By Jacques Maritain
Few political philosophers have laid such stress upon the organic and dynamic characters of human rights, rooted as they are in natural law, as did the great 20th century philosopher, Jacques Maritain.
As this important work reveals, the philosophy of Maritain on natural law and human rights is complemented by and can only be properly understood in the light of his teaching on Christianity and democracy and their relationship. Maritain shows that Christianity cannot be made subservient to any political form or regime, that democracy is linked to Christianity, and that in order for democracy to thrive, it must reflect certain values historically derived from the Gospel.
He also argues that personalist or organic democracy provides a fuller measure of freedom and fulfillment, and that it takes shape under the inspiration of the Gospel. Even the modern democracies we have, with all their weaknesses, represent an historic gain for the person and they spring, he urges, from the very Gospel they so wantonly repudiate!
Author Jacques Maritain, a highly regarded French philosopher, teacher and writer in the 20th century, was one of the principal exponents of Thomism and an influential interpreter of the thought of St Thomas Aquinas. He lived for many years in the United States, and taught at Princeton University and Columbia University. After WWII, he served as the French ambassador to the Vatican. He also helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).