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A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends to compensatingly increase and the dictator… will do well to encourage that freedom in conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, movies, and radio. It will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.
Economic freedom is in our eyes a good. It is among the highest of temporal goods because it is necessary to the highest life of society through the dignity of man and through the multiplicity of his action, in which multiplicity is life. Through well-divided property alone can the units of society react upon the State. Through it alone can a public opinion flourish. Only where the bulk of the cells are healthy can the whole organism thrive.
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalistic System was to debauch the currency. . . Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million can diagnose.
The economic freedom which is the prerequisite of any other freedom cannot be the freedom from economic care which the socialist promise us, and which can be obtained only by relieving the individual at the same time of the necessity and of the power of choice: it must be the freedom of economic activity which, with the right of choice, inevitably also carries the risk and the responsibility of that right
But if we are to retain freedom, then we can only do so by keeping the determining mass of the citizens the possessors of property with personal control over it, as individuals or as families. For property is the necessary condition of economic freedom in the full sense of that term. He that has not property is under economic servitude to him who has property, whether the possessor of it be another individual or the State.
Capitalism had arisen through the misuse and exaggeration of certain rights, notably the right of property – the basis of economic freedom – and the right of contract, which is one of the main functions of economic freedom. Therefore, even under Capitalism, so long as the old principles were remembered it was possible to recall the principles whereby Society had once been sane and well ordered.
Let us then repeat and firmly fix this main point: the evil, the root evil, of that to which the term Capitalism has come to be applied, is neither its functioning for profit nor its dependence upon legally protected private property; but the presence of a Proletariat, that is of men possessing political freedom, but dispossessed of economic freedom, and existing in such large numbers in any community as to determine the tone of all that community.
It was the Faith which gradually and indirectly transformed the slave into the serf, and the serf into the free peasant… You will not be able to set up in a pagan or an heretical or a wholly indifferent society the institutions characteristic of economic freedom; you will not be able to curb competition which alone would be sufficient to destroy such freedom, nor pursue permanently and consecutively any one part of the program. The thing must be done as a whole, and it can be done as a whole only by the ambient influence of Catholicism.