Democracy as a religion
by Rafael Gambra
Taken from statveritasblog.blogspot.mx/2010/11/la-democracia-como-religion_04.html
Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope
We repudiate “Universal Suffrage”, because the first time that doctrine was put in practice, it brought about the death of Christ and the liberty of Barrabas; and all of this instigated by manipulation of men of evil
Félix Sardá y Salvany
It was Aldous Huxley who, in his “Brave New World” futuristic fable, suggested that what we call an axiom — that is, a proposition which appears to us to be evident in itself and accept it for that reason — can be created for a particular individual or environment by means of the repetition, many million times, of a specific assertion. To this end —the artificial genesis of axioms or dogmas— he proposed using a repeating mechanism during the hours of sleep, which would uninterruptedly talk to our subconscious, capable of receiving and assimilating any message for hours.
This idea is now, after half a century, very close to becoming a reality, albeit by means of not exactly identical techniques, as has been reiterated by Huxley himself in his “Brave New World Revisited.” The most significant accomplishment of our time in this regard, which has been achieved by means of mental saturation carried out by the mass media, is the establishment of the axiom-dogma of democracy. From this notion —in its individualistic and majoritarian sense— the keystone of contemporary mentality has been has been set in place. That is what Kendall and Wilhelmsen have called our time’s “public orthodoxy.” This expression meant for these authors, the set of conceptual or faith bases on which a historical society is anchored; elements that, at the same time, are, for its members, strength-ideas and reference points required for mutual understanding in a same language and, ultimately, the convention of a few axioms and dogmas which only the marginalized or the extravagant would demand demonstrating.
Consolidation of the dogma of democracy and of its axiomatic character has been, of course, a process of many years, but it is now when it finds universal recognition. Already in the twenties, during the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera, it was a given in the Spanish political language, to call for a “return to the constitutional (or democratic) normality”. Today it is assumed for the entire world, from the most cultured European region to the deepest African jungle, that only “free” elections (of universal suffrage) can justify an orthodox government. Any other form of government will be called a “dictatorship”, and a call will be made for a crusade against it after having first been accused as violator of “human rights”. Which constitutes the ultimate appeal, that in other times was reserved to the judgment of the God, One and Triune. (There are, of course, certain tolerances or concessions made in acquiescence to the universal perfection of the picture: the Soviet and sovietized world and multiple Arab sultanates go without any appeal to public opinion, as for them it suffices to self denominate their government as “popular” or “democratic” to attain sufficient immunity,)
It is not necessary to recall that the constellation of principles forming orthodox democracy are very far from having the evidence of axioms. Furthermore, I believe that a time will come when men will be amazed that the government of peoples ―and the education of men in their bosom― should have been entrusted to a system of opinion of the majority. Some of these principles are of an epistemological caliber which can be noted in the following assertions:
Power arises from the General Will and does not recognize any other origin or title.
The General Will is identified with public opinion at any given time.
The vote of all citizens has equal value.
The contents of public opinion is expressed in the names of the candidates and of the parties and in the election campaign slogans
Parties and their mass media are the makers of public opinion
Wherefore, as an unavoidable corollary: publicity and subliminal influence techniques (in sum, the conditioning of reflexes) will be what governs the peoples.
However, this series of enormities constituting “public orthodoxy” has been admitted even by the official Church these days. So, when in Spain ―or in any other democracy― it happens that theater troupes present sacrilegious or blasphemous spectacles with official subvention, prelates, in their majority, say nothing, because their intervention could be interpreted “as a coercion against the free expression of citizens.” And those who protest do not do it in the name, and for the honor, of God, but because such spectacles offend the catholic majority of the Spanish people. In other words in the name of democracy and for its defense.
Likewise, when organizations which call themselves Catholic protest against the laicization of official teaching and against legislation confiscating (or dissuading from) private religious teaching, they no longer base it on the argument that education in a Catholic country should be Catholic for everyone (excepting those who declare themselves to be irreligious or belonging to other religions). They restrict themselves to defend a few confessional seats in the Great Democracy we are a part of (“our democracy”, we hear them say); that is, just to defend the right of Catholic groups to own confessional schools if they so wish.
