If you consider that Mr. Bush won re-election in part because of his firm stand on family values and other moral issues, it becomes apparent that Europe and United States are drifting apart not only on foreign policy but also on their vision of a democratic society and of the proper relationship between politics and ethics. One of America's founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, was convinced that politics needed values it could not produce itself and had to rely on other agencies (mainly the churches) to nurture the virtues civil life needs. The state could therefore not privilege any church in particular but had to maintain a positive attitude to religion in general. Jean Jacques Rousseau thought, on the contrary, that the state needed a kind of civil religion of its own and the existing churches had to bow to this civil religion by incorporating its commandments in their theology. Many scholars see in this idea of Rousseau's the seminal principle of totalitarianism. The tradition of Rousseau and of the Jacobins has survived in Europe in less virulent forms than in the not too distant past, but it's still part of the European political and ideological landscape.I agree with Buttiglione's assessment. Hamilton looks wise in this compasison and Rousseau... well, don't get me started. What worries me is that Canada seems firmly in his camp, and even the suggestion that Hamilton was on to something is routinely shouted down as un-Canadian. We've replaced official Anglicanism with the Liberal Party.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Kill me softly
The EU snobs think that Italy's Rocco Buttiglione wasn't capable of being in the governing class because he said homosexuality is a sin, but one that the law needn't persecute. It's their loss. This letter in The WSJ's Opinion Journal demonstrates a good mind: