Skip to comments.Cardinal Ratzinger Discovers America
Posted on 12/12/2004 8:54:32 AM PST by Land of the Irish
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John Rao, Ph.D.
REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York
Cardinal Ratzinger has discovered America. Troubled by the total secularization of European lifereflected, most recently, in the battles over European unification and the continental chorus of criticism accompanying Professor Rocco Buttigliones reiteration of the Churchs teaching on homosexualitythe cardinal now suggests that the United States may perhaps offer the better model of Church-State relations for a desacralized world. According to a November 25, 2004, report on Zenit.com, the Cardinal, responding to the secularization of Europe, made the following comments on Vatican Radio:
I think that from many points of view the American model is the better one. Europe has remained bogged down. People who did not want to belong to a state church, went to the United States and intentionally constituted a state that does not impose a church and which simply is not perceived as religiously neutral, but as a space within which religions can move and also enjoy organizational freedom without being simply relegated to the private sphere One can undoubtedly learn from the United States [and this] process by which the state makes room for religion, which is not imposed, but which, thanks to the state, lives, exists and has a public creative force. It certainly is a positive way.
This, of course, was the position of the Americanists of the 1890s, who argued that things spiritual thrived in the United States to a degree that Europeans, passive and obedient to their manipulative governments, could never match. Cardinal Ratzinger has apparently arrived at a similar judgment in typical contemporary Catholic fashion: much later than everybody else, and naively uncritical.
It seems to be the fate of the post-conciliar Church to take up the banner of erroneous causes just as their poisons are beginning to become somewhat clearer to the rest of the outside world. I hope that His Eminence has been misquoted. If not, I pray that a deeper study of the system in the United States will reveal to him just how much the so-called religious character of America is, at best, heretical, and, at worst, a spiritualized secularism emerging from errors inherent in Protestant thought.
One still hears the argument that the threat of Americanism was exaggerated at the time of Leo XIIIs encyclicals against it, and that, in any case, it disappeared shortly thereafter. Certainly many people in Rome as well as the United States wanted to make believe this was the case, using the Modernist crisis, and undoubted American loyalty to the Papacy throughout it, as proof positive of the countrys orthodoxy. But the crises warned against by St. Pius Xs pontificate precisely involve the sort of philosophical, theological, and exegetical issues that Americanism sweeps aside as a horrendous waste of time and energy. Modernisms intellectual character stood in the way of the Yankee pragmatism that simply wanted to get the job done without worrying about anything as fruitlessly divisive as unpaid thought. It was part and parcel of all that pretentious European cultural hoo-ha responsible for the Old Worlds ideologies, revolutions, wars, and bad plumbing. Americans could recite the Creed and memorize catechisms better and in larger numbers than anywhere else. Confident in their orthodoxy and the Catholic-friendly character of their political and social system, they could move on to devote themselves to the practical realities of daily life. Criticisms of what the practical life might actually mean in the long run could be disregarded as unpatriotic, communist, and useless for short or long-term fund raising.
America, with Catholic Americans in lock-step, thus marched forward to nurture what St. Cyril of Alexandria called dypsychia: a two-spirited existence. On the one hand, it loudly proclaimed outward commitment to many traditional doctrines and moral values making it look spiritually healthy. On the other, it allowed the practical life, to which it was really devoted, to be defined by whatever the strongest and most successful men considered to be most important, silencing discussion of the gross contradiction by laughing such fruitless intellectual quibbles out of the parlors of a polite, common-sense guided society. It marched this approach into Europe in 1945, ironically linking up with one strain of Modernism that itself encouraged Catholic abandonment to the direction of anti-intellectual vital energies and mystique. Vitalism and Americanism in tandem then gave us Vatican II which, concerned only with getting the practical pastoral job done, has destroyed Catholic doctrine infinitely more effectively than any mere straightforward heretic like Arius could have done. Under the less parochial sounding name of Pluralism, it is the very force which Cardinal Ratzinger is criticizing inside the European Union, and which is now spreading high-minded moral values, freedom, and democracy around the globe through the work of well-paid mercenaries and five hundred pound bombs.
