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On Ordered Liberty: A Treatise on the Free Society (Religion, Politics, and Society in the New Millennium) Paperback – July 14, 2003
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The book is well written and from the author's Australian pen flows an elegant style. . . . A final word about this edition of the book, it only merits praise. (Anuario Filosofico)
This concise introduction to the principles of the free society provides a welcome antidote to the unreflective relativism that dominates important currents of contemporary academic moral and political philosophy. Samuel Gregg's elegantly written treatise is in the best conservative liberal tradition and is studded with revealing quotations from the likes of Burke, Tocqueville, Guizot, and Ropke. In the spirit of his great predecessors, Gregg's book combines genuine attachment to personal and political liberty with an equally fulsome appreciation of the ends or purposes that inform a freedom worthy of man. (Journal of Markets & Morality)
Anyone who wants to be informed on what is at stake in current policy discussions of liberty, no matter whether they occur in a local tavern or on the floor of the United States Supreme Court, should read On Ordered Liberty> (Religion & Liberty)
Anyone who wants to be informed on what is at stake in current policy discussions of liberty, no matter whether they occur in a local tavern or on the floor of the United States Supreme Court, should read On Ordered Liberty (Religion & Liberty)
About the Author
Samuel Gregg is the Director of Research at the Acton Institute and the author of several books on morality, economics, politlcs and philosophy. He is the editor of Lexington's Studies in Ethics and Economics series.
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The first six chapters are organized by function: the first two chapters provide some philosophical background on the topic; the third chapter analyzes what people are talking about when they speak of liberty ("freedom to _____"); the fourth and fifth chapters concern how to make laws and establish a state, respectively, to preserve these rights; the sixth chapter discusses the role of nongovernmental associations and the importance of providing a check against the state's power if necessary.
Throughout these chapters, the same types of issues permeate the discussion. Does liberty carry with it a moral obligation to be virtuous and to require it of others? Is an appeal to an absolute standard of truth necessary in order to make the case for liberty? If the answers are yes, then what virtues or truths should they be? Can we rely on our human nature and capabilities as a guideline, or do we have to tailor our government to assume that left to our own devices, we will destroy ourselves? What principles do we use to mark out a position in between? Although ordered liberty is most associated with a question of designing an optimal government, this necessarily carries some assumptions about the nature of mankind, and this is not left out of the discussion.
The last chapter is a more informal and personal one, one in which the author discusses how the Catholic Church and individual Catholics should engage in the public debate, as well as the danger of having public policy expressed by people of faith disqualified because their motivations are labeled as religious in nature.
This is a good gateway book, complete with endnotes at the end of each chapter for further exploration.