Why ‘patriarchy lite’ is just a stepping stone to feminism

July 24, 2014 § 52 Comments

Liberalism for men but not for women isn’t patriarchy. That kind of “patriarchy” is just liberalism: a particular form of liberalism with an unprincipled exception carved out excluding women.

Every form of liberalism must carve out unprincipled exceptions in order to govern at all. The “patriarchy lite” form has already been tried. The suffragette movement and feminism were just the liberalism that all respectable people support getting rid of obvious violations of the governing principles of freedom and equal rights. “Patriarchy lite” isn’t a tame liberalism which will play nice: which will avoid going too far and slaughtering millions of innocents. It is just inherently unstable liberalism itself engaged in its infernal intramural conflict, sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.

I’ll believe a man’s claim to support patriarchy to the extent he openly and willingly shows filial devotion, obedience, and respect to his own biological, spiritual, and political human fathers. When I see him on one knee kissing the ring of his human superiors, and making it clear that their flaws do not invert the hierarchy, is when he starts to build an ounce of credibility as a supporter of patriarchy. Before then he is just a poser.

The modern project is driven by a relentless motivation to deny and avoid messy fallible human authority. Positivism attempts to do this in the domain of epistemology. Nominalism attempts to do this in the domain of language. Liberalism attempts to do this in the domain of politics. Protestantism attempts to do this in the domain of religion. Feminism attempts to do this in the domain of sex and the family. Scientism attempts to do this in the domain of ontology. Utilitarianism attempts to do this in the domain of deontology.

Examples can be multiplied. But the common thread is an attempt to avoid or reject messy, fallible, flawed human authority. The common thread is to propose that even if we are not God and cannot be God, by God nobody else will stand over me personally in some human hierarchy. The common thread is to reject bending the knee to any other man.

And the inevitable result is descent into raving, meaningless chaos.

§ 52 Responses to Why ‘patriarchy lite’ is just a stepping stone to feminism

  • donalgraeme says:

    The common thread is to reject bending the knee to any other man.

    Some might even be ok with this this… if they liked the man to whom they bend the knee. But if they hated him and felt he didn’t deserve to have authority over them? Something tells me they would have trouble bending the knee then.

    If you would indulge me Zippy, I think that this account of David would provide a valuable lesson to such as them:

    Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gib′e-ah, saying, “Is not David hiding himself on the hill of Hachi′lah, which is on the east of Jeshi′mon?” 2 So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped on the hill of Hachi′lah, which is beside the road on the east of Jeshi′mon. But David remained in the wilderness; and when he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies, and learned of a certainty that Saul had come. 5 Then David rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; Saul was lying within the encampment, while the army was encamped around him.

    6 Then David said to Ahim′elech the Hittite, and to Jo′ab’s brother Abi′shai the son of Zeru′iah, “Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” And Abi′shai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abi′shai went to the army by night; and there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him. 8 Then said Abi′shai to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand this day; now therefore let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.” 9 But David said to Abi′shai, “Do not destroy him; for who can put forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 And David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should put forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but take now the spear that is at his head, and the jar of water, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head; and they went away. No man saw it, or knew it, nor did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.

  • Catholic bishops are everything from holy men of God, to social workers who can’t date, to outright heretics, to glad handing buffoons. But I always kiss their ring and address them as “Your Excellency,” sometimes to their obvious discomfort.

  • With all respect, and I understand this is a catholic forum, I think you misunderstand Protestantism if you think there is no human hierarchy within it.

  • Zippy says:

    Jay Dee:
    You might find this post and subsequent discussion of interest. In particular I would suggest that sola scriptura, as a form or manifestation of positivism, attempts to ‘flatten’ the epistemic hierarchy leaving no messy human doctrinal authority between the believer and God.

  • InTheProcess says:

    I find it interesting that politically you choose Liberalism (not specifying classical liberalism, which I assume you recognize as different) as the anti-hierarchy bend.

    As both a Catholic and a libertarian, I find often people tend to think that libertarianism means a rejection of authority. Perhaps my lens (Catholicism) colors my view of libertarianism, but I tend to think that false hierarchy, which libertarianism does indeed reject, is more likely what you describe as poser hierarchy; whereas properly understood libertarianism (or classical liberalism) is an acceptance of the reality of natural law, which allows for both free will as well as recognizing that order does indeed always come, even from chaos. Maybe I’m crazy. 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    InTheProcess:

    … not specifying classical liberalism, which I assume you recognize as different…

    No, not really, not in a fundamental way.

    Of course there are superficial differences, but I think that modern liberalism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism are all pretty much the same thing fundamentally. They just differ in terms of their collections of unprincipled exceptions, and in their perception of who is the oppressor.

