily brush off such critique (there is a difference, and it is important in this context). And we cannot brush it off because there are quite a few using terms such as Austrian economics and libertarianism interchangeably, while they are not.

It is interesting that the one thing there is “nothing wrong with” that you do not mention in your comment is what I was writing about: Austrian economists using libertarian rhetoric or value-laden terms in presenting economic truths. Is it because you agree with me on this being an abomination?

I see nothing wrong with using Austrian insights to bolster one’s libertarian views in a political discussion. Making scientific economic statements based on praxeological reasoning and presenting those results as economics but using specifically libertarian ideological language is very different, however. (And, I might add, not at all uncommon.) If Austrian economics is truly wertfrei, as we claim it is, it is important to avoid value laden terms describing economic findings.

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 8:01 am

Per, my adrenaline is fine–I just happen to disagree with you–or with what I understand you to be saying.

I do not claim it is our fault that non-Austrians tend to conflate Austrianism and libertarianism – I claim it is our fault that we cannot easily brush off such critique (there is a difference, and it is important in this context).

This seems to be a strange subtlety. So the critique is not valid… it’s just that it’s our fault that we can’t easily brush it off….?

And we cannot brush it off because there are quite a few using terms such as Austrian economics and libertarianism interchangeably, while they are not.

I think the difference almost always clear, given the context of usage. Those who are uncharitable, ill-willed, or sloppy or dishonest thinkers, like typical advocates of “social justice,” will of course dissemble and use dishonest argument tactics against views they perceive as threats to their socialist policies.

It is interesting that the one thing there is “nothing wrong with” that you do not mention in your comment is what I was writing about: Austrian economists using libertarian rhetoric or value-laden terms in presenting economic truths. Is it because you agree with me on this being an abomination?

Maybe I’m blanking out on this, but I am not aware of this phenomenon. Can you give a single, clear example?

I see nothing wrong with using Austrian insights to bolster one’s libertarian views in a political discussion. Making scientific economic statements based on praxeological reasoning and presenting those results as economics but using specifically libertarian ideological language is very different, however. (And, I might add, not at all uncommon.) If Austrian economics is truly wertfrei, as we claim it is, it is important to avoid value laden terms describing economic findings.

Well, economics is wertfrei, but it is not always the only thing being used in an analysis; quite often the analysis is a mixed one. In this case, why avoid evaluations? I see nothing wrong with this.

Per Bylund October 4, 2011 at 8:16 am

So the critique is not valid… it’s just that it’s our fault that we can’t easily brush it off….?

Yes, that is exactly right. Austrian economics is a wertfrei science, and hence any critique of it being a “libertarian version” of economics or aiming for abolishing government is not valid. On this we agree, right?

But such critique still cannot easily be brushed off. Not because people like Kammer don’t get the difference between wertfrei science and ideology (Kammer is undoubtedly an ignoramus, and a socialist one at that), but because it is not always clear that statements made by Austrian economists and from an Austrian economics point of view are not normatively libertarian and vice versa. It may be clear to you from within the libertarian movement, but it is not very clear to non-libertarians. It is both a matter of word usage and a matter of issues studied; one can often express Austrian conclusions in more neutral language. And I believe one should take care to express Austrian insights in a type of language that does not, to non-libertarians, suggest libertarian convictions.

Also, I think Austrians can and should continue to develop [Austrian] economic theory (a point made by Peter Klein in his “mundane economics” piece in the QJAE) to explain the world and the economy. Sometimes Austrian economic analyses seem instead bent on jumping every issue where one can blame government (for whatever). Finding inspiration in one’s libertarian convictions is fine, but one needs to rid oneself of libertarian normative reasoning and language when doing economic analysis.

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 9:25 am

Per:

Yes, that is exactly right. Austrian economics is a wertfrei science, and hence any critique of it being a “libertarian version” of economics or aiming for abolishing government is not valid. On this we agree, right?

I suppose. I have never thought of Austrian economics as a “libertarian version” of economics, though I suppose there is something to this, in that in my view it is the most correct and coherent school of economics, and gives most support to libertarians. I agree economics does not aim to abolish government. BUt I don’t know anyone arguing this anyway.

