Not ready for monarchy?

In the wake of America’s Iraq misadventure, it became common to state that the problem with democracy exportation is that some countries just aren’t ready for it, that there are preconditions to a “free”, “democratic” state:  a sufficiently large middle class, weakened tribal affiliations, low nepotism, high “social trust”, an extensive non-governmental “civil society”, secularization, or whatever.  In making these claims, democracy-believers make themselves look reasonable while securing their core beliefs from scrutiny.  The very manner of phrasing presupposes that democracy is the one intrinsically desirable form of government, that it is the one toward which all peoples are evolving, and that if democracy doesn’t work well with a given people that just means there’s something wrong with them.

Let us pose the question, “Is it possible that some peoples are not ready for monarchy?”  Just posing the question, you see, is more important than any answer, because it reframes the debate.  Monarchy, rather than democracy, is the presumed normative end state.  Yet I am a moderate monarchist, not some rash neomonarchist adventurer who would go around toppling republics by force of arms when the local conditions are not yet right.  America, for instance, is at a rather primitive level of social development, and it’s not clear that she has the resources to maintain a regal society.  Monarchy, after all, has preconditions.  The bourgeoisie must not be overly dominant; rather one wants a healthy plurality of power among social classes, including a vigorous nobility and clergy.  Religion should be strong and of the sacramental sort, so that people are attuned to symbolism and respectful of tradition.  There must be a type of “social trust” that harbors no paranoid fear of authority, so that authority can become properly visible and responsible rather than concealing itself behind impersonal procedures.  There is nothing novel here; Montesquieu argued at length that each type of government has its own associated virtues.

In fact, most monarchies, like most republics, are imposed and only become organic features of their societies later, so if one really wants a particular form of government, I’m not sure that imposing it whenever the opportunity arises isn’t still the best policy.  However, I would like to try the “not ready yet” on a republican sometime:

“I’m a monarchist.”

“That’s crazy!”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I realize that some countries, like the United States, aren’t ready for monarchy yet.  I wouldn’t want us to have a monarch before we reach a high enough level of social development.  I am a moderate and pragmatic fellow.”

168 Responses

  1. Brilliant, another awesome tool in my Trollbox!

  2. Brilliant! Just brilliant!

    As to the actual question, I tend to think that if there were some particular society, such as Ancient Rome, that had a long tradition of non-liberal and otherwise good* republican government, that the republican system should be maintained, out of deference for tradition and wanting to avoid an unnecessary occasion for novelty. But that in most cases, including our own, monarchy should be established whenever possible.

    I would note that every well functioning republic in history that I’m aware of, had a nobility, in other words it was organized in a fundamentally monarchical fashion, with the republican superstructure being the exception.

  3. I long for a healthy hierarchy. I feel battered and broken, surrounded by constant micro-aggressions of forced equality (each of which is a crime against God, nature, and humanity).

  4. Blaming democracy’s failures on the backwardness of the people is one of the founding principles of American government:

    http://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/reframing-policy-failures-an-american-tradition/

  5. […] Source: Throne and Altar […]

  6. I don’t know if concept of “high level” or “low level ” of social organization is relevant or even what it means.

    But what is clear that monarchy implies a peculiar paternal relation of an individual (the king) with his subjects.

    “a man should rule his wife politically, his children monarchically and his slave despotically”
    Quoted in CS Lewis-Preface to Milton’s Paradise Lost (quotation from Aristotle, Politics).

    In a republic, the relation of the ruled and the ruler is of equality. The citizens are all friends and brothers.
    “in a republic, the friends rule and are ruled in turns”– the idea is from Politics again.

    Again, another option is imperial rule which is some (chemical) mixture of
    monarchy and republic. An empire is a republic of kingdoms.

    It certainly seems that the genius of American people excludes monarchical option. The required paternal relation is impossibly distant from popular imagination.

  7. It certainly seems that the genius of American people excludes monarchical option. The required paternal relation is impossibly distant from popular imagination.

    I’ve gotten blank looks from Christians when I point out the incongruity of being an anti-monarchist yet in the Kingdom of God.

  8. Walter Bagehot thought Monarchy the easiest of all governments to establish.

    “The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is, that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other. It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations. The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know, and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, “Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?” the inquiry comes out thus — “Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?” The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, “Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?” The French people said, “We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.””

  9. […] and the coercive authority of the Church, with seconds; musings upon whether the United States are ready for monarchy; and some deep thoughts on the seemingly shallow subject of Disney Princess(es): “The […]

  10. Wow, a feudalist. Greeting, stranger. Socialists wanted a slave society; you want to turn the majority of people into serfs. Alright, this is already progress. Answer this, Mr. Progressive: are you a bombing conservative? Are war and foreign interventionism your things?

  11. Dmitry,

    1. You could have feudalism with either serfdom being predominant, or with most or all people living on a noble’s land being free, in the juridical sense.

    2. We reactionaries don’t generally support needless war.

  12. There is no necessary connection between feudalism and monarchy.

    As Lord Acton pointed out, “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”

    The love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism often go together

  13. Anyway, with the “throne and altar,” we had the priests justifying the crimes of the state; and the state keeping the priests happy with its loot. But that’s not the present arrangement. The intellectuals have replaced the priests, claiming that the depredations of their employer are “for the greater good” or “for our own good” and so forth. Are these court intellectuals not good enough? What is the advantage to the state of recapturing the Vatican, of reconnecting the church to the itself?

  14. Michael,

    Quite true, it’s not kings they hate, it’s what kings symbolize.

    Dmitry,

    Can you justified either of these assertions, that the priests justified the crimes of the state, and the state payed off the priests?

  15. Look in the Bible. Or as Suetonius names his chapters: “Julius Caesar [etc.] (afterwards deified).” Islam sanctions conquests, thereby making the state’s predation easy. The failure of the Eastern Christian church of making positive influence is due almost entirely to its tight connection with the state. The Catholic church, of which I am a member, though not guiltless, did much better in this regard.

    The church throughout history aggrandized the state, while the state corrupted the spiritual message of the church with its unrelenting unjust violence.

    As a libertarian, I am adamantly against any sort of theocracy. Moreover, it is wicked to seek to prohibit free discussion of ideas and ideologies.

    Still not sure why the author would want to regress from capitalism to feudalism. Did the Internet get him down? Economic progress too fast? We still live in a semi-feudal society, by the way; for example, taxation is a feudal atavism; it has virtually no place in a fully capitalist economy.

    Regarding political systems:

    Aristotle considered democracy to be a corruption of “commonwealth” which is presumably a society imbued with brotherly feelings and eschewing parasitism and exploitation of minorities by majorities as a way of governing. (1241b30) Otherwise, without goodwill, democracy is, indeed, two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.

    He also lists tyranny as a corruption of royal rule, and oligarchy as corruption of aristocratic rule.

    We can now arrange the systems in the following pattern: the legislature should represent the entire commonwealth; the executive branch is royal; and judges, though they may be private professionals, i.e., not on the payroll of the government, rule as an aristocracy.

    Thus, monarchy may be permissible, provided only (1) separation of powers, (2) that the executive king is only third among equals, and (3) local government, so that we’re dealing with the king of a _city_ or similar small association: http://dmitrychernikov.com/blog/?p=16648

  16. Monarchy, slavery, and feudalism are independent concepts. They have nothing intrinsically to do with each other. They have existed apart and in every combination at various times.

    Anyone who is an orthodox Catholic must accept the doctrine of the social kingship of Christ, meaning (among other things) he must reject Church-state separation and libertarianism.

    In any case, a ruling power must always act according to some vision of justice and human flourishing. Neutrality is not an option. We monarchists and Catholics simply believe that the state should act according to truths about justice rather than falsehoods.

  17. 1. Yes, I agree that monarchy, if rightly implemented, can co-exist with any of capitalism, feudalism, and slavery. I’m glad you do not endorse feudalism.

    2. Preposterous. Church-state separation is the best thing that ever happened to the Catholic church. And have you ever heard of “My kingdom is not of this world”? Furthermore, I’d even go so far as to say that calling Christ “our Lord” is, too, a feudal artifact. How about “our CEO” or “Master” a la the bumper sticker “My boss is a Jewish carpenter”?

    You can have my libertarianism if you can pry it from my cold dead hand.

    3. What you are saying then is that monarchy will tend to “act according to truths about justice” more than a commonwealth or aristocracy or the combination of all three, as I described it, would, is that right? Why?

  18. I see now. I suppose we can retain “our Lord” if I am correct that monarchy, suitably limited, is compatible with laissez-faire capitalism.

  19. I was of course referring to Catholic priests, not the Orthodox.

    1. I most certainly endorse feudalism, and I’m pretty sure Bonald does as well. I would even say that having a nobility is more important than having a king.

    2. The Church has repeatedly and in the strongest terms condemned the notion that the state and Church should be separated. Consequently it cannot be rightly held by any Catholic.

    So you’re a libertarian first, and a Catholic second? Is that correct?

    Here are some examples of such condemnations, although it would be practically impossible to list all of them:

    “Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.” – Vehementer Nos

    “55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church.” — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852. – condemned

    3. On a local level, any of the forms is functional. But on a larger than city-state level, only a system with a nobility is functional, and monarchy is the logical conclusion of this.

  20. Monarchy may be compatible with laissez-faire capitalism, but Catholicism certainly isn’t.

  21. “… a wrong is done when government imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other means, the profession or repudiation of any religion, or when it hinders men from joining or leaving a religious community.” — Declaration on Religious Freedom

    What you are, ArkansasReactionary, is not a Catholic but a Puritan, having “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. … Show me a Puritan, and I’ll show you a son-of-a-bitch,” as Mencken observed.

  22. 1. Only the declarative parts of a declaration are magisterial.

    2. See the fourth paragraph of that document.

    3. Even if it were magisterial, what you quoted has nothing to do with anything that’s been discussed in this post or the comment thread.

    4. Since you’ve decided to resort to personal attacks and changing the meaning of words, it’s clear that you have run out of actual arguments, if you ever had any. Now you’ve currently mad e two such attacks, calling Bonald “Mr. Progressive” and me a Puritan. I’m guessing that soon enough communist or socialist will be coming as well, maybe even Nazi or fascist, and of course you’ll still have no idea what any of these mean.

  23. Am I to assume you still want an established and state-funded church? American (or most other country’s) politics, an arena full of filthy politicians, crony capitalists, the welfare state, the enormous war machine, all to be united to the holy Catholic church. You are truly mad, my friend.

    Alright, if you are not a Puritan, then what are your objections to laissez-faire? What’s wrong with peace and prosperity?

    Do you realize that going back to feudalism means abandoning industrial civilization and, because the necessarily primitive feudal production system could never support the existing population, the death of most of the human race?

    An environnmentalist complaining that humans are a “disease” on the face of the earth would surely find you a useful political ally.

    Oh, on a larger than city-state level, _no_ government is necessary, useful, or legitimate.

  24. Perhaps you’ll want to replace the entire federal government with a single monarch. That is extremely naive. In Mises’ words, you are “blinded by the chimerical image of a perfect chief of state. This man, no less benevolent than wise, would be sincerely dedicated to the promotion of his subjects’ lasting welfare. The real Führer, however, turns out to be a mortal man who first of all aims at the perpetuation of his own supremacy and that of his kin, his friends, and his party. As far as he may resort to unpopular measures, he does so for the sake of these objectives. He does not invest and accumulate capital. He constructs fortresses and equips armies.”

  25. You might counter that my first post describes democracy with Catholicism, and my second post describes monarchy without Catholicism. Neither are workable.

    But: monarchy with Catholicism, you would continue, can work on the federal level in the US. The pope will restrain Obama, and Obama will empower the Church to bust up heretics.

    I find this vision exceeding unpersuasive and unattractive.

  26. “Am I to assume you still want an established and state-funded church? American (or most other country’s) politics, an arena full of filthy politicians, crony capitalists, the welfare state, the enormous war machine, all to be united to the holy Catholic church. You are truly mad, my friend.”

    I would have most of those things done away with, but yes, anything which ought to exist ought to be in support of the Catholic Church. State funding is not necessary, although a good King would probably make some donations to the Church.

    “Alright, if you are not a Puritan, then what are your objections to laissez-faire? What’s wrong with peace and prosperity?”

    Laissez faire allows people to engage in immoral business practices, paying unjust wages, charging usury, overpricing, etc.

    “Do you realize that going back to feudalism means abandoning industrial civilization and, because the necessarily primitive feudal production system could never support the existing population, the death of most of the human race?”