    For that matter things like national socialism and marxism are close cousins to liberalism if not forms of liberalism itself, with a foundational belief in the free and equal new man, with an imperative of emancipation from the chains of history, tradition, nature, and nature’s God, etc.

  • Zippy says:

    As for libertarians, with their emphasis on freedom as primary over equality as secondary, what they fail to understand at a foundational level is that there are no free societies.

  • InTheProcess says:

    I would put forth the argument that Liberalism is pretty much the same as libertarianism (note the little “l” 😉 ) in a “talk dirty to me” way. You don’t have to agree 😉

    Perhaps my (Catholic) lens libertarianism realizes that all groups inherently choose leaders and followers, like we see throughout the animal kingdom and also on the highway. Naturally, people pick roles. So while there may be no truly free society in a sense where no person is a leader (because this is completely opposed to nature and my understanding of libertarianism) there are certainly relationships wherein association is voluntary up to and including choosing appropriate roles, because we just naturally do that.
    I’m specifically thinking of a marital relationship blueprint (kind of like the Davidic Kingdom actually, which seems to some extent to have been a voluntary monarchy in that the Jews collectively asked for a king and the relationship was marital in nature between David and the people) wherein, the husband has authority (as a Catholic due to the reality of the Trinity; as a natural law example because he is, well, bigger generally) but the wife agrees to join his household (over which he has authority) voluntarily. I suppose then the difficulty arises when contracts vs covenants come into play. (voluntary disassociation) I can maybe head that off at the pass by commenting that contracts govern juridic scenarios like “equal rights” and covenants religious scenarios like marriage.

    Perhaps I’m talking in unprincipled exception circles?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Some might even be ok with this this… if they liked the man to whom they bend the knee.

    IOW, if they consented to be governed.

    However, authority is not derived from the consent of the governed.

    “I will obey this authority so long as I consent to obey this authority” is actually a denial of the existence of said authority. If you believed the authority actually existed, you would obey it regardless of your own consent.

  • Zippy says:

    It is always possible to water down a political concept to the point of banality, as a way of attempting to make it defensible. A nominalist “libertarianism” that is compatible with the reign of Louis IX might not be subject to my critique. But any libertarianism capable of acting as a specific difference from (e.g.) medieval monarchies falls to my criticism.

  • InTheProcess says:

    I must be too Catholic then, for my libertarianism to be sincere. I’m okay with that 😀

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ InTheProcess:

    Belief in freedom and equality as unmitigated goods is de facto a denial of authority – even if you proclaim otherwise, stack up mounds of (what must ultimately be fallacious) logic behind it, and honestly believe it yourself.

    Belief in freedom and equality as a possible thing in the first place is a self-contradictory belief.

    “Authority” may very well be one of your necessary unprincipled exceptions to your self-contradictory political philosophy. The fact that you’ve made an unprincipled exception for something legitimate does not, however, make the underlying self-contradictory philosophy any less self-contradictory.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    It is always possible to water down a political concept to the point of banality, as a way of attempting to make it defensible.

    This is often a particular kind of weaponized nihilism.

    I must be too Catholic then, for my libertarianism to be sincere. I’m okay with that.

    There is no such thing as a sincere conception of a self-contradictory political philosophy. One may be truly dedicated to the idea of freedom and equality, but whatever one’s idea is about how freedom and equality should be implemented in reality will be logically inconsistent with freedom and equality.

  • InTheProcess says:

    @JustSomeGuy

    I felt the knife in the gut with your first post, until I reasoned with myself that free will must co-exist with actual authority if heaven and hell are to be believable. That may very well be an unprincipled exception (consent and authority) but it seems that the devil can choose freely to remain out of the authority of God, while at the same time acknowledging that it exists, because he lives in hell, no?

    As far as freedom and equality, Jesus is equal to the Father, yet the Father is also greater than He (submission of perfect Sonship, voluntarily being the Holy Spirit on both parts, authority and submission)…

    You are more than likely correct that I am politically self-contradictory.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    free will must co-exist with actual authority if heaven and hell are to be believable.

    Just because I can choose not to do as I ought doesn’t mean I may choose not to do as I ought. Hell is, in fact, the result of using my free will to make choices I shouldn’t make.

    Free will doesn’t mean we don’t have moral obligations.

    the devil can choose freely to remain out of the authority of God

    Actually, he can’t.

    Authority is the capacity to create moral obligations in another. Just because someone (like the devil) ignores his moral obligations doesn’t mean those obligations cease to exist.

    When God obligates me to do something and I don’t do it, the obligation doesn’t disappear. I’m freely choosing to disorder my will against the obligation.

    Basically, disobedience doesn’t make authority disappear.