But such critique still cannot easily be brushed off. Not because people like Kammer don’t get the difference between wertfrei science and ideology (Kammer is undoubtedly an ignoramus, and a socialist one at that), but because it is not always clear that statements made by Austrian economists and from an Austrian economics point of view are not normatively libertarian and vice versa. It may be clear to you from within the libertarian movement, but it is not very clear to non-libertarians.

Well, yes, it is clear to me, and lots of things are not clear to non-libertarians. If they thought clearly they would not be non-libertarians in the first place. I think most AUstrians I am aware of sufficiently distinguish their politics from positive economic analysis, especially if you take context into account. In fact I think Austrians do a far better job of this than most other economic schools which routinely mix mainstream political norms into their analysis.

It is both a matter of word usage and a matter of issues studied; one can often express Austrian conclusions in more neutral language.

So you contend, but this assumes too many AUstrians are not doing this now. I am not persuaded this is the case. Could you give a single simple, clear, unambiguous example?

And I believe one should take care to express Austrian insights in a type of language that does not, to non-libertarians, suggest libertarian convictions.

Sure, in a purely economic analysis, but even here, the economist may be *motivated* to engage in a particular analysis out of liberal values. For example as a liberal he sees *and opposes* cases of destruction or impoverishment and as an economist formulates a theory that seeks to explain the cause of this impoverishment–various state action. So the analysis can be positive, but it would not be undertaken by a misanthrope or statist, perhaps, who does not want to expose the cause of destruction.

I tend to think of the purpose of economics as understanding, sure, but also to inform one’s policy recommendations. The question often arises: what policies should the state engage in, what laws should we have. These are normative questions that presuppose certain values–usually the normal, civilized ones of peace and prosperity and productivity. Economics informs us of the way human interaction works, of how prosperity is achieved, and of the harmful effects of state intervention in the market. IT thus informs the libertarian, or the human citizen in his capacity as a valuing being, what state policies or laws he ought to favor, and ought to oppose.

Again, all this works together naturally for multifaceted human beings who live in the real world. I see no problem with this.

Also, I think Austrians can and should continue to develop [Austrian] economic theory (a point made by Peter Klein in his “mundane economics” piece in the QJAE) to explain the world and the economy.

Sure. There is room for diversity and for the division and specialization of intellectual and academic knowledge.

Sometimes Austrian economic analyses seem instead bent on jumping every issue where one can blame government (for whatever).

This is vague. Any clear examples of this? Any reason to think that this is a systematic problem?

Finding inspiration in one’s libertarian convictions is fine, but one needs to rid oneself of libertarian normative reasoning and language when doing economic analysis.

As noted above, people choose what to analyze because they are real humans with values, not just economists. This is what Mises was getting at, in a sense, with his emphasis on introducing certain contingent assumptions into economic analysis to make it of relevance, or interesting (see my post Mises: Keep It Interesting). The selection of what problems to analyze, and of what contingent assumptions to make in the analysis, will invariably be guided by one’s values and preferences.

Per Bylund October 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

By the way, isn’t it funny how you use the “our fault” rhetoric in exactly the same way the Fox News people use it against Ron Paul in terms of 9/11 and terrorism…?

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 7:55 am

No idea what you are getting at.

B.C. October 4, 2011 at 10:49 am

Fox was one of the choreographers in the 9/11 psy-opera. Weren’t they responsible for the neologism “embedded”?

Ben Ranson October 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

J. Murray’s comment had me rolling on the floor laughing.

Seriously though, now would be a good time for some of the many Catholic libertarians to step up to the plate and gently persuade their co-coreligionists of the virtues of the Austrian school.

Kyle October 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Apparently they have not read “The Church and the Market” by Thomas Woods.

J Oxman October 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I was going to mention that. Or the book “Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy” to which Woods contributed. Also a very good resource.

Tony M. Fernández October 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Or even The Tragedy of American Compassion, which shows the very religious past of charity in this country and its attempts to reform, not make people dependent on the dole.

Horst Muhlmann October 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

This so-called “Catholic priest” hasn’t even read the books of Samuel.

From 1 Samuel 8 http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/1-samuel/8.html

7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” 10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

Basically, Fred Kammer is a heretic.

