Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Machiavelli on Obama

Reading Pat Buchanan's column on President Obama's attack on Catholics, brings to mind this Niccolo Machiavelli quote:

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.
People of all religions should be left alone and be allowed to practice their faith, without government interference. Obama, I can assure you, is not God. Indeed, he will likely end up in hell.

1 comment:

  1. The Catholic hierarchy and theologians have too long maintained a cozy relationship with governments. The problem stems from the long trail of the Church - State theory that has rattled in the universities down the centuries, where the State has been viewed as a "perfect" society, a secular mirror image of the Church. Over time this theory has been crumbling slowly, especially with the renewed emphasis on the individual vis-a-vis the State that has grown outside the church in the last three centuries. One never hears of the "perfect" society analogy, nor of the divine right of kings, nor of the proposition "cujus regio, ejus religio". Yet even now Catholics are taught to vote, to participate in government, to obey "authority". Only the libertarian Catholics have begun to nibble away at these presuppostions, to question the role, even the right to exist, of the state.

    The result of the remnant of the old theology of the State lingering on is that too many Catholics favor making use of government to accomplish what is clearly charity work. The church has turned over the works it is supposed to do as a voluntary organization in society to the state, the one part of human society that claims the right to use force to accomplish its aims. This has clearly backfired, and the result has been government using taxes to pay for a very long list of atrocities, as seen from the perspective of Catholic morality. This current abrogation of power by the state is not the first, but only the latest and quite nearly the last. If the Catholic hierarchy and theologians actually applied Catholic social teaching to the State, it would push back, not only against the insurance mandate, but every other interference by government in what the Church is meant to be and do. It would apply generously the Principle of Subsidiary, so that health care was pushed down to the lowest levels of society, not controlled by the highest. The same for education, where those who send their children to parochial schools must also finance the socialist public schools. The list of push back required is very long.