The Fragility of Freedom
Why Subsidiarity Matters
I seek a better world; one in which people are free to live their dreams in peace and have opportunities to develop their talents to the full; where virtues like responsibility, love, hope, charity, duty, prudence, justice, fortitude, thrift, diligence, industriousness, reliability, trustworthiness, courage, civility, generosity, hospitality, and honour prevail.
I spent thirty-five years of my life managing Fenwick Software, the consulting firm I founded in 1976. A culture of individual liberty prevailed. Staff were granted a degree of autonomy and responsibility for their own actions. They were given opportunities to learn and to grow. They committed themselves to applying their skills and efforts diligently in order to provide value for their clients. We succeeded in creating a culture in which young people thrived while making client businesses work more productively. My book applies this experience to a wider canvass.
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"We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis in our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those we expected."
F.A. Hayek The Road to Serfdom
The Welfare state, which aims to provide fairness and justice for all, has failed us politically, economically and morally. Benefits have not flowed to the poor and disadvantaged; they have been captured by powerful sectional interests. Indirectly, as Robert Nozick observed, it has legitimised crony capitalism. Civil virtues have declined. Leaders in politics, religion, business and the trade unions have been exposed as corrupt and self-serving; they have abused positions of trust. Promises politicians have made may be impossible to fund.
The Fragility of Freedom is my quest to identify what is wrong and to suggest ways to put things right. The book provides readers with a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of liberty, prosperity and free enterprise. It discusses the consequences of socialism, the welfare state, distributive justice and unsound money. Replete with quotations from over fifty philosophers and economists, it introduces readers to some of our great thinkers. It equips readers to engage in informed debate and to challenge conventional wisdom.
I propose a moral society based on the principle of subsidiarity in which individuals take responsibility for themselves and their families, and recommend that the role of the state be limited to functions that cannot be achieved by lower orders of organisation.