Acton Institute Powerblog

How Switzerland honors the Protestant work ethic and Catholic subsidiarity

In the U.S., Labor Day weekend celebrates the work ethic that made this nation the most prosperous in human history, and federalism is enshrined in our constitution. But Switzerland – so often overlooked by the West – may have much to teach us about how to honor and embrace the profound influence of the Protestant work ethic and Catholic subsidiarity.

At Acton’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website, political scientist Mark R. Royce discusses how aspects of Switzerland’s little-discussed political system can inspire those in the West seeking to create a free and virtuous society. After introducing the contours of the Swiss governmental system, his article focuses on one political party. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) forthrightly acknowledges the importance of free enterprise and limited government. But he writes that what is most striking about the SVP is that it honors, not just Christian culture, but the Christian faith itself:

“The image of society and people shaped by the Christian faith is of major importance for Switzerland’s culture and political landscape,” the [party’s program] continues. “[T]he Protestant work ethic is the foundation for an entrepreneurial and also performance-driven society … [and] the Catholic principle of subsidiarity and the stressing of the value of the individual within Creation had and continues to have a substantial influence on Switzerland and Swiss federalism.”

You will enjoy your long weekend more if you read his full article here.

(Photo credit: Artur Straszewski. This photo has been cropped. CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is the former Executive Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty.