Subsidiarity illustrated: An inescapable network of mutuality


In a sense, “bystander intervention” is an oxymoron. Once you intervene, you are no longer a bystander. The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as a “bystander” — that’s just a euphemism for a neighbor pretending they’re not a neighbor. As the scripture says, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” [Read more...]

‘We’re all responsible for one another’


“The tough news is that we’re all responsible for one another. The good news is that we’re all responsible for one another. There’s always something we can do.” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things

Chris Heard on “Interpreting Genesis 1 ‘Literally;’” Amy Sullivan on why Paul Ryan and his bishop defenders get subsidiarity wrong; Lawrence Pitnak on journalistic firebombs; and Gary Longsine & Peter Boghossian on the unrighteousness of indignation. [Read more...]

Ross Douthat’s utopia exists, in Haiti

If only “the government” would get out of the way, then private charities could step in, step up, and fix all of our problems. This is not a serious suggestion, but it’s a popular one, perennially put forward by people who insist we should take them seriously. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat offers a [Read More...]

Rick Santorum vs. Pope Pius XI — one candidate, two encyclicals

I read two recent items about former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum that both turned out to be, oddly, about former Pope Pius XI. First up is an excellent question from Mary at The Left Coaster, who notes that Republican presidential candidate Santorum opposes contraception, arguing that sex without the possibility of conception is “a license [Read More...]

Do you want a big rock or a small rock?

Do you want a big rock or a small rock? You have to pick one or the other. A huge, heavy, substantial, unbreakable hunk of granite? Or a tiny, buoyant, crumbly piece of pumice? Which one do you want? I’m assuming you know what the rock is for. The question would be silly — utterly [Read More...]

Subsidiarity and the outline of your next novel

Noah Smith’s post, “The liberty of local bullies,” does a good job describing the inadequacy of contemporary libertarian ideology. The modern American libertarian ideology does not deal with the issue of local bullies. In the world envisioned by Nozick, Hayek, Rand, and other foundational thinkers of the movement, there are only two levels to society [Read More...]

“The moral rights corresponding to this obligation”

For a less snarky, clearer, and more compelling discussion of the rights that correspond — necessarily — from the obligation to work, see John Paul II’s encyclical Laborem Exercens, or “On Human Labor.” Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of this encyclical, due mainly to the forceful logic of its [Read More...]