Another Election in Flatland
by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 23, 2012
Another four years, another Presidential election in which Americans were presented with the choice between a liberal called a Republican and a more liberal liberal called a Democrat. The liberal put up by the Republicans, a Mormon millionaire who belongs to a fantasy cult founded by a lunatic who died in a gun battle with his fellow Mormons, sounded what are the only acceptable themes in American politics today: jobs and money. Or, more simply, money — money from jobs and money from government entitlement programs. Oh yes, and education, because education leads to, well, jobs and money.
The title of columnist Don Feder's take on the election says it all: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and Deficits, Deficits, Deficits, Lose, Lose, Lose.” Feder touches upon, but does not fully expose the nature of, the evil emptiness of American political discourse. The politics of money conceals a moral and spiritual vacuum that is sucking the last vestiges of life out of a once Christian civilization.
Think of America as a political Flatland in which everyone lives his public life as a two-dimensional simpleton, the worker-consumer and the citizen-voter, who leaves behind his “private,” three-dimensional spiritual and moral self whenever he exits his home or the “place of worship” of his choice. There is no place in this Flatland for the vertical transcendence of what was once known as the Law of the Gospel.
As the brilliant French intellectual Pierre Manent has put it, in the modern nation-state we are expected to be “atheists under the one God, the God in whom we believe.” We may profess privately any religion we please, so long as we agree that it has no public relevance whatsoever. This intolerable paradox, they tell us, is the “religious freedom” for which we must express eternal gratitude and reverence to the Founding Fathers in their Masonic-Deist “enlightenment.”
And so, every American election avoids the one issue that really matters: the dire consequences of a natio's failure to heed the imperatives of the divine and natural law; its institutionalized mockery of God and His commandments.
Even the pagan Greeks, through the exercise of their unaided reason, were able to see, as Plato teaches in The Laws, that in the well-ordered State “interest in possessions, rightly pursued, holds the third and lowest rank, the interest of the body [health] is second, of the soul, first.“ The State whose laws pursue the divine goods of the soul ”acquires the lesser along with them, but one which refuses them, misses them both.”
This, of course, is the very teaching of the Gospel: “Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on.... For all these things do the nations of the world seek.... But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:22-31).
As the nations of former Christendom continue to turn their back on God, the judgment that follows upon social apostasy throughout salvation history approaches quickly once again. But in the sociopolitical Flatland known as America, politics has been reduced to an endless contention over what the people shall eat, and what they shall put on. The politics of the soul has given way to the crassest politics of the body. And the terrible irony is that a nation that pursues the lower goods with such feverish intensity stands to lose even those along with the higher goods it has despised. Such is the nature of divine chastisement.
This, of course, is the state of affairs for which Our Lady of Fatima has provided the saving remedy — if only Her Church will heed Her requests, and thereby restore the spiritual third dimension of our otherwise doomed Flatland.