    No I don’t realize that. If it’s true then you can support it.

    “Oh, on a larger than city-state level, _no_ government is necessary, useful, or legitimate.”

    Why, might I ask?

    “Perhaps you’ll want to replace the entire federal government with a single monarch. That is extremely naive.”

    No, there would need to be ministers, preferably nobles.

    “But: monarchy with Catholicism, you would continue, can work on the federal level in the US. The pope will restrain Obama, and Obama will empower the Church to bust up heretics.”

    Obama isn’t a Catholic monarch.

  27. I posted this earlier today on a more mainstream conservative website, and I think it’s relevant to the interloper here:

    “This is why I came to the conclusion after some years with the Ron Paul crowd that libertarians are little better than their Leftist co-heirs of the Enlightenment. They resort to the same type of name calling anti-reason (for all their vaunted talk of “reason,” “enlightenment,” and “progress”) that Leftists use. You think a country should place restrictions on immigration, or even that it has a right to? You’re a nativist. You think we should occasionally intervene against terrorists? You’re a neocon warmonger. You believe people shouldn’t be allowed to peddle cocaine from a street cart at your local farmer’s market? You’re a fascist. You get the picture. There is no argument over reason. There is just the vaunted axiom that all must adhere to, and if anyone dares think it doesn’t cover every ethical situation imaginable, then they must be some kind of demented Nazi.”

    Now, this was related to some libertarian comments about the immigration controversy that is ongoing in mainstream American politics, but the same sentiments apply equally to Mr. Chernikov’s rants about monarchy, feudalism, laissez-faire capitalism, church and state, etc. No sooner than when ArkansasReactionary predicts, does Mr. Chernikov immediately allude to Hitler.

    Let’s try to reason with Mr. Chernikov:

    “Am I to assume you still want an established and state-funded church? American (or most other country’s) politics, an arena full of filthy politicians, crony capitalists, the welfare state, the enormous war machine, all to be united to the holy Catholic church. You are truly mad, my friend.”

    Now, I’m an Anglican, so I do not presume to speak for the Roman Catholics who represent the opinion of this blog, but I most certainly support the establishment of the Church by the state. Now, is there a logical point here? No. Even presuming the American government was the most filthy cesspool to ever blot the face of God’s Green Earth, that in no way diminishes the duty of civil leaders to acknowledge that Christ is King and then support the Church in her mission. See Psalm 2 and Isaiah 49:23, amongst multitudes of others. Consider that the United States would not be so morally perverse if she put Christianity at the center of her national life.

    The call of the Great Commission is not to grab a bunch of random followers before the whole world melts down, but to “disciple the nations.” The Bible talks much about nations, their heads and rulers, and speaks of them in a corporate nature. Nations are moral persons, and all moral persons should uphold their moral duties, the chief of which is to honor God. To not honor God (and, by extension, His Church) is to violate the first principles of the law.

    “Alright, if you are not a Puritan, then what are your objections to laissez-faire? What’s wrong with peace and prosperity?”

    I would call this a loaded question, but that would be unfair to loaded questions. This so blatantly begs the question, it hardly bears pointing out, but I do for the sake of libertarians reading this who think they have some kind of slam dunk here. For one thing, Puritans were generally pretty laissez-faire economically, especially for the day. Mind you, the Plymouth group that experimented in primitive socialism was a group of radical Separatists, not mainstream Puritans. In any case, laissez-faire capitalism would hardly equate to “peace and prosperity” for a principled opponent of it (I know you are accusing all of us who oppose libertarian tripe of being unprincipled troglodytes, but I hope fair-minded people might not see it that way). Many of us just don’t find the minimum wage to be the most consummate evil of modern times, sorry. Some of us aren’t entirely thrilled by the idea of unregulated mega-corporations either. Without at least some bare-bones regulations, I would be just as afraid of Google as I would be of the US Government.

    “Do you realize that going back to feudalism means abandoning industrial civilization and, because the necessarily primitive feudal production system could never support the existing population, the death of most of the human race?”

    Neo-feudalists acknowledge that you cannot have a 1:1 implementation of Feudalism in modern society. Neo-Feudalists, reactionaries, and other fellow travelers are less concerned about the economics of the whole situation than the human factor. Feudalism to them does not represent a means of production, it represents a society in which people have an acknowledged role to play in the community. Many of us are disturbed by the completely uprooted, unsettled nature of the modern economy and wish for a closer tie between economic activity and the family like there was under Feudalism. Something that lets people know that they have a place in a traditional social structure is what us crazy sympathizers with Neo-Feudalism and distributism are after.

    “Oh, on a larger than city-state level, _no_ government is necessary, useful, or legitimate.”

    One reason I am no longer a libertarian is because it logically leads to anarchy. Take the next step if you wan to retain some rationality here: If the NAP is true, then there should be no government at all.

    “…blinded by the chimerical image of a perfect chief of state. This man, no less benevolent than wise, would be sincerely dedicated to the promotion of his subjects’ lasting welfare. The real Führer, however, turns out to be a mortal man who first of all aims at the perpetuation of his own supremacy and that of his kin, his friends, and his party. As far as he may resort to unpopular measures, he does so for the sake of these objectives. He does not invest and accumulate capital. He constructs fortresses and equips armies.”

    As if this has anything to do with traditional monarchies. This is even more ridiculous than the fools I’ve seen trying to equate the Kim regime in North Korea with traditional monarchies. It’s laughable. To Christian Monarchists, the monarchical form of government is preferable because it better represents the fact that authority flows from God on high down. God gives the King certain powers, and that trickles down to his ministers and officers down into society. Christianity gives a very hierarchical structure of authority in the Scriptures (is there any other real kind of authority?).

    Monarchies aren’t totalitarian dictatorships either. Some of us would support parliaments or some such council to go with the king. Even without that, there are other centers of power that have the ability to oppose a mad king. You can have a monarchy with different centers of power so as to limit the ambitions of the occasional madman on the throne.

  28. Dmitry, we have strict rules of decorum here (https://bonald.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/new-blog-policies/), so I warn you that comments making personal insults will be deleted.

    The claim that Church-state separation (meaning atheism as the established religion, because there always is one) has been good for Catholicism is obviously absurd. The Church flourished for over a millennium as an established religion and has been brought to the brink of extinction in the two centuries since the Revolutions.

    I realize that these short replies we’re giving you won’t address all the questions and objections you might reasonably have. If you have the time (and I certainly understand if you don’t), I’ve tried to lay out the case for communitarianism and monarchism in some of my essays, especially:

    https://bonald.wordpress.com/the-conservative-vision-of-authority/
    https://bonald.wordpress.com/in-defense-of-censorship/
    https://bonald.wordpress.com/in-defense-of-monarchy/

  29. > Laissez faire allows people to engage in immoral business practices, paying unjust wages, charging usury, overpricing, etc.

    You really have no clue how the market economy functions, do you?

    > I called Bonald “progressive,” because as compared with slavery and socialism, feudalism is an improvement. Being a tax-serf is better than being a slave.

  30. > You think a country should place restrictions on immigration, or even that it has a right to? You’re a nativist. You think we should occasionally intervene against terrorists? You’re a neocon warmonger. You believe people shouldn’t be allowed to peddle cocaine from a street cart at your local farmer’s market? You’re a fascist. You get the picture. There is no argument over reason.

    Well, aren’t you just a sober moderate reasonable perfectly-normal-thank-you-very-much pillar of society.

    Alright, you have encountered libertarians who seemed fanatical. Yes, some are less bright and disciplined than others. But these are purely political disagreements between you and me. You misunderstand my question. ArkansasReactionary asserted that Catholicism “certainly” isn’t compatible with economic freedom. I called him on that, asking what the specifically _Catholic_ objections to laissez-faire are. His reply made no sense. So: the Church has no position on immigration or cocaine. If I oppose the Drug Prohibition, and you support it, then we can discuss this subject without dragging religion into.

    > I most certainly support the establishment of the Church by the state.

    What shall be done with those who would prefer to establish a church different from your own?

    > the duty of civil leaders to acknowledge that Christ is King and then support the Church in her mission.

    It does not follow from the fact that even the filthy politicians ought to acknowledge Christ that a Christian church must be established and tax-financed.

    > Consider that the United States would not be so morally perverse if she put Christianity at the center of her national life.

    That “she” ought to put Christianity at the center of her national life does not entail an official church, either.

    The Church will be corrupted by politics and will lose its independent authority to influence public opinion and through that, restrain the state. The Church’s power to promote Christian faith and morals will diminish if it is joined at the hip with the state. At the same time, Obama will be able to claim that his new bombing campaign is divinely sanctioned.

    > In any case, laissez-faire capitalism would hardly equate to “peace and prosperity” for a principled opponent of it … Many of us just don’t find the minimum wage to be the most consummate evil of modern times, sorry. Some of us aren’t entirely thrilled by the idea of unregulated mega-corporations either.

    Once again, we disagree on politics: you suggest that free markets will fail to yield maximum human happiness. You are free to voice this opinion, but what has it to do with Christianity?

    > Neo-Feudalists… are less concerned about the economics of the whole situation than the human factor. Feudalism to them does not represent a means of production, it represents a society in which people have an acknowledged role to play in the community.

    A rigid, ossified status society then, where no economic progress takes place? Where a man’s destiny is assigned to him at birth? Where one is pointedly shown his place in the scheme of things if he wishes to seek happiness in unapproved ways?

  31. “What’s wrong with peace and prosperity?”

    It was Disraeli who taunted the Manchester School, with their slogan of “Peace and Prosperity,” amid a staving people and a world in arms.

  32. “blinded by the chimerical image of a perfect chief of state. This man, no less benevolent than wise, would be sincerely dedicated to the promotion of his subjects’ lasting welfare”

    For many thoughtful defenders of monarchy, the opposite is true. As Pascal argued, “The most unreasonable things in the world become most reasonable, because of the unruliness of men. What is less reasonable than to choose the eldest son of a queen to rule a State? We do not choose as captain of a ship the passenger who is of the best family.

    This law would be absurd and unjust; but, because men are so themselves and always will be so, it becomes reasonable and just. For whom will men choose, as the most virtuous and able? We at once come to blows, as each claims to be the most virtuous and able. Let us then attach this quality to something indisputable. This is the king’s eldest son. That is clear, and there is no dispute. Reason can do no better, for civil war is the greatest of evils.” (Penséss 320)

  33. “ArkansasReactionary asserted that Catholicism ‘certainly’ isn’t compatible with economic freedom.”

    ArkansasReactionary perhaps doesn’t equate laissez-faire with “economic freedom.” Implying that your opposition is somehow in favor of an intense bureaucratic regulatory regime because they do not believe any and all economic behavior is acceptable is just a straw man. Regardless of whether Catholicism is compatible with laissez-faire economics, Christianity in general is certainly incompatible with economic anarchy.

    “The Church will be corrupted by politics and will lose its independent authority to influence public opinion and through that, restrain the state. The Church’s power to promote Christian faith and morals will diminish if it is joined at the hip with the state.”

    Doubtful. The Church had more influence over public morality precisely when it was established. Are you really going to argue that public morality is better today than, say, 1680? A stretch at best. Furthermore, we are not advocating Bishops become toadies for the political establishment. An officially established religion would be an alternative center of power, and one with an official stamp of approval as it were.

    Also not that all of the great creeds of the early Church, and many thereafter, were written at councils called by the state. If you are against state involvement with the Church, you should probably stop reciting the Nicene Creed.

    “It does not follow from the fact that even the filthy politicians ought to acknowledge Christ that a Christian church must be established and tax-financed.”

    Isaiah 49:23:

    And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

    “Once again, we disagree on politics: you suggest that free markets will fail to yield maximum human happiness. You are free to voice this opinion, but what has it to do with Christianity?”

    It has to do with Christianity in that Christianity acknowledges principles of justice that are fundamentally incompatible with an atomistic libertarian individualist economic paradigm. You can’t just separate Christianity from politics because Christianity is reality, and it does not have the same view of the human being as the individualist libertarian.

    “A rigid, ossified status society then, where no economic progress takes place? Where a man’s destiny is assigned to him at birth? Where one is pointedly shown his place in the scheme of things if he wishes to seek happiness in unapproved ways?”

    And how is that a logical demand of Feudalism? Medieval societies simply were not this ossified. Ossification was at least as much a result of the technology of the time as the Feudal structure. You simply did not have that many options beyond your little village, but social movement and economic progress did occur. Under feudalism, Europe built the foundation for dominating the entire rest of the world for 250 or so years: Hardly the legacy of an economic backwater.

