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Christ the King vs. American Conservatism

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Above: Ben Shapiro, a Jewish leader of American Conservatism.

12 Reasons Why Classical Liberalism Cannot Tolerate Christian Truth

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or one god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. […] To suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion…is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty.

 —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1779

Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.  Pilate saith to him: What is truth?

—John 18:37-38
La Pasión de la Luz: Coronación de Espinas de Cieza

Classical Liberalism – the metaphysical groundwork that undergirds American Conservatism – denies religious truth in principle. And if you happen to be a professing Christian, Liberalism forces you to deny reality and live an outright lie. Whether or not the American Founders fully understood the implications of such a political system in their time, or whether most Christians do so today, is not within the scope of this essay. Instead, what I intend to put forward in the following paragraphs is simply this: there is an irreconcilable contradiction, nay, an implacable enmity between Classical Liberalism and its principle of religious liberty, i.e. religious neutrality, and Christianity. To demonstrate this assertion, I will offer the following twelve reasons. But first, let’s review a few terms. 

What Is Liberalism?

Put simply, Liberalism is the Enlightenment-age political philosophy which seeks to order society under the principle of Natural Rights. It posits the autonomy of the individual as its foundation and principally aims at defending him from any form of coercion, so long as that same individual should refrain from coercion himself, after which point he presumably forfeits said rights. These sacred and inalienable rights include rights over and against any moral or religious truth, or any claims of anyone unconsented to authority whatsoever, outside that of the individual and the Liberal state —whose self-proclaimed role is that of a benign and neutral referee.

The most iconic formulation of its telos is the preservation of life, liberty, and property (or “the pursuit of happiness”). But the most popular and concise articulation of its central tenets would probably be “You can do whatever you like, so long as you harm no one else.” Of course, a particular definition of what exactly constitutes a human being (or at least a reductionistic assumption of what a human being does not constitute) and, by extension, what amounts to harming a human being, is baked into Liberalism’s a priori assumptions about the nature of reality and the anthropology of man. 

That man has an immortal soul, for example, and that he is perfected by virtue and harmed by vice, that he is under the curse of Original Sin and in need of the medicine of grace in order to reach his intended end, namely, union with God, or that God has revealed Himself through His Son and established His Church and that God’s law has been proclaimed to the world – all these Christian dogmas do not fit into Liberalism’s view of man or of what it could, in principle, concede as being within the realm of objective and knowable truth. It should also come as no surprise that there is, of course, no appeal over and against these metaphysical assertions that Liberalism presupposes and which form the basis of its political order — as Liberalism is somehow said to stand outside the realm of competing truth claims and sits alone as the sole impartial judge of all such claims.

Rights vs. Toleration

Lastly, to preemptively clear up some common misconceptions regarding the differences between Liberal and pre-Liberal attempts at ordering society, one has to bring up the fundamental distinction between the assertion of rights and mere toleration. Pre-Liberal societies (more specifically, Christian ones) may have tolerated, in certain circumstances, what they believed to be false and harmful beliefs and practices when it judged that criminalization of such things would be more harmful than beneficial to the common good; they nevertheless in no way asserted that they were defending the inalienable rights of its subjects to engage in such evils, as does the modern Liberal state. It was understood that error — be it immorality or religious falsehood— had no rights, even if these things were, at times, necessarily tolerated. They understood very well that every evil should not be prohibited by law but only those things which most men can be expected to refrain from. And this, of course, would necessarily vary from place to place depending on the culture and character of the people. To quote St. Thomas Aquinas in his first part of the second part of his Summa Theologiae,

Wherefore laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition, for, as Isidore says, law should be “possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country.” …Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain.

Regardless of what prudence dictated would be prohibited by law, pre-modern Christian societies understood that the foundation of all political order was truth — the highest of which, and most certain, being those truths made known to us through Divine Revelation. The greatest event in all of human history, the Incarnation and subsequent redemption of the human race through Our Lord’s passion and death, formed its civilizational focal point. Thus, Logos Incarnate became the very heart and center of society and everything found its beginning and end in God. It was from this that all political order in the Res Publica Christiana proceeded.

1. It dogmatizes agnosticism: 

The principle of religious liberty at the heart of the Liberal state rests on the foundation of a dogmatic agnosticism. That is to say, no authority within the body politic is permitted to recognize a particular religion as true and is, instead, obligated to treat all religious truth claims as equal.

