Why “Progressives” Favor the State Over Society

The New York Times was abuzz March 5. The board of trustees of South Carolina’s Erskine College—a small, liberal arts college historically associated with the Presbyterian church—had issued a statement declaring that the school considered “all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage [as] sinful and therefore ultimately destructive of the parties involved.” Not only did the trustees affirm what has been standard Christian belief and practice since … well, the beginning of Christianity, but they even stated: “As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.”

How would the trustees’ statement, worried the Times, be perceived by some homosexual and lesbian members of the volleyball and lacrosse teams?

What the Times did not worry about—indeed, did not even ask—was what vision of society underlay the self-styled “progressive” view?

Progressives generally perceive themselves as “socially conscious,” supposedly concerned with the “good of society” and the “commonweal.” The truth is: progressives really do not believe in society. They believe in the State.

Loud rhetoric about “social justice” and “concern for the community” notwithstanding, the progressives’ position has, at root, an impoverished view of society. That attenuated view of society, in turn, derives from their vision of moral values in the community, which one suspects is driven in large part by their commitments in the areas of life and sex.

For the progressive, what matters is the isolated individual and his will as it pertains to moral matters. In a toxic blend of three deficient philosophies—Ockham’s nominalism (perpetuated in American society through its Protestant roots), the social contract theory of the “Enlightenment,” and the Nietzschean Übermensch whose power and superiority is his will—the progressive gives us a lone individual who does not discover but who actually creates and constitutes right and wrong.

Thanks to the prevalence in some circles of the idea that traditional moral norms, which came to be dominant in Western civilization through its Judaeo-Christian roots, are thus irredeemably tainted, guilty by association with religion and thus debarred from any influence on a society in which church and state are separate, there can be no objective set of values against which the individual’s moral wants can be evaluated, much less denied. By driving common moral values off the social playing field, the individual’s wants can be weighed against … nothing.

Enter the State. A religiously neutral state is regarded—at least by progressives—as a state that is axiologically agnostic: the state can have no moral values of its own. The state exists simply to facilitate the moral will of the individual.

We know, of course, that the vision just described is untrue. There are communal moral values, including those whose origins may have been religious. People hold them. The fact that free voters in more than thirty states, in free elections, decided that sexual differentiation is relevant to marriage is one such values expression.

The problem for the progressive is that society is irrelevant.

For the progressive, society (to wit, the State) can facilitate the will of the individual (especially on issues of life and sex). Society cannot have any values contrary to the will of the individual, at least none that might influence, much less control, social policy. The society that decided, by its votes, that sexual differentiation is relevant to marriage, does not exist. It is to be muted, gagged, disenfranchised … and perhaps reeducated.

Thus, when a government endorses same-sex “marriage,” it is speaking for “society.” When a government refuses to do so, it is speaking for nobody. The voters who, in 30+ states decided by democratic referendum that sexual differentiation is a conditio sine qua non to marriage are defined out of “society” (or at least the part that can make policy).

Society, for the progressive, collapses into the State and the State, in turn, is just the individual writ large. The State, masquerading as “society,” cannot advance any other values position than that of the individual will because to do so, in a certain view of community, involves “religious imposition” or some similar boogeyman. The State must be agnostic vis-à-vis truth and values; those who press, in the name of some other “society” (e.g., the voters in 30+ states who enacted same-sex “marriage” bans, in keeping with what their society and, indeed, the West at large generally held for centuries) for public endorsement of their values must be swept from the public square.

But there’s another contradiction in progressive social theory.

On the one hand, progressives pretend that institutions have no moral values, no consciences. This attitude was prominent, especially in the summer of 2014 when, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, proponents of forcing employers to buy abortifacients for their employees, conscientious objections notwithstanding, simply denied institutions can have consciences. They ridiculed the idea that a company can have—much less act—on a moral position. “Corporations don’t have consciences.”

Now progressives really don’t believe that. If they did, they would never lead divestment campaigns. They would never push for anything like the MacBride or Sullivan Principles. They would readily eat non-union lettuce.

So we know from experience that progressives really don’t believe what they say about institutions not having consciences or moral duties.

But even if we were to follow the progressive line to its logical end, it would follow that the State should also have no moral conscience. But progressives quite expect it to have a moral conscience—the moral values of the individual—and to bring the full weight of State power to bear on those who might embrace and dare to act on any other values, like the butcher, baker, or picture taker who choose to dissent from being part of the “memorable moments” of what the State now calls “marriage.” Suddenly, the State becomes not only conscience but moral enforcer, ready to crush the grandmother florist who goes to Mass in the morning but does not want to do Adam and Steve’s wedding bouquets in the afternoon. Jacques Maritain warned against this when, in writing about the collapse of intermediate institutions between the individual and the State, the latter turns into a “Minotaur,” devouring dissidents.