If, heaven forbid, Cardinal Ratzinger honestly believes that true religion prospers under our system better than under any other, he is urging upon Catholics that spiritual and intellectual euthanasia which Americanism-Vitalism-Pluralism infallibly guarantees. The fate of many conservative Catholic enthusiasts for this false God, in their response to the war in Iraq, should be one among an endless number of warnings to him. No one is more publicly committed to orthodoxy than they are. No one praises the name and authority of the Pope more than they do. And yet never have I heard so many sophistic arguments reducing to total emptiness both profound Catholic teachings regarding the innocence of human life, as well as the value of the intellect in understanding how to apply those teachings to practical circumstances, as I have heard coming from their circles.
May God save His Eminence from adulation of a system that waves the flag of moral righteousness and then tells us that we are simply not permitted to use our faith and reason to recognize a wicked, fraudulent war for the anti-Catholic disaster that it is; an evil that a number of Catholics are some day legitimately going to have to apologize for having helped to justify. May God save His Eminence from a religiosity which will eventually line fundamentalist Catholic terrorists against the wall along with other divisive enemies of the system who cannot live or die under a regime of dypsychia.
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I am not a Jacobin, and have always condemned in the harshest measures the unjust actions of the French Revolution.
On that we agree, it is not an American conservative position - I do not pretend to be a mainstream American conservatives. RAH! RAH! GW Bush and all that - no thanks. Radical? Why thank you, I try. I don't know where this attitude glorifying the mushy middle came from, another piece of modernism to flush as far as I'm concerned.
I am not a modernist and I reject your accusation that I am.
As to the ordinary and universal magisterial teachings, your comments are true as far as they go. However, just because something is "not irreformable" does not mean it does not still require Catholics to believe it as teaching, as Lumen Gentium No. 25 notes. This applies to all Catholic teaching, not just what has spawned from, and since Vatican II.
Unam: Leo XIII did not tell American Catholics that they should subvert the US Constitution, and I think American should be loyal to that Constitution, as a Catholic confessional state is simply not possible here,
ME: I have heard this repeated over and over and over again. In fact, I think I must know you. Why? Why is it not possible? Because American NeoCons refuse to work for Christ's Kingship? Your throwoff "it's not possible nor practical" overturns Pius XI's Kingship of Christ?
Unam: given our traditions and our political system.
ME: We can vote it in or at least vote in leaders who believe in Natural Law, can't we?
Unam: In the current climate, when Catholic confessional states are simply not a practical option,
ME: Why? Because it is too unpolitically correct, or too difficult to fight for this? Why is it "not an option"? Why?
Unam: the Church gains the most from a regime of religious freedom.
ME: Misinterpreted by EVERYONE. This idea of "religious freedom" excludes positing Catholicism as equal to any other religion. You think 99% of the world, including Catholics, understand recognize this?
Unam: The examples of contemporary Europe and Canada show than any marriage of Church and state in this day and age will only be to the detriment of the Church, its teaching and its practice.
ME: Maybe because they made bad choices, and the leaders and the voters did not practice virtue and strive for sanctity. Maybe the NeoCons decided in those countries that it was just "not practical" and "too difficult" to keep Christ's kingdom at the forefront of policies and decision-making. Then what do you replace it with? Can you not see our society is going the same path as Europe. It's just it is earlier in its demise than Europe is. Can't see the Muslims "outpopulating" us one all the Latinos become "Americanized" and begin using contraception and abortion at the same rate as the rest of us "Americans." Can't see it, huh?
Unam: The elites that will ultimately run your autocratic governments
ME: Like that is not happening now? How exactly did we get two of the last three presidents coming from the same family--father and son? Give it a rest, OK.
Unam: will not look kindly on a Church that condemns abortion and homosexual activity and marriage.
ME: And the current government does? What are you smoking? Our democratic republic is but a mirage that is passing away.
We are called to evangelize and bring about Christ's Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven." Sound familiar? Look long term and obey the Gospel. All the politicos always have all sorts of "practical reasons" why this can't come about. Then stop reciting the "Our Father" each Sunday at Mass, OK?
Me thinks he doth protest to much....
Nonetheless I made no such allegation, I said the tendency to glorify compromise and safe, moderate idealogy is modernist (and quite democratic). Glad to hear you are not a modernist tho!
And neither do I maintain that monarchy is the only legitimate form of government. I believe I made it clear that I accept original republics such as Switzerland, San Marino, and Iceland. I also would have had no objection to the old aristocratic republics which used to exist in Italy and the Netherlands (though now that Holland is a kingdom I would prefer that it remain one). While I obviously do not believe the U.S. Constitution to be beyond criticism, I also accept that the U.S. was founded as a republic and is almost certainly not going to become a monarchy, even if global trends were to swing in the direction I would like them to.
