Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Transformation

WE ALL want to be free. Humans have always wanted freedom from being enslaved, from being oppressed, from being denigrated, from war, from being starved, from being in poverty, from being violated, from having their property taken, from being killed; humans have also wanted freedom from taxation, from government power, from being married to an unattractive spouse, from being told what to do, from having their feelings hurt, from being around stupid people, from being around ugly people, from being around any people at all; some people want freedom to stay drunk, freedom to sell heroin, freedom to take what they want, freedom to brutalize anyone who annoys them, freedom to change all of society to suit their desires, no matter how much bloodshed is required.  Freedom, as commonly understood, can become the desire to do whatever.

According to the Church, freedom is an integral part of the human person, due to our being made in the image and likeness of God. But, Who is like God?  Not us, if we are in a state of sin, which is a rejection of the Good, the Commandments of God, and the laws of nature. Sin, we are taught, is a form of slavery which limits our freedom. We cannot be free if we are bound by sin. For this reason, the transformation of society is a perilous matter: traditionally, virtue and sanctity of individuals was critical to a good society, for even maintaining the status quo is difficult under the best of circumstances.

But Man, some say, is above the moral order, and God has no place in the world. But the object of the intellect is truth, and the object of the will is goodness: if truth and goodness are rejected, the intellect and will still operate, but in a disordered fashion. The result of placing Man above the moral order is chaos.

Please consider the following interrelated chains of events, all set in motion due to man's desire to be free from the bounds of the higher moral order:
  • Rejection of objective philosophy - doctrine of sola fide, 'faith alone' - wars of religion
  • Machiavelli's Prince - Absolutism - Slavery
  • Creation of Church of England - dissolution of the monasteries - poverty rates soar
  • French Revolution - mob violence - Reign of Terror
  • Industrial Revolution - emptying of the countryside - urban squalor - Communism
  • Abolition of trade guilds - economic centralization - state-sponsored monopoly - politically created shortages
  • Mercantilism - Irish potato famine - a million dead
  • Failed European Revolutions of 1848 - German Radicals emigrate to the United States - American Civil War
  • Italian nationalism - Italian unification - Mussolini and Fascism.
  • German Romanticism - Kulturkampf - Naziism - millions dead in the Holocaust
  • Darwin's "survival of the fittest" - Social Darwinism and scientific racism - eugenics, euthanasia, and genocide
  • Overthrow of Russian monarchy - Bolshevik Revolution - Gulag - tens of millions dead
  • Cartesian philosophy - mind-body dualism - Existentialism - Suicide as a leading cause of death
  • New Deal - Great Society - Dissolution of black families
  • Subjective art theory - conceptual art - the masses seen as 'philistines' - Brutal and iconoclastic state-sponsored art
  • Repudiation of Classical music by the elite - critical acceptance of Dionysian music such as Blues and Rock - "Death Metal" and Gagster Rap music - increasing violence among the youth
  • "Spirit" of Vatican II - rejection of Humanae Vitae - a million abortions per year in the U.S.
  • Legalization of casino gambling - development of casinos directed by the State - great increase in poverty, bankruptcy, and imprisonment of gamblers
  • Idolization of youth culture - values-free education - largest prison population in history
  • Back-to-Nature movement - Environmentalism - "Population wars" kill millions
  • Culture wars of 1990s - "Gay Marriage" - Obama candidacy for President - ???
The "Liberal paradox" states that it is impossible to organize a society that simultaneously guarantees unbounded freedom of thought and action, equality of opportunity or outcomes, and political liberty.  The end result of liberty, when it is placed above the moral order, is tyranny and death.

10 comments:

  1. You know, Mark, I totally agree with the general direction of your essay and especially with its conclusions.

    You might want to edit your list of exemplar causal chains. More than one is either stretched, simplistic, or erroneous.

    Don't undercut a good argument.

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  2. Irene,

    You get what you pay for! Give me a cushy office, with room, board, and tenure, and then each statement will be footnoted with extensive references. Even my footnotes will have footnotes.

    In my mind, the most tenuous link is between environmentalism and population wars. Few folks admit to being in favor of letting people kill each other because its good for the environment, but I've seen it. But this can be easily inferred from their first principles.

    The thesis that German Radicals sparked the American Civil War is not my idea, but comes from a history professor correspondent. He states that the Radicals viewed the conflict as a revolution, and not as a war between the states, and to them it was a continuation of the revolutions of 1848.