That’s where the Times’ faux outrage about Erskine College fits in. Erskine is a private Christian college with a seminary on campus. That it should choose to endorse what has been the mainline Christian position on human sexuality for about two millennia apparently dumbfounds the editorial writers.

What was even more chilling, however, was the reaction of readers commenting on the story: no shortage of them demanded the yanking of “federal aid” to the school. Federal aid, of course, primarily goes to students, not schools. And some of those students may choose to go to Erskine, Yeshiva, Brigham Young, Ave Maria, Haverford … or even Berkeley. And if they go to Erskine or Yeshiva or Brigham Young … don’t they have a right to choose those schools because they embody their values? Or are those values to be subject to some sort of secular excommunication?

With the possibility in its current term of the U.S. Supreme Court inventing a “right” to ersatz marriage, these problems will grow more acute. As critics of the effort to promote homosexual “marriage” have pointed out, this is not a matter of “live and let live.” It is a matter of ensconcing one view of “marriage” in law and culture and driving all others—along with their proponents—out, at least off the public square. Nor is the issue confined to homosexual “marriage.” On March 6, 2015, the Ontario College of Physicians promulgated a new “Professional Obligations and Human Rights Policy” that essentially turns what the Hippocratic physician would have disavowed into an “obligation” while undermining the doctor’s human rights: there is a very real possibility that doctors who will not abort their young patients or kill their old ones can be driven out of the profession. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has been pushing for that for years, attempting to require conscientious objectors to refer patients to willing abortionists and to require every medical school—including those with religious objections—to teach how to perform abortions.

We need beware of the “tolerance” of the intolerant, in which not all members of society—or their consciences—are created equal.

John M. Grondelski

By

John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) is former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. All views expressed herein are exclusively his own.

  • Scott W.

    I looked up the wiki of Erskine because I just read that the Presbyterian Church USA is drinking the rainbow poison and approving same-sex “marriage”. The college is actually not associated with them (they seem to be to the PCUSA what Missouri Synod Lutherans are to the ELCA. Who can keep up? But I digress.) but it is noteworthy the complete collapse of mainstream denominations as a kind of proxy arm of state policy. Of course people are leaving these denominations faster than if the buildings were on fire. It’s no mystery why. Why should anyone wake up early on Sunday to hear a Politically Correct sermon when one can get the same thing by attending their required humanities classes or just turning on the TV?

    • Simple & Plain

      The Protestant denominations have fallen so far in the last decade…Acceptance of everything under the sun..Birth control, same sex marriage, pre-marital sex…

      It’s no wonder I decided to return to the Catholic Church recently. I’m unimpressed with these Christians who are so set on the truth of Scripture, yet do the opposite.

      • geraldine clark

        So encouraged by these public stands being taken by the faithful. We are again in a time of Thomas Moor.

        Observing how poorly I myself, like many other Catholics, do not follow his example. He was obedient to God first, but also remained loving and forgiving of all former friends who abandoned Him, most notably a once best friend Henry.

        If we respond to the lack of faithfulness in others, with a lack of compassion, we are no further ahead. In fact we are also disobedient to Jesus in not loving our enemies. Our fears make us snide and dismissive and our frustration with our own inability to stop sinning seeks others as scapegoats. The poor Jimmy Swaggert dilemma we all are guilty of.

        Also, are we willing to be identified by our own sins ? And when we label an entire group are we even right ? Many within the gay community are struggling with this issue, some due to the abusive behavior or neglect of others. Many in this community also believe in Religious freedom , free speech and love the Church. Some are living more chaste and holy lives than many of us. It helps to see each person as separate from the issues, and as we would if they were our own child, as God does.

        We who want to be loyal to our Church, are we not more responsible? We claim to be doing the right thing. It is so very difficult to be both courageous and kind. Daily we need to ask for that grace. And daily we fail, especially in our thoughts. Seeking Providential help to get the balance right will allow us to speak the truth in love. Only them will our lives be consistent with our faith, and our words be heard.
        We must be people of hope. He is in control.

        • John O’Neill

          St Thomas More’s last words ” I die the king’s good servant but God’s first” should be our bulwark in these days. Never, never, never , never put government and its institutions above our moral and religious beliefs. John Kennedy sought the American presidency by publicly declaring that he would never subjugate his belief in the American set up to his Catholic beliefs and so began the formation of the modern democrat (and to a large extent republican) party. We as Catholics must stop wrapping the American flag around ourselves and mouthing off the religious creed of the American founders.

      • The news this morning was that some branch of the Presbyterians have now redefined marriage.