    Jesus is equal to the Father, yet the Father is also greater than He (submission of perfect Sonship, voluntarily being the Holy Spirit on both parts, authority and submission)…

    Equality implies finitude. For two things to be equal, they must be finite to the same measurable quantity. God is infinite. God is not quantifiable. It is wrong to say Jesus is equal to the Father; They are incommensurable. It is also wrong because They are not separate entities which can be compared as if They were.

    You are more than likely correct that I am politically self-contradictory.

    Then educate yourself. Seek truth.

    It is the duty of every Christian to always seek truth, for in so doing you strive to become more perfect as God is perfect.

    We cannot become perfect because – among other reasons – we are finite beings. But it’s still our duty to get as close as possible.

  • Perhaps my (Catholic) lens libertarianism realizes that all groups inherently choose leaders and followers, like we see throughout the animal kingdom and also on the highway. Naturally, people pick roles. So while there may be no truly free society in a sense where no person is a leader (because this is completely opposed to nature and my understanding of libertarianism) there are certainly relationships wherein association is voluntary up to and including choosing appropriate roles, because we just naturally do that.

    This doesn’t strike me as very Catholic way of looking at things. I had no “choice” what family I was born into, no choice into what ethnic group and language I would speak. Most importantly I had no choice in being baptized a Catholic. I had no choice in the fact that my soul bears an indelible mark, a spiritual reality that remains no matter what I do. Thus I was born into a collection of authoritative communities of whom I am bound to follow in obedience. I have never met a libertarian able to really account for these realities.

  • peppermint says:

    The modern project is driven by a relentless motivation to deny and avoid messy fallible human authority. Positivism attempts to do this in the domain of epistemology. Nominalism attempts to do this in the domain of language. Liberalism attempts to do this in the domain of politics. Protestantism attempts to do this in the domain of religion. Feminism attempts to do this in the domain of sex and the family. Scientism attempts to do this in the domain of ontology. Utilitarianism attempts to do this in the domain of deontology.

    perfect

  • InTheProcess says:

    @JustSomeGuy

    “Hell is, in fact, the result of using my free will to make choices I shouldn’t make.”

    Yes, but the can vs May doesn’t hold any water when one acknowledges free will. One can (physical) AND may (be allowed) choose hell, that is the perfection of the marriage of justice and mercy; however, that doesn’t mean one ought. If there was any hint of free will meaning a lack of consequences, that was entirely unimplied as the natural order shows that all actions have consequences. But in order for consequences to be just, they must be freely chosen (from a soul standpoint.) I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

    “Basically, disobedience doesn’t make authority disappear.”

    Certainly not; it is at every moment (eternity being outside of time) the devil’s choice of disharmony with God’s will that keeps him in hell. I don’t argue that authority disappears in free will. I say they exist
    simultaneously; they must.

    “Equality implies finitude.”

    How so? Parallel lines, to truly be parallel, can never actually be measured but who is to say they aren’t mirrors?

    “They are not separate entities which can be compared as if They were. […] We cannot become perfect because – among other reasons – we are finite beings. .”

    But neither are we, as members of the mystical body. My soul is tied to yours, whether I know you or I don’t… One surely can’t become perfect, of his own will or action; however, submission of one’s will to God’s must be perfected on earth or in purgatory or a Trinitarian beatitude would be out of the realm of possibility for man. Man is neither infinite or finite: he starts, but he has no end, only a destination.

  • InTheProcess says:

    @Ita Scripta Est

    “This doesn’t strike me as very Catholic way of looking at things. I had no “choice” what family I was born into, no choice into what ethnic group and language I would speak. Most importantly I had no choice in being baptized a Catholic. I had no choice in the fact that my soul bears an indelible mark, a spiritual reality that remains no matter what I do. Thus I was born into a collection of authoritative communities of whom I am bound to follow in obedience. I have never met a libertarian able to really account for these realities.”

    I don’t think any person in his right mind would argue that he chose the reality he was born into, libertarian or Catholic. There might be a Hindu or Buddhist out there possibility of that…
    But no Catholic can consider himself “bound” in a way that implies a lack of choice about his actions, contrition or lack thereof… For authority to exist, as applicable to sentient beings (humans, angels, etc) it has to simultaneously exist alongside free will. Not because free will allows for authority but because there is no up without down, left without right…. We see these things in time. A perfect, co-equal union of wills isn’t something quantifiable, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to imagine either.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    I wonder if Zippy would regard Aristotle as a liberal. Aristotle regarded democracy as a valid form of govt in which friends rule and are ruled in turn. The term “friends” indicate equality.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    But in order for consequences to be just, they must be freely chosen (from a soul standpoint.) I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

    The nice thing about having an omniscient God is that He takes things like duress and ignorance into account. That’s why it’s possible to commit a grave sin for which you are only somewhat (or possibly even not at all) culpable. After all, when you jump on the grenade to save the lives of your comrades, if you failed to make an effort to preserve your own life as well (such as covering it with your helmet or trying to catch the blast with your legs rather than your torso), it is materially suicide. However, you are not culpable for it unless you had the time to deliberately think through the action and include your own death in the intention.

