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Is "Laissez-faire" a "straw man"?

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Yesterday, I wrote about the Catholic case against libertarianism. I had not planned on revisiting the topic but then my friend Rick Garnett, of Notre Dame, tweeted out a link to my article with the comment: “’Laissez-faire’ is a straw man, I think. Doesn’t exist.” Professor Garnett is one of the brightest and, usually, most incisive, commentators in the U.S. Catholic commentariat. I will attribute his pithy, but woefully inadequate, comment to end-of-semester fatigue combined with the limitations of the twitter-verse.

Pope Francis vs. Acton Institute

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From Radio Vaticana, the text of Pope Francis' message to the International Labor Organization. Funny, he did not talk about the need to let the invisible hand of the market work its wonders, or the need to legally prioritize the right to property over the rights of workers, nor did he worry about "collectivism." No, the pope championed solidarity and the organizations, both civil society and civil government, that can facilitate and instantiate solidarity.

Pope Francis' Holy Land Triumph

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The image, understandably, went viral. Pope Francis had just finished praying at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism and, just so, one of the holiest sites in Christendom. This last remnant of the Temple loomed above him as he prayed silently, then placed a note into one of the crevices of the wall. So far, the image recalled the earlier images of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI doing the same.

Memorial Day

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Growing up in a small town, Memorial Day was a big deal, the day our town hosted its own parade. When I was very little, I was mostly excited by the fire trucks that always took part in the parade down Main Street. Later on, Memorial Day’s focus was on making sure my trombone was polished and oiled, so I could join our school’s band in what I am sure were some ear-splittingly painful renditions of the national anthem and other patriotic songs.

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August 15-28, 2014

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