Having been made by elites to dive headlong down the outhouse hole into the muck beneath, the common people have began to notice that it stinks and is very unpleasant down there, and are expressing the wish to come back up, hose themselves off, and go back to normal. Hence the populist turn in politics throughout the West these past few years. The working people express their will by voting in plebiscites (Brexit, Trump) or theatrically make that will manifest in the streets (les Gilets Jaunes), all as suits their local customs and traditions. They also discuss the situation amongst themselves, as is their inherent right as (nominal) citizens in (ostensible) Republics, one of whose mottoes is vox populi, vox Dei.
This voice, which can be heard in the endless disputations that take place in online comments sections and other social media as well as around water-coolers and barroom tables across the whole country, certainly bears the image of God in it, but falls rather far short of being His voice. It presents us with rich veins of gold nonetheless still firmly embedded in a vast dross of half-baked assumptions, notions that seem intuitively plausible and clever but are false, and various unexamined prejudices- most of which are unstated and operate beneath the threshold of self-awareness, and derive from the dominant Liberal ideology that defines the laws of construction of acceptable public political discourse as much as the rules of grammar and spelling define the acceptable use of the National languages in which that discourse is articulated. This ideology, of course, is the source of the common man’s torment to begin with, and also ingeniously designed over the course of centuries so as to be able to easily defeat any and all challengers who make the mistake of trying to play this ideology’s game according to its rules, and on its own home field.
Most readers will be all too familiar with what results when everyday people try to express their will in a language that was not made for them; for those not, the following examples should suffice for illustration:
- Real democracy has yet to be tried.
- Islam is a threat to Feminism and the sexual and occupational freedom of our strong independent White women.
- The regressive Left is bad because it rejects science and the values of individualism bequeathed to us by the Enlightenment.
- Leftism is a “religion”, and its proponents, “priests” (and thus, implicitly, bad because they threaten to breach the wall of laicity that separates Church from State under Liberalism).
- Tax cuts for the rich, and the freedom of giant transnational corporations to do whatever the hell they want, are of an indivisible piece with the basic rights and freedoms of the common man- even when the rich and the corporations exercise their rights to effectively strip the common man of his rights where the State is too hamstrung by its own legal formalities to be able to do so easily.
- All threats to personal liberty originate with the Executive branch of government exercising its powers unilaterally over and against the will of Congress and the Judiciary.
- Each individual has a duty to religiously make the cause of some Rightist political party or other his own, even though none of the Party’s functionaries know him from Adam or would deign to lift a finger to help him, since vicarious participation in the Party’s triumphs on the political Mount Olympus should be reward enough- and if that doesn’t suffice, the common man in his selfish expectation of reciprocation should stop to consider just how much worse things might be if the enemy Party took office in place of the one that merely disdains to notice or help him (“the devil you know”, and all that).
The line of least resistance for the average intellectual in the face of all this is to not resist it at all, but rather cynically go with the flow and hope to line his own pockets by taking this discourse as he finds it, cleaning up the typos and grammar mistakes with or without adding some personal literary or rhetorical flair, and then simply handing it back to the masses without other modification in the hopes of getting book deals and collecting speaker’s fees, and possibly a salary from some Conservatism Inc. think-tank. Hence the familiar plague of mercenary hack writers, blowhards and talking heads on TV and talk radio, etc. who give the people what they have been induced to want and tell the common man what he has been made to think he wants to hear, all the while pretending to somehow “own the Libs” while doing it.
Another type of intellectual, this one totally sincere and selfless, throws his hands up in disgust in the face of this spectacle and the mercenary opportunists who exploit it for thirty or so pieces of silver. This intellectual, dismissing the masses as so many mere tools of power and in any case anticipating imminent complete collapse of the existing order, turns his back on the whole sorry show and retreats into paper worlds in high towers in search of knowledge of how men lived and did things before Liberalism came around, and how they might live after it is gone.
