Subsidiarity and the Social Doctrine

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]." Margaret Thatcher

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.” G. K. Chesterton

Subsidiarity in the Gospels

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Morality of Self-Interest

“Nations fail, Augustine argued, because peoples fail, and peoples fail because they love the wrong things. America’s exceptional history as the only nation in the world with two centuries of political continuity stem from its people’s love for individual rights, which they hold to be inalienable because they are granted by a power that no human agency dare oppose. Americans selected themselves out from among the nations of the world to enter into the political covenant that is the American constitutional state. It succeeded because it is “a country with the soul of a church,” as G.K. Chesterton observed. Individualism founded on God-given rights has triumphed over the alternative---the collectivist premise for the state in its various manifestations: Rousseau’s “will of the people,” for example, or Marx’s proletarian dictatorship, or the blood-and-soil nationalism that led Europe and Japan into the world wars of the twentieth century. The only form of collectivism still embraced by a large part of the world’s population is integralist Islam, which dominates most Muslim-majority countries.”

“What we might call “Augustinian realism” is this premise, borne out in the world around us. To the extent that other nations share the American love for the sanctity of the individual, they are likely to succeed. To the extent they reject it, they are likely to fail. Our actions in the world can proceed from American interest---precisely because American interest consists of allying with success and containing failure.”

“Consider the winning policy of the Reagan administration during the Cold War, which overcame the most prominent collectivist alternative to American democracy. America did not set out to persuade the Soviet Union to emulate us. We set out to ruin it, and ruin it we did. After Russia repudiated Communism we proposed to assist its reconstruction. In other words, American interest consists of allying with success and containing failure.”

David P. Goldman is senior editor of FIRST THINGS.

“It is observable, that though many have disregarded life, and contemned liberty, yet there are few men who do not agree that property is a valuable acquisition, which ought to be held sacred…The Utopian schemes of leveling, and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional. Now, what property can the colonists be conceived to have, if their money may be granted wary by others, without their consent?”

Samuel Adams on behalf of the Mass.. House of Reps. to the colony’s agent in London, 1768.

No comments:

Post a Comment