Skip to comments.Repeat After Me: Subsidiarity & Solidarity
Posted on 08/14/2012 9:32:24 AM PDT by Starman417
Social Justice: a phrase thats tossed around a lot, but usually in ways that do serious INjustice to its original context. Paul Ryan, a Catholic economics expert from Wisconsin, is suddenly in the news; I thought it might be time to go back and take a look at some classic Catholic social justice theory what it REALLY says. Lets take a look.
Leo XIII came out with the seminal encyclical, Rerum Novarum in the year 1891. It was followed up by other letters that built upon that good foundation. The basic idea from this tradition that I want to underline is summed up in two words: subsidiarity and solidarity. In Catholic social theory, these two values are presented as tied together, balanced and equally necessary in a healthy society. I know, this all seems pretty abstract to start with, but hang with me, here. If we could just grasp this, a LOT of common sense can flow from it. What are these two words?
In Catholic thought, subsidiarity simply reminds us that a healthy society is made up of a whole lot of small, strong, independent social groups subsidiary groups. You have youth groups, charitable societies, local governments, schools, the Elks, religious societies, etc. (By far, the most important is the family, nuclear and extended.)
In order for things to work right, each of these smaller, subsidiary units needs to be respected by the larger organs of power. THE State, THE Church, THE Press, THE Armed Forces must respect the independence and integrity of each of these smaller groups for the good of all. These larger groups shouldnt overawe or super-cede jobs that are properly done by the smaller groups.
What this means is, a large group, such as the government, should neither take over the smaller functions of the family through force such as in Communist or totalitarian governments or through a sort of benevolent smothering, such as in socialism. When decisions within families, such as how to educate the children or how they will be taken care of are usurped, the result is massive social injustice and disequilibrium.
When Hitler forcibly shipped youths to retraining camps, he claimed to be serving social justice; but this severed children from their family and town roots and served as great brainwashing but horrible social justice in the long run. Hallowed family & regional traditions which had humanized and stabilized were ripped out, leaving a moral vacuum ripe for the greatest horrors. Scandinavias 80% taxation and 6 AM to 8 PM daycare led to unprecedented levels of 5-year old suicides among other things before they lurched away from total immersion socialism. This is not some abstract idea. Its really there and has real consequences when it is violated. (John Paul II personally experienced what can happen with both the Nazis and the Soviet Communists.)
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
The Doctrine of Subsidiarity is both a Church doctrine and a Constitutional doctrine (by virtue of the 10th Amendment) that states “matters should be handled at their lowest competent level”.
Home, neighborhood, city, county, state, federal gov’t.
There are exceptions specifically set forth in the Constitution, but generally subsidiarty applies.
Great article. Thanks for posting.
The doctrine of subsidiarity is akin to Edmund Burke’s “Little Platoons”. Statists always recognize that their initial and most important task in imposing totalitarian control is to break down and destroy these “little platoons” - the church, neighborhood association, family, etc. - to transfer the allegiance of the masses to the state.
Good article on these “little platoons” and their place in conservative thought: https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/amerstud/article/view/2669/2628
Rep. Ryan: ‘We Have Pursued Solidarity but Abused Subsidiarity’
Bump for later Wednesday reading.
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