Guest post: There can be nothing new that is not of the devil

Originally a comment by Papito on “Morality” sounds better than “submit or else.”

I was idly contemplating these themes this morning as I walked down to the greengrocer for limes. I passed by the house of one of my daughter’s friends, whose parents had pulled her out of her very progressive school for a more traditional school that didn’t impress me very much, with the goal of later attending a school my son found utterly dehumanizing. I like the girl, and her parents as well, but why they would make such a choice didn’t really compute for me until I remembered that they are practicing Catholics (as opposed to cultural Catholics or recovering Catholics, no offense intended please). The doctrine of Catholicism (and most other varieties of Christianity) differs very much from the ethos of humanism in that it’s a zero-sum game. The roles of people, and the possible outcomes of people, have already been determined. What is a sin, and how one may be forgiven for it, is already written. In a sense, the only free will people have is to either comply or not comply with the rules laid down by God. For humanists, or secularists, the game is open-ended: we create the world, and what the world may become is yet undetermined. We have the freedom to determine who we will become and what that will mean. Education is, for the progressive, about the student creating herself, and possibly becoming something entirely new. For the traditional, it is about the student being trained to comply with a limited set of rules and roles. Freedom means something entirely different in the two cases.

To bring this back to Barr, we can understand how this man can violate every ethical guideline for his professional behavior, and yet believe that he is the one standing for morality, if we consider that he is constitutionally unable to understand human freedom. For a man like him, any deviation from his set of assumed strictures on human behavior must be considered sinful. There can be nothing new that is not of the devil. He seeks the ultimate end of Republicanism in an imperial presidency so that sinful people will not be allowed to determine their future collectively, but will instead be forced to return to the past. Domination and punishment are good for the souls of children and countries alike.

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