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Ten years hence

Ten Points about Government and Faith

April 21, 2006

On April 21, 2006, William McGurn (1980, BA Philosophy), chief speechwriter for President Bush, presented "Future Government and Public Policy," which included the following excerpts:  

  • Even in the midst of great change, there are always great constants. When it comes to government, this means that it will face essentially the same dilemmas tomorrow as it does today.
  • Technological advances and the government's mandate to operate efficiently will pose ongoing challenges to individual human dignity.
  • There is a parallel between Catholic social teaching, which emphasizes keeping government small and close to the citizen, and the current administration's empowerment of faith-based groups. Unleashing such efforts on the nation's most pressing social problems will make aid more individual and humane, as well as more efficient than their government counterparts.
  • The market is built in part on the philosophy of learning from mistakes. But in government, there is no room for missteps, which means politicians are quick to assign blame rather than accept accountability.
  • Government will often give up after a certain expenditure of resources. But Christians should never let failure serve as an excuse to give up on fellow human beings.
  • Religious institutions such as Notre Dame that inspire people to good and worthy ideals should also teach their graduates to carry on without succumbing to bitterness when those ideals do not seem to be bearing fruit.
  • Even in a rich, technologically advanced society, human beings have an ache to love and fulfillment that government cannot provide.
  • In a free society, government exists not to predict the future, but to allow citizens to create their own.
  • The simple virtues of faith, hope and love can provide concrete solutions to the entrenched problems in society.
  • Adherents to Catholic social teaching carry an obligation to hold America accountable to its ideals and live up to its founding principles of life, liberty and happiness.


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