    What about moving the family closer to the center of economic activity is against economic prosperity and progress? I’m merely saying that people have social duties, and these social duties should be acknowledged in law. I’m a fervent supporter of Common Law, so I would not say this should be laid down in some kind of exhaustive code, but that these things should be determined on a case-by-case basis based on fundamental principles laid down in Scripture (most clearly in the Law of Moses).

  34. > Furthermore, we are not advocating Bishops become toadies for the political establishment.

    In this case, it does not matter what you are advocating, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Your good intentions are commendable but hardly decisive.

    You did not reply to another problem: the vicious fight and possibly civil war that is sure to follow about _which_ church is to be established.

  35. Bonald, regarding your essay on censorship,

    You theory of collective action violates the scientific _method_ of individualism and is to that extent inadequate. E.g., as per Mises, “It is uncontested that in the sphere of human action social entities have real existence. Nobody ventures to deny that nations, states, municipalities, parties, religious communities, are real factors determining the course of human events. Methodological individualism, far from contesting the significance of such collective wholes, considers it as one of its main tasks to describe and to analyze their becoming and their disappearing, their changing structures, and their operation. And it chooses the only method fitted to solve this problem satisfactorily.”

    Now I write on my blog that libertarian tolerance means that morally objectionable practices, such as homosexual sex, are not punished by force of law.

    It does not mean that one needs to approve of or champion those objectionable practices.

    The libertarian argument is not that there shall be no such thing as social pressure, but that vices are not crimes and are not to be suppressed by government violence.

    We both may judge cultural Marxism to be a celebration of ugliness. The remedy for that is not putting Marxists in prison but for each good individual to affirm and create beauty. I agree that “the collective opinion has definitely turned from chastity to licentiousness” and that it is a pity that it happened. You still can’t physically assault an advocate of licentiousness, _including_ via the mediation of the state.

    If you can’t grasp a moral point so basic, then you are not a just man and cannot, at any rate, be allowed to seize the reins of power.

    It is true that the scientific enterprise is rule-bound. You claim that censorship is one of the rules for finding truth in other areas of human life, because people are volatile, are easily swayed by emotion, and are tempted to inject their personal experiences into their arguments. But what makes you exempt from these failings? I sense that you are not just a monarchist; you want _yourself_ to be king, censoring others.

    Here you are using the capitalist Internet and libertarian freedoms to defend policies at odds with both. Perhaps the free society does contain in it the seeds of its own destruction, because it permits the formation of a leisure class of intellectuals, both left and right, whose main passion is to denounce capitalism and liberty.

    People’s opinions differ as to what constitutes the sacred. “One snickering guest can destroy the atmosphere of solemnity at a wedding or a funeral.” You can throw such a guest out, if the premises on which the wedding takes place are your own private property, but you again cannot have him arrested. You confuse the morality of an action with its legality. Not all “immoral” actions need to be dealt with by the police.

    You continue: “I realize that European governments have the same imperative as all governments: to maintain their own legitimacy. If a state can’t do this, all is lost.” All is not lost; and much is gained. It is part of the libertarian enterprise precisely to de-legitimize states, to reveal them for what they are: organized gangs of thieves and murderers. To entrust the preservation of morality to those guys is surely grotesque.

  36. >You really have no clue how the market economy functions, do you?

    Your lack of an argument is noted.

    >ArkansasReactionary asserted that Catholicism “certainly” isn’t compatible with economic freedom. I called him on that, asking what the specifically _Catholic_ objections to laissez-faire are.

    And I responded, that it is the same as objections to other forms of liberalism, that the state cannot justly tolerate injustice.

    >The Church will be corrupted by politics and will lose its independent authority to influence public opinion and through that, restrain the state.

    This seems to be the basic problem of libertarianism, that it rejects the actual experience of real societies in favor of thought experiments about how things “should” work.

    >You theory of collective action violates the scientific _method_ of individualism

    Individualism is not “scientific”.

    >We both may judge cultural Marxism to be a celebration of ugliness. The remedy for that is not putting Marxists in prison

    If allowed to run wild, revolutionaries will eventually win, by appealing to the baser parts of man’s nature. Thus the need to silence them.

    >You can throw such a guest out

    Not without using force.

  37. “All is not lost; and much is gained. It is part of the libertarian enterprise precisely to de-legitimize states, to reveal them for what they are: organized gangs of thieves and murderers.”

    How can a Christian claim this in light of Romans 13:1-7:

    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    I Peter 2:17: Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

    Matthew 22:21: They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

    The state has legitimate authority that comes to it from God. To oppose the state and her legitimate authorities is to oppose God’s Ministers, and therefore God Himself.

  38. Nathan, suppose for the sake of argument it is true that “the state has legitimate authority that comes to it from God.” Does this tell us anything about what _kind_ of state there ought to be?

    Did God authorize:

    the government of the city I live in?
    the sheriff’s office?
    state government?
    federal government?
    the division of powers?
    the vast American war machine?
    the uses of this machine actually made in the recent past?
    aggressive or peaceful government?
    capitalist or socialist government?
    big or small government?
    government that censors people or government that respects free speech?
    government that prints money or government that uses free market money?
    government with a standing army or without one?
    democratic or authoritarian government?
    private judiciary or government judiciary?
    government that feeds Christians to the lions?
    government that bombs countries “into Stone Age”?
    every policy of every government that ever existed?
    … ad infinitum

    Suppose then I say that only free market and private property rights-recognizing local governments, appropriately limited, are legitimate. I thereby abide both by the Bible, bad at political philosophy though it is, and libertarianism. One need not be 100% anarcho-capitalist to be a libertarian.

  39. I wonder how many bishops we honor as saints were a part of that terrible church-state morass.

  40. Marissa, I don’t know how many, but there would likely be more of them if the church were even more perfectly separated from the state.

  41. The Bible _can_ be decent: witness 1 Sam 8:10-18, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: …”

    Or take a look at king Herod who lies: “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him,” (Mt 2) instead wanting to kill Him.

  42. That some rulers have done wrong does not invalidate that they are rulers.

  43. That should be provable. I think you won’t like the results, as not too many saintly bishops have come from the atheistic church-state separation model. In fact, a lot of bishops have probably gotten in hot water espousing the Americanist heresy. I recommend Quas Primas and Rerum Novarum, encyclicals that put to rest any thought that one could be a libertarian and a Catholic, no matter how nifty Thomas Woods seems.

  44. Marissa, here’s what Mises affirms of libertarianism:

    “Liberalism is rationalistic. It maintains that it is possible to convince the immense majority that peaceful cooperation within the framework of society better serves their rightly understood interests than mutual battling and social disintegration. It has full confidence in man’s reason. It may be that this optimism is unfounded and that the liberals have erred. But then there is no hope left for mankind’s future.”

    Catholicism is a faith. It _builds on_ reason. But that includes _all_ reason, certainly philosophical proofs of God’s existence but also economic laws.

    Moreover, libertarians welcome the support that many religions offer to their ideology. For example, if it is true that “you shall not steal,” then you shall not steal even by using the government. If it is true that “you shall not kill,” then you shall not kill even as a government soldier, allegedly “serving his country” but in fact using stolen taxpayer money to murder foreigners. “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Mt 5:18) Libertarians apply the same moral standards people use in civil and religious society to the state. No government employee is above the natural law.

    At any rate, I do not want so much to _separate_ church and state as to _destroy_ the state and free the church to preach the Gospel unmolested.

  45. An evil act does not cease to be evil just because the state performs it. The state is not a convenient tool for people to sin without consequences.

  46. We’re fully aware that you can come up with some version of libertarianism that is compatible with and even supports libertarianism. That’s not the point. The point is that the actual Catholicism, that is the actual religion which exists today and existed in the past, as opposed to some Protestant rabbit hole of what the Bible really means, is not compatible with your ideology.

    You have resolved this conflict by changing your Catholicism. You should resolve it by changing your ideology.

  47. Marissa, consider the following quotes from Bastiat, an important economist:

    “The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

    “But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

    All the looting is done legally through the machinery of state. Even if the human killer instincts have been dulled or at least rerouted in civil society, one still finds it expedient to use the state to pillage and plunder. Somehow, any crime perpetrated via a government loses its immediacy, poignancy, and evil character and becomes a banal status quo.

    This is one of the things that libertarians say needs to stop.

    Separation of church and state is an intermediate measure that protects the church from the temptation to use state violence for its own ends even with “good intentions” and denies the state the ideological and religious cover and gloss for its misdeeds.

    Ultimately, if governments are at the most local and highly limited, then I see no particular reason to worry about a town or business firm or private charity “establishing a church.”

  48. “some version of libertarianism”

    This should say Catholicism.

  49. The law defines what belongs to each person.

  50. Dmitry, I’ve been cured of libertarianism (and atheism and feminism). I’m well aware of Mises and Hayek and they’re rather empty (and not Catholic). We are to render unto Caesar what is his, and currency was the given example, which is why your assertion that taxation is theft is ludicrously anti-Christian. I’m not sure why you think quoting a couple liberals would be persuasive to those here, like myself, who reject liberalism. Reread and answer Nathan’s post and then take a trip over to Zippy Catholic (on the blog roll at the right) and type in “liberalism” in the search bar.

    As a side note, I must say I’m a bit Burkean at heart. It’s one of the ways I was led to the Church. If I were to become a Christian, how could a neglect the only Church that existed for a millennia and a half (that didnt teach heresies regarding Jesus’s existence or allow divorce)? And that colors my perception of everything–how am I to reject the natural systems which helped build Christendom, and accept liberalism, which is simply a continuation of the long cry of “non serviam!” that stretches back to the Protestant Revolt?

  51. Marissa, _what_ exactly belongs to Caesar? Suppose your absolute monarch orders you to squeal like a pig, while he rapes your behind. Are you required to submit? If not, why not?

  52. 1. Bonald, another note on censorship: A scientist who violates the rules of scientific inquiry risks only ruining his reputation. If he fudges the data or falsifies experimental results or lies, he’ll be ejected from the scientific community. No scientist will speak to him; no journal will publish him; no university will employ him. This is Ok, because there are no property rights in reputation. Reputation is how other people think of you. You don’t control that.

    What you propose with censorship is very different. It is not enough for you that the church condemn an idea; or even excommunicate a person; you want the heretic imprisoned and tortured and even murdered, thus violating his natural rights. This is deeply immoral.

    2. The reason why Congress can make positive law is that it is a deliberative body.

    The reason why a judge can discover natural law is that a judge is the best kind of person, a member of the natural aristocracy or elite, i.e., a wise man.

    But the king is generally neither intelligent nor wise. He just an enforcer, a warrior. As a result, he is manifestly incompetent to make law.

  53. The surest practical foundation for wise positive law is the traditions of the country.

    Since the King would possess office solely by virtue of tradition, he would be most inclined to ensure minimal deviation from this, and thus the best laws.

  54. > you want the heretic imprisoned and tortured and even murdered

    Your reading comprehension skills are astounding. Where did I say anything like that?

    Such is the way of all anarchists: because you can imagine an unjust law or a bad ruler, you reject authority itself. Except that authority is a basic condition of communal life, so you must smuggle it back in through the back door. Property is itself a creation of authority, itself a form of authority. It exists only by the coercive power of the community, and it is itself a form of power. This is just not obvious to libertarians because they strip property from half its social role–the responsibility of property owners–and reimagine ownership according to their caricature of the state as a sort of unlimited despotism, only one that they approve.

  55. Bonald, surely it is implied. You would have censorship laws on the books which would be enforced by the coercive actions of the state. The state is primarily a tool of punishment. I expect that the dissenter you are persecuting will be imprisoned or otherwise physically harmed. Please explain how it can be otherwise.

    > Except that authority is a basic condition of communal life

    Well, first, I don’t live in no commune; I live in a city. Second, local governments may be permissible; there is no such thing as cosmic justice of a purely voluntary society as anarchists would desire it.

    This is the sense in which the government is a “necessary evil.” The very injustice in which the state is conceived is a memento mori to us citizens, a source of fully reasonable weltschmerz. Still, let justice be done, unless the heavens fall.

    > Property is itself a creation of authority, itself a form of authority.

    Yes, my property entails my authority over it if _justly acquired_. The state, however, has no just property. Everything it has it obtained by violent spoliation of the people or, if say it prints money, via fraud.

    For you, the state is a magical device, wherein what is a sin when committed by an individual is somehow not a sin when committed by a state.

