Wisdom, in the full sense, is a matter of knowing something that is not subject to political deliberation, that is, the First Principle and Last End of all things. It includes understanding the order of all things from that Principle and to that End-an order that we, as human beings, ought to reflect and embody in our own actions and in our common life in society. The political implications of this truth have been obscured in the modern era by the errors of liberalism, which, granting human reason a false supremacy, makes of man's own deliberation the only measure of the good, even its originator. The result is that every society comes to be seen and treated as a conventional, contractual, artificial, collective egoism.
The authors whose writings appear in this volume-most of them first published at The Josias-share the conviction that there is urgent need to combat the errors of liberalism, both in the world and in the Catholic Church itself-for men cannot be truly happy unless their lives are integrated into the greater order that emanates from God. To overcome modern errors, a "broadening of reason" is necessary: we must draw upon the deepest sources of philosophical and theological wisdom, upon the deepest insights of human reason reflecting on the whole breadth of human experience, and upon the supernatural light of Divine Revelation.
This first volume of essays treats the main questions of practical philosophy: the principles of human action and the common goods of natural human communities, ranging from the smallest and most fundamental (the household) to the greatest and most encompassing (the political community). The second volume will be devoted to the relations of those natural communities to the supernatural Kingdom established by Christ.