No, contrary to some popular belief among socialists, “money” is not a general claim on the wealth of all society. It is a way of measuring value in transactions, and can also serve as a store of value, since “transaction” can be very broadly interpreted. By reinterpreting money as a special creation of the State and a general claim on the wealth of society, private property is destroyed and individual sovereignty undermined.
And therein lies the problem.
As should be obvious from the material in this series, if the good of actual human persons is not ultimately the goal of any proposal, act, law, institution, system, or anything else, then it may not be as good as claimed, or good at all. It may be anti-human and contrary to nature, even as adherents for proposals such as the Great Reset and similar programs cite nature, the environment, Mother Earth, and humanity itself in justification.
|Sovereignty is not well understood these days|
That is why, for example, both individualism, which exalts the human being above everything else, and collectivism, which glorifies the abstraction of humanity, are not consistent with human nature. Individualism ignores human beings’ social nature, while collectivism ignores individuality, both of which are essential parts of human personality.
Sovereignty resides in human persons who have an individual and social nature as members of society, not just in extraordinary individuals alone or in humanity. The whole of society exists for the good of every person. If this is not understood, protected, maintained, and integrated into daily life and all institutions, then the common good is both individually and socially unjust, and human dignity is offended.
A society that is individually and socially just — that is oriented to the good of each human person and is therefore structured virtuously — is one that respects the dignity of everyone and does so by adhering or conforming to certain principles. These are the principles of participation, distribution, and feedback or correction.
That is, every system must be structured virtuously for every human person. Social structures are not themselves virtuous or vicious. They are structures of virtue (or vice). They can — and do — encourage or discourage people from becoming and remaining virtuous.
To be structured virtuously, a system as well as the common good as a whole must give equal access to the opportunity and means to participate in social life. There must be distribution of rewards and punishments according to each one’s inputs or contribution to specific endeavors, institutions, or all of society.
Finally, there must be some means of correcting a system when it does not function in a just manner. These principles apply to all institutions and systems within the common good, and are themselves the virtues of participative justice, distributive justice, and social justice.
At this point, however, what we want to look at is the natural and thus inherent sovereignty of the human person. As a necessary starting point, especially in the modern age, we must carefully and clearly distinguish the natural sovereignty of each and every human person, from the assumed (or usurped) or delegated sovereignty of some particular individual, group, or even humanity as a whole.
The fact that every human person is by nature sovereign under God leads us to certain conclusions. First and foremost, personal sovereignty cannot be taken away or denied without implying that those from whom it was taken are not human.
An assumption of natural personal sovereignty is built into the orthodox sects of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as pagan Aristotelian philosophy. It is an integral part of what Aquinas called “the analogy of being.” (Wojtyła, “In Search of the Basis of Perfectionism in Ethics,” Person and Community, op. cit., 47.)
“Analogy of being” is a complicated way of saying that all human beings are as human, and are human in the same way, as all other humans. It means that every human being has the “same” (The correct term is “analogously complete.” For our purposes, however, we will say “same,” with the caution that it does not mean “identical,” which would tend to collectivism and the belief that human beings are interchangeable copies of one another.) capacity to become virtuous or vicious through the exercise of natural rights.
Every human being therefore has equal natural rights to life, liberty, and private property. This necessarily implies that every human being also has the related — and equally natural — rights to:
• Participate in the institutions of society,
• Receive rewards or punishments according to his inputs, and
• Organize and correct institutions when they are flawed or not functioning properly or within acceptable parameters.
Human dignity and thus sovereignty is the basis of liberal democracy, which raises a difficulty today: what do we mean by “liberal democracy? Not surprisingly, we find that what anyone means by “liberal democracy” depends on how he understands human dignity and sovereignty — and that is what we’ll look at in the next posting on this subject.#30#