        • fredx2

          It’s PC USA, which is hopelessly liberal to the point of ridiculousness. The only thing that surprises me is that they haven’t done this already.

          • Ben

            As a PC(USA) pastor in the (now) minority position, I certainly hope it isn’t hopeless.

      • This free fall has been happening for *decades* now with mainline Protestantism. The evangelicals and non-denominational sects are all falling suit now. 20 years ago it was said the evangelicals were becoming the new liberals. It’s so true, what with the spreading acceptance of SSA “marriage” among their ranks.

    • fredx2

      So, another Protestant denomination commits suicide. Interesting.

    • You shall know them by their fruits. The fruit of Sola Scriptura is endless division and doctrinal caucaphony.

    • Prolifedem6M

      I have wondered how their founders would have regarded these developments: What would Calvin and Knox for the Presbyterians and the Puritans for the Congregational Church think of women ministers advocating for abortion and celebrating sham marriages in the name of the churches they established? They must be whirling in their graves.

      • And this is how we know that in spite of assertions to the contrary, Sola Scriptura doesn’t work. It has never been a lens of doctrinal accuity, it’s always been a kaleidoscope.

  • Simple & Plain

    We’ve a similar example here in Canada, involving Trinity Western University, a PRIVATE school in British Columbia. TWU has a ‘Community Covenant’ that students are required to agree to, which essentially bases their values on the teachings of The Bible and Christ. The part of the Covenant which enrages Liberals is:

    “Observe modesty, purity and appropriate intimacy in all relationships, reserve sexual expressions of intimacy for marriage”

    And

    [Abstain from] “Sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”

    As far back as 2000, they’ve faced outcry for this Covenant, when the British Columbia College of Teachers rejected their application for grads to become members, because TWU’s stance on same sex relations apparently didn’t go along with the college’s anti-discriminatory policy. Thank goodness the courts ruled in favour of TWU, up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    More recently, TWU has established a law school, and when applying for provincial approval for grads to practice across Canada, a smear campaign started. Various provincial bar societies rejected their application, following liberalist pressure against TWU. Thank goodness a court in one province, Nova Scotia, has forced the bar to accept grads, ruling: “People have the right to attend a private religious university that imposes a religiously based code of conduct,”

    I’m glad our courts are, for the time being, upholding our religious rights, especially within private institutions.

    • Seamrog

      What a terrible Beast government is.

      With sly, slithering steps, the bureaucrats achieve their goals one way or another.

      Come, Lord Jesus!

      • It is one of the beasts: “having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” (Rev 13:1)

    • Tamsin

      For the time being.

    • Tony

      In some ways, Canada is even sicker than we are, and that’s saying something. One saving grace in Canada is that Canadians still detest the sheer meanness and petty vindictiveness that masquerades in the US as political action. Ordinary people in the US are much easier to rouse to action, but politicians in the US are much harder to embarrass, or even to address directly.

      Nova Scotia is not particularly conservative; it’s the Pennsylvania of Canada.

      • Jake Rabas

        I lived in Montreal for 3 years, dystopian in many respects, scared the crap out of me.

  • kentgeordie

    If only Catholic schools could express themselves with such simple and clear faithfulness.

    • texasknight

      If only our priests and bishops would end their guilty silence.
      (ref. Casti Connubii, 57)

    • John O’Neill

      Exactly what I thought; could you imagine a Notre Dame or a Georgetown making the same Christian statement. I cannot and many others could not either. Our so called “catholic schools” sold their souls to the evil American government a long time ago. O tempora O mores

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Lord Acton sums it up perfectly: “The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

    • kentgeordie

      Brilliant. Frightening parallels between us today and the totalitarian régimes of the last century.
      Please could you provide a reference?

    • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

      Very interesting. I haven’t read enough Lord Acton so maybe you can expatiate a little more on this. He writes:

      has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it

      Someone who likes the expansion of the state might be inclined to answer “you are talking about factions and the founders thought the best was to diffuse the power of harmful factions was to multiply them enough so that none of them really had any power.”

      The answer, I suppose, to that is to say that “multiplying those who share it” means expanding the reach and power of the federal government and its beneficiaries, and has nothing to do with factions. Correct?

      Next question concerns this:

      It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command

      I don’t know what this means exactly. Fr. Chaput wrote something to the effect that if we reject God we have rejected the only authority higher than political authority. The state should have no problem with the liberty of the individual because the individual is no threat to the state. Is that what this quote means, or is he saying something else? And I really don’t understand “the security of a limited command.”

