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Friday, January 06, 2006

What is the "Stewardship of Patrimony"

“One twentieth century American conservative thinker, Russell Kirk, argued that the fundamental conservative disposition in politics is the “stewardship of patrimony.” Those are two words we don’t use everyday. A patrimony is simply an inheritance. A steward is a caretaker, like the Steward of Gondor in the movie Return of the King, who does not truly possess but simply administers on behalf of something or someone more important. Conservatives are the caretakers of a precious inheritance.

“Our inheritance…isn’t stocks and bonds. What’s more, to be stewards of an inheritance does not mean sitting back and enjoying our dividends. Think about someone who inherits a family business. She knows that her parents or even grandparents built up the business with years of hard work cultivating clients, increasing productivity through new techniques, and improving the business’s products or services. In the spirit of stewardship, she knows that she will also have to invest years of hard work and much capital, so that her own children will be able to inherit a thriving business. This is what stewardship means. All of us naturally want to bequeath to our children something more, something better, than we received from our own parents, and so we naturally want to be stewards of whatever inheritance we may have had.

“That is how a conservative approaches social and political life. We know that the good things in American life that we are tempted to take for granted are not necessarily our by nature or by chance, but are the result of the constant efforts of those who came before us. We don’t think that it is necessary to reinvent the wheel just because it’s our turn to run the business. We don’t believe we are free to experiment with the inheritance we have been given just because it’s the fad of the day. No, governing America is serious business, for we have been entrusted with the greatest enterprise in the history of the world. America not only provides for us, but also is the beacon of hope for much of the world. As stewards, our task is to secure and increase this patrimony for our children.

“Speaking in terms of our “inheritance” has a special advantage, because it helps us think, symbolically, about “capital”….We need to invest not only in our economy, but in our culture, our social interactions, our values, and the methods by which we pass all these good things on to the next generation. This is what is meant by the stewardship of patrimony…”

Excerpt from: It Takes A Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, by Senator Rick Santorum (2005).

This is truly the best description I have come across and wanted to share it with you because it’s foundational to the content, worldview, and perspective of RightFaith.

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
Yes, family is quite important, going back to the Mosaic decalogue. All children have received and inheritance from their parents, whether for good or ill, even if the children choose to ignore it.
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RIGHTFAITH: Where everything favors the stewardship of patrimony. All content is believed to be correct but may be amended based upon new information. The content of this page may be republished with proper citation without the expressed consent of the author. This site is not, in any manner whatsoever, associated with the religious philosophism from the Indian penninsula. All comments or emails to the author become the property of the author and may be published or deleted without notice or reason provided. Copyrighted 2005.

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