Liberty or Death

I was just reading an interesting post by William Briggs, in which he questions the future of religious liberty under an administration of vindictive social justice warriors.  He quotes some splenetic government reptile to the effect that this future is not sunny.  This prompts me to make a simple point that cannot be too often asseverated.  The government does not give you this right, it only guarantees it.  In exactly the same way, the government does not give you a right to your property or to fulfillment of contracts you have signed; it only guarantees that these rights will be honored.  And in all cases it does this because to do so is more orderly than it would be if it were left to you to ensure that these rights be honored.

If you were to ensure that these rights be honored, you would have to say that, in the event of anyone trying to take them from me, one of us must yield or die.  In other words, the old cry of “liberty or death.”  Religious liberty is something you claim, not something you are given.  When you claim it, you say that this is mine, and if someone tries to take it from me, one of us is going to die.  All that the government can do is recognize this claim, and, to the end of public tranquility, guarantee this right. If the government declines to do this, it does not destroy the right, only the tranquility.

Public tranquility is a very fine thing, but it is by no means the finest thing there is.  Any man who can imagine no condition under which he would be prepared to disrupt that tranquility, and suffer the consequences of disrupting that tranquility, is only nominally a man.  When you speak of a right to religious liberty, therefore, you should certainly hope that this will be guaranteed within the tranquil order of positive law, but you must also mean that, in the absence of such a guarantee, you will personally insist upon this right.  And to personally insist upon a right is ultimately to say, if you try to take this from me, one of us going to die.

14 thoughts on “Liberty or Death

  1. I fear that this country has arrived at the point in your last sentence! The democratic process has been so perverted, that the people are arriving at a point where a true revolution might occur morphing into violence. Unfortunately, the American public has allowed this corruption to metastasize so far and for many decades, the only way to root it Iout will be done by violent revolution. I do not believed that voting is going to be the answer.

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  3. “I like fish, and I also like bear claws. If I cannot have the two together, I will let the fish go, and take the bear claws. So, I like life, and I also like goodness. If I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go, and choose goodness.” — Mencius, circa 300 B.C.

    Government by social justice warriors will last four more years at most.

  4. And, of course, being good Catholics, we know that there is no such thing as a right to religious liberty in the first place… so that it is the government’s job neither to grant this nor to guarantee it. We have an absolute right to practice the True Religion, of course; historically Catholic states have upheld this with the force of arms against revolutionaries and invaders; but individual Catholics in hostile, secular or infidel states have generally preferred martyrdom to dying in defense of the heretical notion of rights abstracted from the objective norms of morality.

    (I’m aware that V-II said something about Religious Liberty; even if one doesn’t regard that council as a Robber Synod, the council itself disavowed any attempt to proffer a new teaching, or even any teaching; it was proposed as an experiment in pastoral terminology. Contrarily, Religious Liberty has been explicitly condemned by the Sovereign Pontiffs, in documents that clearly had the intent of proffering serious and binding doctrine. And really, reason itself tells us that rights to wrongs are an inherent contradiction in terms; hence, this obvious truth of philosophy, infallible in itself, was repeated so often in the Church’s magisterial documents and offices, that it is also secured by the infallible teaching authority of the Universal, Ordinary Magisterium.)

      • Are you going to actually respond to the point made above or are you going to post your usual non sequitur? Why don’t you make an effort to understand the traditional teaching instead of posting calumnies against Catholicism? Multiple people have now pointed it out to you.

        Traditionalists should not take your religion seriously as it literally defies liberalism-

        To the right of the desk, for example, is a small seating area with a painting of the founding fathers signing the U.S. Constitution in Independence Hall in 1783. Like all of the artwork in the temple, this painting was commissioned by an LDS artist.

        Mormonism is an imperial cult of a dying empire.

      • Dear Itascripta est,

        The point made above is that “good Catholics” know “there is no such thing as a right to religious liberty in the first place.”

        I replied by citing Popes to the contrary. I cited no Latter-day Saint leader or artist, only Catholic leaders that as a non-Catholic I thought Catholics might be inclined to agree with, even be obedient to.

        When Pope Francis was in Philadelphia, at Independence Hall no less, he offered a positive vision of religious freedom.

        I could also have cited Philadelphia’s Archbishop.

        These repeated Papal endorsements of religious freedom ought to mean something to Catholics as well as to non-Catholics. It rather sounds like an endorsement of Vatican II on the subject. I respect your right to disagree, but if you won’t believe your own bishops, Popes and a Council, there is nothing I could say that is likely to convince you.

      • I replied by citing Popes to the contrary.

        And I can cite a lot more and a lot higher authorites to the contrary. You do not seem to realize that a speech by a bishop or even a Pope carry virtually no authority. This is not de fide.

        It rather sounds like an endorsement of Vatican II

        VII upheld the confessional state as an enduring ideal.

        The Catholic notion of “freedom” is fundamentally different than the American notion. For this I would recommend the writings of David Schindler (who is not even a traditionalist Catholic). Again, as I have said before, you seem categorically incapable of taking this point. You keep simpistically equivocating between the two in order to play “gotta.” I have to chalk this up to your religion’s crude almost comical defication of liberalism. This is why you really have no business even being on a forum dedicated to anti-liberalism.

        I respect your right to disagree, but if you won’t believe your own bishops, Popes and a Council, there is nothing I could say that is likely to convince you.

