Subsidiarity and Man’s Pursuit of Self-Sufficiency

February 17, 2014

Water Mill on the River by Andreas Achenbach

Water Mill on the River by Andreas Achenbach

This notion cannot help but have economic applications. Being naturally endowed with intelligence and free will, man tends, by his own spiritual faculties, to draw from himself all the necessary qualities to provide for his welfare. This in turn gives rise to unique expressions of self-sufficiency.

Vienna Market by Carl Massmann

Vienna Market by Carl Massmann

From the very beginning of economy around the hearth of the home, man turned vigorously inward seeking to sustain the family. Likewise, he developed intermediary associations of kinship, community, and Faith by turning inward, seeking to advance the material and spiritual well-being of members. Larger associations such as cities, regions, and even nations, forming concentric circles of concern, shared in this inward development and self-expression where each group took care of its own and, by the principle of subsidiarity, had recourse to a higher order only when necessary.

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John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 272.

 

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