One the strange things about our county is the way we strive to separate even the discussion religion from politics. Even devout Christians treat this as some sort of great victory, but it is in fact a disaster of the first order. When government must make moral judgements, how can we rightfully avoid the discussion of religion? Yet this we strive to do.
Reading Rediscovering Americanism by Mark R. Levin reminded me once again how those who now dominate the popular culture insist upon imposing secular blinders upon the People. Levin’s book is a great book. Because reading Levin’s books help me to discover and motivates me to read the works of the great political philosophers, I enjoy reading what he writes. Still, Levin, like the majority of today’s political pundits carefully skirts the discussion of religious belief. Nevertheless, because those philosophers did not avoid the subject of religion, Levin cannot entirely avoid the issue.
Consider the quote from The Spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu that he put in his book. Here is an excerpt that includes the portion he quoted (I included one additional sentence at the front of the quote.).
After what has been said, one would imagine that human nature should perpetually rise up against despotism. But notwithstanding the love of liberty, so natural to mankind, notwithstanding their innate detestation of force and violence, most nations are subject to this very government. This is easily accounted for. To form a moderate government, it is necessary to combine the several powers; to regulate, temper, and set them in motion; to give, as it were, ballast to one, in order to enable it to counterpoise the other. This is a masterpiece of legislation; rarely produced by hazard, and seldom attained by prudence. On the contrary, a despotic government offers itself, as it were, at first sight; it is uniform throughout; and as passions only are requisite to establish it, this is what every capacity may reach. (from here)
What does that last clause, “this is what every capacity may reach”, refer to? In the translation of Montesquieu‘s work that Levin used, that clause was translated with these words: “everyone is good enough for that”. “Good enough”? Here the language is a bit more plain. We are talking about the capacity of the people with respect to knowledge and wisdom, education and virtue, understanding and forbearance,…..
Why does Montesquieu observe that moderate government “is a masterpiece of legislation; rarely produced by hazard, and seldom attained by prudence”? That raises several questions.
- What is the source of knowledge and wisdom, education and virtue, understanding and forbearance,…..? What makes everyone good enough? Are we just born well-informed, wise, and virtuous? If not, how do we instruct our children? Who can we trust with their education?
- Does government instill knowledge and wisdom, education and virtue, understanding and forbearance,…. into the People, or must the People instill knowledge and wisdom, education and virtue, understanding and forbearance,…. into their government?
- What is the greatest danger to the People’s capacity to be “good enough”? Is it the government or the People?
- What steps should a well-informed, wise, and virtuous People take to ensure that their children gain in understanding, wisdom, and virtue? That their children are good enough? Must this solution for this problem come from the government or the People themselves?
Have you ever read The Spirit of laws? Levin quotes it because the Framers of our Constitution borrowed Montesquieu‘s ideas. Note that Montesquieu had no doubt that moderate government was a Christian invention, and he makes that clear enough in The Spirit of laws, but today such talk is considered bigotry. Why? Exercising their own prejudice, the secularists who now dominate the popular culture insist that we adopt their beliefs about religion. Thus, they “generously” and “tolerantly” want us to believe that all religions are equally valid (or equally useless). That peculiar notion stems from their belief in multiculturalism.