Subsidiarity, limited government and personal freedom

Subsidiarity is the principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority.

The Oxford Dictionary defines subsidiarity as, “(In politics) the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes subsidiary, such that:

1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

1893 Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged. ”

1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.”

2207 The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.”

2208 The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

2209 The family must be helped and defended by appropriate social measures. Where families cannot fulfill their responsibilities, other social bodies have the duty of helping them and of supporting the institution of the family. Following the principle of subsidiarity, larger communities should take care not to usurp the family’s prerogatives or interfere in its life.”

Related:

Cato Institute | Principles of Liberty

Libertariansim.org | Thomism and Decentralism

YouTube | Charity & Responsibility: The Principle of Subsidiarity

Polk County Indigent Healthcare, half-cent sales surtax – serving uninsured residents living at or below 200 percent of the poverty level

 

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