Friday, August 05, 2005

Nothing good can be done without freedom, but freedom is not the highest value in itself. Freedom is given to man in order to make possible the free obedience to truth and the free gift of onesself in love. -- Rocco Buttiglione, "The Free Economy and the Free Man."
A New Worldly Order: John Paul II and Human Freedom (Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1992). p. 70.

Weigel [commenting on Buttiglione]:

"On this understanding of freedom and its relation to the nature of the human person, democracy is a substantive moral experiment. The procedures of democracy grow out of, and depend on, the ethos of the democratic society. And if those procedures are to serve human goods, that ethos must reflect the truth about the human person. This democracy depends on an ongoing process of moral-cultural revitalization. Democracy's self-governnence is never finally secured. Each generation must face Lincoln's question as to whether nations conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality before the law can long endure.
p. 127 (Soul of the World).

The last two chapters of Soul of the World contain very good reflections on Centesimus Annus and Veritatis Splendour. Despite the disagreements cited by the "Augustinian Thomists", I think it can safely be said that Weigel (Neuhaus, Novak) are very much in agreement with Schindler, Rowland, et al. on the deficiencies of secular democracy and modern liberalism, and concur with Pope John Paul II's "internal criticism" of the liberal democratic tradition.

The key source of disagreement, from what I gather so far, appears to be over the salvagibility and viability of the American experiment and the degree to which the philosophical foundations of the Enlightenment have tainted / corrupted classical liberalism such that it cannot be reconciled as a working political-economic model with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.