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What, generally speaking, is to be done?

A commenter asks those who post here “What does your ideal America look like?” The question’s worth discussing.

From the standpoint of specific practical political goals, I don’t really have an ideal America. No society is ideal, since every society depends on the cooperation of imperfect human beings. The specifics of what’s good politically depend on time, place, habit, history, what works out, and a lot of unpredictable contingencies. And in any event politics has to do with force, so it has a limited and not-very-ideal role.

Still, some things are better than others, and what I’d like to move toward is a society that allows more play to natural human ways of doing and understanding things, one driven less by attempts to force everything to conform to narrow and inhuman misunderstandings of knowledge, reality, and human life. I’d like to have less of a role for scientism and formal expertise and more of one for local and traditional institutions—e.g., family, neighborhood, religion, particular culture—that are capable of capturing the kinds of perceptions and experiences that value-neutral reasoning, social science, economics, therapeutics and so on can’t take notice of.

So my improved America would be more decentralized than what we have now. The Feds and the states would be responsible for less, localities and informal institutions for more. Borders and local authorities would count for more, so social relations would gain in particularity and concreteness. Government responsibility for the material well- being of particular individuals would be reduced, so enduring personal connections and responsibilities would gain in importance. Antidiscrimination laws would be cut back, so people could establish cooperative connections based on the affinities and commonalities that seem relevant to them.

The most directly political part of my “program” would therefore be reduction in the activity of the state, although the state would still be important for some things, for example national defense, suppressing crime, and establishing boundaries so social arrangements can have a certain local particularity and stability. However, society isn’t just a matter of politics and programs. Beyond the particulars, every society has ultimate reference points that have to do with what people, or the dominant classes, think is good, beautiful, and true. Those reference points are normally the single most important thing about political society, even though they’re more fundamental than politics and so can’t be treated as simply political.

Anyway, in this country and the West generally the overgrowth of the state and of specialized authority has turned those reference points into something that state officials remake at will based on ruling class ideology—concretely, liberalism and scientism. So you get atrocities like the school prayer cases, the abortion cases, and the recent judicial redefinition of marriage in Massachusetts. I think the understanding of law and government that made those decisions possible is outrageous and has to be changed, so the ideas of man and the world that guide government can correspond less to to the ideology of technocratic elites, and more to deeper, more widespread, and more enduring understandings that take institutions other than the state and the formal bureaucracies of knowledge seriously.

Naturally, like other people I have views about which understandings are best. For example, I consider Islam better than contemporary advanced liberalism, the individualistic, nondoctrinal and moralistic Protestantism traditional in America better than Islam, and Catholicism better than Protestantism. You can’t force such issues though. The government of a country should in general recognize and cooperate with the country’s informal, traditional, moral and religious habits and institutions. Those things have to do with what people at bottom believe in and love, and as the philosopher (or whoever) said, “you can’t hurry love.” They precede politics and the attempt to remake them politically is tyrannical.

Those are my thoughts. Others?



This log entry hits the nail squarely on the head. The ideas it expresses seem so reasonable and the truths so obvious, that any disagreement at all (let alone the passionate variety this sort of exposition always meets with) is just incomprehensible. To take an example almost at random: how could there be opposition to the following?:

“The government of a country should in general recognize and cooperate with the informal, traditional, moral and religious habits and institutions of the country. Those things have to do with what people at bottom believe in and love, and as the philosopher (or whoever) said, ‘you can’t hurry love.’ They precede politics and the attempt to remake them politically is tyrannical.”


“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


“Naturally, like other people I have views about which understandings are best. For example, I consider Islam better than contemporary advanced liberalism, […]” (— from the log entry)

Here’s a story which will only vindicate that sentiment for many:

TURKISH SCHEME TO OUTLAW ADULTERYTHREATENS EU TALKS […] Some E.U. officials believe that [Turkey’s] outlawing [of] adultery could breach Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, creating a new legal obstacle to beginning membership negotiations [for Turkey]. The row comes at a highly sensitive juncture. Next month the European Commission will publish its long-awaited verdict on whether Ankara is close enough to EU human rights standards to begin talks on accession.”

I can see reasons to resist Turkey’s admission to the E.U., the main one as far as I’m concerned being that it’s a Moslem country and there’s a lot to be said in favor of preserving Europe’s Christian identity. Apart from that I can see reasons, of course, for not outlawing adultery. But that’s not the point. The point is twofold: one, outlawing adultery as a country’s own internal policy is nothing so terrible (especially if the penalties are mild—I haven’t seen the details) that it should become the official business of another country let alone a reason to keep a country out of an organisation like the E.U., and two, how DARE these E.U. bureaucrats and political opportunists criticize Turkey’s outlawing of adultery when they’ve outlawed the following?:

1) any refusal by an ordained Christian clergyman to openly endorse the homosexualist agenda (one in Norway, I think it was, got hard jail time for this; others in the U.K. and elsewhere have been hauled in for interrogation, intimidated and warned by the police and governmental watchdog investigative agancies, fined, etc.);

2) a legitimate political party’s criticism of excessive incompatible immigration into that party’s own country (happened to the Vlaams Blok in Belgium: they were banned for this by a judge);

3) the polite request by the head of a country’s Catholic school system that children attending Catholic schools not be subjected to pro-homosexual-marriage propaganda in the classroom (the head of Belgium’s Catholic school education was successfully intimidated with threats of criminal punishments for politely making that request);

4) etc., etc., etc.