    > they strip property from half its social role–the responsibility of property owners

    That really is outrageous. Private property owners, entrepreneurs, in a capitalist economy are bound to serve the consumers in the best way they can. If they fail, they’ll lose their businesses and be relegated into the rank of laborers. Property in the means of production is not a privilege but a social liability, forcing each owner to be super-responsible with it, using it for the benefit of society and the consumers.

  56. Marissa, _what_ exactly belongs to Caesar? Suppose your absolute monarch orders you to squeal like a pig, while he rapes your behind. Are you required to submit? If not, why not?

    No need for womanish hyperbole. Straight from the mouth of God is the fact that paying taxes is a fact of life, for currency is the purview of Caesar. No one is required to submit to a sinful act and no authority on earth has the right to command sin or to engage in it. One might even say one has a duty to resist another’s sinful act–at least through word if not deed–in order to keep the sinner from damning his soul.

    Fellow Orthospherans can note the same language used by the liberal was appropriated by the feminists. “Submit to my husband? Then he’ll rape and abuse me!” Never mind that the vast majority of husbands will never do such a thing. As Zippy would say, women love bad boys because men love bad boys, and liberal men are the ultimate bad-boy lovers.

  57. The state is not your husband, Marissa.

    First, currency is not “the purview of Caesar.” Government control of the money supply is not an improvement over commodity money. It is not a better mousetrap; it is worse – much, much worse; a sign of degenerate – anti-intellectual and immoral – times. Purely private monetary systems have existed; are far more efficient; and may make a comeback in the future; witness Bitcoin.

    Second, if rape is a sinful act, why not taxation? Both are coercive. I might even prefer that Obama bang me in the ass once to paying the taxes to him.

    But suppose for the sake of argument that taxation was permissible. How much should the taxes be? 2% of your income, as my town sets it; or 50% (or close to it) as the feds set it? Or are you willing to accept and submit to _any_ government, no matter how oppressive?

  58. > I expect that the dissenter you are persecuting will be imprisoned or otherwise physically harmed.

    You could say this about any law. You support property rights, so I expect the thieves you are persecuting will be imprisoned or otherwise physically harmed.

    > For you, the state is a magical device, wherein what is a sin when committed by an individual is somehow not a sin when committed by a state.

    Is it “magical” to say that it’s right for me to punish my children but wrong for someone else to? No, for things like taxation which any sane person realizes is not inherently sinful, whether the act is sinful or not depends on the authority of the actors.

    > Private property owners, entrepreneurs, in a capitalist economy are bound to serve the consumers in the best way they can. If they fail, they’ll lose their businesses

    Your society only addresses people at the level of self-interest. Most people find that degrading. Civil society is a valid part of a society, but it can’t be the whole.

    By the way, I appreciate your efforts to productively and politely engage us here.

  59. Alright, for my sake, answer this, Bonald: do you countenance separation of powers and ideas like federalism, interposition, nullification, local law enforcement; or are you theoretically in favor of absolute monarchy over the entire world?

  60. By the way, Bonald, if I am “insane” for objecting to taxation, then you have an authoritarian personality. 🙂 Let’s not psychoanalyze each other.

  61. I think I may have pinpointed the source of your errors, Bonald.

    First, your power to punish your children stems not from the fact that they are _your_ children but from the fact that you have children living in _your house_. As long as they choose to live on your property, they must obey your rules. Every day, the children face the choice whether to run away from you and try to exist on their own or to endure your punishments. When a child does leave your house, you no longer have any authority over him. Or would you demand the right to beat up even your adult children who live on their own and even have their own families? You can threaten to deny them their inheritance, but that’s pretty much the only incentive you can supply.

    Second, Obama is not my daddy. Even the father has no right to kill his children, yet the state goes to war all the time, murdering millions at will. The relation between the state and the citizen is not the familial relation at all. Whatever authority the state has over the citizen is not the authority of the father over his child.

  62. Dmitry, can you provide any sort of Christian evidence to back any of this up? I suspect not because you have lacked any so far. You keep making these libertarian arguments when we do not accept these sorts of axioms, and Christian Scripture and Tradition is rather dead set against them. For starters:

    “First, your power to punish your children stems not from the fact that they are _your_ children but from the fact that you have children living in _your house_.”

    This is simply bunk. As St. Paul tells us:

    “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”

    This is a universal dictate: To honour and obey your parents. It has nothing to do with whether or not you live on their property. We are to honour and obey them simply because they are our parents. Notably, this is the same root from which the authority of governments derives. They are integrally related, which is why many of us Christian Reactionaries are so in favor of monarchy and the aristocracy, as those governments derive from patriarchs. A king is, in many ways at least, simply the national patriarch.

    “Every day, the children face the choice whether to run away from you and try to exist on their own or to endure your punishments.”

    The children have zero right to run away from their parents before they reach adulthood. Even when they reach adulthood, they have no right to “run away” (i.e., abandon all family obligations), though this might be unenforceable practically.* This is not because of the pragmatic considerations of the child: The parents have, not the right, but the imperative duty to seek out a runaway child and bring them home, by force if necessary.

    Libertarian implications on children are counter-intuitive and, ultimately, irrational. It is simply utterly unworkable in any world besides the modern West, if that. It is the type of principle developed by a group isolated from the harsh realities of eking out a meager existence from day-to-day. It is so out of touch with basic survival scenarios: Do you really think it would be responsible for parents in frontier Montana to let their children run away because of the Non-Aggression Principle? This means certain death in such scenarios. If the cold or animals do not get to them, the thirst or hunger will.

    You must admit: If it is acceptable for parents to wield force in this case, then the Non-Aggression Principle is, in principle, broken. If that is the case, it is not useful as an ultimate ethical axiom as libertarians use it, since there are moral principles at least superior to it. This is not to say that the use of force must be accepted everywhere, even in any case that involves a superior against an inferior. Parents’ duty to discipline their child did not prevent Paul from saying “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

    Sometimes, we simply have to do the hard work of ethics to dig out and balance different factors in different scenarios, and submitting all ethics to the idea that it is never acceptable to initiate force winds up with, dare I say it, delusional conclusions that only the most hardhearted amongst us would ever really apply. This is not to say it’s free reign to start beating people if you get a badge, but clearly there must be some middle way because neither end is any more appealing than the other from an ethical point-of-view armed with the priorities of a Christian: The way of life, as the Didache puts it. An atomistic libertarian country would simply embody many things that destroy the wholeness of life for people.

    *I have difficulty describing anything fundamentally immoral as a “right.” I might support religious toleration to varying degrees on occasion, but that would not make it a “right” to adopt heterodox theology or praxis. I might not support the government cracking down doors to investigate whether fornication is taking place, but that would not mean I would describe fornication as a right. In fact, I generally don’t like “rights” language in general, but I accept it on some fundamental notions like a “right to life.”

  63. Yes, children ought to honor their father and mother; that does not entail that they have no right to leave their parents’ property and live on their own, thereby affirming their essential adulthood, _at any age_.

    > A king is, in many ways at least, simply the national patriarch.

    I would laugh with contempt at any crazy person who decided to call himself “national patriarch.”

    > The parents have, not the right, but the imperative duty to seek out a runaway child and bring them home, by force if necessary.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree here.

    > Do you really think it would be responsible for parents in frontier Montana to let their children run away because of the Non-Aggression Principle?

    Yes, because a child obviously would not _want_ to run away from home in those circumstances, because he would realize that he would die. If, however, he is determined to prove himself an adult under non-extreme conditions, then the parents lose all coercive authority over him. The Non-Aggression Principle is alive and well.

    And enough with the “atomistic” libertarianism already. Libertarianism prohibits unjust use of force against other people’s person and property. “A robs or kills B” is not a “relationship” between A and B that brings them into a community. Libertarianism welcomes both mutually beneficial trade, as A exchanges with B, _as well as_ love, which, as per St. Thomas, involves union and mutual spiritual indwelling of the lovers, as friends are members of each other. In that case A is half B’s soul and vice versa, all perfectly libertarian and affirming of true community.

    Oh, and there is no right to life; only right not to be killed by another person.

  64. “Oh, and there is no right to life; only right not to be killed by another person.”

    I’d say that, but this is just wrong. You don’t have the “right not to be killed by another person.” Sorry, but if you point a gun at somebody, you can be killed, thus you have no “right” as you are defining it. This is why I don’t like rights language generally. The only reason why I accept certain notions is because they are bywords for more fundamental truths. The right to life is a byword, at least in the Pro-Life community, for the dignity of the human being and their life.

    “Yes, because a child obviously would not _want_ to run away from home in those circumstances, because he would realize that he would die. If, however, he is determined to prove himself an adult under non-extreme conditions, then the parents lose all coercive authority over him”

    You say yes, but you seem to be saying no. So, it’s not the height of moral turpitude to let your child wander off into the wilderness in some demented quest to prove his manhood?

    “The Non-Aggression Principle is alive and well.”

    Only by arbitrarily deciding for someone else that they aren’t in their right state of mind. Who are you to decide when a child wants something or not? Sounds like a use of force to me! But anything for the axiom, you know. Not anything for Jesus’ saying “Render Unto Caesar,” but anything for some arbitrary man-made ethical notion that makes no sense save in the little bubble behind the city walls. Libertarianism is a competing religion to Christianity.

    “And enough with the ‘atomistic’ libertarianism already. Libertarianism prohibits unjust use of force against other people’s person and property. ‘A robs or kills B’ is not a ‘relationship’ between A and B that brings them into a community. Libertarianism welcomes both mutually beneficial trade, as A exchanges with B, _as well as_ love, which, as per St. Thomas, involves union and mutual spiritual indwelling of the lovers, as friends are members of each other. In that case A is half B’s soul and vice versa, all perfectly libertarian and affirming of true community.”

    Thomas Aquinas: The Closet Ludwig von Mises.

  65. Rousseau has a very perceptive observation on the limits of state authority: ““Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign [the People] is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.”

    His remedy for this state of affairs is well known: “In order then that the social compact may not be an empty formula, it tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence. In this lies the key to the working of the political machine; this alone legitimises civil undertakings, which, without it, would be absurd, tyrannical, and liable to the most frightful abuses.”

    He finds an unlikely ally in Scalia J: “You protect minorities only because the majority determines that there are certain minorities or certain minority positions that deserve protection. Thus in the United States Constitution we have removed from the majoritarian system of democracy the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and a few other freedoms that are named in the Bill of Rights. The whole purpose of that is that the people themselves, that is to say the majority, agree to the rights of the minority on those subjects — but not on other subjects.”

  66. > By the way, Bonald, if I am “insane” for objecting to taxation, then you have an authoritarian personality. 🙂 Let’s not psychoanalyze each other.

    Fair enough. I withdraw the insult.

    > does not entail that they have no right to leave their parents’ property and live on their own, thereby affirming their essential adulthood, _at any age_.

    Good God. Trying very hard not to make it again. It may indeed be true that we’re just arguing from incompatible ultimate premises, and there’s no way to reach agreement.

    > Oh, and there is no right to life; only right not to be killed by another person.

    I like this. “Rights” are really an incomplete way to refer to duties. (They say who the duty is owed towards, but don’t specify who is bound by the duty.) A right not be be killed by another person much more transparently means that everyone has a duty not to kill you, and the state has the duty to criminalize the attempt. There are, of course, other life-related duties, such as the duty of parents to care for their children and the duty of hospitals to provide emergency treatment to anyone, but these usually go by the name of other rights rather than falling under a “right to life”.

  67. > do you countenance separation of powers and ideas like federalism, interposition, nullification, local law enforcement; or are you theoretically in favor of absolute monarchy over the entire world?

    Yes. I am generally in favor of local government as a means to preserve local culture. Distributists have suggested that this might best be accomplished by severely restricting the ability of the federal government to tax. Parental control of schools should be nearly absolute. Separation of powers is a separate issue, but I defend a version of it in my Defense of Monarchy. I expect our disagreements are more on the level of theory.

  68. “Yes, children ought to honor their father and mother; that does not entail that they have no right to leave their parents’ property and live on their own, thereby affirming their essential adulthood, _at any age_.”

    Including two year olds.

    “Yes, because a child obviously would not _want_ to run away from home in those circumstances, because he would realize that he would die. If, however, he is determined to prove himself an adult under non-extreme conditions, then the parents lose all coercive authority over him. The Non-Aggression Principle is alive and well.”

    What if he wanted to anyway?

  69. “Parental control of schools should be nearly absolute”

    Indeed. While the Church gives the faithful guidance on many political issues, public policy regarding education is to my knowledge the only area where canon law itself gives guidelines on what the faithful should support.

