Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Democracies give an undue attention to politics

Democracies give an undue attention to politics, making people think that if they just vote for the right politician, their work has been done, and things will improve. It engenders too much trust in the institution. This trust helps explain why democracies generate utopian tendencies, though they can be – and often are – overcome when the population has a strong, sound faith and belief in truth. When society degenerates and becomes entirely secular with no sense of a transcendent sacred reality outside of itself, then that society holds no other truth than the secular institution, making it the new sacred force for truth.
Thus we find in today’s day and age, when politics is more important than religion and people of religious faith are told to act in a purely political, a-religious fashion, it is too easy for people to transfer their allegiance to truth to party allegiance, and indeed, arguments are made by members and partisans of the different parties so as to generate this loyalty. For its weaknesses, the monarchical forms of government at least held the belief of divine providence as shaping ultimate truth, and even the great tyrants gave a nominal nod to the transcendent authority of that providence.
But, it must be said, monarchies do not create ideal, utopian societies either, and can provide just as must justice or injustice as any other system. Indeed, just as modern day America tends toward triumphalism, one just has to look at history to see monarchies can and did face this problem as well. The Israelites believed they needed a king to make them a strong, powerful nation in the world: they got Saul. France, beguiled by its nationalistic heritage, provided to us the legacy of Gallicanism, in part because of the arguments of Bossuet.
We can now return to the genius of de Maistre. Each nation, each state, each people have their own culture, their own legacy, and its most appropriate form of government. No government can universally be said to be “best.” We can’t presume one governmental system is all that is needed for peace upon earth, or to create or satisfy the needs of all the peoples of the earth. For each nation, one form of government or another can be said to be the best, because it is the one which can best meet the needs and abilities of that given nation.
The framers of the American Constitution believed that our democratic republic could only be followed by a virtuous people. They also believed that, given the course of history, our government shall collapse when morality of the populace becomes degraded, and we shall get corrupt leaders and tyrants, until at last, the institution itself will be despotic. The Church tells us that we should be good, dutiful citizens in whatever nation we live in, but we should not believe that nation a greater good than it actually is. “Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, para. 28).
How can we accomplish this if we give too much credence to political institutions? We must, in the end, work for a better world by following the way of Christ, and trust His answer over and above any ideology which might try to distract us from Him. We will then realize it is not through the spreading of ideology through war but through Christ's mission of love that one will find the way one truly works for the betterment of the world. Posted by Henry Karlson at 11:31 AM Comments (3) Trackback Links to this post Labels: , , , Vox Nova

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