In a time of changes and reform in institutions one wonders if reform is truly necessary.   Oskari Juurikkala addresses this lingering thought and answers that, yes, reform is truly necessary but it needs to be rooted in true good and our faith in God.  Juurikkala states:

Institutions matter, but they do so in a way that differs from the reformist vision. According to Aquinas, human laws have two basic functions: to coordinate and to educate. But not to coordinate the maximization of gross domestic product, nor to educate in marketing and finance. Law – all law – should be at the service of the true good, helping us to know, love and serve the Lord, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

In order to achieve necessary reform we must be educated in virtues.  However, we can not look to government to be the educator.  Juurikkala argues we must look beyond government when seeking an education in virtues:

But government is not the primary educator in virtue. That is the turf of families, churches, and other social institutions. The proper task of government is to assist those other institutions, when necessary, by coordinating their organization and appropriately channeling resources and energies to their support. This is the principle of subsidiarity.

It is our families, churches, and social institutions that we bring the necessary reform, not a growing government.  Read the commentary on the Acton Website and comment on it here.


  • http://Thefirstreform/Glinzak Vaclav Venc

    I feel a bit uneasy while reading your sentence:” According to Aquinas, human laws have two basic functions: to coordinate and to educate. But not to coordinate the maximization of gross domestic product, nor to educate in marketing and finance.”
    Why do you think that profit maximization is a harmful activity? If so you have to determine which level of profit will suffice. In this case you are going into the more complicated cause!

    • Louie Glinzak

      Vaclav, I can understand why you feel uneasy with that sentence especially in the light of the economic upheaval that we are currently facing. However, I think the way it should be looked at is those who maximize their profits ethically will be rewarded. Those who maximize their profits in ways that utilize child labor, slave labor, don’t adequately pay their employees enough, do not provide adequate care, etc. will eventually be forced to close. This is because the market dictates who succeeds and who fails. If a company acts unethically the consumer will choose not to support such a company. We do have human laws that help avoid such matters of child and slave labor along with establishing a minimum wage, however, in the end the market determines the profit made. Human laws should not tell a business or person how much money they are allowed to make. If human laws begin to rule on the maximization of profit businesses will no longer have an incentive to grow and be innovative.

  • Roger McKinney

    Hayek: “Quite as important for the functioning of an individualist society as these smaller groupings of men are the traditions and conventions which evolve in a free society and which, without being enforceable, establish flexible but normally observed rules that make the behavior of other people predictable in a high degree…

    “That the existence of common conventions and traditions among a group of people will enable them to work together smoothly and efficiently with much less formal organization and compulsion than a group without such common backgrounds, is, of course, a commonplace. But the reverse of this, while less familiar, is not less true: that coercion can probably only be kept to a minimum in a society where conventions and tradition have made the behavior of man to a large extent predictable.” [emphasis is mine] from “Individualism: True and False.”

    Then he has a footnote from Edmund Burke: “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their won soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the councils of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.” A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly 1791.

  • http://Thefirstreform/Glinzak Vaclav Venc

    Hi Louie, I argued about your sentence: “But not to coordinate the maximization of gross domestic product, nor to educate in marketing and finance.”.

    Then I agree to your last comment. Putting it short, it is always and in the end the individual responsibility and choice which governs the deeds. Not laws, police or jail.