In this week’s Acton commentary, Acton research fellow, Kevin E. Schmiesing, affirms the necessity of standing up for economic and religious liberty stating these are two liberties extremely necessary for limiting government and maintaining successful opposition to totalitarianism.
A …reason for the link between [religious and economic] liberties is that both reflect at base a commitment to the limits of state power. Where, for example, a right to seek employment in whatever field an individual chooses is recognized, it is implicitly held at the same time that government does not possess the power to determine one’s profession. By the same token, where the right of a congregation to build a church or a mosque or a synagogue is recognized, it is implicitly understood that government does not possess the power to regulate religious practice by preventing the construction of places of worship.
In this way, religious liberty and economic liberty are both corollaries of the principle of limited government. Limited government in this sense does not mean libertarianism or even “small-government” conservatism. It means simply that there is a clear distinction between the state and society—that there are entities and institutions that exist prior to, independent of, or beyond the purview of the state. The state is not the sole or even primary source of guidance, meaning, or fulfillment. In other words, the principle of limited government stands in opposition to the concept of the totalitarian state.