Though I deeply respect all religions including Islam, I certainly am no special fan of the latter. Nevertheless, when the choice is between the Islam-inspired outlawing of adultery in Turkey on the one hand, and the advanced-liberalism-inspired outlawing of normalness itself in the E.U. and Canada (and, more and more, the U.S.) on the other, I can heartily join Mr. Kalb in saying, “I consider Islam better than contemporary advanced liberalism.” I mean, the left is fond of calling the legislation that resulted in the Scopes trial a laughing stock. Have they seen any of their legislation lately?

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Amen, Mr. Scrooby; 100% in agreement - while a partisan of Christendom, nevertheless I’m with the (actually-quite-secular-in-their-laws) Muslim Turks, in this, over the godless apostate ex-Christian Eurocrats…

BTW, just a side note, it’s Sweden where that Pentecostal minister, Ake Green, was arrested & jailed, not Norway. (Though I’m sure soon enough it’ll be Norway and everywhere else in the E.U., too… And one day in the near future, Canada…)

I don’t mean to dwell on the Turkish article which is somewhat off the main topic, but from the article one gets the impression those bureaucrats and pols who are so concerned lest this Turkish legislation violate the E.U.’s Human Rights charter consider the right to commit adultery a fundamental human right. Well … so are the Seven Deadly Sins then—sloth, gluttony, and so on—and plenty of other stuff as well, but we generally don’t enlist government explicitly to protect people’s ability to commit them (when I was growing up government, if it was enlisted at all, was enlisted for the opposite—to try and mold public character), so this criticism is kind of weird-sounding.

Furthermore, here’s the text of the European Convention on Human Rights and scrolling down gets you to Article Eight:

Article 8

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Notice that the text extends to a public authority the right to interfere in someone’s private life “for the protection of […] morals” (couldn’t adultery fit here?) and “for the protection of the rights […] of others” (if wives are included in “others,” couldn’t adultery fit here as well?).

I suspect the zeal with which this bunch of “usual suspects” is moving to protect adultery from criminalization is not something principled, but rather is part of this hedonism motivation one sees in some members of the left and some libertarians, the same that makes them fight tooth-and-nail to preserve abortion on demand solely in order that promiscuous sex be without any possibility of awkward consequences.


“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


BTW, there is a faint glimmer of hope, as regards the E.U., in terms of at least one nation’s government speaking out against the punishment of Ake Green. But as Trifkovic notes, it is a lonely struggle… And we should probably expect persecution, even martyrdom, in the near future…

What an article, which manages to be both profoundly pessimistic and profoundly optimistic at the same time! Thanks, Will S., for linking it. Isn’t it amazing how an article so bleak, so dismal, is also, merely for mentioning certain taboos, so hope-giving, so inspiring? Whatever simply identifies the enemy gives hope. Isn’t that amazing? And then, whatever goes beyond that and shows, as in the article, people not just naming the enemy but actually starting to struggle, brings tears of joy. Why is that? It’s because the other side intends to win partly by keeping us in a state of lock-down; partly by binding and gagging the little boy at the cortège so that he can’t shout out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, no, not a stitch. When that little boy finally struggles free of his bonds and shouts out the truth, we suddenly feel as if a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders, our brains, our hearts. That’s where this article’s joy comes from.

One could comment on this article at length. I’ll make just a couple of brief points.

“He refrained from an outright condemnation of the Swedish sentence, saying that media reports about Rev. Green’s case were insufficient for him to make a considered judgment, but noted that an oppressive atmosphere was being created by the media and by the European Union legislation: ‘A misuse of antidiscrimination laws can be observed, so that topics considered taboo by liberal groups cannot be freely touched upon. In this sense it can be seen as a velvet tyranny.’ “

Here it is, the left’s iron fist inside a velvet glove which some left-liberal posters at Turnabout have tried to pretend does not exist. (Trifkovic says, “That tyranny is well-advanced all over Europe […].”)

“Mr. Palko and his friends show that all is not lost, not yet: anti-Christian beliefs and assumptions of the European Union, as embodied in the forward-looking Sweden, are at odds with the majority of the people in every traditionally Christian country. But this majority is embattled. It is being steadily and deliberately whittled away by the continuing onslaught in schools and the media, and most insiduously by immigration.” (Emphasis added.)

