The View From 1776

Pope John Paul II: God’s Love vs. the European Union

I have been asked to write articles for Rubikkon ( ), a Polish language website published in Poland, primarily for Polish students.  This is the first article submitted for publication.

Like the Apostle Paul traveling throughout the Roman Empire to spread the Gospel, Pope John Paul II braved the persecution of socialistic secularism and traveled as no other Pope did to all parts of the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With personal bravery under Poland’s communist rulers and with doctrinal fortitude since becoming Pope, he has begun to turn the world back toward Eternal Truth.  He commanded no army and exerted no inside political influence.  Never fearing to speak the Truth, he has simply let his personal dedication to Jesus Christ shine like a great lamp that illuminated people’s inner lives and attracted them out of the dark.

Today the European Union wants to put out the light of Christian love by declaring Europe to be a bastion exclusively of secular materialism.

Why is this such a vital issue?

The short answer is that a secular Europe, faltering under the manifest inadequacies of socialism, will again fall victim to the demand for strong leadership.  Without the moral restraints of our Judeo-Christian heritage, those strong leaders again will feel free to implement collective state-planning concepts, no matter whose property must be confiscated or how many millions of people must be liquidated for the “good of humanity.”

Before the French Revolution of 1789, every law code in history was based upon natural law emanating from a god and from the age-old traditions of the society that worshipped that god.  All citizens could accept and respect such law codes.  Since the French Revolution, the law has become whatever the intellectuals arbitrarily decree, without regard to principles of morality. 

Great masses of humanity, expecting earthly perfection, have placed themselves in the hands of the intellectuals and their aparatchiks. Reality in every case has fallen far short of expectations.  In effect, secular socialism is a reversion to the pre-civilizational law of the jungle in which might makes right.  This is the State of Nature described by Thomas Hobbes in 1651 in which life becomes “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Intellectuals may sincerely believe that earthly perfection will be the result of their visions of planned economies and political states.  Instead the people get either the stifling regulatory controls of German and French bureaucracies, or the iron-handed rule of a Stalin.  At best, the effect on people’s energy, initiative, and creativity is enervating, and people escape as the Soviet workers did into alcoholism.  At worst, they live in terror under the totalitarian secular state.

The danger is becoming real again.  Another incident like the Muslims’ gruesome murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands could serve the same purpose as the burning of the Reichstag did in triggering popular support for Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazis).

Under the withering embrace of socialism, both France and Germany are falling steadily behind the growth curve.  Unemployment in Germany is about as high as it was in 1933 when President von Hindenberg appointed Adolph Hitler to the Chancellorship.  French workers riot in the streets at the mere suggestion that they should work as many hours as everyone else.  The average age of Europeans is rising rapidly; fewer people are available to work, yet everyone is schooled to expect ever-increasing handouts from the secular political state.  The financial resources required by the socialistic welfare state, both in Europe and in the United States, simply will not be available in the future, when aggregate benefits entitlements will outstrip the dwindling productive capacity of the planned state.

Most Polish citizens who are forty years of age or older need no reminders of the oppression suffered under the secular religion of socialism.  Perhaps younger citizens, particularly students, need to be made fully aware of historical facts and of political consequences flowing from secular materialism.

Unlike the people of Poland, we in the United States never have had to endure the total hegemony of Big Brother as you did.  Heedlessly we have drifted, at an accelerating pace since the late 1960s, toward secularity in all forms, from hedonism to complete rejection of spiritual religion and personal morality. 

People in the United States speak about “American ideals,” but very few can identify those ideals.  Their simplistic definition usually is no more than declaring that Americans are free, because we can vote freely for our office holders.  We speak as if political liberty were no more than the mechanical procedures of using ballot boxes or voting machines. 

American students have been taught the falsehood that the British North American colonists undertook our 1776 War of Independence under the impulse of the same radicalism that propelled the French Revolution thirteen years later.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The only French Enlightenment (sic!) writer to exercise any influence at all in the deliberations of 1787 that produced our Constitution was Montesquieu.  His 1748 “Spirit of the Laws” compared various political systems and pronounced the British constitution the best available model.  It was Montesquieu who articulated the concept of separation of powers among the monarch and the two house of Parliament.  This idea became the basis of the American Constitution’s separation of powers among the semi-autonomous states that were the original colonies, the President, Congress, and the Federal judiciary.  Ours was to be a federal republic, not the all powerful, collective state which president Franklin Roosevelt created after 1933 (coincidentally the year of Hitler?s accession to power).

The Pope’s message is that the mechanics of political structure amount to nothing without the solid foundation of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the personal responsibility and personal morality it teaches.  Thomas Jefferson said of his writing the American Declaration of Independence that it was not intended to express novel theories never before voiced, but rather to express the common understanding throughout the colonies of British North America.  Those ideas were based, he said, on the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God and upon such political texts as those of John Locke and Aristotle.  Though Jefferson was a Francophile, not even he looked to the French Revolutionary philosophers as guides for American political life.

Those understandings were gradually lost in the 20th century, and Americans have followed much of the Western world into the camp of Auguste Comte’s Religion of Humanity, which preaches that ideas of God and a higher law of timeless morality are unscientific ignorance, that the true object of human worship is an abstraction called Humanity.  Elite American universities teach students that the rational human mind is the creator of all that we survey and, therefore, that the final source of justice and truth is the minds of intellectuals.

The Constitution of the United States created a government of laws, not of men, a government of constitutionally limited powers.  Such a government can survive only when its citizens are self-restrained by religious morality.  One must balance the other.

John Adam’s expressed it best: “We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion.  Our constitution is made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Pope John Paul II’s testimony reminds us that the world inevitably will disintegrate into tyranny if people are not guided by religious faith and the love of God that leads each individual to think of helping others, not just himself.  Looking to the secular political state for social justice and dispensation of all goods and services as matters of entitlement is to be a slave of the political state.

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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/29 at 12:39 AM
  1. Tom,
    This is a great article and a very fine one to be the first for Rubikkon. Good lcuk with it.
    Jon Gardner
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/29  at  09:27 AM
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