  • Ciarán Ó Coigligh

    How I wish ‘The board of trustees of South Carolina’s Erskine College’ were also the board of trustees of (nominally Catholic) Saint Patrick’s College, Drumondra, Dublin, Ireland (soon to be a secular institute of Dublin City University) where the Chairman has called on the government to introduce financial penalties for Catholic Church tardiness in divesting certain Primary schools against the will of parents and local communities. Next week the College is to be subject the GLBT Society’s promotion of same-sex ‘marriage’. It will be a challenge to attempt to provide the College community with a Catholic perspective on marriage. Please God, those of us for whom this is a matter of concern may have the courage to act.

    • “Please God, those of us for whom this is a matter of concern may have the courage to act.”

      Be assured, It concerns us all.

    • John O’Neill

      My parents emigrated from Ireland and came to America where I was born. They were very devout Catholics and brought up all their six children as devout Catholics. I am saddened when I go back to Ireland to visit cousins to find how low the Catholic Church in Ireland has fallen. The island of saints and scholars has become the island of secularism and hedonism. The rise of the favored class in America, the single mothers, has skyrocketed in Ireland and the number of Irish parents who no longer want to bring up their children in the Catholic Faith has also shot up. In America it is the Irish Catholics who are pushing abortion and homosexual marriage on the people. Even Cardinal Dolan, the most famous Irish Catholic, is gung ho for supporting homosexual marriage. So now on the 17th of March the Irish Americans get to celebrate drunkenness, fornication and sodomy to the tunes of “Irish Eyes are smiling”. Once again we get to weep for Kathleen ni Houlihan.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    I am SO TIRED this morning of the Assault, the ‘transgressive’ as Philip Rieff called it, that disguises itself as a ‘democratic discussion’. It is a forcible strip-tease.

    I hold it fit that we shake hands and part.
    You, as your business and desire shall point you,
    For every man hath business and desire,
    Such as it is,—and, for my poor part,
    Look you, I will go pray.”
    -Shakespeare HAMLET

  • Watosh

    I agree that progressive social theory is very harmful. But how many who reject progressive social theory realize that our form of government is based on progressive social theory, and the “American Values” which Americans are fond of referring to, are the values that are hatched by progressive social theory. Something to think about. And please, I don’t bring up these points as a defense of Progressive Social Theory, as I thoroughly condemn it. I just think this is something to reflect on.

    • “But how many who reject progressive social theory realize that our form of government is based on progressive social theory”

      Progressive social theory didn’t emerge until the latter half of the 19th century, so exactly how did this influence people in the 18th?

      Whatever their failings, the framers were aware of frailty of vesting too much power in the state and limited and divided the powers, whereas Progressivism believes the state to be an omniscient, incorrupt and benevolent instrument of temporal redemption.

      • Nick_Palmer3

        What might be in order, Watosh, is a reading of Russell Kirk’s ‘The Roots of American Order.’

      • Watosh

        Interesting, and I had thought the “Enlightenment” reflected a certain amount of progressivism, and as I understand, the “Enlightenment” thinkers did have a profound influence on the framers of our Constitution who were largely deist, I might point out, which represents a progressive attitude. Progressivism also believes that “the wishes of the people” are omniscient, incorrupt and capable of decreeing what “commandments” the state enforce for the benefit of the people.

        Now limiting and dividing the powers of the state may be a good idea, though our first President, George Washington still was able to brutally crack down on the protests by certain small farmers and whiskey makers in I believe Pennsylvania by taking measures King George III did not take until an active insurrection broke out in Massachusetts. Myself I believe the best way to limit the powers of the state is to limit the size of the state.

        I recognize some feel strongly that the “state” should just wither away because it cannot possibly be good. I think they call them anarchists.

        • “I might point out, which I believe, represents a certain degree of “progressive” outlook. ”

          The word “progressive” as it applies to political theory is about centralized state control. It does not incorporate any notion that that “the wishes of the people” are omniscient, incorrupt and capable of decreeing what “commandments” the state enforce for the benefit of the people.

          The framers were not largely deist. A few were, and a couple were hostile to religion. One was Catholic-almost all were concerned about the possibility of the distorting and narcotic effect of power. In spite of their Protestantism, they understood Libido Dominandi better than many contemporary Catholic prelates.

          Words have meanings. You don’t get to expand those meanings beyond any reasonable connotation to make make a word serve as a boundless reservation for your personal grievances.

          • Watosh

            Some words are broadly defined, and are subject to widely different interpretations. The term progressive may have arisen in the 1880’s as you say, but today its usage has been broadened to include many liberal, beliefs. When I use the term I used it as it is popularly viewed, as in a short comment limited as it is, one is not as precise as when making a doctoral thesis. Words do change their meanings over time.

            War, for many years historically referred to a military conflict between two nations. Now we speak of a war on poverty, a war on cancer, etc. don’t we. Sometimes people use similes and metaphors to make a point rather than a long boring, highly precise and qualified verbal description. One needs to interpret things in the proper context if one is interested in the view that someone was expression, otherwise an informal discussion degenerates into a picky picky quarrel about words and name calling.