This rejection of Liberal partisan politics is an absolutely and indispensably necessary first step to securing a more genially human future for Mankind than Liberalism was able to provide- but it can entail a foible of altogether rejecting reality right along with politics. The effort to redesign industrial civilization can sometimes turn into little more than an exercise in something like fantasy sportsball, yielding a mere wish-list of features the intellectual would like his ideal social order to have: the strong household sovereignty of the Ancients, the government and religion of the Germanic Middle Ages, the economic and technological dynamism of the Modern bourgeois. This enterprise ends up in the same place as the traditional German philosophers who, as Marx pointed out, thought they could overcome their own historical reality by negating it in pure thought- as though actual history were some kind of cafeteria or Build-a-Bear store in which any desired combo can be had just by thinking it up.
This wishful thinking is flawed in the extreme. As Marx correctly observed, “men make those own history, but not as they please; they do so only under circumstances transmitted from the past”. Marx, of course, was as wrong as he could have been to think that this means all actual history is driven by the warp and woof of “material” economic processes neither given in consciousness nor amenable to conscious control. But he was nonetheless completely right to point out that men make their own history only inasmuch as they succeed in activating and exploiting potentialities that already exist in the given actual historical situation, which is not infinitely plastic, and does not admit any and every desired modification.
The political engineer has to acquiesce to this reality, not the other way around. One key aspect of this reality is that it is social, to wit made of actual people with actual thoughts, wants, and feelings that comprise the mainspring of the things they actually do, or better yet made of a people whose collective thoughts and feelings add up to a National culture and tradition. Dissidents who want to eventually win something to show for their travails are not at liberty to simply sneer at or dismiss these thoughts, wants, and feelings, which do not magically disappear or become irrelevant because they fail to automatically measure up to some abstract spec-sheet or other. The dissidents must, so to speak, here and there be prepared to turn the odd lemon handed them by history into lemonade, figure out a way to lower the acid content so as to render it edible, whatever- but in any case learn to work with what they have and play the hand they’re dealt, even if it’s not the one they want.
The sweet-spot lies between unprincipled pure pandering to popular sentiment on the one hand and simply talking over it with contempt on the other. This involves an effort usefully characterized by another famous Communist, Antonio Gramsci, in terms of extracting the “good sense” from the raw material of “common sense” as we find it in the mind of the common man, and providing iron-clad surety for the good stuff by grounding it on formal philosophical and scientific grounds rigorously self-sufficient with respect to Liberal ideology and in no way reducible to it.
I should emphasize that self-sufficient does not mean absolutely non-overlapping with respect to particular contents. Liberalism wasn’t wrong about everything it had to say; it succeeded only to the extent that it had some concord with Divine and Natural law and could not possibly have done so otherwise. What is important is that we be able to ground good sense on premises that cannot in turn be resolved into or subsumed under those of Liberalism- in short, that we attain intellectual Sovereignty.
Some thoughts of Hegel’s on the nature of public opinion and its relationship to the makers of history are indispensable here:
Formal subjective freedom, whereby individuals as such entertain and express their own judgments, opinions, and counsels on matters of universal concern, makes its collective appearance in what is known as public opinion. In the latter, the universal in and for itself, the substantial and the true, is linked with its opposite, with what is distinct in itself as the particular opinions of the many. This existence is therefore a manifest self-contradiction, an appearance of cognition; in it, the essential is just as immediately present as the inessential.
Public opinion is the unorganized way in which the will and opinions of the people make themselves known. […]
Public opinion…embodies not only the eternal and substantial principles of justice- the true content and product of the entire constitution and legislation and of the universal condition in general- in the form of common sense (the ethical foundation which is present in everyone in the shape of prejudices), but also the true needs and rightful tendencies of actuality.- As soon as this inner content attains consciousness and is represented in general propositions…all the contingencies of opinion, with its ignorance and perverseness, its false information and errors of judgment, come on the scene. […]
It must not…be regarded as a subjective difference of views if we are told on the one hand that the voice of the people is the voice of God (vox populi, vox Dei), and on the other (by Ariosto, for example):
“Che’l Volgare ignorante ogn’ un riprenda, e parli piu di quel che meno intenda.” [rough trans: “Every vulgar ignoramus weighs in, and talks the most about what he knows the least” -D.S.]