2. It relegates religious truth to the sphere of opinion:

It forces both Christian subjects and rulers to assert, as a matter of principle, that one can never conclusively know the truths of religion or which religion, if any, is the true one and that thus religious truth can never be the principle of any law or political action. In other words, it forces both its Christian subjects and rulers to assert that religious truth is outside of the realm of objective knowable reality and thus can never be binding on the body politic.

3. It corrals religious truth into the private realm: 

Both Christian subjects and rulers are forced to assert that religion, as well as the truth known thereby, is merely a private and subjective matter, i.e. it is relative to the individual and can never be viewed as an objective reality that is universally binding. If one so chooses, it can be shared with others but only as, for example, the experience of pleasure is shared between those with similar predilections towards certain pastimes and hobbies. In other words, to each his own, after which particular associations may be assembled based on shared subjective experience but nothing more.

4. It imposes the separation of Church & State:

Both Christian subjects and rulers are forced to impose a wall of separation between religious truth and public policy. It accomplishes this by directly attacking the traditional doctrine of the Two Swords, which identifies the Church as encompassing both the religious authority exercised by the clergy and the temporal authority exercised by the laity. In other words, the distinction is no longer one between the spiritual and temporal authority that are together found within the Church, but one between the State itself, i.e. the temporal power of the lay ruler, and the Church — which is now exclusively identified with the spiritual power of the clergy. Creating this false distinction, it proceeds to then tear away lay rulers, as well as subjects, from integral membership within the Church by forcing them to think and act, outside the sphere reserved for religion, as non-members of the Church.

5. It institutionalizes dishonesty: 

Both Christian subjects and rulers are forced to act contrary to what they know is true. If Christ is King, Liberalism forces Christian subjects to act as if He is not in fact the King. 

6. It destroys both right reason and moral integrity:

Both its Christian subjects and rulers are forced to act contrary to what they know by both Divine Revelation and right reason to be true. Thus, it destroys integrity in the soul and leads to mental disorder and insanity. For instead of acting in accordance with reality, which is the foremost sign of mental health and soundness of mind, it demands instead the conformity of the mind to what is known to be false and by extension forces human action to be incongruous to the truth and opposed to reality leading to illness of mind and corruption of soul.

7. It replaces and usurps the authority of the Church:

In the Liberal state, all truth concerning religious matters is subordinated to the state. It accomplishes this by granting unto itself the prerogatives of acting as referee between the various religious claims, thus making itself the final arbiter, judge and enforcer of a supposed neutrality based on an arbitrary and dogmatic agnosticism that it unreservedly seeks to impose on all its subjects and from which no truth concerning religious matters is exempt save that which it itself seeks to impose, an absolute and dogmatic agnosticism.

8. It denies the notion of religious truth while at the same time appointing itself as the only acceptable religious truth:

The Liberal state’s neutrality, agnosticism and subsequent universal toleration concerning religious matters is itself self-contradictory. It seeks to exclusively impose on all its own position concerning religious matters as the only true and objective one, while at the same time rejecting the very possibility of truth and objectivity with regards to religious matters. By putting itself above religion, it has formed its own religion, namely, Liberalism. An ideology just as exclusive and intolerant as any other, yet, without ever actually admitting to being so. In fact, it is this very insistent denial which gives Liberalism its unique and identifying character.

9. It demands dogmatic assent:

Liberalism’s agnosticism ends in absolute dogmatism. There is no appeal to anything outside of the Liberal state. Being the sole guarantor of the individual’s autonomy over and against all other relationships and social bodies, the Liberal state stands alone as the sole and final appeal of the naked individual, from which such individual has no outside recourse.

10. It denies dogmatic dissent 

Liberalism’s tolerance ends in intolerance. Liberalism can and will tolerate infinitely many competing truth claims so long as those competing claims are made over and against one another and never dare enter the political realm in which Liberalism occupies the sole throne.

11. It is self-contradictory:

Liberalism bases itself on the idea that it is tolerant and neutral but inevitably ends in intolerance and absolutism. Liberalism fails to meet its own standard and principle; therefore, Liberalism does not exist. 