What I fiercely oppose--and here I think we are close to being in agreement--is the notion that American-style republicanism is what is best for all countries, and the belief that countries where there is a long tradition of monarchy should abandon it in favor of republicanism, or were right to do so.
There are forms of government that "underperform" their citizenries...but none that outperform them.
I disagree. It is quite possible that a monarch will be a better person and Christian than most of his subjects, and a better ruler than they deserve, and this is more likely to happen in a monarchy than in a democratic republic. For example, in terms of virtue, faith, and awareness of the necessity of ending WWI, the recently beatified Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary certainly "outperformed" his subjects, who did not appreciate him.
Then what recourse does the constitution provide for when the Supreme Court acts illegally and the legislative and executive branches are essentially acting in concert with the judicial branch?
Also, whom did you support for president during the Republican primaries of 2000? And why?
This will help me understand whether you are just a comedian who specialises in cheap shots or if you actually have some sort of rational political position.
I believe in what is right, not being moderate for moderation's sake. Abortion would be just as wrong if 90% of the populace were for it (actually, a majority of Americans have moral qualms about abortion to some extent or another -- they'd probably be more protective of the fetus than the Supreme Court). By the same token, just because something is a moderate position does not mean that it is wrong. On the contrary, I do believe that the opinions of common people over time often will reflect decency and right.
I do not claim that the Habsburgs are "a panacea for everything." I believe that they should be restored to the thrones of Austria, Hungary, and the Czech lands. This is not "everything."
Having always been a traditionalist at heart
You have an odd way of showing it.
However, the behavior of the House of Windsor over the past couple of decades has made a confirmed republican of me.
That makes about as much sense as it would to become a Protestant because of the behavior of certain priests and bishops. As Charles Coulombe put it, [i]f immorality on the part of its leaders were a reason for abolition, there would be no institutions: political, business, religious, or any other sort; remaining on Earth---and that includes even families.
I wish that some of the members of the House of Windsor had behaved differently in their personal lives, but it should not be forgotten that they have also worked extremely hard at charitable endeavors and done a lot of good for their country, more than most British politicians. For example, Prince Charles with his Prince's Trust has helped rescue thousands of urban youth from poverty and drugs. And his mother Queen Elizabeth has been a model of dignity and devotion to duty. There are members of the royal family who have led exemplary lives devoid of adultery or scandal who do not get as much publicity because they do not interest the media. For example, the Duchess of Kent, who is a convert to Catholicism and has devoted her life to teaching music to young children.
I do not reject the Kingship of Christ, but as He said Himself, His Kingdom is not of this world. You can throw around a word like "NeoCon" or whatever (I reject any such label). One can fight against specific evils in our system, especially abortion and the potential restrictions on religious freedom that the left is planning. That does not mean our constitution and the freedoms it protects are meaningless and are of no benefit. And in the modern world, it is those freedoms that best protect the Church, not some fantasy of a Catholic confessional state that is simply not going to happen in the present day. Sure one could be voted in, but do you honestly think that will happen in this country or any other major Western country today? By all means, start your Catholic monarchists party and see how well you do. But your anti-democratic arguments undercut you, since you don't acknowledge that democracy confers legitimacy. You apparently only see legitimacy as coming from hereditary proscription. And as the Kennedies are the only "Catholic" dynasty in sight, I would will say politely, "no thank you" to any autocratic Catholic kingship run by the likes of Teddy Kennedy.
There is nothing to prevent the peoples of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia and Moravia from changing their constitutions and bringing back Hapsburgs. I believe Otto von Hapsburg is or was a European parliamentarian. Since they don't chose to do that, you will have to impose your autocratic monarchy by force, apparently in the name of Metternichian "legitimacy". That is the opposite of Burkean conservatism, which allows for organic and incremental development and proscription. The peoples of Mitteleuropa are free to chose their own destiny. And all you can do is rail at Wilson (and presumably Reagan, since obviously the formerly Communist nations have only recently become free and democratic once again) for helping them have the freedom to do so.
By the way, do you know who is the current Jacobite pretender to the British throne? By rules of legitimacy, shouldn't he be the proper king of England? Since you're railing against the French and American revolutions, why not rail at the Glorious Revolution as well? Heck, Tolkien and others were known to rail against the injustice of the Norman Conquest.
