Now, in terms of life issues and positive law, the fundamental problem is that political modernity no longer cares about the question, ‘what is man?’ And certainly not the question, ‘what is man for?’ which is to know, to love, to serve God in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
Of course, because in this new commercial society, which is all the modern state is – it’s a trading ground, ‘city of pigs,’ the very thing that [Greek philosopher] Glaucon and Socrates ridicule in the Republic, the very thing that Aristotle dismisses as an inadequate notion of the state – the city of pigs, the commercial society is what we now have.
So the western world is one vast trading zone, hosted by secular governments which now completely prescind from the question of what man is, or what man is for, and pretend to be religiously neutral, when they’re not.
Because if the state says, ‘we don’t care what man is, what man is made for,’ it has already embraced an anti-theology. And in fact, the very function of such a state is to protect itself from religion. Not to guarantee the free exercise of religion, but to protect itself from religion.
People have been bred to recite mindlessly the mantras of political modernity: ‘we must have freedom of expression for any and all opinion’. Of course the [Catholic Church’s] magisterium prior to the Second Vatican Council condemned [these ideas] as a ‘delirium,’ to quote Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos.
We’ll take a concrete example from our society that shows the incoherence of the whole thing. In our society if a person were to advertise, say a vitamin supplement, which is utterly worthless, as a miraculous cancer cure, and induce many people to part with 12 dollars a piece, knowing that it cured nothing, he could be criminally prosecuted for his false commercial speech. And there’s no freedom of expression there because, after all, he induced people to part with twelve dollars each. What could be more heinous than that?
But under this idiotic conception of a total freedom of expression, one can go out and say, ‘Let us murder millions of babies in the womb. We must have the right to do this. Let the killing begin. Let’s all vote for it now, so that we can destroy an entire generation of human beings.’ That, of course, one has the absolute right to say. Because after all, one hasn’t induced anyone to part with anything so precious as twelve dollars.
This is the nonsense that underlies all of political modernity, this idea of an absolute right, which really isn’t absolute. You see here from my example, that the absolute right of freedom of expression somehow doesn’t operate when it comes to what political modernity protects. Money and property.
And of course, political modernity retains some concept of the repression of intolerable opinions as we see in Canada and Europe, where because there is no Natural Law standard, but an arbitrary standard of unacceptable speech, politically incorrect speech is now punishable by law. So the concept of censorship remains, but the content is all wrong.
This is the great fraud. All the principles that we [Catholics traditionally] defend, state censorship of dangerous opinions, the profession of a religious view by the state, and other such principles, have all been retained. They’ve just been subverted and turned around the other way. So, there’s an anti-theology of the state. The state strictly enforces religious neutrality as an anti-theology. And the state now punishes certain unacceptable opinions as heretical. People are going to jail or being fined for having the wrong opinions.
All states are in one way or another, theocratic states because they all take a position with respect to God and His law. The state either embraces and serves God and His law within the sphere of its competence, or it rejects that obligation, and therefore says, ‘Non serviam’ [as Lucifer said to God, ‘I will not serve.’], which is a theological position. And it is a great fraud to say otherwise, but that is the great fraud of political modernity.