The myriad ways in which excessive incompatible immigration is used as a tool by the new Wall Street and neo-Marxist ruling classes to weaken their opposition should by now be blindingly obvious to all. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox scholars and their official Church bodies need RIGHT NOW to enunciate a Christian right of communities to ethno-cultural and racial—yes, yes, racial—self-preservation and a clear statement that such self-preservation is not “hate.” This is needed from the highest Christian authorities without further delay!

This article joins the one from February on George Soros as a tradcon tour de force. There is no doubt that this man Trifkovic is a major voice in tradcon (what I call “normal”) thinking and idea-exchange. Look at all our Western-European-derived cultures foundering on the rocks and here comes this man out of the east, out of some small insignificant Eastern European country, explaining the situation to us perfectly and telling us how to break free. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings when Gandalf said to Aragorn, “On the fifth day, at dawn … look to the east.” This man of the east is like dawn, like the break of day.

We wanted something living, or that had come from something living. They gave us plastic. We wanted warmth. They gave us ice. We wanted something we could feel. They injected us with anesthetics. We wanted nourishment, and water. They gave us sand, and dust. We wanted meaning. They gave us the void.


“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


It really is an amazing article. Thanks for the link, Will S. I’m quite amazed that nations of Eastern Europe like Slovakia, who suffered under the Soviet yoke, so willingly submit to the yoke of Brussels. Have these people lost their minds? It would appear to be so. The Swedish regime, in its persecution of Ake Green (while ignoring every sort of vile incitement to real violence from the local Mufti or Iman), demonstrates it has no moral legitimacy whatsoever.

Presumably, the majority of Swedes support this abomination. This is hardly surpising as grape Kool-Aid is the national drink. Fine. In a few short years, they will get to experience the tender mercies of Sharia. It couldn’t happen to more deserving folks. As for the small remnant of Christians left in Sweden, I have to wonder which would be worse for them - being forced to live as dhimmis under the Caliphate, or being locked away in prisons and mental institutions while their kids are siezed and given to “loving” homosexuals to raise? Both are horrible, of course, but I’m tempted to think that they would be more likely to survive the Caliphate.

I find most of Chronicles’ essayists to be intelligent and thought-provoking, much like Mr. Kalb, yourselves, and most of the regular participants here.

BTW, speaking of Chronicles contributors, Kevin Michael Grace, my fellow Canuck trad-con, and a Chronicles contributor, who I mentioned recently, appears to be hanging on, for now.

Other than the occasional Chronicles and VDARE pieces, I don’t think he’s getting much other work, and I know this recent time isn’t the first he’s been in difficulty…

So keep him in your prayers…

Two recent Trifkovic essays: here and here.

I think Trifkovic is spot on in both of these, in the linkage between ethnicity and faith, and in the need for traditionalists of all Christian traditions to be be willing to work together, despite large doctrinal differences - which we shouldn’t dare minimize - as Trifkovic’s Lutheran colleague argued two and a half years ago.

I certainly agree; I’m Reformed (and BTW, not leftist - you certainly can’t truly be Reformed and leftist), but I regularly visit and participate in this site. If I may repeat something, regarding the last linked essay, which I said “here” a year ago:

I agree with Wolf that each of us, in whatever Christian tradition we are in, need to work to restore the historical identities grounded in our respective traditions, resist ecumenism and watering down of our traditions, and pass on the faith to our children. Then, notwithstanding our major religious differences, we can at least work together politically and socially to restore Christendom, i.e. ALL OF IT - after all, we do have common enemies, like Islam and liberalism. Sure, within our various traditions, we’ll continue to teach ourselves and our children why the other Christians outside our own tradition are wrong. But can we at least acknowledge that, as with communism and Nazism in the past, and now with liberalism today (which in its success is proving to be a far worse enemy than communism and Nazism), politically speaking, there are bigger fish to fry, than pursuing an imperialism of our own particular tradition over the rest? Whatever its weaknesses, our common political heritage is religious freedom, which keeps us from literally slaughtering each other over doctrinal differences as in the past. I want no part of a “traditionalism” that is in fact a new imperialist war of conquest and attrition over rival Christian traditions - count me out of that… That’s not “conserving” anything, nor is it truly “traditionalist” in any sense of the word…

Quote from Chronicles’ main page:… “Slovakian conservatives are circumventing E.U. leftists by forging a treaty with the Vatican.”

(Discussion forum… here.)

“Our people remember what was the nature and essence of communism. We know why its evil regime failed and fell. Natural human liberties and freedoms, including religious freedom, together with the family and the Church, survived the onslaught. They were attacked, and their enemies did not prevail. Now, 15 years later, a lot has changed. The evil regime fell, but its collaborators live on. So does the defeated ideology, now in a new form. Former communists now proudly call themselves liberals, but, instead of talking about a limited state, they talk about enlightened state intervention.” (—from the linked article)

They cannot keep their filthy paws off of things. They’re always touching, soiling, polluting. Can’t communists ever leave people alone? Can’t they ever? Apparently the answer is no. They can’t. They have to be constantly pushed away, repeatedly chased out. Damn them! What in the hell’s wrong with them?

