TEA Party With a Dash of Catholic Social Teaching?

Interesting article on just what should form the long-term basis of TEA Party activism from Quo Vadis:

…What is called for is an ideology that seeks to advance the cause of the common man, rather than elites, and which respects life, family and liberty.

The Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity is precisely that ideology. If a Tea Party Manifesto is created, its cornerstone should be the time-tested Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity.

In the political context, the principle of subsidiarity states that political decisions and other matters generally should be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Catechism (Sec. 1882 – 1883) clearly instructs Catholics to look to subsidiarity to protect against excessive intervention by the state which threatens personal freedom and initiative. This principle safeguards the ideals of limited government and personal freedom and stands squarely opposed to the welfare state’s goals of centralization and bureaucracy.

In the broader social context, subsidiarity stresses the importance of the common good and the values of family, life and community…

This is the time for the United States to catch up, as it were, to modern thinking. We’ve been going with a model first cooked up by 19th century social democrats crossed with Bismarckian statism. Our liberals are wedded to this antique economic and political model, but given that liberalism is about to be whacked on November 2nd, this is a good time to re-assess and figure out “where to?”.

Subsidiarity does not mean “no welfare” in the sense of no aid for the poor. In fact, aid to the less fortunate is an absolute obligation upon any society. What it does mean is that the workings of all organizations – families, businesses, churches and social welfare organizations – must be controlled at the lowest level possible. The only role the central government may have in welfare is to ensure that a dearth in one area is covered by a surplus in another – but how,exactly, such aid is to be expended must be left to the local people to figure out using their own wits and sense of mercy.

On the other hand, there isn’t much place in subsidiarity for large corporations – at least not like we’ve had them, and especially in high finance. While there are efficiencies in large corporations – such as Wal Mart – there are also problems; crushing of local economies, as well as things like ever more purchases from Third World nations at the expense of the American worker. The large corporations will have to be reigned in and the economy more geared to local needs rather than regulatory and tax ease on the part of the federal government and big business.

America was founded – by intent or by accident, it doesn’t matter – as a nation of Subsidiarity. The whole concept of sovereign States under a federal government is Subsidiarity in action. The primary government influence in the life of a citizen should be his city or county government. Only rarely should the State government come in to play, and only in times of emergency should the federal government take a hand. A properly run society is a society which runs itself, as it sees fit, and doesn’t try to create one-size-fits-all mandates upon everyone.

I do believe that the time is now for us to really consider just where we want to go. We know the model we’ve lived under for the past 80 years or so has failed. Our nation is bankrupt, our economy is devastated, our people are fearful of the future. By tapping in to the latent power and wealth of the people, we can restore ourselves to greatness – but this can’t be done as long as we’re waiting for decisions from the federal government, or a few well-connected corporate bosses in New York. It is time for the people to rule – themselves and their nation.