To such a point has the spirit of liberal democracy invaded today’s mentality and its “public orthodoxy” that, to declare oneself nondemocratic or opposed to democracy rings in the ears of most people the way express apostasy or blasphemy used to ring in other times, Many Catholics who would refuse being labeled socialist, or divorcist or abortist —and who even fight against these ideas— fail to see any inconvenience in declaring themselves to be democratic or liberal or in militating in some party that holds such denominations.
However, once General Will has been admitted as the sole source of law and power ―and any other immutable religious instance to the hereafter has been denied― what logic will be able to oppose the socialization of property or of teaching? or the breaking of the marriage bond? or the abortionist practices? or euthanasia? if such aims or supposed rights are contained in the plans of the majority party. Modern democracy, with its equivocal and accepted aspect, is in reality the key and doorway to all these aberrations and those which will follow.
And it happens, in the realm of evils as in that of righteousness or values, that there is a hierarchyzation which we can establish with nothing more than resorting, by way of negation, to the Decalogue. So, we can see that socialization of property or of teaching is opposed to the seventh commandment (thou shalt not steal) and directly attacks the family, institution of divine origin; divorce is opposed to that same institution and generally to the ninth commandment (thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife); abortion and euthanasia attempt against the fifth commandment (thou shalt not kill)
But the root itself of modern democracy is opposed to the first and principal of those commandments, that to which all the rest are reduced. “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, above all other things.” To advocate the laicization of society (to deny a religious foundation to it) and derive the law of human convention alone is equivalent to cutting the bonds of human harmony with respect to God, to deny religion (the religatio of man with his Creator). Transgression of those other commandments may, in some cases, be sins of weakness; only transgression of this latter one is a sin of apostasy.
Hence, martyrdom was accepted without vacillation by early Christians in imperial Rome. They enjoyed in their time a situation of “religious liberty”; that is, they were not condemned for practicing their cult. A status similar to the one granted to religious confessions by modern democracy, although with a different grounding. Romans in their polytheism admitted all cults and divinities. They would have no trouble in admitting the Christian God among the divinities in the Capitol and authorizing freely the Christian cult. But with the condition for Christians to recognize polytheism, at least tacitly, and to adore the Emperor as the symbol and guarantor of official religiosity. And those Christians who acted as good citizens in all other aspects, would prefer torture and being devoured by beasts in the circus before reneging the all powerful oneness of the true God.
A similar situation is that of Catholics in a country of Christendom regarding the voluntary acceptance of modern democracy. With the aggravating circumstance that here the status of liberty is not based on a different conception of religion but on a negation of religion, of all religion, which turns to be considered a private matter or an opinion, It is no longer a false religion but an anthropocentrism or cult of Man. You are not required to recognize the emperor but the Constitution as god. Certainly, such recognition is not demanded in so rotund terms as a form of adoration, and the case is liable to various interpretations or arrangements of conscience. But for whom such acceptance is not compulsory or by formula, but a voluntary act by means of adherence to the system or to a party, the case is objectively graver than it was for Christians in Rome.
Such recognition is opposed also to the two first petitions we formulate in the Our Father, the prayer which Christ Himself taught us: “hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come”. The liberal democrat substitutes them implicitly (or explicitly) by “suppressed be Thy name; secularization, Man’s Kingdom, come”. And they oppose, lastly, the two last teachings our Lord Jesus Christ left us in his mortal life before being condemned to torture: when before the civil authority (Pilate) and the religious (Caiaphas) he affirms the Truth and authority as being of divine origin.
Liberal democracy is thus presented under its true light, as the frontier of evil; that demarcation line which, when crossed, situates us away from “those that belong to Truth”, that is, in the kingdom of those who, by popular acclaim, attained the Crucifixion of Christ. The kingdom in which truth or authority are no longer spoken of, but of opinion and of people. In which those who believe in Him will only demand some seats in the bosom of secular pluralism to live their faith in tranquility on an immanent apostasy.
