When young people first become aware of politics, and develop some ideals, they sometimes set out to change the system. That might mean getting involved with a campaign or seeking out an internship. It's not long before they discover that the system doesn't really want to change.
Once a young activist discovers this fact, he or she can be cynical and lose some of their ideals. Political change rarely happens from within the system itself. It usually emerges after social and cultural change take place. Politics and public policy are lagging indicators of culture and social attitudes.
How can we adjust our response to the need for change in light of this reality? The first step must always start with our own lives -- the part of the world we can most directly control.
Even in times when freedom seems to be slipping away, we should all take steps that help us live freer and more virtuous lives. Working in the commercial world, which provides goods and services to people, is one way. To be productive in this sector is a beautiful way of serving others and gaining a sense of the value of our own contribution.
Whatever our particular vocations -- business, education, health care, ministry -- there are ways we can use our talents to help ourselves live freer and holy lives while assisting others to do the same. It might not be obvious at first but there are ways that all of us in our own lives can make a difference to build stronger and more virtuous associations between people.
This is a viable path to reform. Rather than waiting for the political world to change, we can make a huge difference just by making changes in our own choices and ways. In so doing, we are part of the solution and reflect a greater measure of God's glory here on earth.
Your support of the Acton Institute assists us greatly in helping to prepare for a freer future.
Rev. Robert Sirico, President