            Your analogy of fire with government is very good. I don’t think the issue, at least I didn’t intend the issue to become about the advisability of controlling the power of government. Of course that is desirable, after all, who would want an uncontrolled government? What I was getting at in my verbal stumbling manner, is that I believe that no scheme of limiting government power will work for long if the government is based on secular principles, that government should be guided and its power limited by Catholic principles.

            • Here’s the money in this article:

              “Nevertheless, in light of the many and powerful claims that the Founders were deists, it should be noted that there is virtually no evidence that more than a handful of civic leaders in the Founding era—notably Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and (if we count him as an American) Tom Paine—embraced anything approximating this view. Moreover, a good argument can be made that even these Founders were influenced by Christianity in significant ways—and it certainly does not follow that they desired the strict separation of church and state.[4]”

              http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/2011/06/did-america-have-a-christian-founding

              I’m fully aware that the internet is full of claims that the framers were mostly deists-and its often made by people who are interested advancing the idea that religion played no part in their sentiments. It’s too bad there’s people that are gullible enough to accept the claim.

              • Watosh

                I have some traditional Catholic friends who are very well educated and very intelligent who cling to the belief in geocentrism. I have spent many hours arguing with them trying to convince them that geocentrism is hogwash. But they think that that their faith compels them to believe in geocentrism despite all evidence to the contrary. I recognize the religion of American Exceptionalism exerts a powerful influence in many Americans. I recognize they feel that to doubt some of the myths that have been erected over the years represents a betrayal. In each case this is a mistaken understanding that being a good Catholic requires them to believe in geocentrism and that to be a good American you have to regard America as founded by extraordinarily gifted men, i.e. exceptional men in all respects to act as the “founding fathers” comparable to the Fathers of the early Church.

                I have known parents who believe they are showing great love for their children by excusing them and covering up for their misdeeds. I don’t agree that doing that is showing great love for their children. When I did wrong my parents made me apologize and when my children did wrong I made them apologize. I don’t believe it shows love of country to gloss over its mistakes and wrong doing. We Americans suffer from the defects caused by original sin like all humans do.

                I might add upon further reflection of the danger of an all powerful government, those who feel strongly that government needs to be made smaller, always have ended up when they gain power of making government larger and more powerful. They always find threats that fuel the need to make the government bigger and stronger, sometimes there is evidence they even create external threats. They get away from this by telling the American people that one of the few legitimate functions of government is to protect us, so they have to give the government more powers to make sure we are completely protected.

                Another thing I have noticed among those who bemoan the growth of the size and power and corruption of government, is that I never hear them ever say one word against the growth of gigantic corporations that are very powerful and control our government. Another aspect of American Exceptionalists is they are quick to condemn other countries for widespread bribery, when the American government has legalized bribery by allowing huge donations of money that politicians need to conduct their campaigns. We have even referred to these donations in this land of the free and the brave, as an exercise in free speech.

                • So now having been thoroughly refuted you’ll just post something unrelated to the matter at hand?

                  ‘Another thing I have noticed among those who bemoan the growth of the size and power and corruption of government, is that I never hear them ever say one word against the growth of gigantic corporations that are very powerful and control our government.”

                  Are you deaf?

  • If there is one thing that progressives of all hues, blue and red inclusive, agree on is on the use of the state to pick winners and losers of its largess or coercion while profiting from being the its arbiters.

  • Mongo

    The unfortunate and easy acceptance of lib ‘values’ by far too many in the electorate, too often, catastrophically, a critical mass, is at the root of our social degradation. There are simply far too many corrupt individuals voting, too many useful idiots. It’s a massive problem which has to be corrected somehow. Unfortunately, talk is cheap.

  • So called “progressives” (atavism, really) are still eager to tell us that we should worship a golden calf.

    Hopefully, some future Pope will issue an encyclical that identifies imbuing the state with omniscience, benevolence and incorruptibility (statism) is an idiolatrous heresy.

    Interesting, although noe thoroughly secular, the pedigree of American Atavism is an offshoot of a peculiar form of Protestantism, and pioneered in Germany by a Lutheran ruler who despised Catholics

    http://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/papers/gospel4.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_bismarck

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulturkampf

  • “…This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.”

    Introduction to “The Obsolete Man”. Season 2, Episode 29 of Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” originally broadcast June 2, 1961.
    Intro:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3quruHpcuo

    • Tamsin

      zomg! To bring it up to date, imagine this redone with Mr. Wordsworth saying his occupation is “a father”. And the chancellor saying “A father! Having to do with children? There are no more children, Mr. Wordsworth. There are no more families. The field investigators in your sector have classified you as obsolete.”