Public opinion contains these two qualities simultaneously, and if truth and endless error are so closely united within it, it cannot be genuinely serious about both. It may seem difficult to decide which to take seriously, and this will in fact be the case even if we stick to the immediate expression of public opinion. But since the substantial is its inner content, only this can be taken completely seriously. The substantial cannot be known from public opinion itself, however…[While ] it is impossible to deceive a people about its substantial basis, about the essence and specific character of its spirit…the people is deceived by itself about the way in which this character is known to it and in which it consequently passes judgment on events, its own actions, etc. […]
Public opinion therefore deserves to be respected as well as despised– despised for its concrete consciousness, and respected for its essential basis, which appears in that concrete consciousness only in a more or less obscure manner. Since it contains no criterion of discrimination and lacks the ability to raise its own substantial aspect to determinate knowledge, the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational, in actuality or in theory, is to be independent of public opinion. Great achievement may in turn be assured that public opinion will subsequently accept it, recognize it, and adopt it as it one of its prejudices.
Every kind of falsehood and truth is present in public opinion, but it is the business of the great man to discover the truth within it. He who expresses the will of his age, tells it what its will is, and accomplishes this will, is the great man of the age.
The makers of history, then, in the course of making their mark on history neither tell public opinion everything it wants to hear nor ignore and dismiss it altogether with haughtily aloof disdain. The latter two courses of action condemn themselves to impotence; the one, by passively acquiescing to the actual without subjecting it to critical scrutiny in light of the ideal or trying to negate it at all; the other, by altogether abandoning the actual for the purely ideal, and thus failing to negate the actual at all as the price of trying to negate it completely, as though releasing the real bird in the hand for two imaginary ones behind the bush. The great men, by contrast, get real-world results by taking actually-existing reality as they find it and negating it enough to identify and bring some potentiality within it to fruition. In the same way that certain forms of rocks, useless as one finds them, can be made to yield extremely useful and indeed, precious metals if subjected to an appropriate extrusion process, the great know that common sense likewise contains rich veins of good sense that, just like women, await being put to good use in bringing yet-inexistent future generations and chapters of human history to fruition.
Popular sentiment is thus the raw material of history, the social stuff or matter that the Statesman, who can’t afford to simply bend whatever way the wind blows, but can’t make something out of nothing either, has to both work with and against.
The truly Great Man, as opposed to the mercenary hack writer and the pipe-dreaming armchair theorist, neither gives the people what they say they want when they want it, nor arrogates to himself the right to tell them what they should want, but rather articulates with precision just what it is exactly they already want, but can neither articulate nor demand under their own power. In a word, he shows them what they really want. The Great Man thus neither speaks with nor over the people, but for them.
To speak for the ordinary people of North America is to take their actually-existing historical and local particularities into account. There is no one-size-fits-all paradigm for Restoration applicable straight out of the box to any human society anywhere anytime; any such scheme is properly considered part of the phantasmagoria of Enlightenment universalism and rationalism, not Reaction, which addresses itself to particular flesh-and-blood instantiations of Man and society, not empty universalizing abstractions. Success will come in the form of a Reaction with North American characteristics. Once again, what you actually find is what you have to work with.
These local characteristics, so long given in history that they might just as well be biologically innate in their unchanging constancy, include, relative to other peoples, marked individualism, egalitarianism, populism, and Republicanism. These characteristics, even though, strictly speaking, historical, are essential in that they have been present throughout the entirety of the history of the settler societies of North America, not just a slice or period of it. They were already present in the first Anglophone colonists to get off the boat here- and the onus is on anyone who maintains that these traditions will all of a sudden simply dry up and blow away in the near future to detail with precision just how and why, instead of merely hoping or wishing they will.
The most important of these invariant non-accidental essential attributes is Republicanism, since it is the master organizing principle with respect to all the rest.
