In 1940, on the eve of the United States entry into World War II, the late Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) published Freedom Under God. This new, annotated “Just Third Way Edition” of a neglected classic includes an in-depth foreword, as well as a bibliography and index not included in the original.
While Freedom Under God addresses the loss of true freedom throughout the world, Sheen’s special concern was freedom of religion. This is under increasing attack today. Individual life as well as marriage and the family are also in grave danger as the State continues to expand its power to fill the vacuum left by the growing powerlessness of ordinary people.
Speaking to people of all faiths and philosophies, albeit from a “Catholic” perspective, then-Monsignor Sheen traced the rise of totalitarian State power in the first half of the 20th century to the fact that fewer and fewer people in America and throughout the world owned capital — what Sheen called “creative wealth.” As Sheen argued, agreeing with other great thinkers through the ages, “Power follows property, and they who own things to a great extent own persons.” Only widespread private property in capital has the capacity to restore the foundation of true freedom.
In conformity with the precepts of the natural law on which Sheen relied to develop his thought, CESJ adds that genuine economic reform must also comply with the three principles of economic justice: Participative Justice, Distributive Justice, and Harmonic Justice. Lawyer-economist Louis O. Kelso and Aristotelian philosopher Mortimer J. Adler first described these principles in Chapter 5 of their bestselling The Capitalist Manifesto.
Sheen’s warnings fell on deaf ears. Thanks to the near-global acceptance of Keynesian economics, the wagewelfare system within a State-controlled, inflationary, debt-ridden economy is the unquestioned model for economic development throughout the world.
The world needs the wisdom of Fulton Sheen now more than ever. The republication of Freedom Under God helps introduce the work of this pivotal thinker to a new generation of readers and students.
Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom Under God, ISBN: 978-0-944997-11-6, 264 pp., $20.00
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