Sunday, June 03, 2012
What he is going for is a well-intentioned and “benign” effort to integrate the practices and beliefs of the UK’s almost-two million Muslims into British law.
But I would say that there can be nothing “benign” about it, however well-intentioned (and ‘sensitive’ and ‘respectful’ and Correct) it may be.
Because to do so you will have to introduce the principles of a non-Western political and legal Universe into the Western political and legal Universe.
Henry VIII was in a very real sense hugely regressive politically when – for dynastic and fiscal reasons – he made himself Head of the Church in England. He united what had been fruitfully separated throughout the preceding millennium and more of Western political development: government and religion, Throne and Church.
He basically brought the Eastern and Byzantine concept of the Church being merely an arm of the Throne and Empire into a West that had – through the workings of the Roman Catholic Church, marvelously enough – separated the Church and the Throne (and nascent State).
Worse, he helped Flatten the West’s concept of the human cosmos: where the independence of the Church served to demonstrate in very real terms that there was indeed a higher (and Higher) Plane of Existence, sitting in guidance and judgment over the doings and workings of this human, historical Plane of Existence. Henry now Flattened that multiplanar vision of human and cosmic reality (and Reality) into a monoplanar vision: there is for all real and historical purposes only the power of the Throne/State as the arbiter of human history and affairs. (Think of Bush 2’s myrmidons insisting that ‘we don’t follow history; we make it’; and before them, the ruthlessly Flattening insistences and demands of Radical Feminism as it channeled Marxist-Leninist monoplanar Materialism.)
Henry paved the way for the currently Correct philosophical and political and legal theory of Government Positivism: whatever a government says is law, because there is no power or Law higher than the government to judge or contradict it. (Or – I can never stop quoting his superbly pithy expression of this theory – as Mussolini put it: “nothing outside the state, nothing against the state, nothing above the state”: and notice that “the state” in this theory can be of the Left or of the Right.)
Also note that the State may replace the Beyond (or God), thus Flattening the human cosmos into the monoplane (this is what Communism did); or it may – through the ‘divine right’ of the Throne – become the Deputized Agent of God (thus Louis XIV and the Russian Czars – to name but a few).
Whichever way you choose, you wind up for all practical purposes with a State from which there is no appeal, and which is itself under no effective judgment by any Higher law or authority. You simply have to “trust” the State or the government or the governing person that it/s/he is doing the right thing. That’s a whole lotta ‘trust’; and wayyyy too much for the American Framing Vision.
In his initial formulation of this plan for Shariah law, the Archbishop gave the impression that “Muslims could opt out of secular common law for separate arbitration and judgment in Islamic religious courts”, which “created the impression of one law for Muslims and another for everybody else”.
While it appears here in its religious variant, the basic dynamic of different laws for differently-valued chunks of citizens is precisely what has been going on in this country since the fundamentally fraught concept of affirmative-action was first initiated (in the matter of Race) and then expanded like silly-putty to cover Gender, Ethnicity, physical ‘ablement’, victim-status (however defined and determined), and all the other pretextual ‘identities’ which have become favored by the Beltway.
In the Archbishop’s case he made the connection so clearly (not that he intended to) that he was quickly forced to ‘clarify’ his thoughts. This has not been the case in the U.S. where all manner of fig-leaves have been fabricated to keep the dynamic going and expanding while simultaneously claiming that it is both ‘revolutionary’ and yet also ‘not really much of a change but just a little tweaking of the liberal and the constitutional’. Yah.
In this country, with an ominously marvelous touch of historical irony, We have been offered the type of seductively sing-song-y paradoxes so beloved of old Marxist and Soviet rhetoric: some have to be favored especially in order for all to be treated equally; unfairness has to be formalized in order to establish fairness; discrimination must be imposed in order to abolish discrimination; inequality must be valorized in order to ensure equality. We truly entered the realm of “1984” long before that date actually came to pass, and have continued our (perhaps final) descent into that liberally-gilded dystopia. Fasten your seat belts. And zip your lips, if you were thinking of mentioning this unhappy fact out loud. (Think of Colonel Klink or Sergeant Schulz suddenly stopping themselves in the middle of a too-accurate statement of fact with the splendidly revelatory exclamation: Whaaaaaat ammmm I sayyyyy-ing?)
The article continues: because (as so often happens nowadays, alas) “the media storm masked the real message of the [Archbishop’s] speech, which concerned the authority of the secular state and its impact on religious minorities in general and Muslims in particular”.
