Yesterday, I blogged about Tom Woods' persuasive case for Ron Paul over Rick Santorum from a Catholic perspective. If you are unfamiliar with Tom Woods’ Catholic bona fides, please check out his website and his books (four of which are exclusively about the Catholic Church).
Now, as a faithful and devout Catholic, I have a foundation of moral principles which guides me on what is just – right versus wrong. In the abstract, this is referred to as “ethics”.
Ethics, however, does differ from politics - which deals with decision making from a public policy perspective of those in government. In politics, laws are passed to demarcate what is a CRIME versus a sin or vice. Without going into a law or history lesson, the States retained the plenary police power and jurisdiction to determine the criminal codes for its citizens.
As each State might encompass different groups of people, norms, and values, common sense would logically follow the closer the government is to the people the more responsive and adaptive it would be.
Moreover, as Tom Woods mentioned in his blog post the Catholic Church’s teaching on Subsidiarity is another application of the de-centralized principle. The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the premise of Subsidiarity as follows:
1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."7
1885 The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.
1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.
When power and intervention is prevented from being centralized, problems are solved and a community is much more likely to prosper in peaceful cooperation. The framers of the country had this in mind and felt the role of government was to protect liberty and restrain power.
Ron Paul’s positions are laid out reasonably well in a recent article in the National Catholic Register. Throughout the article, Dr. Paul’s positions recommend issues be settled at the State level, which remains consistent with the principle of Subsidiarity.
In today’s political environment, our country resembles something of a national omnipotent government. In contrast to Ron Paul, Rick Santorum wants to evoke the police power at the national level to codify Constitutional amendments about Marriage, Abortion, and other social issues.
While I may personally agree with Senator Santorum’s definition of Marriage or be Pro-Life from a personal standpoint as a Catholic, the Constitution is silent on crimes since the police power resides with the States. And, despite how much I might disagree with capital punishment or victimless crimes, these matters are best left to the lowest possible unit of governance to be settled.
Further, Santorum is someone who obviously does not subscribe to subsidiarity and projects a paternalistic parent who knows what is best for 300+ million people. And, with this voting record of such programs as Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the infamous bridge to nowhere in Alaska, these decisions should give Catholics pause as to what a Santorum Presidency would include.
Below is a short, yet precise description of what constitutes Subsidiarity from Acton Institute Founder, Fr. Robert Sirico.