    An omniscient God will also take evil intentions into account – remember that it’s possible to sin just in the realm of our thoughts. Don’t worry about letting evil people do evil so that they get their just desserts for it. They will anyway. Hopefully, having their ability to make evil choices restricted will even lead them away from evil, and be redemptive.

    To be on the safe side, perhaps I’ve misunderstood. Could you elaborate a bit more on what you meant when you said, “free will must co-exist with actual authority if heaven and hell are to be believable”? I don’t see how free-will and authority contradict.

    Authority is the capacity to create moral obligations. When dad tells me to go do the dishes, he has created a moral obligation in me to do so. The obligation – the authority – remains regardless of whether or not he is capable of enforcing that authority. I’m just as bound to go do the dishes when he’s in a wheelchair as I am when he’s capable of taking off his belt and giving me a paddling.

    Free will just means that I can choose right or wrong. Free will is – like authority – also independent of enforcement. I am capable of making the choice to obey or rebel in both cases. That doesn’t mean that I’m not obligated to choose to do the dishes in both cases – regardless of whether or not the authority will be enforced.

    You said,

    I don’t argue that authority disappears in free will. I say they exist simultaneously; they must.

    but I don’t see how that offers any support for libertarianism.

    The primary purpose of government is to promote the common good. The only standard by which I judge a government is, “does this government promote good and prevent evil?” Of course, no earthly government can perfectly promote everything good and prevent everything evil, so whether a government is overall “good” or overall “bad” is a prudential judgement. Note that “prudential” isn’t code for “subjective”.

    If a government is imposing legitimate moral obligations on me, that has no effect at all on my ability to use my free will to choose either good or evil; in this case obedience or rebellion.

    If the government should allow evil choices on the basis of not interfering with free will (or on the basis of freedom and equality for that matter), then things like murder and rape shouldn’t be forbidden.

    How so? Parallel lines, to truly be parallel, can never actually be measured but who is to say they aren’t mirrors?

    Truly parallel lines – or any infinity set for that matter – are not quantifiable either. The fact that they can be said to be mirror images of each other does not make them measurable.

    When two things are equal, they can be measured and found to be of the same quantity. Non-quantifiable concepts cannot be equal. This is why questions like, “Which of your children do you love more?” are loaded from the get-go. The question has no coherent, rational answer because love is not a quantifiable concept. It is not even correct to say, “I love my children equally.”

    I’d say this is also another argument against political equality – equality implies that human dignity is quantifiable, as opposed to the vast and incommensurable thing that it is. You’ll see this idea of equality used in consequentialist arguments all the time: “It was okay to deliberately kill these innocent people because we saved even more innocent people by doing so.” That’s only a coherent argument if human dignity is a finite thing which can be measured and weighed against others – which it isn’t.

    But neither are we, as members of the mystical body. My soul is tied to yours, whether I know you or I don’t…

    We are, however, separable entities. If either you or I severed ourselves from the mystical body, we would lose that bond. Even within the mystical body, I am still me as a distinct being from you. God is One God. He is one being.

    Man is neither infinite or finite: he starts, but he has no end, only a destination.

    Actually, he is finite. Even if a man never stops growing, he can never reach infinity. That’s what infinity means; it goes on forever. One hundred trillion years from now – assuming time still exists by then – you and I will both be quantifiable, finite entities even if we are unimaginably more than we are now. Now matter how big you blow up a balloon (it can get bigger than the universe) you can still take a measure of how finitely large it is.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Aristotle regarded democracy as a valid form of govt

    So does Zippy. I don’t think he’s made a post about it, otherwise I’d link to it. He has, however, repeated many times in the comboxes that democracy isn’t intrinsically wrong. It is liberalism that is intrinsically wrong, and democracy happens to be a favorite tool of liberalism. There has yet to be an illiberal democracy in reality, but an illiberal democracy would be a perfectly valid form of government.

    The term “friends” indicate equality.

    How so?

  • vishmehr24 says:

    JustSomeGuy,
    “The primary purpose of government is to promote the common good. The only standard by which I judge a government is, “does this government promote good and prevent evil?”

    Govt is to promote “common good” and not just any good. The adjective “common” is significant. Neglect of this word makes one a totalitarian.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “There has yet to be an illiberal democracy in reality, ”

    Plenty and plenty. Ancient Athens, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, present Afghanistan, present Iraq.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:
    You should stick to the practice of quoting my words and responding to what I’ve actually said. That seems to be the only context in which you manage to say anything even remotely pertinent or accurate. At the moment that is just a suggestion, but it may soon take on juridical force.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    The adjective “common” is significant. Neglect of this word makes one a totalitarian.

