This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Participation and obedience

Having examined some of the parts of prudence, we must now consider prudence in the social context. Here the exercise of prudence appears in two forms—active prudence and passive prudence. The first is an expression of our responsibility to participate in the ordering of society toward the good, and the second involves the obedience and submission each of us owes to the social authority, so long as this submission does not compromise human dignity.[1] It should not come as a surprise to us that in individualistic and rationalistic ages the second form—obedience—is often ignored or rejected outright, but both kinds of prudence are necessary in order to achieve a complete picture of our subject. The man who knows how to act but not how to listen, learn, and obey, is at best half prudent.

[1] ST II-II, q. 50, aa. 1-2.

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