Can democracy survive?
William Gairdner, author of The War Against the Family, thinks not. In his latest book, The Trouble with Democracy: A Citizen Speaks Out, he maintains that widespread support for universal moral truth is essential to freedom.
Certainly, the classic defenders of democracy subscribed to this view. Gairdner relates that, "Locke called for liberty, but 'not for opinions contrary to human society, or to those moral rules which are necessary to the preservation of civil society'; Montesquieu spoke for a limited liberty to do 'what we ought to will'; and the great Tocqueville famously called for liberty, but 'not without morality, nor morality without faith."'
In contrast, John Stuart Mill held that man is the measure of morality. In his 19th-century classic, On Liberty, he embraced what Gairdner aptly describes as a form of godless Gnosticism based on a misguided belief in the ability of free and enlightened individuals to create an ideal society by replacing traditional Judeo-Christian morality with a superior, secular morality of their own devising.
Mill's is the regnant ideology in Canada and the United States today. We are now living in what Gairdner calls a "hyperdemocracy," in which radical Gnostic judges and human rights commissioners routinely impose their twisted morality on elected representatives of the people.
Imposing "gay" rights
Consider the imposition of so-called gay rights through the courts. In enacting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Parliament and the provincial legislatures deliberately excluded any reference to sexual orientation. Yet under the pretence of upholding this same Charter, our judicial masters on the Supreme Court of Canada have unilaterally decreed that "gay" couples have virtually the same rights in law as heterosexual common-law couples.
In changing the laws and the Constitution of Canada to conform with a secular Gnostic ideology, autocrats in the courts maintain they are only upholding the morally neutral principles of a liberal democracy. That's nonsense. Gairdner points out that a state that purges religious belief from the public schools is moulding citizens,
"as worshippers of its own secular creed. A state that participates in the breakdown of marriage and the family by dissolving their many traditional legal and economic privileges and protections has chosen to enter an all-out moral war against its own civil society.
"And last, but not least, a state that supports the tax-funded killing in the womb of about 25 per cent of its own unborn citizens as a democratic freedom of their mothers, even while barring the fathers from all claims to a natural obligation, has clearly set itself up as a moral dictator and arbiter of the value of human life. Even if we approve of these things, we cannot say they are neutral.
What has gone wrong?
What has gone wrong? How have the peoples of the United States and Canada contrived to abandon genuine freedom under law for an unrestrained, sham democracy in which sovereignty has passed from elected representatives of the people to appointed radicals in the courts?
While some secular academics pin the blame on the loss of "republicanism" and "civic virtue," Gairdner describes these as, "flimsy political-science words used to avoid the embarrassing fact that what really distinguished the early centuries of American and Canadian life was the pervasive ethical influence of religion." He notes that democracy in North America was originally sustained by, "a triumphant, desk-pounding, fiery moral certainty as to how Christianity and the Bible would 'justify the ways of God to men"'
That the loss of this certain belief in God and moral transcendence has been accompanied by the perversion of democracy and the horrors of the 20th century is no coincidence. Gairdner insists that there can be no hope of reviving democracy unless we, "defend the need to discern right from wrong," "publicly defend the pursuit of virtue," and "repudiate the radical modern notion of the imperial self as sovereign by democratic right over the people and the natural obligations of society."
How, though, can the peoples of Canada and the United States recover such a sense of moral truth? Evidently, nothing less than another religious revival will suffice.
Rory Leishman is a regular contributor to Catholic Insight.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2001|
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