      • Next up,

        A Priest! Having to do with churches? There are no more churches, Mr. Wordsworth. There is no God, the state has proven that.

  • thebigdog

    Progressives are great intellectuals… for the sake of net neutrality, the Obama Administration is insisting that Benjamin Netanyahu change his name to Benjamin Netangoogle.

    • I wonder if Obama called Bibi to congratulate him on his apparent victory?
      He certainly had Francois Hollande on speed dial when he prevailed.

  • Vinny

    “For the progressive, what matters is the isolated individual and his will as it pertains to moral matters.” “…the progressive gives us a lone individual who does not discover but who actually creates and constitutes right and wrong.”
    http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2015/03/perth_amboy_man_reveals_his_sexual_relationship_wi.html#incart_river

    • That’s only a transitional state. The purpose of asserting the idea of the isolated individual as a moral and ethical sovereign-free of any restraint that doesn’t result in direct physical harm to another, is to create chaos in society. Them the atavistic pharisees will step forward with their unbounded sense of duty rooted in a noblesse oblige, to provide “order”.

  • richado

    “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Benito Mussolini.

    “The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative.”

    “It is the State which educates its citizens in civic virtue, gives them a consciousness of their mission and welds them into unity.”

    All these quotes are from Benito Mussolini- a well known ‘progressive’ of the 20th century.

  • Peter Arnone

    Are we not witnessing the rise of the “State Religion,” i.e. political correctness? Forbidden by the Constitution, we are likewise witnessing the disintegration of our religious freedom.

  • Ruth Rocker

    Those who scream the loudest about tolerance are generally the ones who will not tolerate any view but their own. As long as they are allowed by the larger (silent) majority to do it, they will continue to do so. Until and/or unless Christians, who DO have a moral yardstick by which to judge actions, speak up, we will continue to be disenfranchised by the “state.”

  • hombre111

    John, John, John. The “state” is not a dirty word. You have written a screed that an honest PhD. would have made rational discourse. Progressives follow the principle of subsidiarity in reverse, as the principle demands. They turn to the state when lower entities have failed utterly to achieve justice. Take civil rights, for instance. It took the power of the state to bring black slavery to an end. But the South found ways to continue the oppression. And so it took the power of the state to bring that to an end, in our own lifetime. Our very nation, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, was built on the idea of state power in defense of human rights when lower entities are either helpless, blind, or deliberately complicit. .

    • Veritas

      “Our very nation, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, was built on the idea of state power in defense of human rights.”
      The DOI rejected tyranny by the state and it specifically spells out abuses committed by King George; it did nothing to embolden the power of government. The rights that you refer to are not from the state, but from God. That too is clearly stated in the DOI.

      • hombre111

        The DOI proclaims that its rights are from God, but it also claims the right to form a state separate from England, even if by force of arms. So, in the Revolutionary War, we had one coercive state against another.

    • John Grondelski

      1. My point is that progressives (wrongly) conflate the “state” with “society.” (My title for the article was “The Progressives’ Incredibly Shrinking ‘Society.'” Yes, the state should intervene where lower institutions cannot cope. And what lower institution has failed to cope? The concern here is that Erskine College institutionally declared that people should adhere to traditional Christian teaching about sex, and that got the Times and others into a spin. My point is that society is being eviscerated by the state, which arrogates the right to proclaim a public morality (while pretending to confessional neutrality) and stamp out ANY dissent by any other sector.

      • Sir, you wrote a thoughtful and well reasoned essay.

      • papagan

        To avoid confusion, perhaps it would be helpful to distinguish between (1) the state (or government), and (2) an overreaching state. The former is necessary but not inherently evil, as opposed to a necessary evil, while the latter is evil. What we have today, on various points of important public policy, is an overreaching state that advocates pseudo-rights to do what is objectively disordered. At the same time, we have individuals who fail to recognize the important distinction between 1 and 2, individuals who believe that 1 is necessarily bad, inasmuch as it limits freedom, although the freedom in question is not the sort of freedom championed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (e.g., Pope John Paul II, Centesimus annus, 42). Both an overreaching state and the intrinsically flawed conception of freedom (including Kantian autonomy) which is opposed to “participated theonomy” are destructive.

      • hombre111

        Thanks for honoring me with a reply. The Times and others are not the state, so that statement does not make your point. But I do grant that the state, via the Supreme Court, has taken upon itself the duty to foster values Christians reject, such as abortion and gay marriage. But as far as society goes, it is much wider than its Christian members, and is in the middle of sometimes catrastrophic flux. This puts the state in a quandary. Is supporting the Christian tradition its responsibility? A really tough thing, and I am glad I won’t live long enough to see wherever all of this is going.

