Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A false idea of freedom…

"Hell consists in man's being unwilling to receive anything, in his desire to be self-sufficient ... to stand entirely on his own feet.... Hell is wanting-only-to-be-oneself."
-- Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (Ignatius, 1990 [1968]), p. 239.

"[N]othing ... is greater to one than one's self is."
-- Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (1855), no. 48.

"The wise and virtuous man is at all times willing that his own private interest should be sacrificed to the public interest of his own particular order or society. He is at all times willing, too, that the interest of this order or society should be sacrificed to the greater interest of the state or sovereignty, of which it is only a subordinate part. He should, therefore, be equally willing that all those inferior interests should be sacrificed to the greater interest of the universe, to the interest of that great society of all sensible and intelligent beings, of which God himself is the immediate administrator and director."
-- Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), VI, ii, 46.

"Even as one's liberty is not lessened by one being unable to sin, so, too, the necessity resulting from a will firmly fixed to good does not lessen the liberty, as instanced in God and the blessed. Such is the necessity implied by a vow, bearing a certain resemblance to the confirmation of the blessed."
-- Aquinas, ST II-II, q. 88, art. 4, resp. 1.

"[I]n democracies of the more extreme type there has arisen a false idea of freedom which is contradictory to the true interests of the state. ... In such democracies every one lives as he pleases, or in the words of Euripides, 'according to his fancy.' But this is all wrong; men should not think it slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution; for it is their salvation."
-- Aristotle, Politics, Book V, ix.

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