Robert George Essays
He is also a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
published an essay entitled “Law and Moral Purpose” (now behind firewall), by Robert P.
Limited government is a key tenet of classic liberalism—the liberalism of people like Madison and Tocqueville—although today it is regarded as a conservative ideal.
Does belief in limited government entail libertarianism? The strict libertarian position, it seems to me, goes much too far in depriving government of even its subsidiary role.
This volume presents twelve original essays by leading natural law theorists and their critics.
The contributors discuss natural law theories of morality, law and legal reasoning, politics, and the rule of law.
the general welfare—including, preeminently, protecting people’s fundamental rights and basic liberties.
Wouldn’t this require the granting of vast and sweeping powers to public authority?
You’ve said that political morality requires (1) governmental respect for individual freedom and (2) the autonomy of nongovernmental spheres of authority. Government must not try to run people’s lives or usurp the roles and responsibilities of (1) families, (2) religious bodies, and (3) other character- and culture-forming authoritative communities.
I thought it’d be worth reprinting part of it below.
What are the obligations and purposes of law and government?
That each human being possesses a profound, inherent, and equal dignity simply by virtue of his nature as a rational creature—a creature possessing, albeit in limited measure (and in the case of some human beings merely in root or rudimentary form), the Godlike powers of reason and freedom—powers that make possible such human and humanizing phenomena as intellectual inquiry, aesthetic appreciation, respect for self and others, friendship, and love.
This great truth of natural law, which is at the heart of our civilizational and civic order, has its theological expression in the biblical teaching that man, unlike the brute animals, is made in the image and likeness of the divine creator and ruler of the universe.