Will, that pair of articles are absolute gems! Thanks for posting the link!

People like Vladimir Palko, this man Daniska who wrote the first article (does everyone feel the tone of honesty, simplicity, sincerity, piety, and heart that permeates his writing, the strength of his mildness, the power of his meekness? Surely this is a good man), the Slovak woman Anna Zaborska who stood up to the abortionists and the anti-mother crowd, to the E.U. and to this woman de Keyser the Belgian socialist bitch—these good people all give me such hope.

And is anyone picturing to himself, as I am, what a remarkable little country Slovakia must be, judging by these wonderful individuals it produces, this people who, though a tiny nation, are singlehandedly fighting the behemoth unafraid? Remember what Paul Belien said: “No American conservative had the courage of Vladimir Palko.” I was never in Slovakia, though I was in Europe a long time. That nation was certainly blessed with great hearts, and high minds; with people who know what meaning is. I must go there one of these days, and drink in that spirit, and look into what must be the faces, into what must be the eyes, of such people!

“and their enemies did not prevail.” And may it ever be so, till the end of time.

Long live Flanders!


… indeed, I find it encouraging, the spirit of defiance, of fidelity to orthodoxy, that Palko, his aide Daniska, and the Slovakian Christian Democrats in general, are displaying.

I’m not sure I understand the mechanics of how these bilateral agreements with the Vatican will work; what obligations to church teachings they will make binding on Slovakia, and how they will withstand European Union legal challenges. I hope and pray that it works…

In any case, the KDH are heroic, like the Vlaams Belang. So long as Europe has politicians with such spine, there remains hope for the E.U.

Usually I agree with you 100% down the line but I can’t let this one slide by. The hereasy of Islam I think is worse than the apostasy of liberalism, but I’d admit it’s not by a large margin. At least to this point we have can still practice the true Religion in the US.

You can’t force such issues though. The government of a country should in general recognize and cooperate with the informal, traditional, moral and religious habits and institutions of the country.

I would disagree with this too, I think it is plain from the 19th century teachings of the Church that “error has no rights”, the state must profess and act in accordance with the true Religion. Mirari Vos is particularly clear on this point:

13. Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism”[16] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,”[17] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”[18] Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.”[19] A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”[20]

14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say.[21] When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly “the bottomless pit”[22] is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws—in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

And again in Immortale Dei:

6. As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. Nature and reason, which command every individual devoutly to worship God in holiness, because we belong to Him and must return to Him, since from Him we came, bind also the civil community by a like law. For, men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose everbounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion—it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavor should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the wellbeing of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God.

That doesn’t mean every individual must attend mass x number of times per week or some such thing, only that the laws of the civil society must conform to revealed truth.

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

Thanks for the questions and the extracts.

On Islam and advanced liberalism, it seems to me you can look at both as heresies that strip down Christianity in the interests of making it simple, easily comprehensible, and directly applicable by force to all the affairs of this world. It seems to me though that Islam retains more truths, and more complex truths, than liberalism does. That’s why it’s been able to sustain the life of millions and millions of people for more than a thousand years. Liberalism, I think, is too much opposed to life to match that.

In both settings Christians are able to practice their faith although they’re subject to disabilities. Right now I’d rather be a Christian in Sweden than in Iran. I’m not sure how much that can be relied on. Islam has at least a theoretical place for Christian communities, but you can’t say the same for liberalism. In many places it’s already a crime to say “you know, the practice of homosexuality is really bad,” and in Sweden it’s a crime to say that even in church. How long do you think it will be before someone decides it’s unlawful discrimination to deny priesthood to women or child abuse to raise children as Catholics?

I don’t think I said anything that implied indifferentism, or the view that error has the same rights as truth, or that the state isn’t obligated to favor, protect and act in accordance with what’s true, including what’s true religiously. My basic thought is there are limitations on what you should expect from government, that it shouldn’t normally be set up as an alien authority independent of the beliefs and understandings of the people on the most basic issues, and that it should procede in a constitutional and orderly way in accordance with basic laws providing for distributed and limited power and various requirements of consent. So I would say:

  • The U.S. government should indeed recognize Catholicism as the truth about God, man and the world and act in ways that make sense in light of that truth,
  • The way that should come about is that Catholicism should be generally recognized by Americans as the truth of things, so on the whole they naturally treat it as the final point of reference in political life, and
  • The primary way that should come about is that Catholics persuade people their way is the right way.

I don’t think any of that can or should be forced. I agree that civil laws should conform to revealed and all other truth, and you don’t have to wait for 100% agreement before that happens. Government and laws are needed because there are lots of important issues, including the basic question of what the point of the whole enterprise is, that you don’t get 100% agreement on. It does seem to me though that government should normally be in line with common understandings on basic issues — if it isn’t there are going to be lots of problems — and if the common understandings are wrong then the first step is to persuade people they’re wrong.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Good analysis as always.

