Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
Pro: Restoration of the Holy and Universal Christian Roman Empire.
Caveat: The author makes no claim to being an exemplar of Catholicism or Monarchism (or blogging).
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Thursday, August 21, 2003

A quick note on civics

Right wingers are typically big on civil obedience and the rule of law. Law is, in its purest, the exertion of force to promote certain behaviors and discourage others. Catholic social teaching is quick to point out that laws that go against the Law of God are void - even "social justice" buffoons believe in disobeying laws that they consider unjust.

Now, let's prove this. There are two extremes we must touch on. First, an immoral act is not made moral by the mere passage of law. Slavery was not a moral decision, nor was the euthanizing of retarded children in pre-Christian Greece. Yet, both of these acts were violable in civil society. Next, no act that is moral (or neutral) is made immoral under the law of man. The social drinking of alcohol is not immoral, and Prohibition did not change this. To use an example that even our righteous teetotaling friends can grasp onto, attendance at church is a moral act, despite its constant harassment by regimes throughout time and around the globe.

Here's the gist: Whatever is handed down by the potentates of your jurisdiction is of little consequence. The only way it might affect moral decision-making is incidental: If, by flaunting the punishments laid down by civil authorities you risk the destruction of your life or the well-being of your family, you may have moral culpability. To look back at the Prohibition example, if you were to homebrew in that era, you have every right to do so. However, if your potential jail sentence would risk the financial and emotional health of your wife and children, there may be some sin involved in your tippling.

The logic is simple. Unfortunately, we can't all go around doing exactly what we consider right, because most of us lack the clarity to be trusted. Thus the argument for a value-positive (that is to say explicitly Catholic) governance. But that topic's for another day.


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