Tag: Principle of Subsidiarity

Learn to Love Your Region

It might be the only effective answer to Leviathan . . . and it arguably saves lives

Socialist? Liberal? Conservative? Libertarian? Anarchist?

I’m none of those things. I’m a Subsidiarist. I believe in the Catholic bedrock of political philosophy, which holds the smallest units of government ought to handle whatever they can possibly handle with interference from larger units of government.

The household ought to handle what it can, and if a problem is too big for the household, the extended family should handle it. If the extended family can’t, go to local charities, friends, and neighbors. If it’s too big for that, city government. Then county government. Then state government. Then (gulp) national government.

It’s simple in concept, difficult to apply. Indeed, it’s Quixotic to apply it to today’s political scene, DC and the state capitals have grown so powerful and overwhelming that advocacy of the principle of subsidiarity is like advocating abstinence in a whorehouse.

But there is a movement of sorts that is akin to subsidiarity. It’s called “regionalism.” It’s not political, though. It’s cultural, but if politics follows culture, a regionalist cultural movement could be huge.


Regionalism, in the words of Bill Kauffman, is “’a revolt against cultural nationalism—that is, the tendency of artists to ignore or deny the fact that there are important differences, psychologically and otherwise, between the various regions of America’ . . . When the different regions develop characteristics of their own, they will come into competition with each other; and out of this competition a rich American culture will grow.”

I used to read a lot of Richard Weaver and the Southern Agrarians. They were big fans of regionalism (along with Flannery O’Connor), but their analysis focused on the South.

Kauffman, drawing on Grant Wood and his love for Iowa (Iowa!), … Read the rest

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Your Community

There’s a localism movement afoot. People seem to sense, and perhaps even understand at some level, that it’s important to be a part of a thriving local community.

The Saturday after Black Friday is now recognized as “Small Business Saturday,” an effort to remind people that it’s important to support their local stores. There has been a corresponding harsh backlash against Amazon and its disturbing gains on the back of COVID.

The phrase “Bowling Alone” from Robert Putnam’s 2000 book about America’s alarming reduction in “social capital” has gained currency. I see it used with no explanation, since the writer just assumes everyone knows what it refers to.

More people seem to understand the importance of buying and eating locally-grown food.

The American Chesterton Society, that flagship organization for the oft-forgotten but persistent economic school of Distributism, recently declared that “Distributism” ought now to be called “Localism.”

The examples could go on and on.

If you’re interested in the localism movement, here are five things about the importance of your community that you should keep in mind.

1.            Communities are organic

“[Man] combines with other men because isolation endangers him.” Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage.

The earliest communities came together for safety. The world has bad people who will beat and rob you, unless you have protection. If you belong to a group, you have a layer of protection, hence the rise of the earliest communities.

They are, in other words, organic. No one told the first peoples, “Go live in that village together, so the marauders can’t get you.” People did it naturally. The communities formed organically, from the bottom up, with no direction required or sought from the top.

When you get involved in your community, you are living organically.

2.            Communities solve problems

“ . … Read the rest