Yes, but even that statement doesn’t reach the dark, beating heart of the matter: the authority of the modern secularist state and its impact on the human Cosmos or Universe and – in the Western European constitutional democracies – on the political (and cultural and legal) Universe established in the 18th century and subsequently after a long, hard, bloody slog up the hill from the Dark Ages following the Fall of the Roman Empire.
But the article keeps at it, nicely. “For the genuine target of the archbishop’s lecture is the increasingly authoritarian and anti-religious nature of the modern liberal state”. Just so. Somehow – in case nobody has noticed – modern ‘liberalism’ has become verrrrry authoritarian.
The article goes on to use the term “militant secularism” – and rightly so. But while it is Correctly spun nowadays as ‘liberating’ – in the sense of liberating humanity from the grip of ‘religion’ – such militant secularism leaves only one other alternative for grounding and exercising public authority: the State. And instantly We are welcomed to Mussolini’s world. And Marx’s and Lenin’s and Mao’s and Gramsci’s.
But who could have rationally expected anything else? The Flattening monoplanar Ur-principle of both the Communist and the Fascist Universe was the indispensable root principle of all the dreck and frak imported eagerly by the Beltway when it accepted Radical Feminism’s thinly-disguised philosophy 40 Biblical years ago.
And politics since then has devolved into nothing more than one long charade whose single object is to convince people that the new ‘emperor’ is indeed clothed in the vestments of the Constitution and the Framing Vision – when really the new ‘emperor’ has no such clothes on at all.
Nicely, the article goes on to observe that “under the banner of free speech, secular Italian leftists recently prevented Pope Benedict XVI from addressing La Sapienza University in Rome on the subject of rational enquiry". (La Sapienza meaning ‘wisdom’, by the by.)
What might the Pope have been suspected of saying? No doubt that there is such a thing as truth and even Truth; that human reason can be exercised in such a way as to discover some useful bits of that truth and Truth; that it is a responsibility of each and all human beings to cultivate and exercise that gift of Reason, and that the human Cosmos is a multiplane, not a monoplane.
It’s Revolution 101 that the cadres cannot allow such ideas to be discussed. They might distract ‘the masses’ from their infatuation-with and acquiescence-in the revolution’s agenda. Which is the only Correct agenda. There is only one place to get to, and the revolution is the only path to get to it.
That is ‘revolutionary truth’ in a nutshell.
And when the revolutionaries have managed to get their blood-greasy mitts on the State, then the State is part of the revolution and thus the State is the only way forward. Whether you want to fantasize it as ‘liberal’ or otherwise … take your pick – in that you are totally free. Yah.
And happy motoring with that.
Thus the West’s greatest democracies have now been delivered into the death-cycle of “a relativistic and increasingly aggressive secular culture”. And this has been effected by their own putatively ‘liberal’ (though not democratic, really) governments.
Folks, We in a heepa trubble.
The article presses on: “the solution proposed by the archbishop repeats the errors of 1960s liberal multiculturalism … in conjuring up the idea of communities sharing the same space but leading separate lives” [italics mine]
Whether he knows it or not (although how can so educated a personage holding such high office not know it?) the Archbishop “endorses a scenario that entrenches segregation and fractures any conception of a common good binding all citizens”. [italics mine]
Just so again.
How can you hold a polity and a commonwealth and a Citizenry together if they do not share a common heritage? And especially if the difference in heritage is between a secularist-monoplanar and a religious-multiplanar Universe?
This is the awful Question that the Framers ingeniously (and shrewdly) resolved by formally separating Church and State while relying upon the Afterglow of the common culture of European Christendom to form and shape the basic Stance of each Citizen and the commonly-shared Stance of the whole Citizenry (functioning as The People).
And this is the awful Beast which the Democrats here in 1972 uncaged by accepting the lethally nonsensical premise that you could rip out the foundational principles of the Framing Vision and the Framers’ Universe, replace them with the foundational principles of that alien Universe of Marxism-Leninism, and still retain a robust and solid democratic and constitutional polity and structure and praxis.
The more likely result – which has happened and continues to happen with vertiginously increasing intensity – is that the alien foundational principles (no matter how deceptively spun and disguised) would create very much the same type of government here that they did back in their countries of origin (the USSR, Mao’s China, and a pandemonium of smaller – but no less vicious and blood-thirsty – polities).
