“Athens alone, with a wiser policy and more far-seeing leadership, could have led the way to ordered liberty for all of Hellas; but she did not. After Pericles died in 429 B.C. her democracy produced no leader both competent and trustworthy, so that Athens herself became more and more anarchical even while imposing ever stricter control on her subjects in the name of preserving democracy.”
“In Athens, in 399 (B.C.), the year before Ezra’s final mission to Jerusalem, the great Socrates had been executed by the Athenian democracy…”
(Warren Carroll, The Founding of Christendom)
Some things never change, like, the failure of bottom-up Democracy and “rule by The People” to produce actual freedom and authentic cultural progress. It seems somewhat clear that we owe the magnificent intellectual achievements of ancient Greece (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, et.al.) to the Greek city states’ earlier military alliance that defeated the Persians (with special thanks to the Spartan “300″), for we have no idea how or even if the great philosophers could have flourished under that eastern empire. It seems likely that they would not have flourished at all; though, that is pure speculation. However, it is even less clear what we owe to Athenian Democracy. After all, the democratic environment that nurtured Socrates was the very one that murdered him, a sobering and uncomfortably close comparison to so-called “democracy” in America, or in that of the entire West for that matter. Mitigating our appreciation even more is the additional footnote that the Athenian democracy also issued death warrants for every male in the rebelling city of Mytilene along with the slavery of every remaining woman and child. “The People” are not always the nicest of rulers.
Like the citizens of Athens, we find that our modern democracies, manifested in the Republic, with its “Will of the People,” are just as whimsical and totalitarian. “The People” of Athens, who knew nothing of the true God, still refused to bow before their own god of Reason (re: the fate of our unfortunate friend, Socrates) and voted (democratically) to inflict the cruelest of penalties on its neighbor Mytilene who simply dared to desire her own freedom. In our blessed age where we have the benefit of both Divine Revelation and the foundational works of Western Reason (the aforementioned Greeks), The People, rather than benefiting from that treasury containing both revelation and reason, now refuse to bow before either.
To reiterate, what is frighteningly clear in modern America is that the ruling People, in protest and in demanding no outside interference with the worship of their un-holiest of trinities, “me, myself, and I,” refuse now to bow before either Faith or Reason (the Greeks might be excused from the former; though, St. Paul confronts them in his letter to the Romans as being inexcusably blind to the Natural Law which is understood through Reason alone).
The People today will not take direction from either God or from a Greek-based reasoning process that first and foremost establishes Aristotle’s Law of Non-Contradiction, the latter being a notion seemingly as silly to the modern democratic, atheistic Person as is the former. In brief, The People care nothing for any restraint, either by God or by Reason (which are, of course, both the same. Here I am using God and Reason as differentiating between religious and secular thought.). The People want to do what The People want to do. They call this Freedom, and they readily will vote to execute every male who challenges them and take the women and children as slaves if they do not get their way. Here, I am not so much speaking of ancient Athens and Mytilene as I am modern America.
The cries go out in America to “bring the government back to The People.” This is precisely the problem, bringing the government back to The People. It is The (Same) People who are electing and then supporting the regimes that become dictatorial. This is the inherent contradiction in the “bottom-up” rule by The People. The People demand that they (and “they” first have to fight the most wretched political wars to decide which group’s views in the pluralistic cesspool will dominate) set the rules (established by the victor in the aforementioned pluralistic civil war). But the elected officials must then enforce the rules from above. This creates a never-ending series of flashpoints of mal-content with The People. The People are ever protesting and complaining that the rulers, in the way they enforce the bottom up rules from the top down, have “stolen” or otherwise mismanaged the Will of The People. So, The People elect new rulers and the cycle starts all over again. Not a single election goes by without The People saying that “it is time for change.” Recently, then candidate Obama even brought a certain politically macabre efficiency to the whole process by simply saying, “Change.” No need to explain. The People understood. And, with profound Aristotelian logical efficiency, The People got their democratically elected totalitarian. The Greeks would be proud.
Things turn quickly on The People, ironically, based on the very principle they so proudly wave on banners, that of Separation of Church and State. The ruse on The People is this: that once they elect a politician, he or she is not answerable to The People (as the latter supposes, which is why The People always get aggravated when they realize the politician duped them), but the politician is, in fact, answerable to – get this – to no one. This is the cleverest of tricks by the ancient enemy, Satan himself, who alone is the mastermind of The People in rebellion against God and against authentic rule from the top down (re: Adam and Eve). We demand proudly and purposefully that our elected leaders NOT be answerable to God. As we see in America, they certainly are not. In this respect, our anti-God leaders are living out the American dream. And The People wonder.