I agree that the common law approach is superior to the postivist law approach.

Unfortunately I think the only way we are going to see the rise of a new Christendom is for the existing social structure to completely collapse, along the lines of what happened in the 5th Century with the collapse of Rome in the West. As CS Lewis wrote, people only turn to God as a last resort.

I would agree the times of persecution for all Christians, and Catholics in particular are on the horizon.

The nature of that persecution, however, is still undecided. Either the West will muster the will to defend itself from Mohammadian agression and Christians will end up oppressed by liberals or the West will continue to bury its head in the sand and will wake up one day in a state of Dhimmitude

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

It is not at all self-evident from the statement why Catholics would be persecuted in particular from among all Christians. Would you please expound on that for me? There is only one way I can think of offhand, other than a self-flattery to the effect of ‘we under the institutional umbrella of the True Church are the distinctive part of the body of followers of Christ most worthy of the honor of facing opposition for their belief’. Namely, that—when viewed within the secular worldview shared by those of like mind and moral creed with Dave Fiore, who second him in declaring Christianity “tribal filth” and wanting to wage a campaign to “root [it] out”—the noxious mindset of anti-freethinking Christians might be regarded as especially Neanderthal in its Catholic variant where folks want to have someone ‘up top’ in Rome.

First of all, of course, Satan knows who his enemy is - the Church Christ founded.

From a strictly secularist point of view however, historically the Church presents an easy target - a visible hiearchy. Those who desire to destroy generally operate under the theory “kill the shepards and scatter the flock”, this is what Rome did under Nero, Domitian and others, it’s what the Puritans did under Cromwell and Elizabeth I, it’s what Lenin and Stalin did in the USSR and Hitler in Germany.

Catholics also tend to form together in sub-cultural societies which can be easily identified and targeted. This is not necessarily true in the US any longer tho, with the exception of Italian and Hispanic communities.

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

In the postmodern pluralist scene, it is in vogue to consider simply making a moral argument “coercive”. That obviously has to stop, because that way lies madness—and anyway it’s wrong to act as though presenting someone with concepts that make them uncomfortable constitutes an affront to their sense of self, and that to be so rude is to act in erosion of their dignity as a person. But consider that if a set of beliefs are the capital-t Truth, then they uniquely provide the real foundation for human dignity. If they do, then it is unbecoming of the goodness and beauty of perfect truth to use its auspices to be coercive. Acting in such a way in its name could be said to constitute a betrayal of the dignity it supplies, and one that might give unwarranted opportunity for it to be called into question on account of one’s behavior.