    I agree, but be careful about trying to demarcate between “good” and “common good”. You can easily stray into positivism. Was this just an observation, or were you trying to make a point about something I said?

    Plenty and plenty. Ancient Athens, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, present Afghanistan, present Iraq.

    Athens was close enough to democracy that I’ll give you that one.

    Nazi Germany wasn’t a democracy, it was a dictatorship.

    The Soviet Union wasn’t a democracy, it was a dictatorship.

    Present Afghanistan isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic.

    Present Iraq isn’t a democracy, it’s a parliamentary system that’s tried to pass itself off as having democratic values.

  • Zippy says:

    The Athenian democracy also murdered Socrates — for criticizing democracy.

  • Alte says:

    Agree with the post. I wouldn’t have agreed with it five years ago, but I’ve been married long enough now that I can’t take men seriously whose political concept revolves around ensuring their right to boss other people around. Liberalism for me, but not for thee? Hardly. I prefer men who can swallow their pride and take their place in the natural order, and aappreciate that they lead me by example.

    I used to describe myself as a Catholic-Libertarian, but then I realized that it’s an oxymoron. I also firmly reject any hyphenication of Catholicism. There’s no need to “add” anything to my faith, just as there’s no need to add anything to my ethnicity. We should all choose.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    JustOneGuy,
    Democracy means rule of the many. Soviet Union was formally a democracy since a peasant enjoyed formal political equality with Stalin.
    Nazi Germany was only formally a democracy. Hitler came through elections and won many a referenda afterwards.
    Formal political equality exists in present Afghanistan and Iraq so they are democracies but they do not have a spirit of freedom. Thus they are illiberal democracies.
    Another is Pakistan

    Countries of Anglosphere provide examples of liberal democracies. India, Canada (through formally a monarchy) etc. Or EU nations.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    vishmehr24-

    And North Korea has elections and no one in their right mind would classify them as a “democratic republic” in anything other than name.

    You do understand that just because a nation refers to itself as democracy does not necessarily make it so?

    Soviet Union was formally a democracy since a peasant enjoyed formal political equality with Stalin.

    Apparently no one let the peasants in on that “fact”…

  • Zippy says:

    Although I am basically in agreement with vishmehr24’s list of democracies, with some caveats (e.g. Hitler was voted into power by a liberal democracy but the Nazis rejected democracy after coming into power), I am not sure what he is trying to prove.

    In a mass representative democracy the intrinsic function of elections is to collect mass personal endorsement of the governing consensus and of the winners of the election (whomever they happen to be). In an election the voter personally endorses the legitimacy of everyone on the ballot, the process of arriving at the ballot, and the underlying ideology that putatively legitimates the whole dog and pony show.

    So for example the function of the last presidential election in the US was primarily to get all of the voters who hate Obama and what he stands for to personally endorse his legitimacy, to personally endorse the narrow range of liberal choices with which they were presented, and to personally endorse the liberal politics that got them to that point to begin with. This insures the ongoing integrity of the liberal governing consensus, and if examples from ancient Greece are relevant here it may be worth pointing out again that Socrates was executed for his impious criticism of democracy.

    Some people seem to think that some kind of argument from antiquity (e.g. Aristotle) undermines my views on liberalism and democracy (as JSG says above, the latter isn’t intrinsically wrong qua procedure, but it is liturgically problematic within a context of liberalism). Yet people have gotten just as freaky when I suggest that Aristotle’s views on usury (as the root of Aquinas’ views on same) were probably closer to the truth than any of the modern economic schools. So I am wrong when I don’t treat ancient philosophy as Holy Writ, and I am wrong when I take those poor benighted ignorant people who lived so long ago seriously.

    I’ve written plenty on modern mass-market democracy and my views are no secret. So if vishmehr24 wants to cite and address things I’ve actually said on the subject there is no shortage of material to draw from.

  • jf12 says:

    Positivism for thee but not for me.

    [That is a content-free criticism. Show your work. — Z]

  • Zippy says:

    Also it may be worth pointing out again that the Nazi project was very similar to the neoreactionary project as some writers conceive it. Hitler was anti-democracy[1] but he nevertheless ran for office. The nazis used propaganda and other ‘social technology’ to take over the levers of power in a crisis, attempted to revive various ‘traditional’ social functions because they were useful, saw religion and culture as important ‘tools’ of machiavellian control, etc etc.

    [1]

    … Above all, it was the ‘Free Trades Union’ that turned democracy into a ridiculous and scorned phrase, insulted the idea of liberty and stigmatized that of fraternity with the slogan ‘If you will not become our comerade we shall crack your skull’. – Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

  • Mark Citadel says:

    Democracy is useful for certain specific tasks, but is a helping hand for liberalism when used as a model for a nation state.

