There is no distinctive Catholic political philosophy today, and Robert Reilly’s call to man the battlements of classical liberalism is an attempt to short-circuit the possibility of a real revival of Catholic political thought in America.
Future historians will probably marvel that LGBT activists—a small, well-organized, and wealthy segment of the population—successfully deployed civil rights language for material benefit, especially at a time when national economic inequality only continues to worsen.
The Founders’ vision of the “common good” was not the pre-modern natural law conception of an objective human good, but a conception of “mutual advantage” shaped by the social contract framework. This logic of liberalism has driven our country to its current political and cultural problems.
“Natural law liberalism” is a chimera that cannot and does not exist in the American tradition.
Our Founding liberal principles aren’t the best invocation against inhuman practices like slavery and abortion because they also produce self-aggrandizement, individualism, willfulness, and a conception of liberty as the absence of constraint.