12. It is Luciferian:

Lucifer’s non serviam is echoed in Liberalism’s redefinition of freedom as the unbound autonomy of the individual absolutely unhinged from any authority, be it human or divine, to which he does not freely consent. This applies as much to the subject as it does to the ruler. Which is why, in the end, Liberalism is merely a mask for tyranny. Its telos is, in fact, Nietzsche’s Will to Power. It is the institutionalization of the Original Sin, the putting of man in the place of God, the philosophy of Satan, the rule of Antichrist.

The Liberal Mind Virus & Apostasy From God

The virus of Liberalism has so colonized the Christian mind as to create an almost perfect and completely unperceived form of cognitive dissonance. We have so internalized the commands of our captors, while remaining blind and unaware of our utterly subjugated position, that, together with the chief priests of the Jews before Pontius Pilate, we cry out through our attitudes, words and actions “we have no king but Caesar!” For we have failed to see that the question has never been one of whether or not morality can be legislated — every law in every society throughout history that has ever been legislated, be it modern or medieval, has been undergirded and directed by a moral framework and conception of the good — but, rather, whose morality? We have altogether succumbed to, and even zealously defended, what can only be properly described as apostasy from God.

I do not say this to invoke despair, but rather as a means of arousing conversion. And, also, as a clear call to arms. If God exists, then there are consequences to how we ought to live and order society. If God has revealed Himself and His law, then there are very clear consequences as to how we ought to live and order society. If Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords – if all, without exception, are subject to His empire and scepter – then there are exceedingly clear and obvious consequences as to how we are to order and rule society as His subjects. There is no need to overly complicate what was seen, until recently, as a rather clear and simple matter. To pop the fragile bubble of Liberalism, one need only ask a very basic question: if religious truth is tantamount to reality, as it necessarily must be, how then does one live within that reality?

Fighting Under the Banner Of Christ the King

Being American Catholics — that is, being Catholics within a nation that, unlike the nations of former Christendom, never, in its entirety, experienced the grace of conversion whose fruit is Christian civilization and a clear sense of identity as a people incorporated into the mystical body of Christ — it is of particular importance that we keep before our eyes the example of our Catholic forebears. We must strive to recover our forgotten, and all too often deliberately suppressed, pre-English Catholic inheritance bequeathed to us by both the French and, especially, the Spanish monarchy — to which was bestowed the title by the pope of Rex Catholicissimus (Most Catholic Monarch). Above all, we must honor and emulate the witness of those who stood up to and resisted Liberal and secular states in the name of Christ the King. The Vendéeans in France, the Carlists in Spain, the Cristeros in Mexico — are our Catholic patrimony. Unlike them, we may lack the solidarity and leadership, as well as the social capital, necessary for armed resistance, but we have still the sacred honor of holding fast to our baptismal promises and the strength to do so through the grace of our confirmation. We can yet, like them, have our love for the Faith ablaze within our bosoms. We can be soldiers still, so long as we can still choose to be martyrs.

One thing, however, is absolutely certain: to play Liberalism’s game is to lose. To concede ground and bend the knee to its false demands is to betray our loyalty to the truth and hence forfeit our only effective weapon. Liberalism keenly understands this and fears it. Hence its seething and gnashing of teeth when confronted with a challenge coming from outside its self-perceived universal bounds. This is our only strategy for victory. We must not make any attempt to tame the beast. We must strike at it! We must, as Catholics, accept that we are at war and come to terms with the fact that our vocation is one of conquest, that Pope Saint Pius X’s call to restore all things in Christ begins but does not end within the confines of our hearts. Our resistance to the enemies of Christ is not private. It is not bound merely to the sacred sanctuary of our homes. It is not relegated to the walls of the Church or to an hour on Sundays. It is universal, it is absolute and it is fierce. We must resist the urge to self-police and remain hidden within the upper room “for fear of the Jews”. We fight in the clear light of day with banners furled amidst the terrible blasts of trumpets. But we do not fight for the right to a religious liberty founded on the principle of a false neutrality that puts Our Lord alongside Baal as supposed equals within the pantheon of Liberalism. We fight for the rights of the one true God. The incarnate Logos. The heir to the throne of David who rules the nations with an iron rod. Christ Our King and sovereign ruler. Amen. May it be so. 

Viva Cristo Rey!

Dedicated to don Luis Infante. Fierce and tireless champion of the Carlist cause, and esteemed friend. Requiescat In Pace

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