The State: The Highest Good in the Temporal Order

December 16, 2013

The Marketplace at Pirna. Painting by Bernardo Bellotto

The Marketplace at Pirna. Painting by Bernardo Bellotto

Since the State deals with the common good of all its members, Aristotle and Catholic authors from Saint Augustine onward have long regarded the State as the highest and most important earthly form of social union. That is why so many go even to the point of sacrificing their lives for its continuance. A State like this facilitates the practice of the social and political virtues of justice, devotion, allegiance, and sacrifice for the common good. It is, properly speaking, this governing framework that makes it a key part of the heart and soul of economy.

St Thomas Aquinas, between Plato and Aristotle

St Thomas Aquinas, between Plato and Aristotle

The organic State then gives unity, direction, and purpose to society—embracing but never absorbing, delegating but never concentrating, encouraging but never stifling.

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So conceived, this State is a blessing for a community and a guardian of its prosperity and well-being. Since men can only reach their moral perfection in organic connection with a community, it is man’s legal and moral duty to belong to the community governed by the organic State. It is to this idea of State that we should return.

 

John Horvat II, 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), 211-2.

 

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