“you can’t force such issues” is perhaps a bit general, to be a quote at issue at any rate, and you are wanting to be specific and get directly to the religious point. While the idea that the laws of civil society should conform to revealed truth is an attractive one, in practice it seems much trickier to force such issues without… well, let me put it this way: I would agree with Mr. Kalb had he written, “In terms of forcing systems more belief-specific than civility and legality—anything you do via a medium of constructed government creed will have a way of managing to undermine the demonstrated goodness of your faith more resoundingly than any victories scored in your favor manage to further it.” A central problem of demanding state honor is that secular postmodernists believe in top-down steering and seem to generally look to it as the ultimate goal for societal influence they desire to cement. To try and beat them on the battleground of their choosing, at the game of their strategies’ authorization, would be to already concede the validity of a governmental domain far beyond what acting with integrity to one’s conservative principles could allow, and thus to concede the products of their reasoning to some extent. One can’t go part-way down the road of implications of their worldview and then struggle: if there is disagreement with secularism, things have to be confronted on first premises!
So then, while I understand that you are not champing at the bit to legislate orthodoxy, the implications of your stated position can hardly help but include powerful and unacceptable statements about the proper authority of government. If we believe that complexity and transcendence are important, then the very last thing that ‘the cause of Christ’ needs is to see orthodoxy linked in any way, shape or form to a contested power structure in the world. And regarding the subject of orthodoxy, the subject of orthodoxy simply cannot be avoided if, as you hold, “the state must profess and act in accordance with the true Religion”.
American voters most recently identify as 54% Protestant, 26% Catholic (obviously if even a few percent were living out their faith, waves of revival would be a constant affair and millions would be persuaded of the truth of Christ, which is the important thing. Now, that 54% is by no means apostate. Millions are fighting ideologies identical to those faced by traditionalist Catholics within the church currently. If hope is put in a Christendom, this is where rallying would have to take place. I deeply hope you will not rile at this. Trad-Catholic discussions are terrific places to see ways of defending certain truths, but I am forever seeing commentators quoted instead of scriptures; and seeing people who live faithfully by the Scriptures regarded as something other than equal and to be joined with and fully shared with and fully learned from, owing to their position on the wrong bank of the Tiber, as it were. Seeing how closely this seems to be held is disheartening to me as an observer, for traditionalism will not be invigorated until such time as people on neither bank regard active sharing of stances against relativistic corruption of Christianity as nevertheless some sort of ‘inter-faith exchange’. Much of what I see voiced by Trad-Catholics seems compatible with the idea that there are, in effect, going to be second-class citizens in the ‘kingdom of heaven’, and that is absolutely foul and anti-Biblical to introduce to a Christian worldview. If you are one to believe the New Testament of the Bible, check it out: the power of God is revealed to authorities in spiritual realms by his mysterious reconciliation of Jew and Gentile, two diametrically opposed lines of men, into one people under his grace. What are the chances, then, that Simon Peter is now posted at the “pearly gates” to check for rosary beads? I could make a case that to project a division onto the modern church according to Roman Catholic affiliation is to cast a vote against the perfect unity accomplished in and intended by Christ. From an impartial observer, it looks to me pretty strongly like it’s a very Catholic idea to think of making actions—how much moreso state actions, in this conversation—interpretable on grounds of institutional accordance, and a prominently Protestant one to regard any person who truly submits themselves to the Word of God, seeking to live in Christ, as a brother with whom one will be united eternally in Christ.
The practice of only one of these two mindsets must be characteristic not of any subset of Christians but of ALL who believe with integrity that Christianity is true. Again, to drag one’s heels on this matter is to evidence exactly how much more willing one is to value *being right* than one is willing to be Christlike in deed—which means that one is not right at all. What is of paramount importance: to live so as to persuade the world of the perfect truthfulness of Roman Catholicism, or to persuade the world of the perfect truthfulness of Jesus Christ? I suggest with utmost sincerity that serious inquiries into assumptions need to be got underway if the latter is in any way being impaired by attachment to insisting on the former. The issue is mercifully uncomplicated: if there is any possibility, much less reality, that there may be a reason to believe God has raised up mighty witnesses of his grace on both banks of the Tiber—if, just like compass needles standing at different positions from one another, people’s lives formerly broken by sin are pointing irresistibly to a magnetic north of objective truth within which is evidenced, among many things, God’s bringing of all things toward being beneath the headship of Jesus Christ—then there is no excuse for keeping strengths separated.
Whatever else may be said about looking to the pope as the expounder or mouthpiece of true doctrine and the necessary reference point by which ‘action in accordance with that true Religion’ may be measured, such a thing governmentally would only make external what is conducted internal to the church. Where all those seeking to be conformed to Christlikeness should be rallying on issues of morality lived out publicly, your plan introduces, via the public sphere, a split into the strengths that should be joined. The Christian society you desire can only be brought forth from American Christians, but as long as your ideas for it demand a public recognition of orthodoxy, the large majority of those Christians hold that it must only be watched for accordance with explicit doctrinal principles in the Word of God, not the pronouncements of Rome, the latter of which can, after all, unequivocally and categorically be no closer than the former to the divine source in question here, so this is no act of bad faith on their part. Even assuming all else worked out societally along the lines of a best case scenario, the public falling-out that would ensue when Catholics decide to give no quarter on an issue that is not intrinsically essential to glorifying God
is in fact so at odds with the way Christians are called to conduct themselves before the world that the scheme seems like it must be rejected in favor of more prudent action. Thanks for thinking about the issues and placing such importance on them. Much is at stake. I write in hopes that this helps!

I am in no way suggesting a “top-down” approach to social organization, you correctly identify that as an error of liberal society. Subsidiarty must always remain the guiding principle of social organization.

…a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.

(Centesimus annus, 1991, John Paul II)

We must work to promote the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ but at the same time I think it is an error to hold we must get everyone, or at least a majority, to agree with us first. This is the error of democracy. When you base the authority of a society on the “consent of the governed” you ignore the power of evil in the public debate. Because of original sin men tend towards evil, its as simple as that and evil ideas tend to win the public debate

Take a modern example - artificial birth control. I would imagine that if you were take a poll of Americans you would find 80-90% acceptance of ABC, it does not follow however that because most people want it they should have it. It’s availablity and acceptability is so destructive to society it must be prohibited for the promotion of the common good, whether 90% of people understand why or not.

It is a tenet of Catholic social thought that the eternal teachings of the Church thru the ordinary Magesterium generally and occasionally from Chair of Peter cannot err in matters of faith and morals. It is therefore irrelevant whether 99% of a populace desires to pursue an immoral course of action.

Here is an excellent article from the Acton Institute which advocates a democratic approach to implementing Catholic social thought:

However, I am not a democrat (small “d” as in I don’t believe in democracy or republicanism, I’m a Monarchist). I take particular issue with the idea that we must “respect the will of the people” when we know as a matter of theology that men are more inclined to evil than to good. The principle of obedience comes into play here, the essential message of liberalism can be summed up in the exhortation of Lucifer “I will not serve!”. We debate and bicker but I go back to the pronouncement of St. Augustine “When Rome has spoken, the argument is ended”.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers as to how this all should be implemented as a matter of public policy and the creation of the “perfect society” is a task beyond the reach of man. However I know our current path is a slow motion disaster.