Woodrow Wilson was the worst American president in history. His completely unjustified intervention in World War I, which tragically destroyed the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies, helped pave the way for Nazism and the spread of Communism. There are few historical figures that I hate as passionately as Wilson, and I cannot take seriously any "conservative" who does not recognize how evil his influence was.
It was Wilson whose "make the world safe for democracy" philosophy was the opposite of Burkean conservatism, not those of us who hope to reverse the terrible damage he did.
Obviously, the people of central Europe have to be convinced that the Habsburgs should be restored. When I said that I favor restoration this is what I meant. There are organizations working to achieve this goal by peaceful and legal means, and I support them. A monarchy imposed by force would not last very long.
Franz, Duke of Bavaria (b. 1933).
By rules of legitimacy, shouldn't he be the proper king of England?
I am sympathetic to Jacobitism in theory, but believe that it ceased to become a practical cause with the extinction of the Stuart male line in 1807. That does not mean that the Jacobites were wrong or that their ideals and heritage should not be kept alive, as this excellent website does. But when the very existence of the British monarchy is under attack from leftist republicans as it has been for the past decade or so, this is not the time to indulge in disputes over dynastic legitimacy. One should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I would prefer a traditional monarchy as envisioned by the Jacobites, but a Protestant constitutional monarchy is still preferable to a republic in a country like Great Britain where the Crown is an essential and integral part of its heritage and culture.
The Germans and Austrians attacked and invaded their neighbors. They knew exactly what they were getting into when they started World War I, and must suffer the consequences for having started it. It is they, not the allies, who must bear full responsibility. As for the Germans and Austrians post World War I, there is no reason why they had to choose Fascism or Communism. They could instead have chosen to build up democratic constitutional regimes. They chose not to, and must bear responsibility for the consequences. Again, the whole notion that "imposing democracy" is the most evil thing in the world is a preposterous notion. Nobody "imposes" democracy. Democracy by its very nature involves allowing the people of that nation, through elected assemblies, to determine the nature of the state's constitution as well as the personnel of government. There is nothing inherently wrong or evil in creating conditions that allow the people to have a voice in their own affairs. How perfectly monstrous that democracy could be so hated in this day and age.
To which Constitution? The one that's written on paper, and according to the plain understanding of the words (i.e. the "reasonable man" criterion) -- or the one that the Supreme Court and Executive Orders have mutated beyond recognition? This year's Consitution? or last year's? or next year's? How much of a blank check are we supposed to give to a government that refuses to abide by it's own written by-laws?
The reading of fiction requires a suspension of disbelief. At this point, so does the study of Constitutional Law. We have become so accustomed to burning what we had worshipped and worshipping what we had burnt, that a defense of the US Constitution is effectively to support whatever the government decides it wants to do -- whether it be to murder infants, to take away our firearms, or to confiscate property. Massah say "jump" and we ask "how high."
There is an English song from the 18th century that pretty much sums up what has happened to American "constitionalists" over the past two hundred years:
We Americans have had our Constitution "constructively amended" into meaninglessness. We live under a system that consists of both arbitrary rule and hereditary office, thus proving that neither of these features are exclusively characteristic of monarchy.
The Vicar of Bray
In good King Charles's golden days, When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Furious High-Church man I was, And so I gain'd Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily Preach'd, Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are those who dare resist, Or touch the Lord's Anointed.
And this is law, I will maintain Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!
When Royal James possest the crown, And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I shouted down, And read the Declaration:
The Church of Rome I found would fit Full well my Constitution,
And I had been a Jesuit, But for the Revolution.
When William our Deliverer came, To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd the Cat in Pan again, And swore to him Allegiance:
Old Principles I did revoke, Set conscience at a distance,
Passive Obedience is a Joke, A Jest is non-resistance.
When Royal Ann became our Queen, Then Church of England's Glory,
Another face of things was seen, And I became a Tory:
Occasional Conformists base I Damn'd, and Moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was, From such Prevarication.
When George in Pudding time came o'er, And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I chang'd once more, And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procur'd, From our Faith's great Defender,
And almost every day abjur'd The Pope, and the Pretender.
The Illustrious House of Hannover, And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear, Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my Faith, and Loyalty, I never once will faulter,
But George, my lawful king shall be, Except the Times should alter.
