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Building the Free Society: Deomocracy, Capitalism, and Catholic Social Teaching [Paperback]

By George Weigel (Editor) & Robert Royal (Editor)
Our Price $ 23.38  
Retail Value $ 27.50  
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Item Number 144360  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   246
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 19, 1993
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  080280120X  
EAN  9780802801203  

Availability  67 units.
Availability accurate as of May 28, 2017 10:27.
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Item Description...
With a challenging foreword by Richard John Neuhaus on Christians as "resident aliens" of any earthly city, the book will interest those who wish to think more closely about the Christian contribution to social questions after the fall of communism, as it explores and critically examines a century of Catholic reflection and argument on human freedom, the just society, and the international order.

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More About George Weigel & Robert Royal

George Weigel GEORGE WEIGEL, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Catholic theologian and one of America's foremost commentators on issues of religion and public life. A Newsweek contributor and Vatican analyst for NBC News, Weigel is the author of fifteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

From the Hardcover edition.

George Weigel currently resides in Bethesda, in the state of Maryland. George Weigel was born in 1951 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC the Ethics and Public.

George Weigel has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Library of Religious Biography
  2. Pennsylvania-German History and Culture Series

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Democracy   [1007  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism   [2524  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
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6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Theology > General   [4167  similar products]
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic   [2180  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
In praise of subsidiarity  Jan 10, 2008
~Building the Free Society: Democracy; Capitalism, and Catholic Social Teaching~ is an erudite exposition upon Catholic Social Thinking. I got this book a few years ago, because it echoed a theme analogous to agrarian literature which esteemed the principle of subsidiarity, or as Protestants such as Abraham Kuyper dub it, sphere sovereignty. Subsidiarity is the principle which states that matters ought to be handled by the smallest (or, the lowest) competent authority. This principle applied to a body politic, precludes a managerial regime or welfare state, and centralized schemes of wealth redistribution. At its core, Catholic Social Thought recognizes the family as the basic inviolable unit of society and gives deference to those intermediary institutions between the individual and the state.

Pope Pius XI's most definitive encyclical was Quadragesimo Anno issued 15 May 1931, 40 years after Rerum Novarum (thus the name, Latin for 'in the fortieth year'). Written as a reactionary response to the cultural and economic wasteland that befell Europe and America amidst the Great Depression, it calls for the establishment of a social order based on the principle of subsidiarity. The encylical observes, "We once had a prosperous social system which owed its development to the wide variety of associations, organically linked together. That structure has been overturned and all but demolished. Individuals are left alone with the state."

I personally detest the contemporary American political culture and its inflationary entitlement state. Collectively the middle class takes the biggest hit. The super-wealthy benefit by the inflationary state, and multiple their wealth by illicit gain and monetary manipulation to the detriment of the working middle class. The downtrodden urban masses are placated by the state that plunders the rest to appease them. Collectively, the middle class takes the biggest pinch. Ironically, the social conditions for a nation to achieve a humane economy requires a broad-based distribution of private property, and these social conditions are best realized in societies that embrace subsidiarity and structural decentralization in its political edifices and organizations. Coerced redistribution is not the desirable means of achieving this end; but rather a slow natural development over the course of time within a decentralized polity.

Contemporaneously, all of the useless politicians that pander to the base instincts of human nature, promising the spoils of legal plunder to be given to the downtrodden are part of the problem. The Robin Hood state destroys character, inculcates idleness, stifles individual initiative, saps the nation of its economic and social vitality, and ultimately makes slaves of its dependents. The potential for a more prosperous social order is realized by a society that embraces subsidiarity, not socialism. Welfare-statism is utterly incompatible with human condition. That housing projects have a revolving door with penitentiaries should be no real surprise. In the years ahead, when the managerial regimes of America and Europe inevitably implode in a miserable morass of stagflation, public sector indebtedness, there will be a need for order to fill the vacuum left by the managerial regime's collapse. Sober-minded socially conservative thinkers might suggest letting the intermediary institutions between the individual and the state return to their former prominence: these are the voluntary civil associations, the benevolent societies, private charities, and especially the church. "To love the little platoon," declared Edmund Burke, "we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of publick affections." The little platoons are animated by the spirit of voluntarism and charity. We need a humane economy, and social order like that advocated by Wilhelm Roepke in his book The Humane Economy. Understanding the social conditions ideal for this humane economy can be discerned by the study of Catholic social thinking, so reading this book might prove helpful. There is an old saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Dissapointing  Mar 9, 2007
This book was a disappointment from beginning to end. Basically it is an almost unqualified love fest for Catholic social teaching from Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum to John Paul II's encyclicals. It lacks any in depth research or historical accounts. Brushes over many of the influences upon the popal encyclicals themselves by hiding the political and economic sources and positions of the various contributors to them. (white washes history)

The only area of honest criticism can be found on page 66 & 67 where it is finally admitted that Catholic social teaching has been too biased and takes a straw man position when issuing forth agaisnt Classical liberalism, but still will make no connection or comment on socialism's influence on Catholic social justice theory.

All and all I would not buy this book, but instead buy The Church and The Market, A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, By Thomas Woods, Jr., to be found on this site. Com. This book was a tour de force! It was in-depth and did not pull any punches. It looked at the various encyclicals with a much more thorough eye and did not allow the glamor of ones faith to soften the intellectual edges of ones reason.

George Weigal et al. are neo-Catholics and Neo-Cons and their biases and their lack of intellectual depth, honesty and rigor show throughout their many books.

If you want a light hearted easy walk through the social encyclicals presented by "true believers" then this book is for you. If you wish to eschew the lobotomy, buy The Church and the Market.

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