But it happens that negation of God has as an unavoidable corollary the negation of man: What can be built in the city of man on the quicksand of opinion and suffrage? What will democratic society, in which man serves only himself, leave behind? The Supreme End and the religatio with Him having been suppressed, how much will the subordinated ends last? and a life that does no lead to the stagnation of weariness and of accumulated vices? It is already the kind of society we have before us, eminently in the economically most developed countries: the society in which the means of living are abundant, but a reason to live is lacking.
“Peoples, civilizations —it has been said— are like strange ships which drop their anchors in Heaven, in Eternity”. Liberal democracy is consummating the ruin of our civilization, and by contagion, of all other civilizations. Because Christian (or Classico-Christian) civilization has not been replaced by another but by an anti-civilization or a dissociation which, if it lives on, it is at the expense of the diffuse remnants of that original culture, of that —now so attacked— order of souls.
It is thus evidenced that no conception of the political order can result more lethal or annihilating to human community than modern democracy or “open society”. To postulate a faithless society, without principles, without stable norms, neutral, lacking reference points, depending only on public opinion and on the suitability to the greater number, is like abrogating the discipline in a ship, forgetting its course and the order of the stars, leaving it adrift. Where will such ship end? In what language will the crew understand each other? How will it weather the storms? What will justify its own unity and existence?
When, for instance, the president of the French Republic —or of any other modern democracy appeals to the heroism of the Legion to resolve a grave armed conflict, in the name of what can he do it? with what right? If nothing exists outside of the interest of citizens and of majority opinion, how demand of young men to give all they possess, their life? Only by an immoral resort to permanent norms, beliefs and values, which democracy itself denies, can it resort to such means of coercion and survival.
An objection might be raised in the name of the universality of reason. Any historical society, for its simple existence and survival, requires grounding on a collective faith and fervor, on certain notions of what is sacred and right, of what is one’s duty and the sense of sacrifice, would this suppose that each civilization is intellectually and emotionally impenetrable for those that do not form part of its tradition and legacy? Should we assent to the position of Spengler, of Toynbee and of certain structuralists for whom cultures are closed systems, the sense of which is immanent to a nontransferable system of reference points?
Nothing warrants such conclusion. Reason is capable of penetrating anything that is purely human and even, within certain limits, the very order of being. Western civilization of Christian origin —our historic civilization— has been the one that has demonstrated this capability of reason in practice. Its faith —our faith— has been preached in all regions of the world and has taken root to a greater or lesser degree in the most dissimilar cultures. Its science, its technology, its mental categories, its behavior images —basically rational, anti-mythical— have extended all over the world, penetrating it to a large degree. Whether as a superimposed culture, or as a cultural grafting, it can be said that only one culture —Western culture— is the common culture of our planet.
However, and paradoxically, the planetarization of a rational culture could only be achieved by action of a certain civilization —Western civilization—, a civilization which, like all others, was born from a faith —from a mooring in eternity—, and which was built on certain norms and certain moral values. And because of the philosophical precept, operari sequitur esse, the act of doing follows the act of being. And if only in this particular case has the effect of a universal propagation been possible in a certain way, it is precisely because such civilization was originally grounded on the one True Religion.
Renouncing to these origins is the ultimate root of the crisis in which Western civilization agonizes. Not a circumstantial but a degenerative crisis, extended in the form of a generalized rebellion, and by way of contagion to other civilizations, even to nature itself, invaded and contaminated. The expression of such renunciation to any supernatural mooring is liberal democracy; still more than renunciation, a negation of any kind of transcendence, the erection of Man’s society for Man alone.
Because that so called “open society” —that of “human rights” — ignores the first and foremost of human rights, which is that of seeking and serving the truth, grounding man’s life on it and the everlasting course of his journey in this world.
Revista Roma Nº 89, August 1985.