  70. The separation of Church and State is UNASHAMEDLY anti-traditional. It is a half-baked notion invented during the Enlightenment designed to eventually stop Christians from governing themselves.

    For a future Reactionary state, the Church and the Sovereign are ‘co-equal’ branches of the governing of peoples, each with a sphere of responsibility that contains duties.

    I am not for archaic versions of monarchy (at least not initially), but a slightly altered formula based around ideological zealotry rather than hereditary bloodline, that is the autocrat is a zealot and in caring for his legacy will appoint someone as zealous as himself to the position of power.
    An elite priestly class, the clerics, should control the judicial responsibilities of legal enforcement, and be a ministry between the Church and the Sovereign, serving the autocrat’s desire for law and order, under the Moral supervision of the Church.

    This has been talked about by Traditionalist thinkers for centuries. The state and the religion of the people are symbiotic, the connection to the Divine Realm being the axis of the state. Is there room for abuse? Of course there is, which is why extreme moralism should be encouraged at the priestly level. We need those destined for the roles of priests, clerics, and ecclesiastic judges to be raised in an environment that fosters a devoutly pious ‘new man’. It should be remembered that when the Church and State were separated, all that happened was the State assumed all the authorities that once belonged to the Church… and then they abused them even more recklessly. How is this a good thing? If you are interested in diffusing power correctly to different authorities to keep a check on abuse, you should be in favor of Church/State relations being close. The same stands true for fathers, who as heads of household ought to have a form of political standing (so long as they own property and are not destitute). In fact, I am toying with the idea of strictly limiting these benefits of standing to fathers only, rather than just men of age in general.

    As for feudalism, I am unsure of how this would be implemented in an initial stage, perhaps over a great span of time. I do believe in a relatively free market with no favors being granted by the state to certain businessmen they like, however strict controls on ‘media’ content are a must, all things published and broadcasted. After this experience with the cancer of Modernity, it cannot be allowed to go unchecked should it arise again.

    With regard to tolerating other religions, I simply reject this. It is not wicked to do so, and I am not calling for death by stoning for apostates. I simply view the religion as the backbone and locus of society and therefore if you reject that locus, you cannot really be in the society (due to a litany of concerns). I favor exile in this instance. If you don’t like the religion and don’t believe in the Son, then you are free to leave. We’ll open the door in the wall and you can travel to another state or live in the wilderness.

    Schools in the modern sense of the word should cease to exist. Instead, the entire economy should be overhauled to support a structure of children entering the craft and trade of their parents who educate them, along with small privat academies as well as the Church itself to a limited degree.

    This system sacrifices the large amount of diverse employment opportunity (kids don’t get much of a choice in what they do) but is in total keeping with Tradition, protects children’s minds from undue heteronomic influence, creates a craft legacy that can be passed down as valued, and also frees up state resources for other projects.

  71. Yeah, aye-aye, cap’n. Let’s start the insanity.

  72. I mean, I see you’ve got your utopia all figured out, Mark. But don’t feel satisfied; you need to map it out in more detail: what houses people shall live in; what clothes they shall wear; what computer operating systems shall be permitted and which, forbidden; and so on.

    After all, feudalism is inevitable: you can’t turn back the clock! More work by “Traditionalist thinkers” (though why think when you can just refer to the “tradition”?) is urgently needed to bring back the glorious Reactionary state. Don’t forget to put the boot on though, you know, the one that will be stamping on a human face forever.

  73. This last post of yours doesn’t seem to actually make a point, it seems more of a pointless rant.

    Having a complete idea of how society should function does nit require dictating where every individual should live.

  74. A couple of posts violating the comment policy have been removed together with responses to them.

  75. I admit I got carried away, Bonald. You see, isn’t it enough that _you_ set me straight? There is no need for a _national_ patriarch.

    Anyway, again, you guys are funny, and I love you, even though your theocratic politics ain’t my cup of tea. Even the occasional nods to the free market some of you have made on this thread are in my view incompatible with your ideology.

    It almost seems like you think the meaning of human life is to obey the proper authorities.

    I think that no man should shrink from exploring the variety of good and evil for himself and making an informed choice of the good. It is counterproductive to try to protect people from themselves.

  76. Even the occasional nods to the free market some of you have made on this thread are in my view incompatible with your ideology

    The first intelligent remark you’ve made on this thread.

    Don’t forget to put the boot on though, you know, the one that will be stamping on a human face forever.

    Right and when its American “patriots” and French revolutionaries or Hayek in Pinochet.regimes that massacre and deport people are okay so long as they do it for freedumb.

  77. It is the point of living to seek and possibly find happiness, not robotically obey the State + Church bureaucrats. Society, constituted on the principles of laissez-faire, serves each individual’s search for his own happiness in a way that cannot be surpassed.

    However, as per Mises, “If it is true that government derives its authority from God and is entrusted by Providence to act as the guardian of the ignorant and stupid populace, then it is certainly its task to regiment every aspect of the subject’s conduct. The God-sent ruler knows better what is good for his wards than they do themselves. It is his duty to guard them against the harm they would inflict upon themselves if left alone.” I find this a monstrous vision, though.

  78. Mr Chernikov

    Mises was virtually quoting from a speech delivered by De Tocqueville to the National Assembly on 12 September 1848: “There is one thing which strikes me above all. It is that the ancien régime, which doubtless differed in many respects from that system of government which the socialists call for (and we must realize this) was, in its political philosophy, far less distant from socialism than we had believed. It is far closer to that system than we. The ancien régime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the citizens were weak and feeble beings who must forever be guided by the hand, for fear they fall and hurt themselves. It held that it was desirable to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom [qu’il est bon de gêner, de contrarier, de comprimer sans cesse les libertés individuelles], that to secure an abundance of material goods it was imperative to regiment industry and impede free competition. The ancien régime believed, on this point, exactly as the socialists of today do.” (My translation)

    Conservatism has always been dirigiste; laissez-faire is the cardinal doctrine of liberalism

  79. I don’t think anyone here is interested in Mises quotes – your own arguments are of far more value to the conversation.

    The state is not your husband, Marissa.

    No one has said so – I compared the liberal rebellion against rightful authority to the feminist rebellion against rightful authority. One proceeded from the other. And it seems to be all about pride.

    First, currency is not “the purview of Caesar.” Government control of the money supply is not an improvement over commodity money. It is not a better mousetrap; it is worse – much, much worse; a sign of degenerate – anti-intellectual and immoral – times. Purely private monetary systems have existed; are far more efficient; and may make a comeback in the future; witness Bitcoin.

    I don’t really care about anything other than “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar; or shall we not give it? Who knowing their wiliness, saith to them: Why tempt you me? bring me a penny that I may see it. And they brought it him. And he saith to them: Whose is this image and inscription? They say to him, Caesar’ s. And Jesus answering, said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’ s, and to God the things that are God’ s.

    Clearly the issuing of currency and the expectation to pay tribute (tax) are under the authority of Caesar, by the words of God himself. Do have anything to say to that? It doesn’t matter whether you or I like to pay taxes or use the currency which Caesar demands us to use, we are commanded by God to obey our rightful authority.

    Second, if rape is a sinful act, why not taxation? Both are coercive. I might even prefer that Obama bang me in the ass once to paying the taxes to him.

    Taxation is approved by God, see above. Coercion is not the basis of immorality. A man can coerce his wife not to leave the house and he has the authority to do so (though in this country, the state has recently decided to override this authority). A man does not sin by exercising his authority in a coercive manner.

    Also, I’m not sure why you’d want to engage in sodomy, a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, rather than do what God commands us to do – render under Caesar.

    But suppose for the sake of argument that taxation was permissible. How much should the taxes be? 2% of your income, as my town sets it; or 50% (or close to it) as the feds set it? Or are you willing to accept and submit to _any_ government, no matter how oppressive?

    I’m not the authority, so I don’t set the tax rates. Obviously everyone would like to live under a tax rate which allows them to provide for themselves. It’s important to remember it wasn’t Christians who rose up in rebellion against the taxation of Caesar in the 1st century.

  80. Michael, that is a wonderful find, ty. A small difference is that Mises here is talking about government interference with consumption, such as banning drugs or books, and de Tocqueville in this quote may be more concerned with interference with production, such as banning _manufacturing_ of drugs and books. Both have similar effects, though.

    Left-liberalism is corrupt past redemption; so, laissez-faire is the cardinal doctrine of libertarianism instead.

    Rothbard, too, pointed out that “Pessimism, however, both short-run and long-run, is precisely what the prognosis of Conservatism deserves; for Conservatism is a dying remnant of the ancien régime of the preindustrial era, and, as such, it has no future.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/03/murray-n-rothbard/why-conservatives-love-war-and-the-state-2/

  81. Marissa, let’s try again. Consider a society consisting of two people: Smith and Jones. They decide they need a king and taxes. At the beginning Smith says, “I’m not the authority, so I don’t set the tax rates. I don’t know what the tax rate should be.” Jones declares likewise. Then Smith is elevated to the status of king by whatever process, and suddenly he knows the correct tax rate, while Jones is still ignorant! If Jones rather had ascended to the throne, the _he_ would have magically learned the proper amount of tax, and Smith would instead have remained the ignorant peasant that he was. Why does obtaining royal status instantly confer knowledge?

    Or maybe you think that the “correct” tax rate is _whatever, anything at all_ that the king imposes, be it 2% or 50%, and the serfs are never to complain?

  82. By the way, Marissa, as recent police scandals have amply shown, if a cop can kill you without suffering any real consequences, then even perfect submission to his will in an encounter does not guarantee safety from summary execution. The same goes for submission to your absolute monarch. Today you’re just an anonymous serf; tomorrow the monarch decides to entertain himself by declaring you enemy of the state and burying you in a dungeon for the rest of your life.

    And what are you going to do about that?

  83. I mean, given that “coercion is not the basis of immorality,” Marissa.

  84. De Tocqueville would certainly have included Protectionism, which is a check on consumption, whether tariffs or bounties are the chosen method of producing the same result.

  85. Dmitry,

    It’s not that the king is wiser than the subjects, he simply has the responsibility for setting tax rates.

    And imprisoning people without just cause is immoral.

  86. Yes, I understand your position that the king sets tax rates. Does every tax rate, from 1% to 99%, demand mindless obedience from the people?

    > And imprisoning people without just cause is immoral.

    That’s an independent judgment that will not be permitted under your own favored system. You keep complaining about the immorality of tyranny, and the king will have you arrested and imprisoned just for that.

  87. “That’s an independent judgment that will not be permitted under your own favored system. You keep complaining about the immorality of tyranny, and the king will have you arrested and imprisoned just for that.”

    My favored system doesn’t involve people being imprisoned without just cause, so no.

  88. Very well, what institutional limitations on the power of the king do you envision?

  89. Custom, tradition, the Church, the nobility, etc.

  90. Here’s what I mean, for example: Would a subject be able to sue the king, if he believes himself unjustly imprisoned, and be set free by a judge?

  91. Unjustly imprisoned how? Be specific, was there any sort of trial etc.

  92. I’m simply asking whether the judicial branch of the state, however you constitute it, will have any authority to check and balance the executive king. For example, do you countenance habeas corpus?

  93. The king (or perhaps the king together with a council of nobles) would be the highest secular judge in the country. I approve of the judicial ability to have plenary authority to hear complaints and issue injunctions against unlawful action, including false imprisonment, although a superior cannot be judged by an inferior.

  94. “I’m simply asking whether the judicial branch of the state, however you constitute it, will have any authority to check and balance the executive king. For example, do you countenance habeas corpus?”

    Thinking in three branches terminology isn’t likely to get you very far here. The king’s authority is, first and foremost, judicial if we use that terminology. His primary job is to interpret law and custom and see that they are upheld, and that is a judicial function. This is why the kings of ancient Israel had to copy the law. His executive and legislative authority are secondary to this chief end. There is no supreme judicial authority to compete with the king.

    I think this is why the Supreme Court has wound up with the most power of any branch of the American Government. The judicial function is always the most important, unless one purposelessly subjugates it to another.

    In any case, none of that would prevent the local judge disagreeing with the local police authority and saying the law demands a particular person be free. This is simply a case of two representatives of the king disagreeing, and custom sorting out who has the final right to decide the proper course of action in the case.

  95. I see, it’s unlimited despotism on the federal level checked only by the fact that some offenses or disputes may be resolved locally and mercifully go unnoticed by the king.

