The Fragility of Freedom:
Why Subsidiarity Matters
Peter Francis Fenwick
Pages: 234 pages
For thirty-five years, Peter Fenwick managed
the professional services consultancy, Fenwick Software, which he founded in
1976. Its culture is built on the principles of classic liberalism. Its
employees are granted an appropriate degree of autonomy, provided with
opportunities to grow and assume more responsibility, and encouraged to apply
their skills to help each other and to deliver value for their clients.
In 2011, Peter established an
employee-shareholder scheme and sold 75 percent of the business in equal parts
to five key staff, one of whom, 31 year-old Greg Galloway is now CEO. The firm
is thriving and the culture is being maintained under his leadership.
In The Fragility of Freedom, Peter applies
his experience to a wider canvas. He explains how the coercive and regulatory
powers of the state have been captured by powerful sectional interests for
their own economic benefit, leading to corruption in public life and crony
capitalism in business. Civil virtues have declined throughout the community with
leaders in politics, religion, business and the trade unions often abusing
positions of trust.
The Fragility of Freedom is his quest to identify what is wrong and suggest ways to put
things right. The book provides readers with a basic understanding of the
cultural heritage of our Western Civilisation - the fundamental principles of
liberty, prosperity and free enterprise. It discusses the consequences of
socialism, the welfare state, distributive justice and unsound money. Replete
with quotations from over fifty philosophers and economists, it introduces
readers to some of our great thinkers. It equips them to engage in informed
debate and to challenge conventional wisdom.
Peter recommends that the role of the state
be limited to functions that cannot be achieved by lower orders of
organisation. He proposes a moral society based on the principle of
subsidiarity in which individuals take responsibility for themselves and their
families, behaving as good citizens within their community.