The original point to which I was referring was that Unam Sanctam was pointing out that Catholic monarchs have often failed to lead their nations well, and have often hurt the Catholic Church in the process. The point is valid.
I think we actually agree on a whole bunch of stuff. I don't think the US is going to become a monarchy, either, and given its history, without a dramatic change in the future, I don't think it would be desirable.
I also don't like the idea of rolling up existing monarchies, and I'd like to see the existing ones become more than figureheads.
But I'm just not hostile to constitutional republics. I think that they can work well, or poorly, just as monarchies can. I think in some ways they have strengths missing in monarchies, and in others, they have weaknesses that monarchies don't have.
"It is quite possible that a monarch will be a better person and Christian than most of his subjects,..."
Nonetheless, the monarch, as you have eloquently stated, is not the entirety of the government. If the monarch can lead the people to be better than they were, then the nation will benefit. But if the monarch is unable to help bring about change in the people, the government will not, as a whole, outperform the citizenry.
I think that is what happened in Austria-Hungary.
However, I think that a strength of monarchy is that a single holy and capable monarch may succeed in helping to bring a people to repentance, and thus may dramatically improve a nation in a short period. The converse weakness is that a monarch may do the same in the opposite direction, as we saw with Henry VIII.
Which just goes to show this government is neither accountable or representative - it doesn't even live up to its own rhetoric. What is it accountable to is money - something a monarch is virtually immune to. This is where Hoppe's work on time preference is instructive.
"The American model democracy must be regarded as a historical error, economically as well as morally. Democracy promotes shortsightedness, capital waste, irresponsibility, and moral relativism. It leads to permanent compulsory income and wealth redistribution and legal uncertainty. It is counterproductive. It promotes demagoguery and egalitarianism. It is aggressive and potentially totalitarian internally, vis-à-vis its own population, as well as externally. In sum, it leads to a dramatic growth of state power, as manifested by the amount of parasitically by means of taxation and expropriation appropriated government income and wealth in relation to the amount of productively through market exchange acquired private income and wealth, and by the range and invasiveness of state legislation. Democracy is doomed to collapse, just as Soviet communism was doomed to collapse.
Classical (pre-revolutionary) monarchy appears in a far more favorable light than democracy. It is part of the dominant, American-influenced world view that the process, beginning with the American and French revolution and essentially concluding with the end of World War I, of the substitution of presidents and prime ministers for kings represents historical progress. The following investigations show that the opposite is the case. The transition from a monarchical world to a democratic one must be regarded as de-civilizing retrogression. In other words, we would be better off today as far as living standards and liberty are concerned than we actually are, if we had never adopted the American system.
Unlike democratic "caretakers" of "public goods," kings, as proprietors of these same goods, take a long-run view and are interested in the preservation or enhancement of capital values. They are considered personally responsible for their actions and bound by pre-existing laws. They are not the makers of law; they apply old and eternal law. Independent of popular elections, they have little need for demagoguery, redistribution and egalitarianism (the lack of which is all good for economic development). In sum, the monarchical state is comparatively moderate and mild: with low tax revenue and little invasive and oppressive."
It is an a priori truth that property which is owned by an individual is better cared for by him than property he does not own - take a journey down to your nearest government housing project if you doubt this.
In the privately owned state (hereditary monarchy) this gives the current occupant a long-term view.
He (or she! Queens are wonderful!) is concerned with the preservation of his and his family's legacy, he is taught from earliest childhood to think and act as the "father of his people" He thinks in terms of preservation and in terms of decades. This tends to make monarchs the very definition of conservative. Contrast this with the typical opportunistic, ambitious politician who must say and do whatever is necessary to secure financing and support from as many groups as possible. He has 4 or 8 years to "make his mark" so to speak, he is much more likely to grab whatever he can get during the time he has. He is nothing more than a temporary caretaker, and he knows it. His focus is to fool as many people as he can, as often as he can in order to retain his power - God forbid if he is under a set time limit, such as a President! (this is why term limits would make corruption in democratic politics worse, not better)
It is said that "Those that seek power are those that should not have it". The hereditary monarch does not seek power - he is born into it - it is an honor and a grave responsibility. The vast majority of reigns are uneventful periods of stability and peace - of course it is the exceptions everyone remembers.
