Civil Societarian

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Definition

From catholic social thinker Pierpaolo Donati:

"A Civil Societarian strongly supports the institutions of civil society. These include families, corporations, religious groups, private schools, charities, trade associations, and the other peaceful, voluntary collective organizations that promote our individual and collective well-being in so far as they are relational networks. These are the civil societarian networks to which I am referring. The stereotypical libertarian might cite Ayn Rand and exalt the independent individual. Instead, a civil societarian would cite Alexis de Tocqueville, and his observation that democracy is based upon people who, whatever their age, social conditions, and personal beliefs, constantly form associations. These voluntary associations are what a civil societarian sees as the key to civilization. Government may contribute to civil society, but it also intrudes on it. The means of avoiding colonization is precisely to appeal to the principle of Subsidiarity. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's theory of the General Will serves as a good contrast to the civil societarian's view."

Source: For the Proceedings of THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, XIV Plenary Session, 2-6 May 2008. Prospects (working paper): Discovering the Relational Character of the Common Good. Pierpaolo Donati, University of Bologna and PASS