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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek se hizo mundialmente famoso a raíz de la publicación en 1944 de su obra Camino de Servidumbre. Su nombre fue una referencia para el pensamiento liberal en el nuevo mundo de la economía Keynesiana. Cuando Hayek recibió el Premio Nobel de Economía en 1974, empezaba a ser asociado por toda la comunidad académica con las soluciones a las crisis causadas por la economía Keynesiana, de modo que a su muerte, casi dos décadas más tarde, Hayek no sólo era asociado con su exitoso rechazo de las teorías de Keynes, sino también con las soluciones a la extensa...

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek è conosciuto ovunque nel mondo. Sin dalla pubblicazione di suo La via della schiavitù del 1944, il suo nome è stato un punto di riferimento per la tradizione del liberalismo classico in un mondo di economia keynesiana. Dal giorno in cui gli venne conferito il Premio Nobel in economia nel 1974 è stato sempre più affiancato alle soluzioni che intendevano rispondere alla crisi causata dall’economia keinesiana. Oggi, a dieci anni dalla sua morte, Hayek non è soltanto associato alla vincente rinuncia delle teorie keynesiane, ma anche ad una possibile alternativa al generale stato di crisi sociale e...

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek was known all over the world. From the publication of his The Road to Serfdom in 1944, his name was a reference for passé thinking in the new world of Keynesian economics. By the time that Hayek received the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1974, he had become more and more associated with the solutions to the crises caused by Keynesian economics. Now, at his death almost two decades later, Hayek is not only associated with the successful repudiation of Keynes' theories, but also with the solutions to the wider social and...

The Technological Bluff

Thirty years later, Ellul still has plenty to say in The Technological Bluff, obviously because of the newer, high technologies of the computer chip and the laser beam. And he remains as negative as ever. The technological “bluff” is the implicit assumption in Western society the technological progress, if used rightly, is a good in itself, and the good will always outweigh less-welcome consequences. What has happened, Ellul contends, is that we have become slaves of “technique,” as he calls it, subservient to its survival at all costs. The idea that we can choose to rightly “use” technique is a myth. Technique, instead, uses us. This has become even more evident with the advent of an information explosion and the unbridled passion too everything in a faster way, regardless of whether or not we use our new information or the...

Morality and American Society

R&L: What role did religion or faith play in the founding of National Review in the 1950s?

Buckley: Well, it was very plain to all of my associates that I was a pro-Christian. Senior editor James Burnham was a lapsed Catholic; Willmoore Kendall, a Catholic convert; Willi Schlamm, Jewish but “pro-God;” and, of course, Whittaker Chambers was a Christian. The only event that was historically conspicuous within the annals of National Review was the resignation from the Board of Associates of Max Eastman on the grounds that we were too explicitly pro-Christian and that he, as a good faithful atheist, couldn’t take it.

R&L: What about Will Herberg? He was National Review’s religion editor.

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Rediscovering the Work Ethic

American workers have recently come in for some harsh criticism. Some of that criticism is justified, some is not. All of it lifts into view once again the question of the nature, meaning, and worth of work.

This subject is all the more important in a pleasure-oriented society–one that shirks work or, at any rate, mainly tolerates it for the sake of the material possessions and sensual pleasures it facilitates. For a growing number of human beings today work is an evil; one is to be envied if he or she gains its rewards by a winning lottery ticket, by peddling drugs, or by theft.

The other night I was chatting with a neighbor who had reason for complaint. He had rented his American home to others while he and his wife were abroad. The occupants reported that a bathroom...

On Moving the World

Every so often, an event occurs that stands as a monument to the continuing struggle for human freedom and serves as a reminder to all who work for liberty that even when success seems farthest from reach, they can make a difference. Whether it is the Boston Tea Party, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or the assault on the Berlin Wall, such events are a vivid reminder that man has an undying desire to be free.

Of all these, however, there is one event that will stand alone as the simplest and yet most profound reminder not only of the universal desire for liberty but also of the power of a single individual. This event occurred on June 5, 1989, one day after the Chinese government massacred thousands of its own citizens in Tiananmen Square. As a column of tanks rolled down the...

Religion and the Welfare State

Earlier this year, when Michigan governor John Engler acted to fulfill his campaign promise to reduce the size of government and proceeded to eliminate 80,000 able-bodied General Assistance recipients from the roll, his most vocal critics were welfare advocacy groups headed by prominent mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic religious leaders.

