Defining Conservatism: Rebuilding Community, Rebuilding Freedom

Luke Sheahan discusses his new Heritage Report “Restoring Civil Society” where he argues that while political and economic institutions receive a great deal of attention, the social realm is arguably the most important of these three because it is more fundamental to individual development than any government or employer. Individuals are citizens and workers but central to human flourishing is the process of socialization in the family, school, and neighborhood and the continuing sustenance these institutions provide shapes human beings into the types of people who act in a politically responsible manner as citizens and thrive economically in a free market. But social institutions are not important only for what they do for the political and economic realms. A social institution is important first and foremost for what it does for itself—what it does for its members as social beings.

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