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Catholics, Libertarians, and Foreign Aid


Here are the links to the first three articles in this series, which is being published in response to a recent conference at the Catholic University of America entitled “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism”:

Catholics, Libertarians, and Coerced Charity by Jacob G. Hornberger
Catholics, Libertarians, and the Drug War by Jacob G. Hornberger
Catholics, Libertarians, and Immigration by Jacob G. Hornberger

The purpose of this series is to show that if a Catholic wishes to follow the dictates of Christ, the only real way to do that is by embracing libertarianism and rejecting statism.

Today, let’s examine foreign aid, another area in which libertarians and statists are diametrically opposed.

Libertarians oppose foreign aid. We would abolish it immediately and permanently ban the U.S. government from ever again engaging in it.

Statists love foreign aid. That’s why they have made it a permanent part of America’s governmental structure. They want to continue this program forever.

Let’s look at an example — foreign aid to Egypt, which is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world. Today, the Egyptian dictators are rounding up, incarcerating, torturing, and murdering countless innocent people, including people who have done nothing more than criticize the military tyranny under which they are suffering. The regime is also jailing and convicting journalists for doing nothing more than reporting the tyrannical actions of the Egyptian brutes to the world. Egypt’s military goons are also terrorizing anyone who dares to advocate a restoration of democracy to the country.

A simple question: Why would any Catholic who wishes to do the will of Our Lord want to support or participate in this sort of thing? What the military dictatorship in Egypt is doing is the very epitome of evil. Why would any Catholic in good conscience want to be part of it?

Yet, guess who is supporting the Egyptian tyranny. You guessed it! Statists!

And guess how they are demonstrating their support for the Egyptian brutes. You guessed it! Foreign aid! Foreign aid in the form of U.S. taxpayer money and armaments, provided by U.S. “defense” contractors who depend on a constant stream of government weapons sales to keep themselves in high cotton.

Oh, it gets worse than that. Guess who has built up, fortified, reinforced, and armed Egypt’s longtime military dictatorship over the past several decades. You guessed right again! The U.S. government has done this through decades of foreign aid.

Why would U.S. officials do that? Because U.S. officials love foreign dictatorships, so long as they are pro-U.S. They feel that dictatorships bring “order and stability” to a nation. That’s why U.S. officials are now resuming foreign aid to the Egyptian military brutes — because they are bringing “order and stability” to Egypt with their massive military crackdown. By keeping their grip on power, the Egyptian dictators are ensuring that Egypt remains a “friend” of the United States, which is considered to be in our “national interest.”

Is U.S. foreign aid to Egypt something that Catholics should be celebrating or supporting? Or should Catholics instead be on the side of libertarianism and condemning the U.S. support and financing of all this evil?

And hey, it’s not as though foreign aid to the Egyptian dictatorship is some sort of aberration or exception. Think about Iran in 1953, when U.S. officials, operating through the CIA, destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy by ousting the democratically appointed prime minister of the country and reinstalling the brutal, unelected dictatorship of the Shah.

U.S. foreign aid flooded into Iran to support the Shah’s tyranny, some of which was used to train his much-feared police-intelligence agency, Savak, in the art of torture and oppression — in the name of “order and stability” of course. The U.S.-supported tyranny became so horrific that the Iranian people finally revolted against it in 1979, an act that U.S. officials have never forgotten or forgiven.

Or go back to 1973, when U.S. officials, operating through the Pentagon and the CIA, helped destroy Chile’s democratic system and helped install the brutal military dictatorship headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. After Pinochet became the unelected tyrant of Chile, U.S. officials flooded his regime with foreign aid.

Never mind that Pinochet’s military goons, who were benefiting from the U.S. money, were rounding up thousands of innocent people, torturing them, raping them, and murdering them. Indeed, they even murdered two innocent American men, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. Needless to say, none of that dissuaded U.S. officials from flooding Pinochet’s military dictatorship with U.S. foreign aid.

What Catholic wants to be supporting a government program that finances brutality, torture, rape, and murder? How can the support of foreign aid possibly be reconciled with any part of Christ’s life and message?

Catholics have a choice: Should they choose to be on the side of the statists, who love and support foreign aid to brutal tyrannical regimes engaged in round-ups, torture, rape, murder, censorship, and oppression? Or should they instead be siding with libertarians, who favor the immediate cessation of foreign aid entirely.

Seems like a no-brainer to me, at least for anyone who wishes to follow Christ.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.