The most obvious rebuttal here is that the politician is indeed answerable, if not to any one or to any God, then at least to Some-Thing that flies nobly above the cacophony of The People’s voices, that is, The Rule of Law in The Constitution. However, the Constitution is neither moral in nature nor truly independent. It is itself subject to the amorphous, amoral, pluralistically warring whims of the Will of the People. Whereas an elected leader must certainly obey certain “letter of the law” statutory requirements, that leader can change or ignore the spirit of the Constitution if enough votes or pluralistically powerful groups are on his or her side. This is certainly not always the case; yet, how is it possible that American civil society has fled ever diligently to the Left over the years to the point where we literally have to go to the Supreme Court to ask for something once considered as basic as religious liberty? Contemporary American history is revealing here.
The Catholic King and Queen, on the other hand, is of “Divine Right,” a phrase which makes the blood run cold down the back of any good democratic republican revolutionary. However, it is precisely the Divine Right of the King and Queen which makes the Catholic Monarchy the better of the safeguards for The People’s freedom. This is because Divine Right does not mean “the Right to act Divine,” (which seems, ironically, and for the reasons outlined above, to be the exclusive claim of the democratically elected President of a Republic) but, quite to the contrary, it means “the right to rule comes from God.” Therefore, the King and Queen are always accountable to God. The latter definition is completely different from the former.
One does not necessarily even need a Constitution with a truly Catholic King or Queen (Christendom went for centuries under Catholic Kings without feeling the need for any Constitutions, The English Magna Carta being a notable exception pushed onto King John. Notice that the truly Catholic King St. Louis in France felt no such outcry against him by The People, or by the Barons of The People, later that century). The royal ruler must answer at all times in judgment, decorum, attitude, language, and, most importantly, even in intent, in accord with the moral authority of the independent Catholic Church. The Church does not rule the temporal government of man. That is what the Catholic King and Queen are to do. The independent Church, however, does rule the faith and morals of those Kings and Queens.
As opposed to The Constitution, The Will of the People does not dictate to the Church. As opposed to the practice in the Republic of changing or even ignoring the spirit of the Constitution by gathering enough votes to support the maneuver, The Will of the People does not manipulate the Church in matters of faith and morals. A leader who claims, or even who can prove, that the majority of the people demand changes in faith and morals (i.e., abortion, gay “marriage,” contraception) leaves the Church unmoved. For Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, rules the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit conferred on His chosen representatives on earth. The majority will never overrule Jesus Christ.
Yet, the Kingship of Christ is not one of restricting freedom. It is a Kingship which allows for the greatest of freedoms (see my essay “The Republic vs The Monarchy: The Will of the People vs The Will of God). Christ’s Kingship is not of this earth; yet, He nevertheless demands that we pray specifically for the Father’s Kingdom to come, His Will to be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Christ’s Kingdom is truly over the hearts of men and women (though Pius XI specifically warned against interpreting this as meaning that Christ therefore has no say in the civic affairs of mankind, for He surely does by virtue of His rule over the heart). Thus, the Catholic King and Queen represent not merely an earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ but are a bridge between the Heavenly Kingdom and men and women on earth who freely choose for themselves how they shall live together in society.
There is no contradiction between the rule of Jesus Christ and the freedom of mankind. In fact, true freedom of men and women is based on the rule of Jesus Christ. In the right moral environment, men and women can be the most free. Local and state democracies can flourish under a Catholic Monarchy, and would better do so, as the moral environment would be, and would stay, more conducive. Democracy “from below” is not an evil when subjugated to the immutable moral authority and guidance of God the Father “from above” as known through His Church. The Will of the People, properly formed in God’s Law, is the conduit for social freedom, much the way the properly formed individual conscious is for the person. In the wrong moral environment (like that of modern America), men and women become enslaved to totalitarians through a malformed Will of the People, inclined toward evil.
Just ask the Greeks. They discovered this thousands of years ago. To say that we can follow their same path and get different results is, of course, a modern definition of insanity, but it would also make Plato roll in his grave, for he knew better. In addition, it likely violates Aristotle’s Rule of Non-Contradiction. On any account, to stay safe and be politically correct, you might want to say it anyway. For if you consistently call out the contradictions inherent in The Rule of the People in the Republic, you might just end up on the same side of “freedom loving” democrats as did Socrates.
Worse yet, you might just get the Mytilene treatment.