    Oh, in fact, the federal bureaucracy has by far the most power, followed by the Supreme Court, and only then by Congress.

  96. “I see, it’s unlimited despotism on the federal level checked only by the fact that some offenses or disputes may be resolved locally and mercifully go unnoticed by the king.”

    No, that’s not what was said at all.

    “Oh, in fact, the federal bureaucracy has by far the most power, followed by the Supreme Court, and only then by Congress.”

    The point being?

  97. ArkansasReactionary, I was replying to Nathan.

  98. And your response to me?

  99. Well, it’s basically the same: your king would not be just “the highest secular judge”; he would be the highest judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one. Which seems exceedingly primitive and dangerous.

  100. In addition, you yourself say above that “It’s not that the king is wiser than the subjects.” But isn’t it a requirement of the judicial office for the judge precisely _to be_ wise?

  101. I don’t see any reason for the king to act as executioner.

  102. Well, if the king does not act in executive capacity, then who finances and runs the prisons, the gallows, the federal police, etc.? I mean, the king might not personally cut off people’s heads, but he pays people who do just that.

  103. That would be a good argument for having the king exercise his judicial authority together with a council of nobles. Also, it would be wise that cases reaching the king generally be entrusted to a judge or panel of judges who act on behalf of the king, with the king being the judge of absolute last resort.

  104. “Well, if the king does not act in executive capacity, then who finances and runs the prisons, the gallows, the federal police, etc.? I mean, the king might not personally cut off people’s heads, but he pays people who do just that.”

    I was using executioner in the literal sense (the person who physically executes the sentence.

  105. As a lawyer who had the misfortune of closely studying contemporary constitutional law (then again, I shouldn’t rant – it had a major impact on me becoming a reactionary), I find much of the modern talk of checks and balances very amusing: it never ends, nor can it really end. Eventually, the chain of custodes must end somewhere.

    Not that people don’t recognise this. Still, the implementation of guarantees against every conceivable abuse have to be discussed, this national courts’ authority must be bound to that international institution etc.
    Because, as we all know, constitutional law, like law in general, is not a a regulation of reason in favor of the common good, but actual engineering.

    It seems to be largely based on a view that takes human beings as something that they are not: purely material substances rather than rational and free creatures. It is supplied with an unwarranted induction about possible abuses that leads one to adopt a presumption of guilt against any individual entrusted with power, and a huge reification of law and state.

  106. If the king orders a minion or bureaucrat to perform an execution, it’s as if he himself pulls the trigger.

    Anyway, what if we just deleted the federal and state levels and had only local governments? Or do you (everyone here) have a theory of the proper _size_ of the state in terms of territory?

    I ask, because as I stated above, a monarchical executive branch, subordinated (in my system) to the city council and the court system (with the judges indeed being some kind of “aristocracy” or “nobility” if you want) as third among equals, seems to me for reasons of efficiency and incentives an ideal way to run a city.

    This way, the competition between a very large number of small polities for citizens and businesses will convert the evil “My country, love it or leave it” (which is in fact “Love the government or leave the country”) into “Please love my country. I hope you’ll stay,” as people vote with their feet where they want to reside. Is it essential to your ideology that the king rules a huge empire as opposed to a small village?

    We disagree on the scope of the monarch’s powers, but this may be less important than the size of his domain.

  107. Georgy, here are some of my thoughts on the branches:

    (1) http://dmitrychernikov.com/blog/?p=16015

    And this one

    (2) http://dmitrychernikov.com/blog/?p=16648

    answers the query posed at the end of (1). These are short blog posts, so no tl;dr; if you have objections, let us know.

  108. Dmitry, you keep talking about the federal government. Did it ever occur to you that, perhaps, the United States is not what we are thinking about when we are discussing these things? We are talking on an abstract level.

    “I see, it’s unlimited despotism on the federal level checked only by the fact that some offenses or disputes may be resolved locally and mercifully go unnoticed by the king.”

    As Georgy Mancz* pointed out, there is always a final arbiter. Just because an elaborate system of checks and balances has obscured that in some countries doesn’t mean that, ultimately, there is some person or group that holds the ultimate obedience of the enforcement branch of the state. This power might shift from one place to another, but it is always there.

    *I have a similar story about becoming reactionary by studying the law. Combined with study of theology.

    “This way, the competition between a very large number of small polities for citizens and businesses will convert the evil ‘My country, love it or leave it’ (which is in fact “Love the government or leave the country”) into ‘Please love my country. I hope you’ll stay,’ as people vote with their feet where they want to reside. Is it essential to your ideology that the king rules a huge empire as opposed to a small village?”

    These comments betray your fundamental lack of understanding of our position, as you refuse to understand the concept of corporate personhood. Corporate personhood is of the very essence of Christianity. Without it, Christianity makes no sense whatsoever at all. We are all cursed in Adam, and saved through Christ, by our incorporation into the corporate bodies of Adam and Christ. The body of Christ being the Church, of course.

    Nations, tribes, families, etc. are corporate persons, and they too have a head, and that head represents them. Kings and princes arise out of these supra-family groupings and are the embodiment of the personality of their peoples as the national patriarch, whatever you might think of that idea. This does not matter if it is at the level of a small tribe, a large nation, or an imperial family of nations (such as the British family of nations). Sometimes a polity should be large, others it should be small. There is no ideal size of a polity. It is only necessary that the people be bound by either kinship or through covenant. When this relationship breaks down, the bonds of kinship and covenant break down, as we see in the radical anti-family West rising up in opposition to all that is good and holy. This cannot last.

  109. To address Nathan’s point, even if the king is unlimited, this does not nullify the _intellectual_ distinction of the branches of power. Thus, we say that the absolute monarch embodies all the branches in his own self.

    Now I just recalled a note I made on my voice recorder to the following effect:

    The judicial branch, i.e., judges, being private, are qualified to _discover_ natural law, such as “you shall not steal.” As such, they are the first and most primal lawmaking entity.

    The legislature is semi-public (picture a part-time city council) and can make positive law. But in making such law, it is constrained by natural law. The legislature cannot repeal “you shall not steal.”

    The executive branch is fully public and bound by _both_ natural and positive law. That is the meaning of the phrase “rule of law” (as contrasted with “rule of men” such as the unlimited king and his bureaucrats). The law is addressed _from_ the judges and _from_ the legislature _to_ the king, enumerating his powers and constraining his activities.

    A note to ArkansasReactionar: a “council of nobles” assisting the king, like a “city council,” would be a “deliberative body” and therefore a legislature, _not_ a “wise person” and therefore a judge.

  110. “A note to ArkansasReactionar: a ‘council of nobles’ assisting the king, like a ‘city council,’ would be a ‘deliberative body’ and therefore a legislature, _not_ a “wise person” and therefore a judge.”

    By this definition, the Supreme Court is legislative. They deliberate and make decisions. That’s the definition of a council, not the judiciary. Otherwise, by definition, a council is legislative. But that makes nonsense of the multiplicity of councils in the world that hold both judicial and executive authority.

  111. > We are all cursed in Adam, and saved through Christ

    Yes, Christ died for all of mankind; but the Holy Spirit dies and is reborn in each individual’s heart.

    And no, I don’t understand how any of this entails unlimited despotism or why you ignore rational political philosophy for the sake of a smattering of incoherent Biblical allusions to these difficult problems.

  112. “Yes, Christ died for all of mankind; but the Holy Spirit dies and is reborn in each individual’s heart.”

    Unless I missed something earlier, I think we have officially crossed the line from political error to theological heresy. The Holy Spirit never has and never will die.

    “And no, I don’t understand how any of this entails unlimited despotism or why you ignore rational political philosophy for the sake of a smattering of incoherent Biblical allusions to these difficult problems.”

    Oh, yes, I forgot, because no one was rational before John Locke.

  113. That’s right, Nathan, and according to you, not even Thomas Aquinas.

  114. @ Mr. Chernikov

    You mean St. Thomas Aquinas, the author of ‘De Regno’?..

    Given that the third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity cannot be said to be the subject of the Incarnation by way of special affinity/appopriation, and God as God surely cannot die, what exactly do you mean?
    *This is a genuine inquiry*

  115. Georgy, it’s a little complicated, so I’ll just mention the Father rather than the Holy Spirit. Some of the terms in the following can be explained further.

    Creation is associated with the Father, the first person of the Trinity, in his capacity as principle, from which all things emanate. The Father dies in His creative explosion and is reborn along with the endless world. This is because God has to choose which possible (and later potential) world to actualize. But God is completely unprepared for choosing. He is pure act, but choice introduces a potency into God, thereby corrupting His nature and destroying Him. Thankfully, goodness remains to bring the 2nd-level God to life. Not even the 2nd-level God is immune from the perennial theme of death and rebirth in a perfected state.

    In short, the Father dies for the entire universe; the Son, for mankind; and the Spirit, for an individual human being. In the process, God’s nature is rebuilt and enhanced.

  116. “Creation is associated with the Father, the first person of the Trinity, in his capacity as principle, from which all things emanate. The Father dies in His creative explosion and is reborn along with the endless world. This is because God has to choose which possible (and later potential) world to actualize. But God is completely unprepared for choosing. He is pure act, but choice introduces a potency into God, thereby corrupting His nature and destroying Him. Thankfully, goodness remains to bring the 2nd-level God to life. Not even the 2nd-level God is immune from the perennial theme of death and rebirth in a perfected state.”

    Guys, I think we have found a new heresy. Or maybe it’s just one I haven’t heard of before. It sounds like some kind of pseudo-gnosticism.

    “In short, the Father dies for the entire universe; the Son, for mankind; and the Spirit, for an individual human being. In the process, God’s nature is rebuilt and enhanced.”

    God is, always has been, and always will be perfect. He never has been, is, or will be able to be enhanced in any way.

  117. “If the king orders a minion or bureaucrat to perform an execution, it’s as if he himself pulls the trigger.”

    Yes, but it is unseemly for him to do it himself.

    “Anyway, what if we just deleted the federal and state levels and had only local governments? Or do you (everyone here) have a theory of the proper _size_ of the state in terms of territory?”

    States come in all sizes, but I tend to oppose altering their borders outside of unusual situations, and I assume most here would agree with me on that.

    “I ask, because as I stated above, a monarchical executive branch, subordinated (in my system) to the city council and the court system (with the judges indeed being some kind of “aristocracy” or “nobility” if you want) as third among equals, seems to me for reasons of efficiency and incentives an ideal way to run a city.”

    The prudent way to run a city-state is a different matter from the prudent way to run a large country. In a city-state, I’d think (and this isn’t an area I’ve thought a lot about) having an assembly, a council or several to handle more day to day affairs, made of randomly chosen citizens, a council or several of wise persons, preferably with the power to choose their own successors, and perhaps a king or two, would be best. Although wider latitude in terms of what constitutes good governance can exist in a city-state.

    I would note that unless there are no common civilizations (those not identified as foreigners) larger than city-states, it would be prudent to have a nobility, so as to ensure reasonable uniformity of laws and rights.

    “We disagree on the scope of the monarch’s powers, but this may be less important than the size of his domain.”

    No, the nature of authority is most important.

    “To address Nathan’s point, even if the king is unlimited, this does not nullify the _intellectual_ distinction of the branches of power. Thus, we say that the absolute monarch embodies all the branches in his own self.”

    There are certainly three distinct types of authority, but there is nothing indicating a separate institution should exercise each.

    “The judicial branch, i.e., judges, being private, are qualified to _discover_ natural law, such as “you shall not steal.” As such, they are the first and most primal lawmaking entity.

    The legislature is semi-public (picture a part-time city council) and can make positive law. But in making such law, it is constrained by natural law. The legislature cannot repeal “you shall not steal.”

    The executive branch is fully public and bound by _both_ natural and positive law. That is the meaning of the phrase “rule of law” (as contrasted with “rule of men” such as the unlimited king and his bureaucrats). The law is addressed _from_ the judges and _from_ the legislature _to_ the king, enumerating his powers and constraining his activities.”

    How on Earth can civil authority be non-public?

    “A note to ArkansasReactionar: a “council of nobles” assisting the king, like a “city council,” would be a “deliberative body” and therefore a legislature, _not_ a “wise person” and therefore a judge.”

    See the US Supreme Court, the British House of Lords, and others for a quick refutation of this.

    “That’s right, Nathan, and according to you, not even Thomas Aquinas.”

    How did anything he said disagree with Aquinas?

  118. That the Supreme Court is composed of several judges is an admittedly strange artifact of America’s founding, probably due to an over-abundance of caution. (1) In the vast majority of cases, a single judge rules alone; (2) Even the US Supreme Court has just 9 members, while the Congress, orders of magnitude more.

