Acton Institute Powerblog

‘Comprehensive Reflection on the Human Good’

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Joe Knippenberg raises a couple of important points over at the First Things site in response to my post earlier today about the relationship between conservatism and libertarianism. First, he questions the validity of my “distinction between political philosophy and worldview.” Second, he questions “the place of liberty as our highest political good.”

I’ve posted a comment over there that deals with, in part, Lord Acton’s identification of liberty as man’s highest political end. Check out Joe’s post and the ongoing discussion for some provisional considerations aiming at “comprehensive reflection on the human good.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Roger McKinney

    My protestanism is showing, but I couldn’t care a whit about what a political philosopher thinks is the highest good. All I care about is what the Bible says about how God judges a nation. The Bible is full of references to justice as the chief end of government. And liberty is very closely related to justice. In the Bible you can’t separate the two.

    Read the Mosaic law. Several scholars I have read claim that the only law the courts were allowed to enforce was the case law. You can identify case law by the “if this…then that” formula. Case law in the Torah was limited to property, life and liberty issues. God never gave the courts or the people the power to enforce the ceremonial, moral or poor laws.

    The only government God ever created had no executive or legislative branch. It had only a judicial system. The people enforced the common law determined by the courts.

    You can’t get much more liberty than that! And any less liberty is unjust.