Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Quote of the Day: David Warren on Separation Between Church and State

Here is a thought-provoking set of ruminations by David Warren. The gist is basically that we start with separation of Church and State, and end with the State as replacement Church. I will quote from two of the ruminations:
Item, “Are Non-Theocratic Regimes Possible?” by Rémi Brague. Here we get to the crux of the matter. There will always be a theocratic order, even if it is an “atheocratic” pastiche. The question is not “whether we should have a theocracy or not,” as the progressives say — defining their own atheocratic order falsely as a non-theocratic order, when it is as arbitrary as any theocratic order the world ever endured. Rather: Which theocratic order should it be? (Shariah? Rabbinical, perhaps? Lamaist? Shinto? Lutheran? Calvinist? Marxist? Feminist? Gaian? Catholic?) Truly, we are spoilt for choice, but as the modern consumer can hardly understand, you can’t have everything. You have to choose one, to be morally coherent; or if you choose “none,” … someone else chooses for you.

Item, let me emphasize this point. Should the principles be not those of the ancestral Catholic Christendom — buried beneath our Western feet, yet serviceable still as foundation — then they will be of something else. We hardly got e.g. quickie divorce, or no-questions-asked abortion, or gay marriage for that matter, or soon, no-questions-asked euthanasia for your unwanted granny, because the masses suddenly spontaneously rose up to demand them pronto. We got them because the gods we are currently serving required them; and of course, we got them “democratically,” but only in the sense that the people are made to vote until they deliver what these gods require. … (Good news, incidentally. It turns out these gods may not want polygamy after all, so we won’t have to deliver that at the polling booths.)
You will have to go to his site to read the rest. These two in particular stood out to me, though. First, the age-old (and ever-true) observation that your can't have a government with a set of laws while at the same time disavowing any moral code. I believe it was Chesterton who noted that when the big laws are ignored, we get the little laws, the bureaucratic rules and red tape.

As a corollary of this observation, you can't really keep Church and State separate, in that you can't really banish religion entirely from the public sphere. By this is meant that if the Christian religion is silenced in the culture, something else must arise to take its place. There is no culture without the cult, as Dawson has observed. That something else can be another "Great" religion--as with the rise of Islam throughout many regions of Western Europe--or it can be a "lesser" religion, that is, a pseudoreligion like feminism or Marxism, or a quasi-religion like Gaia worship or other forms of neo-paganism. Most often, it is an alliance between these factions, though no such artificial alliance can last long.

Second, that replacement morality and replacement religion comes with its own gods, and also its own idols. The two may be linked, or the former may be in the background with the latter in the foreground: separated in the way that the Greek and later pagan Roman poets, philosophers, and priests each represented separate (and at time irreconcilable) aspects of the old pantheon. In the article linked, Mr. Warren identified the ultimate hand behind the false gods as being Satan's; perhaps it is at least some lesser demon's, or perhaps it is initially innocent but only later twisted to such evil purposes. It is certainly true that the mask slips at times, and is even removed on occasion.

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