  119. “That the Supreme Court is composed of several judges is an admittedly strange artifact of America’s founding, probably due to an over-abundance of caution.”

    Except it isn’t strange at all. Heck, Switzerland has an executive council. There are councils in many countries that serve non-legislative functions. In fact, I can’t name a Supreme Court that features only one supreme justice. Your assertion that councils are by their very nature legislative is strange and nonsensical, to say the least.

  120. Supreme or otherwise high-ranking courts are almost universally composed of multiple judges, for obvious reasons.

  121. @ Mr. Chernikov

    I still hope this is, urm, very imprudent poetic metaphor.
    Though I’m now beggining to think you mean it.

    As you correctly note, God is Pure Act. Also, Subsistent Being, the Supreme Good etc.
    Pure Act can never cease in this Act. Nor can the Supreme Perfection be perfected, as correctly noted by Mr. Evans*. Ceasing to be and being perfected presuppose passive potency, and in God there is none.

    This sort of thing, if offered as an account of how God could create something, is completely unnecessary, for causing/changing something does not itself entail change in the cause. Creating and not-creating are ‘Cambridge changes’, insofar as God Himself is utterly changeless, though creation is undergoing motion.
    This seeming difficulty has not escaped the attention of natural theology, so because of your stated admiration for Aquinas I suggest that you consult the traditional sources and contemporary ‘unreformed’ Thomists.

    *I hope I chose the right way to infer your family name.

  122. Even if the 9 judges form a majority and minority decisions, they need not _deliberate_ with each other. Each judge rules as he sees fit, and the results are tallied up.

    The Congress, on the contrary, is supposed to be amenable to rational persuasion by fellow congressmen of each other and by the people of the congressmen, to conversation of mankind, as we all freely discuss which policies will be most advantageous to the commonwealth.

  123. A wise judicial council would discuss the matter as a group. That our Supreme Court does not shows only that our government is unwise.

  124. Georgy, is God a physical or teleological cause of the created world?

    If physical, as though God is a billiard ball hitting another, then what hit God?

    If teleological, then what moves the prime mover? Why did God create? With what state of affairs was God dissatisfied that gave Him a reason to create?

  125. God never moved. Rabbit hold closed.

  126. Oh for God’s sake, ArkansasReactionary, will you wait your turn? I’m talking to the dude named Georgy. Let him reply first.

    By “move” I mean for teleological causation “serves as a motive for.”

  127. @ Mr. Chernikov

    For a detailed and beautiful (also free) exposition of the relevant topics containing the answers for your questions (apart from the singularly correct remark by ArkanasReactionary) and necessary explanations, do go here

    http://www.thesumma.info/reality/index.php

  128. Georgy, I’ve read most of the two Summas and stand in no need of their summaries.

    St. Thomas is one my masters, but he can be improved upon.

    I note that you have not answered my simple questions.

  129. @ Mr Chernikov

    Briefly: God is the efficient and final cause of creation. Your account suggests that He is also a material cause, which is absurd.
    Infinite regress in instrumental series also being absurd, there’s no way the first member can in any way be moved in the sense of actualising a passive potency, nor can Perfection be said to have a need (of further perfection). Acting out of gratuitous charity, though, is not acting on a need. Also, given that this act has God as the final cause, understanding God’s reasons would sort of mean fully understanding God, which is impossible for men, so it is a profound mystery.

  130. Here’s your error, Georgy: physical causation has nothing to do with Aristotelian efficient causes; and teleological causation has nothing do to with final causes. They are completely different beasts.

    Let me give you an example from another of my teachers, Ludwig von Mises:

    “There are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. An event not open to an interpretation by one of these two principles is for man inconceivable and mysterious. Change can be conceived as the outcome either of the operation of mechanistic causality or of purposeful behavior; for the human mind there is no third way available.”

    It turns out that Mises is wrong in saying that. There is another 3rd kind of causation that belongs exclusively to God, which I call the “grounding” causation.

    Once you realize that God is on a completely different level from “beings,” that He is Goodness that is beyond being, however difficult to express this fact in words is, you’ll begin to see things differently.

  131. @ Mr. Chernikov

    What I believe you stand in need of, and I hope you won’t read any hostility into this statement, is sound metaphysics (that historical Thomism arguably is).
    If you believe yourself to already possess the metaphysical truth, I’m sorry to inform you that it contradicts Catholic doctrine, which presents a dilemma.

  132. I have little to say to people who worship a “doctrine” rather than God, and I hope you won’t read any hostility into this, either.

  133. @ Mr. Chernikov

    I concede that I was in error when I read you as a Thomist as responded as one.
    If you state that I’m in error because I do not agree with what I believe to be a groundless assertion on part of von Mises and actually unintelligible statements/equivocations on the term being made by you, this I deny.

    All of this is entirely off-topic, so I suggest we bring this discussion to an end soon.
    Apologies to Bonald.

  134. “By “move” I mean for teleological causation “serves as a motive for.”

    I know what you mean.

    God has never been moved.

  135. Dmitry A. Chernikov wrote, “The legislature cannot repeal “you shall not steal.””

    But, as Rollin pointed out, “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians. The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods,granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.” He also instances the gleaning laws of the OT, “Nothing is more common than the existence of similar rights to the goods of another person; thus, God has not only given the poor the power to gather grapes in the vineyards and to glean in the fields and to take away whole sheaves but has also granted to every passer-by without distinction the freedom to enter as often as he likes the vineyard of another person and to eat as many grapes as he wants, in spite of the owner of the vineyard.”

  136. Physical effecting (i.e., causation so called so that it is not confused with the Aristotelian 4 causes) has the cause _before_ the effect.

    Teleological effecting has the cause _after_ the effect.

    The Aristotelian 4 causes are _co-present_ with the effect. These causes are responsible for the effect’s existing right now.

    – The material cause of X answers the question “Of what real parts is X made?”

    – Efficient cause answers “How does X work?”

    – Final cause answers “What is X’s purpose to a particular rational creature?”

    – Formal cause answers “What is X? Describe it.”

    Grounding effecting has an _eternal_ divine cause over the entire temporal effect.

  137. Michael, what I mean is that stealing does not cease to be wrong, even if the legislature (erroneously) declares otherwise.

    Now there is a difference between (1) “you shall not steal” addressed to a citizen and (2) “you shall punish stealing” addressed to the police.

    It is immoral to steal even if stealing is not criminalized.

    But this is a case when the immoral action needs to be illegal, as well. Theft, robbery are unjust uses of violence, and a judge can order that proportional punishment be administered. The legislature has no power to override the judicial branch not only regarding (1) but even regarding (2).

    Unless you think otherwise?

  138. @Dchernik99

    This crazy idea that church + state = Orwellian tyranny rears its ugly head once again.

    To be clear, if this is the case, then practically EVERY CIVILIZATION before the 1700s was an Orwellian tyranny, since priestly authorities had political power in all Traditional societies.

    One does not need to get into fine detail when discussing how a Reactionary state might be run, as much of this may depend on manpower available (quality and quantity), as well as other concerns like geographical territory and specific theological worldviews of the state. Knowing these details is not required, but broad speculation is most certainly positive.

    It should also be noted this is not “theocratic politics” as you say, this is theonomic politics, the difference being we are not supposing God as the literal head of state. This will only come to pass after the Second Coming. In fact, nobody is even proposing an ecclesiocracy, which would be the next step down (a class of priests being the heads of state). No, we are talking about Christian Moral Law being integrally tied to the state’s functioning under an autocrat or monarch.

    “what houses people shall live in; what clothes they shall wear; what computer operating systems shall be permitted and which, forbidden; and so on.”

    I have to say I laughed at this, because you are describing Modernity here! The number of laws and regulations on what you can and can’t use from light bulbs to toilets to air conditioning to toothpaste to lunch bags to gas ovens to small toys in chocolate eggs in the USA alone is astronomical!
    The theonomist is not interested in such bureaucratic lunacy, which essentially serves to criminalize the whole population and mires the state in expensive paperwork. What he is concerned with are grave moral matters and what society can do to combat moral degradation, which can prove far more fatal to any state than you using a particular type of lightbulb.
    Now, we tried an experiment right here in America of people being allowed to just do whatever they wanted in the moral realm… low and behold, they degenerated into what they are today. The Constitution was crafted for a “moral and religious people” according to Adams. Well, those people became immoral and irreligious (I would lay this at the feet of various Supreme Court rulings rather than the Founders, but hey)

    You speak of despotism on the federal level only checked by localism. This is a big understatement. It is not that the reigning autocrat would lazily or mistakenly avoid local problems but that he would not see his correct authority extending beyond a Traditional point, the same with the Church, the same with fathers as heads of households. It is for this same reason I argue against public education, because the education of children is of no business to the reigning autocrat. It is not his responsibility.

    (Just as a side note: when I spoke of an ecclesiastic judiciary, I do not mean this in the sense of a Supreme Court. That concept is just mad to me, as it ends up being a transformative legislative council rather than an actual court. If there were a constitution for a Reactionary state, doubtless it would be an original ideological guideline and statement of intent. It would not be open to re-interpretation, amendment, or any such thing)

  139. The political system you are proposing is a primitive relic of our barbarous past. Political philosophy has come a long way since the medieval superstitions, and your vision of good government has been thoroughly discredited. The “Tradition” has been improved upon and resembles little the oppressive politics of the ancient times.

    Your system indeed is not quite Orwellian tyranny which described socialist slavery, but still it is feudal serfdom, which is much closer to Orwell’s nightmare than even the present regime. Now you correctly describe the contemporary regulatory state as “bureaucratic lunacy.” Yes, the market needs sorely to be freed from it. I applaud your understanding of economics. But your argument is cheap misdirection! As a feudalist, you would not remove the interventions; you’d remove capitalism itself, at which point the interventions will admittedly no longer be relevant. You’d cure the disease by killing the patient.

    However, there is no going back to the old feudal order. There are too many people in the world, and they all now have high hopes for improvement in their living standards. They will never go back to being ignorant and beaten down peasants toiling meaninglessly for the sake of their alleged lords and pretend divinely appointed kings. This form of unjust exploitation still remains in our semi-free society, but the progress is toward libertarian laissez-faire not backward to some “Reactionary state.”

    Regarding “moral degeneration,” how exactly is my personal life, and the lives of other people, whether moral or immoral, any of your concern? Would you care to mind your own business? Have you thought of teaching virtue by example? What makes you pine so passionately for imprisoning the “impure”?

  140. The reason I suggested that you flesh out your vision is that there have been many socialist utopias drafted by their authors in great detail. They wanted to control every aspect of their wards’ lives. I assumed that you, too, were eager to regiment the conduct of the subjects in your ideal kingdom according your version of “morality.” You know, rather like in Guys and Dolls: “Coffee is so good, sometimes I can’t understand why it isn’t a sin.”

  141. Regarding stealing, remember that something may be a social construct, not stipulated by natural law per se, while being beyond the power of the magistrate to repeal. Such is the unwritten constitution which the state cannot chance because its own authority is reliant upon it. Societies without private property as we understand it are not ipso facto living wrongly in the sense that societies without monogamy as we understand it are.

  142. Interventionism is not modernity, Mark; it’s a backward feudalist _revolt_ against modernity, against the nature of the economy, as is your own.

    The masses have tasted the fruits of capitalism and liked them — a lot, but have not yet understood how capitalism works. When they at long last do, the liberalism’s victory will be complete.

  143. Bonald, I think by now we are familiar with your unlimited despotism. I see now that it is so unlimited that the king can even abolish private property at will. (At least I think that’s what you are saying.) Remarkably, the people will not “ipso facto live wrongly” as a result.

  144. Who else belongs to your “we”? No one else here is a liberal besides yourself.

  145. Marissa, how about “we the people”?

  146. Mike Huckabee for king! Do we still elect him or will God do a few miracles to make evident to us that this guy is the anointed one?

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/mike-huckabee-gods-blessing-will-make-me-president-to-stop-the-atheist-secular-theocracy/

  147. Well, then I’m not entirely sure where you expect this dialogue to go, Dmitry.

    You are not some lost seeker, you are a liberal Modern loyalist, through and through. You love the world you’re in, and are ready to denounce all of its opponents as “backward” or “barbarous”…

    So I’m curious as to why you are here. Reactionaries do not have this little linear worldview of “past bad!” “present good!”, where everything gets better despite evidence to the contrary.