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  3. Mark, I am descended from some of those German Radicals. From personal experience and family history I can tell that at least in Texas those Germans were opposed to the war, as they were to slavery, and did not view it as a revolution, much less a continuation of 1848.

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  4. Ironically, the motto of one of our Ivy League institutions (the U of Pennsylvania) is "Leges sine moribus vanae" (Laws without morals are useless.)

    And yet we find ourselves in this distressing day and age with academic institutions that preach selfish individual "expression" without regard to others -- and with no notion of service and self-sacrifice.

    I'm reminded of the wisdom of Archbishop Fulton Sheen who once reminded the dislocated 1960s culture that Freedom should not simply be a liberation *from* something--true Freedom is freedom *for* something, namely the God for whom our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.

    Blessings.

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  5. Mark I have one! Protestant Work Ethic....Selfish Me First Government....the largest theft in history by Republicans running our Banking System!!! You may have converted to Catholism but you are still a selfish self centered Protestant!! I agree that the Democratic Party has some serious flaws but Catholics have been duped by the Republican Party and it Catholic Hating evangical wing! Wake UP! I am A Catholic Voting for Obama!

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  6. Puma, I think that you may be misreading me. Regarding the current banking crisis, blame can be spread around to all in power, including the Democrats who encouraged sub-prime lending, as well as Republicans who wanted bank deregulation. Personally, I am for keeping the banks small, local, and well-managed, as well as charitable programs for helping the poor stay in their homes - separate from the normal banking system.

    The Protestant Work Ethic comes from the health and wealth gospel, which assumes that prosperity is a sign of God's favor and salvation, and which also assumes that the sick and poor are necessarily damned. Obviously, this is a heresy, as is the social gospel which makes opposite assumptions.

    I am not voting for Obama, because he strongly supports the culture of death, is seeking a vastly increased centralization of power, and is likely to erode the freedom of the Church.

    At one time the Democratic Party was the party of Catholics and southern segregationists, while the Republican Party was for progressive Protestants. Much has changed since the 1960s.

    I agree that many Catholics have a poor understanding or outright rejection of the social doctrine of the Church, and many Catholics have a poor understanding or outright rejection of the theological and moral doctrines of the Church. American Catholics in general are extremely conditioned by the culture, and orthodoxy is regrettably rare.

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  7. Irene, the German Radicals in Missouri took up arms in private militias in favor of the Union, and were key players in the Camp Jackson Affair.

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  8. Mark, the protestant work ethic was preached much like talk radio from protestant pulpits in underhanded support of the aristocracy in America.....it was a lie, just as much of what is spewed by the likes of Fox TV and the Rush Limbaughs of the world do day after day. The protestant work unethic was used to drive workers to work an 80 hour week in the belief that they must work their way to riches...it was a lie then as it is today only echoed in the anti labor speak of today!! As to banking my father was a banker as was my grandfather and as I am today. I am one of the very few bankers who is a democrat. I have believed in and have a been a proponent of small community minded banks my entire life...Republicans had much to do with its undoing! You have been duped by the right to believe that making loans to the poor is a bad thing. It is the rate and terms that drove the vast majority of those loans into default. Republican dominated Wall
    Street took a very moral and ethical idea of home ownership and proceeded to RAPE the poor and undereducated!!!! Let me suggest that you watch Its A Wonderful Life this Christmas season so you can see what was intended and what was almost destroyed by Mr Potter ie the entire Bush family and their ruling class of theives!!!!

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  9. Perhaps the mainstream media is also full of lies in favor of Obama. The ruling class also includes Democrats, who are opposed to true local democracy, and who rather favor centralized demagoguery. Also, don't forget that there are plenty of extremely wealthy Democrats who wish to rule society to their benefit.

    I am all for local business and local political control of public institutions. You can't get good service like you can get when directly dealing with a business owner. At one time, local school boards had real power, but this has been usurped by the states and the federal government.

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  10. Ok who owns the so called mainstream media?I suggest that you research the political persuation of the owners. Anyone who gets their information from one news source is guilty of not practicing good citizenship! Lincoln would not recognize his party nor would Jackson....but I am proud that the Democrats have nominated Barack Obama. The nation has had enough old, cynical and visionless government. Under recent Republican presidencies we have fought three wars.... and a very small minority of people and families have been asked to sacrifice a thing! A nation has been divided into Blue and Red, we need real change!

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