    My preference would be to have a divided legislature, half of it in the form of a hyper-regional representative system and the other containing the military command, ecclesiastic representation, and subject experts. The executive would be unelected, appointed by his predecessor. There would be no political parties.

    This sort of government however would necessarily need to be predicated on fanaticism for a state ideology by all citizens, similar and perhaps more extreme in devotion as compared to the Third Reich, excluding the obvious unpleasantness of Nazi ideology that made that place a modern hell.

    The Nazi road to power I would say is not neoreactionary because I just don’t see neoreactionaries participating in the political system as the National Socialists did. Rejecting modern democracy as a waste of time, to realize a traditionalist society would require the usual environmental priming (a collapse of law and order etc.), and then a seizing of power by force in a very small area.

    In fact, as many have suggested, a city state would not be a bad place to start. A lot of planning, foresight, and organization would be required, we’re not even close to being there yet.

  • InTheProcess says:

    “Belief in freedom and equality as unmitigated goods is de facto a denial of authority”

    The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience.” CCC 1700

    All people must be inherently equal as icons of the Trinity. All persons must be free to direct themselves toward the Trinitarian beatitude. It reminds me of St Therese of Lisieux’s cups metaphor.

    “The primary purpose of government is to promote the common good.”

    In keeping with the social nature of man, the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person. CCC 1905

    As often as people bring up the argument that a truly free society could never exist, we are reminded that no state ever has wielded its power focused on the common good as defined by the catechism. So, technically no state could ever claim legitimate authority.

    “‘It was okay to deliberately kill these innocent people because we saved even more innocent people by doing so.'”

    Am I crazy for thinking that would be the opposite of equal in dignity? Equal in dignity would mean no one could be sacrificed for someone else, unless he voluntarily chose it. I also don’t see how equal necessitates quantifiable. (again I’m seeing cups) I don’t know how I love my kids, but I would never pick one over the other.

    “If either you or I severed ourselves from the mystical body, we would lose that bond”

    It isn’t a bond that is severable, in the same way that ignoring authority doesn’t make it not exist. “Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.” CCC 1272

    ” That’s what infinity means; it goes on forever”

    “God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us ‘partakers of the divine nature’ and of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.” CCC 1721
    Precisely what I mean is that we do go on, for the rest of eternity. We go on forever. We had a starting point, but we have an eternal destiny in the Trinity.

    I’m sorry if I was irritating with the CCC. The Church expresses it much better than I can. And I’m really just hoping I go into labor anyhow, so my mind is a bit more on that then debating politics 😉

  • InTheProcess says:

    @Zippy

    Before reading that, which of course I will momentarily, let’s not forget that the world is fallen and we aren’t in the new heavens and new earth. I certainly don’t anticipate any kind of realistic best case scenario under any political system or anarchy, for that matter 😉

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience.” CCC 1700

    This passage is about the intrinsic, incommensurable human dignity we all possess and how – in order to be good – we must choose good. I don’t see how it offers any sort of support to libertarianism.

    (BTW, when I say or hear “libertarianism” or “liberalism” I mean/read it as, “The idea that political freedom and equality are unmitigated goods”. If you mean anything different, it would be good to clear that up now before the misunderstanding is perpetuated.)

    All people must be inherently equal as icons of the Trinity.

    Just as the trinity is not equal, neither are we. Equality implies finitude – and neither God nor human dignity are quantitative, finite things.

    All persons must be free to direct themselves toward the Trinitarian beatitude. It reminds me of St Therese of Lisieux’s cups metaphor.

    Yes, people are always capable of making the choice to do the right thing. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make the evils that the idea of free and equal rights always and necessarily allows for explicitly against the law. Liberalism always and necessarily enforces certain evils while claiming that doing so is morally neutral.

    In keeping with the social nature of man, the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person. CCC 1905

    Yes, and sometimes it is necessary to restrict evil choices in order to promote both the common good and individual good.

    Forbidding abortion would actually be restrictive on the mother’s freedom and equality. Allowing abortion actually is restrictive on the unborn baby’s freedom and equality. Trying to give freedom and equality to everyone is like trying to cram too many pairs of socks into your suitcase. There’s not enough room, and some will inevitably fall out and be left behind. Giving freedom and equality to the mother is necessarily restrictive on the freedom and equality of the baby, and vice-versa.

    Nazism is what happened when Hitler the young optimistic liberal realized that “freedom and equality” is incompatible with “for all”. He realized that üntermensh always and necessarily come with freedom and equality. Instead of giving up on freedom and equality, he decided he’d solve the problem by getting rid of all of the üntermensch.

    We can see how that worked out for him.

