Pope Francis has
pointedly spoken for the poor. He has encouraged all of us to take care of our whole community and its differences but especially those suffering from want, disease, and pain of all kinds. Today I rediscovered this quotation from a Jewish philosophical and intellectual figure, noted for his advocacy for understanding the inevitable “pluralism” that allows us to live together and be free. It underlines much of the Pope’s message.
I would credit its source if I could remember it. This was “clipped” long ago:
“…[I]n a landmark 1958 essay, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin pointed out that “to offer political safeguards against intervention by the State to men who are half-naked, illiterate, underfed, and diseased is to mock their condition; they need medical help or education before they can understand, or make use of, an increase in their freedom.” For those who do not have reliable access to basic social goods, the primary enemy of freedom is not government interference but, rather, the lack of resources that are necessary conditions of valuable choice.”