        Yeah I know, “I am more Catholic than the Pope” and you know more about Catholicism than everyone else here. How about a couple months ago when your were posting lies about past perscutions? You didn’t seem interested in following that up.

        Fortunately not all modern prelates are given over to Americanism. A decade ago the Catholic Church in Slovakia came out against their state recoginzing your religion and allowing it to proselytize there. Thanks to wikileaks we now know that the American government through its embassy helped pressure the Catholic Bishops and government there into accepting your cult. This is by the way exactly how evils like gay rights and Muslim refugee programs are foisted on smaller usually traditionally Catholic countries by the US.

  5. No society, anywhere, has ever really practiced “religious liberty” as Americans now claim to conceive of it. In practice, even early liberalism in North America conceded *only* that it didn’t matter which Protestant sect people joined. It also tolerated vanishingly small religious minorities in urban areas, so long as these remained powerless and invisible.

    This isn’t a criticism: only liberals would claim that “religious liberty” in itself is a good thing (although not the *best* thing). Like AureliusMoner above, I do not share the essentially religious commitments which lead them to make this claim.

    The contingencies of Reformation and British history, as well as its subsequent development in British “daughter societies,” have long allowed many to delude themselves into thinking that the liberal form of modernity is not inconsistent with or inimical to Christianity. Indeed, liberalism’s internal contradictions dictate that liberals *have* to delude themselves about this, just as they must delude themselves about political authority. In the last several decades, however, the internal development of liberalism — which proceeded in a way *entirely consistent with* its first principles — has made the opposition of the two religions apparent.

    Now that the liberal religion is both thoroughly dominant throughout the population, as it has long been, and has consciously realized the degree to which it is opposed to all other religions, it discourages more than nominal adherence to any other faith. Because liberalism developed in Europe, it has historically concerned itself with Christianity, and other religions have been adopted as mascots and allies in this effort. But when those other religions are perceived as serious challenges to liberalism, as may be happening with Islam in some Western countries, and has definitely happened with other religions among liberals in what used to be called the Third World, then they too become its enemies.

    If one rejects liberalism, one should not try to argue against it using its own assumptions and terms, such as “the right to religious liberty.”

    If one is a liberal (as most of us are, having been raised by liberals in thoroughly liberal societies), one might wish that it were possible to revert liberalism’s internal developments to those of a certain period and society (America in the 1780s, France in the 1790s, Britain in the 1850s, or whatever), and to freeze them there. While I might caution that attempts to return to an imagined version of the ways of the *salaf* or of the early Church are doomed to artificiality and failure, I will leave it to liberals to argue against their own analogue of Wahhabism, radical Reform, etc.

    • Both you and AureliusMoner have misunderstood my argument. I did not write in support of government guarantees of religious liberty to all, and I certainly did not mean to imply that everyone has a right to religious liberty. I wrote that religious liberty exists only for those men who are ultimately willing to shed blood (their own or someone else’s). That’s the ultimate test of how serious a man is about his religion, and it’s the only test that makes any difference to the State. The Church of Perpetual Appeasement has no right to religious liberty in my book. Such a Church might be ignored, so long as there is no reason not to ignore it, but being ignored as a harmless (and toothless) non-entity should not be mistaken for possessing a right. The Church (and individual Christians) cannot appeal to the finer feelings of the State, because it has none. The State knows one emotion, and that is fear. States respect religions (i.e. grant them “rights”) when they are afraid of what those religions might do. In today’s world, Christians get little respect because they are, for the most part, spineless, toothless pansies, and no politician fears that the Conference of Bishops will damn his soul or prevent his reelection. (I’m not sure that I would not turn out to be a spineless, toothless pansy, were sufficient pressure applied.) There are, obviously, many stages through which a “fight” progresses before it reaches the final stage, in which there is bloodshed and killing. But those who will not “fight,” neither have, nor deserve, a right. Martyrdom is, of course, a form of fighting. But appeasement, concessions, and accommodation is not martyrdom.

      • The State knows one emotion, and that is fear. States respect religions (i.e. grant them “rights”) when they are afraid of what those religions might do.

        By imposing its notion of religious freedom on religious groups it deems a threat the liberal state essentially begins the process of domesticating those religions. See Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration.

        So while the liberal state rightly fears other exclusivist traditions it underhandly undermines them by promising a value neutral notion of religious liberty. I think JM Smith’s example works best in the case of Constantine, where a pre-modern government was forced to recognize the increasing power of Christianity. Modern regimes on the other hand win when they the force other traditions to accept liberalism’s definition of religious liberty.

      • So, by your logic, if I draw a gun on you and demand your wallet, and you give it to me, then you neither have, nor deserve, a right to your wallet? Here we are either using an idiosyncratic definition of “right,” or we are asserting a morality defined by individual will to employ and to face violence… a “will to power,” shall we call it?

        My own assertions above were that “religious liberty” is not per se good, that liberalism claims falsely both that it is good and that liberal regimes practice it, and that I don’t care who has a “right” to it, because to ask or answer that question is to accept liberalism’s terms. Or, based on your elaboration, at least modernity’s.

  6. I think that much of the social peace and order for which positive law is given credit is actually produced as a consequence of the subject of rights one way or another impressing, upon those who would take them away, the utter folly of risking their own lives in the effort, when success would in any case entail no real advantage in terms of utility (it’s not as though x becomes that much more free when he takes the freedom of y).

    In this respect, the beauty of the Second Amendment, I’m told, is that its exercise will not be needed.

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