Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Istituto Acton in Rome, recently wrote an article at Aleteia, titled ‘Freedom, Truth, & State Power: The Case for Religious and Economic Freedom.’ He begins his piece with a statement Gerald R. Ford made soon after becoming president: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
Trust in our political leaders increased around the time of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but has since receded to near-Watergate levels. Serial scandals involving, among other things, the Internet snooping on American citizens and foreign leaders by U.S. intelligence agencies, the politicization of the IRS, and more recently property rights battles in Western states between ranchers and federal agencies call into question the use – and abuse – of government power.
The growth of the modern State and the resulting distrust many have in it speak to a deeper question about the freedoms and responsibilities we have as human beings and citizens. Political and social thinkers such as Isaiah Berlin have spoken of two concepts of liberty, freedom from coercion and freedom for some kind of goal or objective. Advocates of a good society should be looking for ways to bring together these understandings of liberty. (more…)