Some closing thoughts from Dr. Hoppe
The first and most fundamental is the myth that the emergence of states out of a prior, non-statist order has caused subsequent economic and civilizational progress. In fact, theory dictates that any progress must have occurred in spite not because of the institution of a state.
A state is defined conventionally as an agency that exercises a compulsory territorial monopoly of ultimate decison-making (jurisdiction) and of taxation. By definition then, every state, regardless of its particular constitution, is economically and ethically deficient. Every monopolist is "bad" from the viewpoint of consumers. Monopoly is hereby understood as the absence of free entry into a particular line of production: only one agency, A, may produce X.
Any monopoly is "bad" for consumers because, shielded from potential new entrants into its line of production, the price for its product will be higher and the quality lower than with free entry. And a monopolist with ultimate decison-making powers is particularly bad. While other monopolists produce inferior goods, a monopolist judge, besides producing inferior goods, will produce bads, because he who is the ultimate judge in every case of conflict also has the last word in each conflict involving himself. Consequently, instead of preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will cause and provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage.
Not only would no one accept such a monopoly judge provision, but no one would ever agree to a provision that allowed this judge to determine the price to be paid for his "service" unilaterally. Predictably, such a monopolist would use up ever more resources (tax revenue) to produce fewer goods and perpetrate more bads. This is not a prescription for protection but for oppression and exploitation. The result of a state, then, is not peaceful cooperation and social order, but conflict, provocation, aggression, oppression, and impoverishment, i.e., de-civilization. This, above all, is what the history of states illustrates. It is first and foremost the history of countless millions of innocent state victims.
The second myth concerns the historic transition from absolute monarchies to democratic states. Not only do neoconservatives interpret this development as progress; there is near-universal agreement that democracy represents an advance over monarchy and is the cause of economic and moral progress. This interpretation is curious in light of the fact that democracy has been the fountainhead of every form of socialism: of (European) democratic socialism and (American) liberalism and neo-conservatism as well as of international (Soviet) socialism, (Italian) fascism, and national (Nazi) socialism. More importantly, however, theory contradicts this interpretation; whereas both monarchies and democracies are deficient as states, democracy is worse than monarchy.
Theoretically speaking, the transition from monarchy to democracy involves no more or less than a hereditary monopoly "owner" the prince or king being replaced by temporary and interchangeable monopoly "caretakers" presidents, prime ministers, and members of parliament. Both kings and presidents will produce bads, yet a king, because he "owns" the monopoly and may sell or bequeath it, will care about the repercussions of his actions on capital values. As the owner of the capital stock on "his" territory, the king will be comparatively future-oriented. In order to preserve or enhance the value of his property, he will exploit only moderately and calculatingly. In contrast, a temporary and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried out without regard for the value of the capital stock.
Nor is it an advantage of democracy that free entry into every state position exists (whereas under monarchy entry is restricted by the king's discretion). To the contrary, only competition in the production of goods is a good thing. Competition in the production of bads is not good; in fact, it is sheer evil. Kings, coming into their position by virtue of birth, might be harmless dilettantes or decent men (and if they are "madmen," they will be quickly restrained or if need be, killed, by close relatives concerned with the possessions of the dynasty). In sharp contrast, the selection of government rulers by means of popular elections makes it essentially impossible for a harmless or decent person to ever rise to the top. Presidents and prime ministers come into their position as a result of their efficiency as morally uninhibited demagogues. Hence, democracy virtually assures that only dangerous men will rise to the top of government.
In particular, democracy is seen as promoting an increase in the social rate of time preference (present-orientation) or the "infantilization" of society. It results in continually increased taxes, paper money and paper money inflation, an unending flood of legislation, and a steadily growing "public" debt. By the same token, democracy leads to lower savings, increased legal uncertainty, moral relativism, lawlessness, and crime. Further, democracy is a tool for wealth and income confiscation and redistribution. It involves the legislative "taking" of the property of some the haves of something and the "giving" of it to others the have-nots of things. And since it is presumably something valuable that is being redistributed of which the haves have too much and the have-nots too little any such redistribution implies that the incentive to be of value or produce something valuable is systematically reduced. In other words, the proportion of not-so-good people and not-so-good personal traits, habits, and forms of conduct and appearance will increase, and life in society will become increasingly unpleasant.
