The Gospel for Idiots: Morally, We have Lulled Ourselves to Sleep
What is the cure for this state we are in?
What is novel about the City of Man we have ushered in is its idiosyncratic nature. It is not really a republic, or a democracy, or even a republican democracy or a democratic republic. It is an idiocracy. To have a democracy, you must have a people, a demos. To have a republic, there must be a public thing, a res publica, a common good that is being protected or promoted.
But we know the Devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). In fact, the Scriptures tell us that at the end of time, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. So it seems that the Devil does not have fee simple absolute title to the kingdoms of this world, but something less. (Rev. 11:11-15).
Famously, Augustine expanded on this theme of the Kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God in his great work The City of God. In that lengthy work he distinguished between the "City of God" and the "City of Man." The big distinction between these is what's loved. The City of Man is shaped by the love of self, to the exclusion of the love of God. Conversely, the City of God is shaped by the love of God, even to the exclusion of self.
It is pretty obvious that the United States--along with the West in general--is becoming, if it has not already become, a "City of Man." Our laws--at first slowly, now more rapidly--are beginning to exhibit contempt of God, of his eternal law, and of the natural moral law which is nothing other than man's participation in the eternal law.
Our laws, for example, protect and enshrine a "right" to divorce and remarriage, a "right" to contraception, a "right" to homosexual sex, a "right" to abortion, even in some states a "right" to homosexual "marriage." In some states, we have the right to engage in "mercy killing," which is a nice way of saying murder.
All of these are moral enormities, and we have them enshrined as rights. That's legal protection given to the violation of a lot of commandments. That's the legal equivalent of sticking your thumb in God's eye.
What is particularly striking as it relates to the modern West is the utter banality of the version of the "City of Man" under which we live. Our government protects and defends as a positive good, the trivialization of life, a life without focus, a life without end or purpose. We are in a banal society when a highly-educated jurist such as Associate Supreme Court Justice Kennedy (supposedly a Catholic) can utter such inanities such that "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's concept of existence, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
Rightly did Associate Justice Scalia deride this concept of liberty (with dripping sarcasm) as the "famed-sweet-mystery-of-life" passage. It is a passage that Justice Scalia (here in dead earnest, not in sarcasm) identifies as "the passage that ate the rule of law."
This passage eats the rule of law because it rejects any objective basis for law. Justice Kennedy's notion of liberty is a concept of law and liberty not based upon the natural law, not based upon the eternal law, not based upon God at all. It is a law based upon man, to the exclusion of God.
What is particularly novel about the City of Man we have ushered in is its idiosyncratic nature. It is not really a republic, or a democracy, or even a republican democracy or a democratic republic. It is an idiocracy.
To have a democracy, you must have a people, a demos. To have a republic, there must be a public thing, a res publica, a common good that is being protected or promoted.
But we have no common good, because there really is no shared world among us, no koinos kosmos, as the philosopher Heraclitus put it. So there cannot be a republic.
There is no good of a people, because there is no people, no demos. So there cannot be a democracy.
Modernly, there are only private worlds, idioi kosmoi. There is only individual good, a good of one individual, the idios. There is no "our good," there is only "my good," and "your good," since, if Justice Kennedy is to be believed, we define our own "concept of existence," our own "mystery of human life," even . . . (and, silly me, I thought only God was the creator) our own "universe."
(By the way, the word idiot comes from the Greek word idiotes, a private individual, which comes from idios, meaning something private or one's own. When we claim to define our own humanity, even our own universe, and build a city and write laws to support these fabrications, we are idiots. Our humanity and our universe--and the ...
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