    As often as people bring up the argument that a truly free society could never exist, we are reminded that no state ever has wielded its power focused on the common good as defined by the catechism. So, technically no state could ever claim legitimate authority.

    If you believe a government’s authority can only come from it’s adherence to the catechism, your view of governmental authority is logically positivist.

    Am I crazy for thinking that would be the opposite of equal in dignity? Equal in dignity would mean no one could be sacrificed for someone else, unless he voluntarily chose it.

    But what if two people needed that one person to be sacrificed? Wouldn’t two measurable, equal dignities outweigh one measurable, equal dignity? If human dignity is a quantitative thing (which it must be in order for it to be equal) then it’s okay for me to shoot an innocent man in the head if it would save two innocent men. After all, haven’t I done net good? 2(human dignity) – 1(human dignity) = 1 human dignity.

    I also don’t see how equal necessitates quantifiable. (again I’m seeing cups)

    I could paraphrase this post and this post to give you an answer, but why do that when I can just link to them?

    I don’t know how I love my kids, but I would never pick one over the other.

    That should in itself demonstrate to you how love is not a quantitative concept; it can neither be equal nor unequal. Both terms imply that love is a finite, measurable thing.

    It isn’t a bond that is severable, in the same way that ignoring authority doesn’t make it not exist.

    But what of un-baptised persons?

    This is getting off topic anyway. The point is that JustSomeGuy is not one being with InTheProcess like Jesus is one in being with the Father.

    “God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us ‘partakers of the divine nature’ and of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.” CCC 1721
    Precisely what I mean is that we do go on, for the rest of eternity. We go on forever. We had a starting point, but we have an eternal destiny in the Trinity.

    If this was meant to be an argument against the finitude of the human being, I don’t see how.

    We can’t be infinite beings unless we had no beginning as well as no end. You can name any point in time in the future, be it a millisecond from now or trillions of years. At that point in time we may be more than we are now, but we will not be infinite. You can always wrap the metaphysical measuring tape around a human – even if you have to unroll a lot of it. You can’t wrap it around God.

  • InTheProcess says:

    “If you mean anything different, it would be good to clear that up now”

    I think we keep defining common terms differently. When I hear libertarian I think of the non-aggression principle. At this point in my life, theology is much more of a focus for me than politics; I have however found that what drew me to voluntaryism/libertarianism is most of all my Catholic perspective. (I’m sure monarchists/statists/collectivists could honestly say the same thing.) If all people are born in the image and likeness of God than no person deserves anything more or less than I do and all of my dealings should be honest and as voluntary as I can make them.

    “Equality implies finitude – and neither God nor human dignity are quantitative, finite things.”

    “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” Phil 2:6

    Perhaps this is another situation where our terms are defined differently. I’m female and while I appreciate linear/traditional logic, it ain’t my bag. I don’t find that things have to be quantifiable to relate to them as equals. Equality between persons merely means to me that each has an inherent right to his person and property (ethically); a right to be treated with dignity as a creation of God (morally.) I don’t have to measure it; I hate numbers.

    “Yes, and sometimes it is necessary to restrict evil choices in order to promote both the common good and individual good.”

    I have no problem with restricting choices that infringe on another person or his property. Like: “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” (Interestingly enough associated with prohibition :S)

    “But what if two people needed that one person to be sacrificed? Wouldn’t two measurable, equal dignities outweigh one measurable, equal dignity? […] That should in itself demonstrate to you how love is not a quantitative concept”

    Again, I don’t speak in math terms. I mean equal to: Jesus would have come for you, and you alone. Me and me alone. Me, you and thirty other people. Me, you, every person that He ever created. No one person is of more or less worth to Him, 1 or 1 trillion; trying to speak of equality in terms of math is useless here.

    “The point is that JustSomeGuy is not one being with InTheProcess like Jesus is one in being with the Father.”

    I respectfully disagree. As far as finite vs infinite, we are neither finite or infinite. We are something in the middle.

  • Zippy says:

    The non-aggression principle begs the question by assuming a neutral playing field.

    There is no such thing in politics.

  • InTheProcess says:

    There is no such thing as a neutral playing field in any situation, because while all people are equal (my very own definition of such) that doesn’t mean they are equally good at playing soccer.

    We got to the moon. Surely we can think of something better than statism.

  • Zippy says:

    Statism-libertarianism is a false dichotomy. Especially since the latter isn’t even a coherent political philosophy.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    And I’m really just hoping I go into labor anyhow, so my mind is a bit more on that then debating politics.

    InTheProcess-

    If I have more time later tonight, I’ll comment on your posts, but I just wanted to say that I’ll be praying for the intercession of St. Margaret of Antioch for both you and your child.