If you are not familar with it, I would recommend the writings of Dr. Droleskey in Catholicism and the State you can find it here:

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

There are a variety of issues, e.g.:

  1. What should the laws say?
  2. By what procedures should new laws be adopted?
  3. What should someone do who thinks there’s something wrong with the laws as they stand?
  4. What does someone do who thinks the way laws are adopted is wrong?

On some of those issues I think it’s right to say “it doesn’t matter what the popular view is, right is right.” On others I don’t think it is. Popular approval isn’t necessarily part of the legitimacy of a law, and it certainly isn’t necessary to the legitimacy of political agitation, but if you try to establish laws in ways people generally are convinced are wrong the laws won’t be respected and they’re unlikely to last. Politics is cooperative and at some point has to involve consent. Even if monarchy is best, it isn’t likely to be successful unless people generally see it that way.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Politics is cooperative and at some point has to involve consent. Even if monarchy is best, it isn’t likely to be successful unless people generally see it that way.

You are correct of course, men accepted the rule of Kings because they believed it was the just order of society. This is part of the Social Kingship of Christ and is developed thru good catechesis and a classical education. Two things we no longer have in most parts of the West. Education is a big issue for me. As long as we have government indoctrination centers posing as schools the Social Kingship of Christ will not occur.

We have long ago abandoned the attempt to teach the young how to think and have opted for the easier course of teaching them what to think ie liberal orthodoxy.

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

“We have long ago abandoned the attempt to teach the young how to think and have opted for the easier course of teaching them what to think ie liberal orthodoxy.”

you all understand, of course, that “liberals” would make the same counterclaim, right? That WE are supplying the young with the kinds of critical skills that will enable them to discern for themselves, for example, that there ways of reading of the Bible that Thomas Aquinas (and the Pope!) knew (and know) nothing of… does a scholastic model of education really teach people how to think? or does it supply them with very particular (and convenient, from a social control point of view) lenses through which to see the world?


Where left-liberals control what gets expressed publicly in the media, whether broadly (by means of whole networks or industries) or narrowly (hosting particular shows or segments of shows for example) they don’t allow views opposed to liberalism to be publicly ventilated. Conservatives by and large aren’t like that—they do allow opposing views to be expressed and then they respond to them. They have a sense of fairness—a sense of “arriving at the truth.” Liberals don’t. Their instincts run more toward imposing the truth (their view of truth, that is), propagandizing, brainwashing, obligatory “re-education,” and thought police. During the seventy-odd years of Communism’s heyday both systems were allowed to be objectively studied and taught in Western Universities but only Communism was allowed to be studied and taught in Communist ones. Look at David Horowitz’s campaign over the past couple of years to try to force universities in the U.S. to stop excluding conservative faculty candidates. Even a veteran leftist such as Horowitz was often frankly amazed at the scope and depth of the left’s intransigence in this regard as on his nationwide tours he encountered institution of higher learning after institution of higher learning where there simply were no conservatives or Republicans on the faculty or at most literally one or two or three in an entire institution. Left-liberals have to be forced kicking and screaming to permit views opposed to leftism to be aired. Mr. Fiore calls this “teaching students how to think”? I call it something else (for those in Rio Linda, what I call it has three syllables: the first is “brain,” the last is “ing,” and in the middle is what you do to your hands before eating).

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Yes, it is true that ‘error has no rights.’ The problem in the US is that Catholics are stuck in a huge religious jumble. In our rather sad case, then Leo-Pius IX-Gregory XVI would want Catholics to work with what we have (or are stuck with), all with the goal of the eventual establishment of the social reign of Christ the King.
If America was 40% Muslim, then we would not really be able to, say, regulate their printing presses to a great extent. But we could work slowly to eradicate error in smaller ways. Even so, this should not be looked at as believing Islam has ‘rights,’ but simply that the present situation leaves us with little room for movement against it without setting off a revolt- a necessary (but not ideal) arrangment.
God never asks the impossible; He simply asks us to do what we can.

We must not waiver. Catholicism is the means. Societal theories and philosophy are important but not decisive. They are important because they are extremely intellectual, a divine gift Jesus answers in his teachings to the infinite power of ten. He does not necessarily reveal the valid conclusion. So we need to pay attention to what He said and to the Holy Spirit. Other religions might be part of God’s plan, but we can learn nothing from them. There is only the Apostle’s Creed, and Islam and the perverse Protestantism are not to be considered as legitimate.

Protestantism arose from a bad man: Martin Luther. Sure there were problems with the Church, as there are today. But Luther knowingly beget violence.

Henry VIII is the worst example of a religious leader that one could imagine, yet he succeeded, through Katherine, ruthlessness, and the mercy of Katherine’s merciful Catholic sister, to vanquish Catholics in Catholic England. Anglicanism is a religion born in blood, similar to the Russian Revolution of 1917. It can never become legitimate, no more than the Jews at the crucifixation can become legitimate.