    You don’t view moral degeneracy as any problem for society. We do.
    You say my “version of morality”, but you fail to really understand how religious worldviews work. They subvert and render irrelevant personal tastes or desires. This might surprise you, but there are plenty of things the Bible forbids that I would greatly enjoy doing! Yet, when Christians commit themselves to the Christian worldview, they pledge to leave that behind and embrace a higher law. Call it superstition all you want, this is just a slogan of the godless used to affirm his immoral lifestyle.

    If you do not believe in God, then fine, none of this would make sense to you, for your world is just one of matter in motion. There is no need for anything sacred, there is no need for right or wrong, there is no need for real value or reverence for Tradition. If you come from this worldview, then you will always be talking past Reactionaries, as if conversing in an alien language. Such is the curse of Modernity. On this worldview, Tradition makes no sense… nor does Modernity really, but at least Modernity lets you satisfy your base urges without daring to judge you.

    “We the people”

    That good old phrase. Used for so long to topple legitimate authorities and raise up new ones out of the sewer, even while the vast majority of people do remain living in a kind of serfdom anyway, just with the illusion of ‘freedom’. “We the people” is the battle cry of the kakistocracy, the rule of the worst.

    “They will never go back to being ignorant and beaten down peasants toiling meaninglessly for the sake of their alleged lords and pretend divinely appointed kings.”

    Ah yes… but I wonder how long they will toil meaninglessly for corrupt ‘elected’ politicians, many of whom at least in the west, are committed to their own slow-motion demographic genocide? How long indeed.

    “This form of unjust exploitation still remains in our semi-free society, but the progress is toward libertarian laissez-faire not backward to some”

    Very strange view from a libertarian, as almost every libertarian I have ever conversed with has said that liberty is receding, that the police surveillance state is expanding, that we are far more restricted today than ever before as governments now have blockbuster budgets, technology with endless Orwellian applications, and have grabbed all authorities once belonging to the Church and fathers as patriarchs, consolidating them into one central leviathan that tracks us from cradle to grave.

    I mean, Modernity is definitely ratcheting up to its intolerable phase (its end in my opinion), but to say laissez-faire libertarianism is expanding is just delusional. I am guessing this is because you can smoke legal pot now or something. What a victory!

  148. I am here, Mark, because I had never met people with your ideology, and I was intrigued, in a scientifically detached manner, by its perversions.

    > little linear worldview

    Far be it from me to reject lessons of the past in general; I simply judge that in this particular case you are in thrall to a vicious ideology which is (almost) in the dustbin of history.

    > “We the people” is the battle cry of the kakistocracy, the rule of the worst.

    Now I know you people hate Mises, but I’ll let him reply: “The principle of majority rule or government by the people as recommended by liberalism does not aim at the supremacy of the mean, of the lowbred, of the domestic barbarians. The liberals too believe that a nation should be ruled by those best fitted for this task. But they believe that a man’s ability to rule proves itself better by convincing his fellow-citizens than by using force upon them.”

    > moral degeneracy

    You are free to “leave behind” your vices and “embrace a higher law.” You are not, under any sane political system, free to force others to do likewise. You have to persuade them.

    Moreover, it is literally _crazy_ to think that religion “subverts and renders irrelevant personal tastes or desires.” On the contrary, religion purifies your desires and strengthens pleasures. It causes you to come to approve of the things you enjoy and enjoy the things you approve of, thereby enjoying every moment of life heartily and with no regrets. The aim of religion is to facilitate personal and uniquely individual happiness, especially one found in fellowship with God.

    If, as you say, “there are plenty of things the Bible forbids that I would greatly enjoy doing,” then you are precisely a _bad person_, because you desire evil things and restrain yourself only with moral suasion. You _fail_ to approve and enjoy the same things. I will pray for your spiritual growth.

    In addition, you don’t know me, and your claim that I am eager to satisfy my “base urges” is out of line.

    I have reverence for the _theological_ tradition of the Catholic Church, though this tradition is not to be adhered to mindlessly but should always be built on and improved.

    And if it is true that liberty is receding, then it is in part because of people like you.

  149. “If, as you say, ‘there are plenty of things the Bible forbids that I would greatly enjoy doing,’ then you are precisely a _bad person_, because you desire evil things and restrain yourself only with moral suasion. You _fail_ to approve and enjoy the same things. I will pray for your spiritual growth.”

    “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

  150. Yes, Nathan, but perhaps the sinners ought to be less keen on imposing their will upon strangers — who may happen to be more righteous than they.

    I hope Mark’s moral fanaticism is a phase, and as his soul is purified through reasonable asceticism and God’s grace, he will mellow out.

  151. “Yes, Nathan, but perhaps the sinners ought to be less keen on imposing their will upon strangers — who may happen to be more righteous than they.”

    Keep spewing your nonsense that no one here believes. “Imposing their will upon strangers”? I tire of this drivel.

  152. Nathan, I quote you Mark himself:

    The “experiment right here in America of people being allowed to just do whatever they wanted in the moral realm” has failed.

    An obvious inference is that the American people must be forced to do what whatever _Mark_ wants them to do in the moral realm.

    Tiresome, I know.

  153. Perhaps, Nathan, you share Mark’s coercive intents, but you’ll need to duke it out with him exactly whose regal will — yours or his — shall prevail.

  154. 1) Your denial of the desire to sin is a testament to your own delusions of grandeur, not anyone else’s. I candidly and openly recognize that I am fallen. ALL men, including high horse proles like yourself, desire to sin.

    2) The Church should be built on and improved? What kind of mindlessness is this. I guess you believe in a living and breathing Bible, that over time one should just ignore its commandments to the church and add in our own. A regular Kasperite.

    3) Again, you infer that this is what I want man to do. No, this is what GOD wants man to do. If you can’t distinguish between me and God, you have a real problem. The Moral Law is something I have no power over, so using your dislike of it to attack me is rather baseless. It has been given by God and reigns over us to this day. Unfortunately we have a society that encourages people to disregard it. Reactionaries wish for a society that unashamedly infuses the Moral Law into the agreement of citizens in the state, for the moral betterment of the state. Kings of old did not deny that law had religion as its keystone.

    4) Moral fanaticism? Hmmmm… well, I am a religious zealot. A moral fanatic though? Never been accused of that.

    5) Your entire screed, top to bottom on this comment section seems to just come down to

    “I don’t like Tradition. I like Modernity. You people are tyrants!”

    This kind of “drivel” as Nathan correctly calls it, definitely works on conservatives, I will give you that. It makes them feel guilty, and it makes them stammer and try to compromise. Reactionaries have moved beyond this. We will always be accused of tyranny by those who despise the old ways. Robespierre’s lackeys accused us of tyranny while he was butchering thousands. Lenin accused us of tyranny while he was setting up a state to murder millions.
    Calling us tyrants is as useful as calling us ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’. These are buzzwords intended to shut down Traditional opposition to Modernity, and at best they are worth only a chuckle.

    And please, I encourage you to be confident that the tide of history flows ever leftward, that the World of Tradition is over for good. You are certainly in a majority thought pattern in the West on that one. The more confident your kind are of that fact, the less suspecting they will be and as the years have rolled by each generation has become successively ideologically weaker.

    A quote from the Italian philosopher Guido De Giorgio on that…

    “Go ahead! Achieve all your goals! Break all the dams! Faster! You are unbound. Go ahead and fly with faster wings, with an ever greater pride in your achievements, with your conquests, with your empires, with your democracies. The pit must be filled; there is a need for fertilizer for the new tree that will grow out of your collapse”

  155. I also noticed you pursued a very similar line of attack against ArkansasReactionary, so you’re retreading old ground with this ‘you’re a puritan moralist!’ assault. It isn’t amazingly effective.

  156. Well, _are_ you a Puritan moralist? I think, Mark, you are the one who confuses yourself with God. You think you’re some sort of lawgiver, like Moses?

    I mean, you say “Moral Law,” and I immediately think “do not kill,” “do not steal,” all perfectly libertarian commandments. But you seem to go far beyond the bourgeois duties of non-interference. Ok, I assume you want to criminalize abortion, an issue with with the Church is obsessed to the virtual exclusion of all other reasonable moral teachings. It speaks of nothing else. Well, the homosexuals, too. What else?

    Lenin was a communist, and I am opposed to both communism and feudal serfdom.

  157. Oh, and I _like_ the Catholic moral tradition; unfortunately, it sorely needs to be updated for the capitalist age. The Pope should do us all a favor and study Rothbard’s “The Ethics of Liberty.”

  158. Well, you may have really just shot yourself in the foot there.

    Abortion is a modern day holocaust. The Church doesn’t talk about it ENOUGH! Millions upon millions dead, dwarfing anything the Nazis or Communists did… and where does the blame lie? Which regime today presides in the West over this slaughter? Liberal, free, fair, fun democracy. Your making light of the issue is pretty revolting, especially as I think you claimed to be Catholic.

    Saying abortion is discussed too much is the equivalent of saying Germans of moral conscience in the 1930s didn’t pay enough attention to acts of petty vandalism. There are things called priorities.

    You limit the Moral Law to “dont steal” “dont murder”, as if you’d rather follow some vague ‘Golden Rule’ than the word of God. The Moral Law is FAR more demanding than those two things. I don’t know where you are getting this idea that I am Moses from. I never said that, nor claimed it. I am looking at the Moral Law, and saying that many elements of it which are not enshrined into law, should be enshrined into law. I am not giving the law. I’m reading it.

  159. “Oh, and I _like_ the Catholic moral tradition; unfortunately, it sorely needs to be updated for the capitalist age”

    This just drips Kasper

  160. I think we’ve gotten to the point that we’re arguing in circles. I recommend winding up.

  161. Indeed Bonald.

    I hope one day, Mr Chernikov, you will join us. Perhaps that day may come sooner than you think.

  162. “I mean, you say “Moral Law,” and I immediately think “do not kill,” “do not steal,” all perfectly libertarian commandments.”

    You say this, and then criticize Catholicism for trying uphold “do not kill”. Which just goes to show that when you start restricting morality to certain things, you end up throwing it out entirely.

  163. […] in relation to manifesting the King of the World). In this way, authority is allowed to “come out into the open“, and to play its proper role in saving cosmic energy by “conserving” energy, […]

  164. Alright, let’s summarize.

    1. In politics you want global absolute unlimited monarchy.

    2. In religion you want an established church that enforces Biblical morality, whatever that is: priests with guns and nukes waterboarding the impure.

    3. In economics, you favor some sort of pre-capitalistic pre-industrial order.

    You think that this order is the end of history: nothing shall change in it, including the standard of living of the people, because any change means deterioration.

    All of these are serious mistakes.

    Out of these, (3) is the worst: I favor liberty and capitalism, and democracy is an imperfect means to this end. If your absolute autocrat could guarantee libertarian policies, I’d gladly submit to his will.

    I believe that vices are not crimes and that “you shall not do X” does not in and of itself entail “the government shall punish X.” I do not look at the world and say “There ought to be a law” regarding everything I dislike in life. I do not spy on my neighbor and call the police whenever the neighbor’s actions offend my sensibilities.

    For example, Mark writes: religion “subverts and renders irrelevant personal tastes or desires.” That sounds exactly like something a Puritan would say. Doesn’t he realize that most human desires are _innocent_ and would elicit no condemnation from either a philosopher or a priest?

    Moral law (other than basic prohibitions on violence and fraud), as one essentially trains one’s soul under God’s supervision, is very individually tailored. Spiritual growth cannot be entrusted to an institution as crude as the state.

    One aspect of modernity is to note that faith is built on the foundation of reason. It takes reason and through science and philosophy develops it, enlarges it, strengthens it, causes it to come into its own. It thus prepares reason for supporting faith without buckling. Faith built on the sand of unreason does not last. I applaud this modern project.

    Even further, not just Christian faith but morals are build on secular ethics. For example, philosophy does not enjoin mortification of the body. But a Christian may have to do that in order to approach sainthood. Again, moral _philosophy_ grounds moral _theology_. The latter is highly personal and is far beyond the government’s laws.

    Anyway, it’s been fun discussing these things with you. No rancor.

  165. @Dmitry A. Chernikov:

    All of these are serious mistakes.

    Nice straw men. Did you enjoy knocking them down?

  166. Dmitry, Your intellectual dishonesty is tiresome, as not one of those things could possibly have been obtained from any of our comments in good faith.

  167. Guys, let’s just thank Dmitry for taking the time to explain his position to us. Given the ideological bridge we tried and failed to cross, there was thankfully little rancor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: