Thursday, January 17, 2008


Michael Kruse at Kruse Kronicle has written an excellent post about the principle of subsidiarity.

Modernism has tended to offer us only two approaches through which to address human social and economic problems: Individualism and state control. Individuals and the state both have a role in addressing these problems but there is another alternative: Mulitple societal operating according to the principle of subsidiarity. What is subsidiarity?

The subsidiarity article at wikipedia gives a good short description:

Subsidiarity is the principle which states that matters ought to be handled by the smallest (or, the lowest) competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

The subsidiarity principle was first explicitly articulated as part of Catholic thinking by Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, although elements of it are present at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas.

Read it all here.

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