Primer on Politics and Prudence, by Derek Rotty

WV Catholics Threaten Donations Boycott, Archbishop Caves, by Stephen Wynne
July 19, 2019
Mass Hysteria: What the Mass Is and What It Is Not, by Sam Beurskens
July 19, 2019

Editor’s note: Pictured above is “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer” painted by Rembrandt in 1653.

By Derek Rotty, Crisis Magazine, July 18, 2019

The political scene is drawing toward the center of our national consciousness (if it ever left) as Democratic presidential debates take place and the 2020 election nears. As this process happens, faithful Catholics need sound ways to think about candidates, policies, and the landscape in general.

Josef Pieper, a great twentieth-century philosopher, provides a broad but excellent definition of politics: it is “the summation of all man’s active cares about securing his existence.” This encompasses all that we see and experience in modern politics. Every political act, from public referendums, to legislative statutes, to newspaper op-ed pieces, to public protests, is ultimately about people trying to secure their livelihoods or the livelihoods of other human persons (usually those they consider weaker). Misguided as some actions may be, they have this goal nonetheless.

We live in a political age that is deeply divided. There is a deep chasm between two sides. It seems impossible to stay abreast of current affairs without being dragged into the muck and mire of the modern political scene. It feels very much like our culture has devolved into those “works of the flesh” against which St. Paul warned: “enmity, strife, [and] party spirit” (Gal. 5:20).