Last but not least, democracy is described as resulting in a radical change in the conduct of war. Because they can externalize the costs of their own aggression onto others (via taxes), both kings and presidents will be more than 'normally' aggressive and warlike. However, a king's motive for war is typically an ownership-inheritance dispute. The objective of his war is tangible and territorial: to gain control over some piece of real estate and its inhabitants. And to reach this objective it is in his interest to distinguish between combatants (his enemies and targets of attack) and non-combatants and their property (to be left out of the war and undamaged). Democracy has transformed the limited wars of kings into total wars. The motive for war has become ideological democracy, liberty, civilization, humanity. The objectives are intangible and elusive: the ideological "conversion" of the losers preceded by their "unconditional" surrender (which, because one can never be certain about the sincerity of conversion, may require such means as the mass murder of civilians). And the distinction between combatants and non-combatants becomes fuzzy and ultimately disappears under democracy, and mass war involvement the draft and popular war rallies as well as "collateral damage" become part of war strategy.
Finally, the third myth shattered is the belief that there is no alternative to Western welfare-democracies a la US. Again, theory demonstrates otherwise. First, this belief is false because the modern welfare-state is not a "stable" economic system. It is bound to collapse under its own parasitic weight, much like Russian-style socialism imploded a decade ago. More importantly, however, an economically stable alternative to democracy exists. The term I propose for this alternative is "natural order."
In a natural order every scarce resource, including all land, is owned privately, every enterprise is funded by voluntarily paying customers or private donors, and entry into every line of production, including that of property protection, conflict arbitration, and peacemaking, is free. A large part of my book concerns the explanation of the workings the logic of a natural order and the requirements for the transformation from democracy to a natural order.
Whereas states disarm their citizens so as to be able to rob them more surely (thereby rendering them more vulnerable also to criminal and terrorist attack), a natural order is characterized by an armed citizenry. This feature is furthered by insurance companies, which play a prominent role as providers of security and protection in a natural order. Insurers will encourage gun ownership by offering lower premiums to armed (and weapons-trained) clients. By their nature insurers are defensive agencies. Only "accidental" not: self-inflicted, caused or provoked damage is "insurable." Aggressors and provocateurs will be denied insurance coverage and are thus weak. And because insurers must indemnify their clients in case of victimization, they must be concerned constantly about the prevention of criminal aggression, the recovery of misappropriated property, and the apprehension of those liable for the damage in question.
Furthermore, the relationship between insurer and client is contractual. The rules of the game are mutually accepted and fixed. An insurer cannot "legislate," or unilaterally change the terms of the contract. In particular, if an insurer wants to attract a voluntarily paying clientele, it must provide for the foreseeable contingency of conflict in its contracts, not only between its own clients but especially with clients of other insurers. The only provision satisfactorily covering the latter contingency is for an insurer to bind itself contractually to independent third-party arbitration. However, not just any arbitration will do. The conflicting insurers must agree on the arbitrator or arbitration agency, and in order to be agreeable to insurers, an arbitrator must produce a product (of legal procedure and substantive judgment) that embodies the widest possible moral consensus among insurers and clients alike. Thus, contrary to statist conditions, a natural order is characterized by stable and predictable law and increased legal harmony.
Moreover, insurance companies promote the development of another "security feature." States have not just disarmed their citizens by taking away their weapons, democratic states in particular have also done so in stripping their citizens of the right to exclusion and by promoting instead through various non-discrimination, affirmative action, and multiculturalist policies forced integration. In a natural order, the right to exclusion inherent in the very idea of private property is restored to private property owners.
Accordingly, to lower the production cost of security and improve its quality, a natural order is characterized by increased discrimination, segregation, spatial separation, uniculturalism (cultural homogeneity), exclusivity, and exclusion. In addition, whereas states have undermined intermediating social institutions (family households, churches, covenants, communities, and clubs) and the associated ranks and layers of authority so as to increase their own power vis-a-vis equal and isolated individuals, a natural order is distinctly un-egalitarian: "elitist," "hierarchical," "proprietarian," "patriarchical," and "authoritorian," and its stability depends essentially on the existence of a self-conscious natural voluntarily acknowledged aristocracy."
Yes most of the integrists (they are hardly "traditional") are just as anti-American as you. If you'd prefer to molly-coddle terrorists, perhaps hiding behind some perfumed monarch is the natural thing to do.
The Religion Forum is known for "Catholics" who despise the Pope or don't recognize his authority at all.