Likewise, in the states of New Jersey, California and Wisconsin, where welfare reform is underway, clergy of various traditions have vocally and vehemently denounced as immoral any attempt to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” The flames in Los Angeles were hardly quenched before the Rev. Jesse Jackson was on national television calling for “a plan” that would, of course, involve greater state expenditures for more inner city programs.

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Not From Benevolence...

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the moral philosophy or economic theories of Adam Smith, it is difficult to deny that he is eminently quotable. Being eminently quotable, he is frequently quoted. Hence the familiarity of the following words:

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner but from their regard to their own interest.”

As a student of philosophy I tend to find “simple” questions more perplexing than “complex” problems. The allegedly “obvious” and “everyday” realities of our existence lead me to wonder. More often than not, I find the so-called problems obsessing the erudite to be little more than hair-splitting exercises in self-indulgence.

Hence a simple, perhaps simplistic, question....

Mediating Institutions

One of the most vital insights of modern social thought is the importance of mediating institutions–churches, schools, fraternal organizations, professional associations, and even clubs–for a free society. Not only are they effective, sometimes crucial, in providing services of all sorts, they are, as Tocqueville pointed out, a bulwark of freedom against the encroaching power of the state. The recognition of the consequence of these associations is especially significant for Americans because we have been particularly adept at forming them. As Tocqueville observed more than a hundred years ago, Americans “carried to the highest perfection the art of pursuing in common the object of their common desires.” While America has been very fortunate in the establishment of such institutions, perhaps surprisingly, another society not...

John Courtney Murray, S.J.

John Courtney Murray entered the Society of Jesus in 1920. He was ordained a priest in 1933 and received his doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1937. Afterwards, he assumed the Jesuit theologate at Woodstock, Maryland, where he was a professor of theology until his death. Additionally, Murray edited the magazine America and the journal Theological Studies.

While Murray's academic specialties were the theology of grace and the Trinity, his major contributions were in public theology, especially concerning church, state, and society. His prevailing theme was the compatibility of American constitutionalism and Roman Catholicism. Indeed, according to...

Freedom in the Making of Western Culture

Freedom, the first of two planned volumes, is Patterson’s attempt to explain why one culture valued liberty while so many others did not. His effort is of particular interest, given how long it took for freedom–with the concomitant protection of democratic electoral processes, economic opportunity, and human rights–to finally advance in Africa, Asia, and the one-time Soviet empire.

Alas, Patterson’s ample research is undermined by his failure to clearly define freedom. Instead, he mixes three contradictory variants of the term.

One definition is most clearly identified with the Anglo, and American, political tradition: “personal freedom” from coercion by the state. It is “at its most elementary,” writes Patterson, “the sense that one, on the...

Toward Humane Governance

R&L: Let’s begin with a discussion of the distinction between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, especially in light of the former becoming enfeebled. What should our stance be regarding the remaining authoritarian regimes?

Kirkpatrick: I always assume that democracy is the only good form of government, quite frankly, and democracy is always to be preferred. I think that it’s always appropriate for Americans and for American foreign policy to make clear why we feel that self-government is most compatible with peace, the well-being of people, and human dignity. We should make that clear and help to achieve it where we can. I don’t think that means that we ought to send troops around the world overthrowing governments, but I do believe that we ought to make...

An Evangelical Looks at Centesimus Annus, the Nature of Man, and Human Economy

There are good reasons to celebrate Centesimus Annus. Pope John Paul II’s blistering rejection of socialism and warm accolades for free enterprise should be trumpeted around the world–as indeed they have been.

In large part, however, the pope’s comments on socialism versus capitalism are merely the announcement of a judgment long since obvious to anyone who observed history with discernment. Nevertheless, I am excited about Centesimus Annus and see it, in one important respect, as on the cutting edge of economic thinking.

Why? Because it focuses on the nature of man, and not in terms of the Enlightenment idea of man as autonomous but in terms of the Biblical idea of man as fallen and sinful, yet still bearing the image of God and capable,...

Envy

Looming large among the vices constituting the Seven Deadly Sins is invidia, that is, envy. It belongs there. A human being infected by the virus of envy becomes a mean-spirited individual, incapable of heeding St. Paul’s admonition to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” The triumphs and good fortune of others elicit not pleasure but bitterness, a bitterness warping and twisting the soul.

Nearly five decades ago, Joseph Alois Schumpeter, an Austrian-born economist who became a permanent professor of Economics at Harvard University, penned a volume touching upon the evil that is envy. Entitled Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, the work analyzes the workings of a market economy with rare subtlety and sensitivity. The unprecedented success of such an economy in improving the material...