  • InTheProcess says:

    What about statism-voluntaryism? I rather think forced political systems are incoherent as they are based on similarity of persons/outcomes, which is just lunacy. Universal in diversity, many different rites, the Catholic Church, voluntary organization (not in authority as it is God given, but voluntary in submission to God’s will) is the framework of my understanding of proper politics. What is the real dichotomy?

  • Catholic Economist says:

    InTheProcess-

    I’m not sure I follow your argument. You stated:

    Universal in diversity, many different rites, the Catholic Church, voluntary organization (not in authority as it is God given, but voluntary in submission to God’s will)

    First, I’m not sure what “universal in diversity” or “many different rites” means at all. For instance, does “universal in diversity” mean that homosexuals are to be afforded all of the rights granted to heterosexuals (e.g.the right to “marry”?) Additionally, “many different rites” seems to reek of false sense religious liberty that pervades the post-Conciliar Church.

    Second the idea that voluntaryism and God-given authority can coexist seems odd. When one does a Google search for voluntaryism, one is greeted by the following definition: “Voluntaryism is the doctrine that relations among people should be by mutual consent, or not at all.” As has been discussed at length on this blog recently, the idea of mutual consent as a basis of societal organization is completely at odds with Church teaching.

    Third, and this is a more general comment and not one aimed at you in particular, is always amazes me that folks that self-identify as Catholic libertarians are so quick to engage in compromise with the secular world. I mean as a Catholic, you possess the Truth, therefore why shouldn’t it permeate all of the personal and public aspects of our life?

    Why should the civil and the religious spheres be separated? It certainly goes against Church teaching (see the “forgotten” heresy known as “Americanism” which is discussed in the encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae by Leo XIII). Sure, it is not feasible to force folks to follow God’s will, but that isn’t an excuse to allow for a disordered society. The culture and laws of a righteous nation should be aligned with the teachings of Church and nothing else. After all as Leo XIII teaches in Libertas,:

    One thing, however, remains always true – that the liberty which is claimed for all to do all things is not, as We have often said, of itself desirable, inasmuch as it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights.

    Thus, as Catholics we should not support ideologies which claim “moral neutrality”, since to do so subverts the one and only Truth and allows error to flourish.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    The culture and laws of a righteous nation should be aligned with the teachings of Church and nothing else

    I was perhaps too hasty here. I certainly do not want to suggest that the state was explicitly forbid all immoral acts. As both St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine have noted, it is neither necessary nor desirable for the state to explicitly outlaw every vice, thus some amount of prudence is required when establishing a nation’s laws. However, just because the state may tolerate some amount of vice to avoid greater evils, this does not imply that the state should codify these acts.

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:

    As both St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine have noted, it is neither necessary nor desirable for the state to explicitly outlaw every vice…

    There are several problems with treating this as a concession to libertarianism as a political philosophy.

    One is that authority is not a single monolithic thing. Whenever one authority acts to prevent a particular vice, libertarianism implicitly requires another authority to step in and stop it. So libertarianism presupposes and requires the kind of centralized all-powerful bureaucratically micromanaging government that it is ostensibly against.

    Another is that the fact that it is not possible or prudent for every government to enforce every moral norm in every conceivable case does not invalidate governance generally. If it is taken as support of libertarianism in particular it proves too much: if governance is legitimate at all then precisely what is at issue is what it ought to do, so saying that it can’t do everything so it ought to only do what I say is just begging the question.

    Still another is that libertarianism adopts its pose of moral superiority by pretending that it is a passive, hands off political philosophy in contrast to the active busybody interventionism of other “statist” political philosophies. This is just an outright self-deception or lie: every government always actively and authoritatively discriminates in favor of its particular conception of the good. Libertarianism is no exception. Like all political philosophies it proposes to actively initiate force in favor of its particular conception of the good. By simultaneously denying that that is what it is doing, libertarianism just becomes (like all forms of liberalism) sociopathic.

    In general, libertarianism presupposes the very things that it denies are legitimate.

    At the end of the day, libertarianism is just another intrinsically dishonest form of liberalism.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Zippy-

    Just to be clear, I thought my haste was in saying that a nation’s laws should be determined solely by the teachings of the Church. All I was trying to get across is that there are other relevant factors in play.

    I still stand by everything I wrote in the previous comment which in general seems consistent with you stated in your reply.

    In fewer words, my position is this: As libertarianism purports to be “morally neutral” it require its Catholic adherents to explicitly acknowledge that the Truth is on equal footing with error. As this is logically impossible, libertarianism is nonsense and should be avoided by Catholics.

    In even fewer words: Error has no rights.

    In general, I think Catholics with sympathies toward libertarianism should investigate the wholly Catholic principal of subsidiarity.

  • […] the comments to a previous post we were discussing libertarianism. Catholic Economist […]

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