    • Michael S.

      Roe vs. Wade proves that the idea of state power can also do just the opposite. The lower states wanted to defend the human rights of those “lower entities” but the larger state was the culprit having “failed utterly to achieve justice”.

    • Charles Putter

      Please read “Capitalism and Slavery” by Dr. Eric Williams. According to him, black slavery ended because it was no longer economical.

    • RufusChoate

      The declaration of Independence was for the separation of the Colonies from the British crown and established no domestic order. It is a foundational document of the revolution but not of the Republic.

      How is it after the bloodiest century in all of human history perpetuated by the paramount Leftist state do Leftists have the complete lack of intellectual integrity to posit the disproven idiocy that the comprehensive state produces virtue by its actions when the reality is the state’s raison d’être is its own existence for the employment and empowerment of the Left?

      The Left worships the state because it worship power and tyranny. The Civil War was only necessary in 1860 because the creation of the cotton gin made slavery profitable again in the 1840’s. The democrat party shifted to Civil Rights and institutionalized Black racism when the institutionalized White racism of the Progressive Age and it thrived in became a detriment not because of any virtuous change of mind.

      Joe Biden gave $369 to charity in 2014 which tells you all you need to know about the Left’s personal commitment to Social Justice.

      • hombre111

        ??? You might have to restate your argument, because I am only a simple man, and all those non sequiturs in your post are hard to follow.

        • Hitler was the head of National SOCIALIST party. A left winger.

          • hombre111

            He was a fascist, and fascists belong to the right wing. The German people chose him over the communists who threatened to come into power at that time. Sadly, the Church did not oppose his climb to power, imagining that Hitler was a better deal with a better devil.

            • As somebody who has declared his allegiance to socialism, apparently with more loyalty than his vows to the Church, you lie. Hitler was a SOCIALIST and there’s no way around it.
              .
              Interesting that Pius XII was called “mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals”. by the Nazis without merit but its completely accurate to call you the mouthpiece of socialist leftwing war criminals, which includes the national SOCIALISTS.

        • RufusChoate

          I see you fall back to the standard Leftist defense mechanism of ex post facto disassociation from past atrocities by claiming that your opponents did the same while there is some profoundly grotesque with your attempt to be cute and sophisticated about mass murder.

          Your facts are sourced from Communist Internationale propaganda circa 1944. Latin American Dictators were a variety of Statist, Socialist and Corporatist political systems modeled on the Mexican Plutarco Elías Calles and the Argentine Peronist model. These are tyrannies not Constitutional Republics dedicated to unintrusive government.

          Allies against a shared enemy are not ideological soul mates in any historical conflict from the Crimean War to the second Gulf War. It is juvenile sophistry to claim otherwise.

          National Socialism was a party of the Left the built on the established socialism of the Hohenzollerns/Bismarckian Second Reich. Mussolini a communist who rebelled against the Communintern over power in Italy and Hitler believed in the paramount importance of the state and party and were completely indistinguishable from the War Communism and Socialism in a single state enacted by Lenin and Stalin in the 1920’s and 1930’s. National Socialism cross pollinated with the Progressive Racialist ideology of the Wilsonian/Roosevelt (both sides of the family) era in statist control of the economy and culture.

          In 1940, what allies invaded Poland, the Balkans and the Baltics?

          You’re on the Left and so is every mass murdering sociopath of the last 95 years.

          • hombre111

            A veritable avalanche of big words and sophistries. My simple point is, both the right and the left have murdered people. The right has often been supported by the U.S. government. This became especially common during the cold war, when your local dictator under pressure for his injustices simply had to yell out to the U.S., there are communists here. And the rescuers came.

            My favorite was Ronald Reagan, who said about the murdering Nicaraguan Contras created by the CIA, ” I am a Contra, too.” He said this the week I was in Nicaragua, in a cemetery in a tiny town filled by the bodies of innocents. In my mind, the old duffer still has some explaining to do before a merciful God finally lets him into the sub-basement under the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, and before the gates open, he will also have to convince God that it was good for him to destroy American families by beginning the process that continues to this day: stagnant and lower wages, and the hope of trickle down from the rich.

            And before that happy day, he has to stand in line behind Truman, who dropped the atom bombs, and General Curtis Lamay, who firebombed Tokyo, authoring the biggest massacre of innocents in the entire second world war…all trying to explain away their murderous cruelty.

            • RufusChoate

              Repetition is both the soul of pedagogy as well as an absolute necessity for the propaganda of the Left. This line of cant is sourced from every undergraduate bird brained Leftist platitude of the 1960’s and it isn’t effective.

