What not to do about tyranny
February 8, 2013 § 25 Comments
Liberalism has succeeded largely by bringing down tyrants, real or perceived, unleashing the free and equal new man to do whatever he chooses to do — as long as what he chooses to do is consistent with liberalism. It has done so by attacking the very idea of particular men or particular ideas having legitimate authority. Thus it devolves into an assault on truth.
There is no question that we live under a perverse regime, where those in authority hold to twisted ideas radically at odds with the good, the true, and the beautiful. Therefore the impulse to resist the tyrant is natural and good.
However, the means we choose to achieve our ends are important in both the moral and the practical domain.
In the moral domain it is wrong for us to lie or to advocate lying. (Advocacy of lying is formal cooperation with evil and is just as wrong as lying ourselves). When we advocate that the government adopt an agnostic or nominalist approach to marriage or some other fundamental institution we are advocating that the government lie: that government officials tell falsehoods about marriage and base policies on those falsehoods. It is wrong for us to advocate in favor of this on principle, independent of consequences.
So even though Caesar is a tyrant, and even if we think we might be better off if he did lie as a matter of consequences, it is wrong for us to advocate that Caesar lie.