The Crisis of Liberty in the West
by Ryan Anderson - Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy
The West faces a deep crisis of liberty.
- Full human flourishing is hindered by the dawning collapse of civil society and by crony capitalism and cultural cronyism.
- Natural law arguments, with their appreciation of rights and duties, provide a better framework than natural rights or utilitarian arguments for understanding economic liberty; a natural law conception of social justice recognizes the state’s role in economic justice but also requires respect for the proper authority of society.
- Globalization and new technologies are only a part of the problem.
- The solution to the crisis requires a better intellectual foundation for freedom and a renewed common understanding of what human flourishing looks like.
- The crisis of liberty in the West has its roots in an inadequate understanding of the person, deficient arguments for liberty, and the weakening of civil society.
- Reshaping civil society to support human flourishing depends on recovering an understanding of liberty as directional, as freedom for something.
- Human flourishing and economic freedom are intertwined; understanding liberty would help us to address both the economic and the moral crises facing our world today.