vendredi, mars 06, 2009

Is the modern Catholic political theory really Catholic?

The following text is an excerpt from Liberty or Equality by Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian Catholic monarchist who used to describe himself as "an extreme conservative arch-liberal." For him, the majority rule in a democracy is a threat to individual liberty. One may not agree with him, but I like his works as they give us a different point of view than the one genrally admitted in our modern societies. After all, being unpolitecally correct does not necessary mean being wrong. For those who have not given up their sound reason and their common good sense, these words might be interesting. They are also an invitation to read his works since a few lines cannot be sufficient to apprehend the whole subject.

Liberty or Equality : Available at Mises Institute - Auburn, AL

One of our modern authors has made the remark that, from a Christian point of view, the efficiency of democracy remains a secondary question; any form of government has to be judged by the Christian primarily as to its ethical content. The validity of this statement cannot be doubted, and it is theoretically possible that the Christian here, as in other matters, is faced by a tragic dilemma between the good and the useful. Only a Benthaminte would refuse to see a potential antithesis between these two notions. The days are also past when infinite wisdom has been attributed to collective judgments.
But, on the other hand, the chorus of those defending democracy on ethical grounds has been considerably swelled in recent years; indeed, the ranks of the philosophic defenders of democracy have been strengthened by moral theologians, not only of the Protestant persuasion, but even of the Catholic Church. It has been argued again and again that self-government pertains to man’s nature, and that democracy actually is self-governing. In spite of Saint Thomas’ condemnation of democracy, we have seen Neo-Thomists trying to prove conclusively that democracy is not only a good form of government but even the only truly moral one. These thinkers often insist on debating their problem in vacuo. This is, of course, their right, provided that they are able to withstand the temptation to introduce into their deliberations entirely fictitious elements. We believe that their concept of man is artificial, that their notions of the common good are out of focus, that their idea of society is a curious patchwork of opposites partly atomistic and partly totalitarian, and that their desire to make a popular idea plausible may have blurred their vision. Their mistakes are not only of a philosophical but also of a theological nature. There is a very strong flavor of Rousseau in their arguments. I t must, in fact, be admitted that Catholic political theory in general looks, from a strict Lutheran point of view, rather optimistic and even Roussellian.

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

To know the author's arguments, all we have to do is read the book...The passage you quoted was starting to be interesting when it ended... Thank you for the book's reference and for challenging la "pensee unique".
Be assured of my prayers for the retreat you are giving in a few days.