Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Want To Make This Clear

I studied political science as an undergraduate. Whether I learned anything is a debatable proposition, but what this area of study does is shed light on how (especially) our government works, or at least how it's supposed to work. If you study it long enough, you pick up an ingrained bias against reactionaries; you appreciate the system. You begin to understand why enemies deliver glowing tributes at an opponent's funeral. We say, "We've got a good system; we have reason to be proud, optimistic, etc."

I will never forget the day my favorite instructor put me in my place about Senator Charles Schumer. I was complaining rather vociferously about his obnoxious liberal-ness, and my instructor simply said, "Hey. Senator Schumer loves his country, and he serves his constituents well." (We can argue that supporting abortion doesn't serve anyone, but you get the idea.)

I am inclined and sympathetic to that species of person who tells everyone else to stop overreacting. Mark Shea, Alan Noble, *cough, cough*. In any event, I need to say something a bit jarring, so prepare yourself. If in fact this nation was and is the fullest expression of classical liberalism, it is doomed. It was probably doomed from the start. Classical liberalism is flawed in its very telos, the end it puts forward for mankind, whether as individuals, or in groups. Why? Because its notion of "freedom" is negative only; that is, it only concerns itself with freedom from coercion, primarily via the government. If you pardon the bad grammar, though, what is freedom for? What is the purpose for which my individual freedom ought not to be unduly limited? Here's the key, friends: If you don't posit Natural Law, which itself points toward man's destiny in union with God, it's only a matter of time before justice itself hangs by the thread of majority opinion. If "government shouldn't legislate morality," as we so often hear, it will impose its own. And a morality imposed by a government "by the people" will be as capricious and arbitrary as our vices will take us. You can't found a country that not only permits pluralism for the sake of peace, but elevates it to the highest virtue, and expect to survive.

It may do us some good to re-visit our founding documents, but it would be better to reconsider the basis of law itself. A great many people have yearned for the days when fiscal and social conservatives would re-unite. I maintain that the philosophical commitments that allowed them to separate may be the end of our society as we know it.

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