Bryce October 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

As a Catholic, I find this very disappointing. Then again, I’d note that “Catholic” universities are more often than not “Catholic in name only,” so I wouldn’t take this as a rebuff of Austrian economics by the Catholic Church.

terrymac October 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I am disappointed in this theory that “social justice” requires government meddling, which is very far from what I learned in 12 years of Catholic schooling.

Tony M. Fernández October 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I want to know how “adhering to the analysis and importance of individuals within economics” and striving for “social justice” can be achieved by any master’s program. Those are mutually exclusive concepts. But what does the Church care about logic since ditching that and Scholasticism at the Second Vatican Council?

Vedran Vuk October 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

As a Loyola graduate, I’m embarassed by some of these comments. Furthermore, I don’t think that some of these ideas have been taken to their logical conclusionz. Take for example the comment about Koch Industries. Is every person who works for a chemical company or a pipeline some sort of bad person? Do people need to apologize for being employed by the oil and gas industry which provides us with electrical power and gas for our cars? Rev. Kammer should think about a world without these goods before making such statements. It’s not like this a donation from Harrah’s Casino or Playboy. There’s nothing intrinsically sinful or wrong with the energy industry.

Vedran Vuk October 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

To add one more thing….. The Jesuits always talk about social justice. In this case, an extremely rich businessman wants to donate millions of his dollars in the name of education for a program at a Jesuit College. Isn’t this ironically social justice in action? Who gets justice if Loyola turns the offer down and what good will be created for the Loyola community? The answer is simply no one and none

LibertyVini October 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Is this actually being funded by the Kochs? Have they dropped their opposition to Austrianism and all its implications for corporatism? Are we all Koch-lovers now? I mean, are we really doing this?

Ohhh Henry October 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I’m not Roman Catholic and I’m not a serious scholar of the history of the Church. But I gather that throughout its history, at least since the time of Constantine, the Church has been essentially a tool of the state, or it has attempted to ally or wed itself to the state for the purposes of the Church’s own advancement. Or to be more accurate, for the purposes of the advancement of the interests of the individuals who lead the Church.

The only times that the Catholic Church has opposed itself to any government (such as its opposition to the English reformation of Henry VIII and his protestant successors) it has only done so from within the control or protection of other, larger and more power governments (such as the Spanish, French and Holy Roman empires when in opposition to England). Whenever faced by a truly evil government and when not backed up by some other, more powerful government, the Church has always rolled over and been silent. This has been documented in a fair amount of detail in Richard J. Evans’ Third Reich Trilogy. The only moves against Hitler that the Church organization made were (i) complaining about the murder of insane and mentally handicapped ethnic Germans (after most of them had already been killed); (ii) urging the Nazis to carry out the deportation of Jews to death camps in Poland “humanely”; and (iii) at first feebly protesting the deportation of Italian Jews to death camps and then concluding that the best way to spread the word of Jesus was to not do anything that would endanger the political and financial position of the Church, in other words to shut up and wait for the Americans to come.

Therefore I don’t see how any honest and reasonably well-read person can be the slightest bit surprised that an organization belonging to the Roman Catholic Church would reject the formation of a school whose ideas inevitably lead to a preference for anarchy against all forms of coercive government. The decision may be un-Christian but it certainly isn’t anti-Catholic Church.

I am not an anti-Catholic bigot, I equally despise the support for government by every other type of organized religion, from Protestant Christians in America to Jews in Israel, Mullahs in Iran and Hindus in India.

Thomas October 4, 2011 at 5:06 am

Death occasioned largely by typhus, not surprising given the railways being totally inoperative.

J. Murray October 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

It’s not surprising to me in the least that Christianity is heavily statist. It originally started as a reformation movement against the overly political interferences of the Jewish Temple system and the Roman occupation – it was decidedly anti-government and even anti-organization. The original philosophy was that God was omnipotent and didn’t need priests or temples for worship and that such earthly agents and agencies generally resulted in corruption, less concern about faith, and more concern about the physical desires of the temple system itself.