Harsh words, I know. But I am open to criticism from my Anglican, Christian brothers and sisters. Paul Henri.

Mr Henri,

If Christ is to be believed and if the Church is as pervasive and fundamental a spiritual boon as you hold, then it is inexorably clear that you are accountable to an immeasurably higher standard of humility and teachability than that to which any other people could be said to be held. If in the Roman Catholic Church does stand indeed the sole means, and thus necessarily the singular spiritual vision to carry it out, then I can only expect to see the example being set here for all believers in such matters as could apply to such a calling.
If you are as right on these things as you believe yourself to be, then I see no choice but to say that I hold out little hope for this project; many things are present in your posted comment, but the living of which it speaks carries but scant traces of the powerfully humble grace that accompanies a Godly appreciation of the gravity of Truth or a “legitimate” willingness to do what needs to be done rather than just firmly proclaim it.

The chief priests and teachers of the law were the keepers of Godly order on Earth. Precisely because they were so sure of their spiritual position, they are the last to see how God was choosing to accomplish his will to free men from a life centered on themselves and make holiness a matter not of administered rigor but of faith. The spiritual authorities’ belief in rigor impaired their service to God’s real glory—not because of being undutiful in the slightest, but because of their deep-seated indignation at Christ’s fellowship with the ‘perverse’ second-class citizens who were content to be living outside or in unfavorable standing with the institution God created. Yet God was doing something bigger than the institution they knew and embraced as “[having] nothing to learn from” less holy people.

Mr. Henri, you seem sure that you recognize your duty. Now, whether or not you fully and prayerfully feel convicted that there are still second-class-citizens-in-Christ among your brothers and sisters who are doing the useful work of combating the pull of feminism, perversion, pride and Marxism in their churches—despite their union in a faith where Christ has made equal all who abandon their proud selves to obey him— you will be more powerful on behalf of all of us if you turn from your current way of thinking. On a note that is perhaps too publicly personal: Speaking, then, as someone who will be united eternally in Christ with you, I would like to one day give glory to God regarding the mighty works that will come of a Spirit-sustained spirit of universal servanthood in your life. If it pleases you to not deprive me of that satisfaction, I will surely be quite appreciative.  :)

You have to understand in the Catholic view all other religions are to one degree or another false. The Catholic faith is not just one more denomation among many but is instead the root of all denomations, Protestantism is defined by it’s variance to Catholic teaching.

However, as of the last 40 years the Church has chosen to instead focus on to what degree other religions are true i.e. if something is 90% false, then it is 10% true.

Despite many traditionalist protestations to the contrary, there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach.

You can study this in the documents:



Ut unum sint

However we cannot ignore how the false teachings of Protestantism or Islam or any other religion have negatively impacted society.

In the Catholic view - based on the work of historians such as Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson, GK Chesterton and most recent HW Crocker, Protestantism is at the root of liberalism! The exhortation “I will not serve!”, which defines the radical egalitarianism of todays liberal society was first most succiently expressed by Martin Luther in the posting of his 95 Theses and later affirmed on an even grander scale by Henry VIII’s break with Rome.

The liberalist philsophies of Locke, Hobbes, Decartes, Neitsche and others can be traced to a rejection of divine authority and doctrine of individualism found in the idea of a personal interpetation of truth - the essence of Protestantism.

It is not an act of charity to ignore this in order to spare someone’s feelings. Quite the opposite in fact, it is a spiritual work of mercy to correct the sinner.

The spiritual works of mercy are:

To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.

Kevin V.
(God asks for our obedience, not our opinion)

I would tend to say that it is, in particular, mostly degenerate variants of Protestantism that are at the root of liberalism - after all, many of the big names in “Enlightenment” and classical liberal thinking were in fact atheists, freethinkers, agnostics and such, and as such were not Protestants, per se. Indeed, classical, traditional Protestantism was and is nowhere near as rabidly individualist as more recent strains (e.g evangelical Protestantism, which has been heavily influenced by Baptist, i.e. Anabaptist, thinking, and Anabaptists were not Protestants, at all - they rejected the old creeds, and wanted to have nothing in common whatsoever with Rome, unlike Protestants, who hold to the old creeds, and even have high regard for early church fathers like Augustine). We do not presume the individual is free to think and believe whatever he wants; God’s Word is above all, yet churches which are in accordance with God’s Word are still above the individual believer - though the believer has a responsibility to be vigilant and ensure that his church remains in line with God’s Word. Traditionalist Protestants in fact have a high regard for church authority - our churches’ authority, yes, but that doesn’t equal spiritual anarchy, it just means not bending the knee to the Pope. (An analogy: the American colonists rebelled against George III, but that doesn’t mean they rejected all political authority whatsoever, just his in particular, and monarchy in general - the rule of Britain wasn’t replaced by anarchy, but by a republic.)

(Although I don’t particularly wish to re-open old debates, unless someone has a particularly new insight or observation, for any interested in these matters, I and others discussed some of these same things a year or so ago: )