How Do We Build an Organic Society?

Upon describing organic society, questions remain as to how we might build such a society.

The answer is quite simple. We must do it in the same manner as our ancestors did at the dawn of this civilization. We must understand, as they understood, that it is not enough that we follow the Ten Commandments and respect the rights of the Church with all due intransigence and strictness. Above all, we must allow the institutions of society to gradually walk on their own feet.

In our case, this means freeing society from the iron gauntlet of Statist dictatorship (whether it be in its legislative or executive form). The family must be allowed to return once again to the fullness of action and influence it once reached. Professional, social and other intermediary groups that stand between the individual and the State must be free to exercise the activities necessary to fulfil their duties on their own and according to their own procedures. The State should respect everyone’s autonomy by giving every region the right to organize according to their socio-economic structures, character, and traditions. Finally, the State itself, operating within its own and supreme ambit, should exercise its sovereign power with honour, vigour and efficiency.

Someone might ask what the final result would be if these principles are respected. Would it be a return to the Middle Ages? Or would we move toward a new and absolutely unpredictable future society?

Both questions should be answered in the affirmative. Human nature is constant; it is the same in all times and places. The basic principles of Christian civilization are likewise immutable. Thus, this new order of things — this new Christian civilization we envision — obviously will be profoundly similar, or rather identical to the old one in its essential traits. Since this order is linked to God (who does not change), its principles are just as applicable in the thirteenth as the twenty-first century.

On the other hand, such a society would have many new elements. The technical and material conditions of life have profoundly changed since the thirteenth century. Nothing would be more inorganic than to ignore these changes.

To build an organic Christian society, we must take care not to make many complex plans. The founders of Christian civilization in the Middle Ages did not make such plans to reach the height of medieval civilization in the thirteenth century. They simply had the general intention of building a Catholic world. For this end, each generation gradually solved, with its own sharp insight and Catholic sense, the problems within its reach. As for the rest, they did not get involved in complicated speculation.

We must do as they did. Generally, the whole framework of this society is already known to us through history and the Magisterium of the Church. As for the details, let us go forward step by step without abstract theoretical plans drawn up in some bureaucratic office, following the Gospel maxim: “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof,” which simply suggests that issues should be confronted and tackled organically – day by day or as they arise…

– By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

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