However, Christianity was codified some three and a half centuries later by the Roman Emperor, utilizing picked and chosen passages that best supported the position of centralized leadership, power, and obedience, most of which were written centuries later, to form the basis of Christianity in the Holy Bible. The Church and the Bible were both political creations of the State. Because of this, it’s not a surprise that the Roman Catholic church and it’s various offshoots heavily support the State. The Roman Catholic church is effectively the continuation of the Roman Empire and the offshoots are utilizing the same document formed via government committee.

Today, Christianity is exactly in the same position that Judaeism was during the final days of the pre-common era. Like then, the adherents of Christianity have forgotten about the personal nature of faith and have gotten caught up in the trappings of concerts, tithes, and mega-churches and all too readily utilize their own espoused faith to attempt to force others via government force into their own belief system.

Like everything government gets its hands on, Christianity has been turned into something completely unrecognizable from what the original reformers intended.

Michael Richards October 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

Actually, the Bible was not written by those who compiled it under Constantine and were in fact already being widely read long before the actual Bible was brought together and codified at the council of Nicene. In fact, a quick reading of Augustine and several other Pre-Nicene fathers, show that the various books of the Bible, both old and new testament, were being read and debated by the early church. The Bible (NT) was in fact written very shortly after the death of Christ. As for matters dealing with obedience, I think that several classical liberals like John Locke have already shown that such passages were intended for specific audiences for specific reasons. As for the Catholic Church, I must say your accusations are incorrect. Though I am a protestant, I feel that I must correct your statements. The CC was more of a thorn in the sides of governments at the time of its inception than a staunch ally. It was Catholic thinkers like Aquinas and Agustin who even brought forth the question as to the limit and extent of government in the affairs of men. Agustin talked about the government plundering when in violation of its prerogatives (a pre-Bastiat one might say). Aquinas rediscovered the principles of natural law and divine law superseding that of the state. I agree that the state uses religion as a means to oppress the people (Catholic and Protestant churches are no exception), but looking at the history of Christianity, if the Bible were written by government to subvert the people, they sure did a bad job of writing it cause no book has been a greater thorn in the side of tyranny than that book (hence why most tyrants try to have it destroyed or forgotten).

J. Murray October 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

I didn’t say it was written by a government but that it was a government council that hand-selected what would be in it and mandated that this is the “correct” version. Whether it’s right or not, we won’t know, but we do know the identity of who arbitrarily decided it. There are numerous books and writings that never made the final cut. While the council didn’t write any of it, many of the works selected are not contemporary to Jesus’ time but were likely written 100 years or more after the fact. It was this effective Imperial decree that shut down all debate on the matter, especially since Christianity was made the official state religion of the Empire with the Bible as the official book. The Bible we read today wasn’t the product of rigorous debate but with the backing of the guy with the biggest army.

PrintButtonMoney October 3, 2011 at 11:52 pm

yet further evidence that the department of education doesn’t want education, and instead wants indoctrination.

I love paying taxes.

geoih October 4, 2011 at 6:22 am

First Copernicus and Galileo, now Mises and Rothbard. Don’t worry, they’ll think better of it (in about three hundred years).

D. Frank Robinson October 4, 2011 at 8:02 am

I can only wonder why the offer was made to this particular institution? Were there strings attached regarding faculty? Just curious. Let both parties go their are own ways. Moving right along now.

JFF October 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

Because Walter Block teaches there.

Redmond October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Jesus Christ – time to start a private university and just screw em all.

Vanmind October 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I fail to see a problem. Block and the rest (as well as Austrian School scholars elsewhere) should have nothing whatsoever to do with today’s non-private (or semi-private or “land grant”) universities. Try opening a private school, put your sound money where your mouths are, stop feeding the public-education beast.

Yes, the same goes as well for the MI and that university in Auburn…

Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Block and the rest (as well as Austrian School scholars elsewhere) should have nothing whatsoever to do with today’s non-private (or semi-private or “land grant”) universities.

How do you know this? Seems like an assertion to me.

Yes, the same goes as well for the MI and that university in Auburn…

Mises Institute is on private land. It is independent. It has nothing to do with Auburn University.

Redmond October 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I am all for starting a private university!

Lets start working on the Funding Stephan!

I’ll give you a call.

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