Saturday, February 11, 2012

The HHS Mandate and de Jouvenel's Sovereignty

The wise man knows himself for debtor, and his actions will be inspired by a deep sense of obligation.”

Thus an organized religion extends itself into charitable activities and hospitals which serve not only co-religionists but all who need help.

Secundus has made willing sacrifice to finance an establishment for religious instruction.  This institution is nationalized, irreligious instruction is substituted, and the public authority requires of Secundus the continuance of his support; he must in other words, go on doing what his own judgment had once led him to do, even when his judgment has turned against it.

Yes, in the HHS mandate the institution itself isn’t being nationalized, it isn’t being forced to continue its charities and hospitals, but the above is still quite relevant given that what is being nationalized is how a institution’s people are to be compensated.  The situation is different in important respects, but I don’t think you can deny the applicability of the principle that’s being expressed.

Every man takes offense whenever, in a matter in which he once acted voluntarily in accordance with his own sense of obligation, an attempt is made to force on him a different action, based on an outside judgment.  He is conscious of injustice because, whereas his own judgment found a certain action just, the other one thrust on him seems to him unjust.  Also, he feels humiliated because it is sought to make him act in accordance with this outside judgment; this feeling of humiliation is experienced by every man of the least elevation of character, even when all that happens is that an action which he formerly took voluntarily of his own free will becomes a legal obligation—for in that case the quality of his action suffers a degradation.”

Quotes from Sovereignty, Bertrand de Jouvenel

No comments:

Post a Comment