“Both economic and religious freedom tend to exist together in the same societies,” says Jay Richards in this week’s Acton Commentary, “they are both based on the same principles; they tend to reinforce each other; and over the long haul, they arguably stand or fall together.”
By economic freedom, I refer to the social condition in which individuals, families, and associations enjoy the rule of law, respect for their rights, limited government, a vibrant civil society outside the jurisdiction of the state, well-delineated rights to private property and contracts, and broad discretion on economic matters. If it is easy to start a business; to seek employment; to hire employees without invasive dictates from political authorities, private cartels, or organized crime; to negotiate salary, benefits, and responsibilities; to have fair contracts enforced; and the like, then a society enjoys some measure of economic freedom.
The philosophical basis for religious freedom rests on the same foundation as the case for economic freedom: individual rights, freedom of association and the family, and the presence of a government with limited jurisdiction.
The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.