              The Contras never manage to even remotely approximate the violence and oppression of the Sandinistas in their war against them but Reagan has little to nothing to do with being responsible for any illicit violence they engaged in by his support of their cause unless you want to claim that Roosevelt and Truman supported the Gulag of Stalin by their support of the USSR during the World War II.

              Reagan facilitated a rebellion against a tyrannical regime not the support of a Tyrannical Regime.

              Curtis LeMay and Truman fought a war initiated by the Japanese that killed at most 3 million Japanese war dead ( 2.5 Million Military and 500,000 Civilians) while the Japanese systematically murdered about 11 million Chinese including the estimated 300,000 murdered at the Rape of Nanking along with the deaths of about 9 million Chinese Military.

              130,000 people died in the Firebombing of Tokyo. Your definition of innocents during a war is tenuous at best and ludicrous at worse.

              You can’t seriously contend that the 200 million murdered by the Left during peace time is the equivalent of deaths in war that the Left initiated.

            • kentgeordie

              The judgement of Leonard Cheshire VC, war hero and unquestioned humanitarian hero, was that the use of atom bombs against Japan was justified. That’s good enough for me.
              Whatever the manifest deficiencies of the American way of life, denying that it makes people better off means you have to explain why so many people want to move there.

              • hombre111

                The judgment of the Catholic Church, whose teaching is expressed in the Catholic Catechism is good enough for me. There is absolutely no justification for mass destruction of whole populations. Sounds like Hiroshima/Nagasaki to me. The Catechism also call the nuclear arms race immoral.

                As long as we are using the non-sequitur about people longing to move somewhere, why do so many people, by their values, habits, and actions, want to go to hell? Thing of the long, long line of people trying to crowd with all their possessions through the eye of the needle. Think of those who do not forgive and cannot merit the Kingdom of God. Think of all those condemned in the parable of the goats and the sheep.

        • bonaventure

          The common denominator is treachery which supports the tyranny of the state. You are the best example of it. As every other Marxist priest.

    • What kind of a man says this house is filled with rabble, people of the loweest order, I shall take my leave of them-and then won’t leave?
      Right. The same man who claims to be a priest, but is nothing than a remnant of the drug-addled mental and spiritual chaos of the 1960’s.

      • hombre111

        With all due respect, destroyer-man, why don’t you just post your response in this way: “…”. Everybody has already memorized your message, because you simply say the same thing, over and over again, and so they can simply fill in the blanks.

        • With all due respect, hombre-man, why don’t you just keep your word?

          • hombre111

            See what I mean?

    • bonaventure

      (1) Progressives don’t turn to the state “when lower entities have failed utterly to achieve justice,” but simply to try to destroy the lower entities, as these turn out to be more important than the state (such as the individual and the family).

      (2) Slavery was institutionalized by the state, regulated by the state, and would have been continued by the state had the people (who freely elected an anti-slavery president) had not have enough of the the state’s corruption and immorality in regards to slavery. Eventually, the same will happen to abortion and to homosexual “marriage,” currently promoted, institutionalized, and regulated by the coercive power of the state (as was slavery).

      (3) The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution was designed primarily to protect the lowest entity, which is prone to the vilest attacks by the state: the individual, with his life, his freedom, his faith, his expression, his security, his property. The state today, with its anti-constitutional social engineering agenda, is guilty above all else of such attacks. And you are deliberately complicit in it.

  • Charles Putter

    Self-indulgent rational thought is the order of the day. If everyone were gay there would be no children, no progressive agenda. Progressive politicians would be unhappy with the dwindling vote. Gays would be deemed selfish. They would be ordered to have children, by whatever means.

    Sometime, in the not too distant future, we will be told by the rational and scientific progressives that the planet is dying, because it is overpopulated. Only the best “genes” will be allowed to procreate. The government will decide who can exercise their natural reproductive rights. The self-indulgent pleasure seekers of that time will perhaps be stirred from their reverie ………………

    • It’s a sad fact that the only time the state cares about the birthrate is when it adds to its army of dependents or when it is contemplating the need to have enough young an able-bodied to fight some present or future war.

  • texasknight

    Call them what they are: Socialists.

  • Philip Lishman

    Sin is injurious to the soul; it begets shame in all people. Within the Church, the sinner has the option to repent and be forgiven. Outside the Church, the sinner has two choices: Either he can live with his sin, and hide from others to reduce the pain of his shame – shame that grows with each new sin – or he can group together with others of the same proclivity to apply social pressure to the rest of society to force them to say that their sin is in fact normal, and not a sin.

    Once the sinners’ moral responsibility (and shame) has been sufficiently diffused through the crowd, they will then be able to continue their behaviour with a much attenuated (though still, I suspect, present) sense of shame.

    • bonaventure

      And when the sense of shame is gone for good, that would be what Christ called the unforgivable sin.

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