If you don’t accept a metaplane with its Higher Law and Authority as the Ground of your culture and your governmental arrangements, then you are left – as I said above – with only the State and the monoplane. That was precisely what has happened – the article notes – with the various Western European governments in the past few decades: they tried to use the State and its law-making and culture-terraforming authority to act as a gluey frosting to be larded over the unbaked cake-batter of their now increasingly semi-solid and liquefying Multicultural societies in order to hold them together (from the outside, as it were).
But in thus trying to create a benevolent and sensitive ‘Leviatha’ to act as the Mommy at the Breakfast Table overseeing her squalling, squabbling tykes, they wound up uncaging ‘Leviathan’ all over again – and now, with a marvelous yet savage Scriptural irony, their ‘latter condition is worse than the first’: they are now bethump’t by two Monsters of that species: the female Leviatha (of the Left) and the male Leviathan (of the Right).
Thus the Book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve according to the monoplane.
This is what you get when you “enshrine the primacy of secular law over and against religious principles”. I am not here plumping for a theocracy. I am saying that if you embrace a government and a State that insists on its own primacy, you wind up trapped in a monoplane and utterly at the mercy of that State and that government.
This is not ultimately a struggle between ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’; nor about the ‘freedom of the individual’ as opposed to the dictates of ‘churches’. Not hardly.
Rather, it is ultimately and essentially a Question about the very structure and Reality of human existence and the Cosmos in which humans live and move and have their being: is it a monoplane or a multiplane?
Because if it is a monoplane, then freedom-of-conscience and of the individual aren’t going to survive very well or very long in the hands of a State that acknowledges no Higher Law or any Authority that can judge it.
And if We allow Ourselves to be seduced by the ancient siren-song “just trust me”, warbled by every despot looking to be welcomed as ‘benevolent’, then We are participating in Our own political and human enfeeblement and indenture.
The article – written from a European point of view – puts it well:
“Far from ensuring neutrality and tolerance, the secular European state arrogates to itself the right to control and legislate all spheres of life; state constraints apply especially to religion and its civic influence. Legally, secularism outlaws and rival source of sovereignty and legitimacy. Politically, secularism denies religion any import in public debate and decision-making. Culturally, secularism enforces its own norms and standards upon all other belief systems. In consequence, the liberal promise of equality amounts to little more than the secular imposition of sameness.”
And – since secularism is indeed a “belief-system” as much as any formally-clothed religion – then it will seek to stamp out its rivals. And - modern times being what they are – ‘by any means necessary’.
Thus “the trouble with all the European models is that they enshrine the primacy of secular law over and against religious principles”. (Note well: this is not a matter of secular law vs. religious law, but rather of secular law vs. religious principles.)
But the article then gets itself into a little trouble by looking to the United States. “By contrast, the Unites States offers a strong integrated vision” wherein “loyalty to the state is not necessarily in conflict with loyalty to one’s faith”.
Alas, that was once true – but the Framing Vision was kicked to the curb when the Beltway decided that it was not the way forward, and the political parties, respectively, erected the new idol of Leviatha or dusted off the old idol of Leviathan.
The New World shall not come to the rescue of the Old.
The article notes that “the European Enlightenment sought to protect the state from religion, whereas the American settlement aimed to protect religion from the state”.
Yes, that was the American settlement. But not any more.
The secularist and monoplanar, bi-Leviathate (sorry – couldn’t think of a better way to put it in English) American government must now subordinate religion in order to kick free of the constraints of any Higher Law and the Shaping boundaries of the multiplane.
Secularism – whether in Marxist or nationalist, Leftist or Rightist, ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ guise – will brook no rivals. And any religion worth its salt is going to have to stand up for, symbolize, and point to the existence of a Beyond, of a multiplane. And Mussolini saw clearly – as did Marx and the rest of that pandemonium – that such an arrangement could not be allowed to exist. Or, more accurately, be allowed to continue to exist.
If the State allows the independent existence of ‘religion’, then it must accept the constant and consistent reminder – visible to all the Citizens – that there is a Beyond, a multiplane, and that consequently all Citizens of the State are at the same time, somehow, Citizens of some other Realm as well.
The species Leviathax – male and/or female –cannot and will not accept that.
“Secular multiculturalism” is and must be a creature of the monoplane and of the species Leviathax.
Genuine religion can co-exist independently with the Western Enlightenment State, but it cannot co-exist with ancient Leviathan or with the newly-hatched Leviatha.
That line is drawn.
What happens now is up to Us.