Food for thought from former Bush adviser Michael Gerson in the Washington Post:
"The two intellectually vital movements within the Republican Party today are libertarianism and Roman Catholic social thought ...
"Various forms of libertarianism and anti-government conservatism share a belief that justice is defined by the imposition of impartial rules -- free markets and the rule of law. If everyone is treated fairly and equally, the state has done its job. But Catholic social thought takes a large step beyond that view. While it affirms the principle of limited government -- asserting the existence of a world of families, congregations and community institutions where government should rarely tread -- it also asserts that the justice of society is measured by its treatment of the helpless and poor. And this creates a positive obligation to order society in a way that protects and benefits the powerless and suffering. This obligation has never, in Jewish and Christian teaching, been purely private."
Ramesh Ponnuru offers some qualifications here, but doesn't challenge Gerson's basic point.