Make no mistake: I regard purely personal government- patrimonial Monarchy- as the original, and the most perfectly Natural, most parsimoniously rational, most durable, and most conducive to human flourishing of all the forms of government. Alas, this form of government was never known to the Anglophones of North America, who obtained Royal charters creating autonomous bodies of various types by means of which the settlers could govern themselves and the new territories in the King’s absence as a first order of business before they even got on the boat, and promptly created more and more of them upon and after their arrival; as Tocqueville’s analysis suggests, Republican State forms at a National level were the organic outgrowth of what the Anglophone settler society always did at the local level. It is in this respect indicative that Canada, which admirably struggled to hold on to Monarchy, soon followed the American example, and for the same set of reasons- even though her people for the longest period of time rejected the American revolutionary ideology tout court.
To be sure, these National-level State forms were from the very start constituted as Liberal democracies- to wit, totalitarian regimes- and not traditional Republics. And yet, in the USA above all they had to formally style themselves as Republics, and continue to have to, both in order to legitimate themselves, and in order to be procedurally operable in legal terms, i.e. in the USA the Republic and associated concepts serve roughly the same indispensable Constitutional role as legal fictions that the fiction of the Crown does in Commonwealth countries. Everything is formally carried out as though the adult heads of household who are obliged to pay taxes and bear arms for the upkeep and defense of the State are its citizens and freemen, independent Sovereigns in their own small right with an inherent personal jurisdiction over their private freehold and their dependents (women, children, servants), and who do not sacrifice their private-personal rights to the Constitutional governing body, which administers only the goods, affairs, and interests the members share in common.
In actual practice, of course, the Liberal State violates and usurps the so-called citizen’s personal rights as a matter of Liberal principle every chance it gets, to the point where the putative citizen is altogether emasculated inasmuch as he is:
- stripped of effective control, if not formal title, of his private property, and of his right to bear arms, all of which he enjoys at the will and pleasure of the State, if at all.
- deprived of most or all of his inherent jurisdiction over his household, whose members are encouraged and empowered to turn against and desert him at their whim, and his cost.
- exhaustively controlled by meddlesome government in every detail of his private life as though a minor child who doesn’t yet know the difference between right or wrong, or what’s good for him.
- constantly mocked, humiliated, and threatened with immiseration or even extinction.
- generally reduced to a status that looks an awful lot more like serfdom than Republican citizenship in any traditional sense.
At the same time, the Republic is more than so much mere ideological window-dressing obscuring the sordid and degrading realities of Liberal totalitarianism from view. There really is a traditional Republic deep down in there somewhere, albeit encased in a solid tomb of Liberalism that negates and paralyzes it. The Bill of Rights- aptly characterized by a clever legal scholar as (quoting from memory) “a Republican rejoinder against a Constitution laden with Liberal ideology” – attests to this vividly at positive law. So too does the actual historical experience of small-town life in North America, which in the past really did approximate the civic Republican ideal, and still does here and there.
It needs to be underscored that the familiar, spontaneous populist critique of the present Liberal order, with its list of grievances to the effect that the tax-paying and hard-working middle-class family men descended from old-stock citizens are being passed over in favour of, and even relegated to second class status relative to, criminals, foreigners, and newly rich but rightfully subordinate single career women and others by feckless, foolish, and unfit ruling elites utterly derelict in their duties to the State, and interested only in enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the National interest and all sound Statecraft while the people at large grow feminized, enfeebled, and debauched in their morals, is a thoroughly and moreover, uniquely Republican genre of social criticism. None of these critiques would even make any sense in a Monarchical frame of reference; the King who owns his own realm can do whatever he damn well wants it without being second-guessed or evaluated by self-appointed social critics or anybody else so long as he keeps his word to those who live under his protection or have other dealings with him, since his rule is a purely private and in no wise public or “National” affair.
Populist sentiment deserves to be respected for evaluating the reality of the Liberal State against the Republican ideal this very same State claims to be the substantive historical fulfillment of. By showing how the present Liberal order fails its own tests of legitimacy, populist critique offers far more insight into the pathologies of the Liberal order than any Royalist critique ever could, since the Royalist critique could get no further than a purely negative judgment that would simply declare the Liberal State to be categorically illegitimate for not being a Monarchy and leave it at that. The best proof of the critical impotence of Monarchism vis-a-vis Liberalism is that much current Reactionary critique ironically finds itself forced in spite of itself to surreptitiously borrow Republican categories such as “Statecraft” or “Statesman” without acknowledging the debt, and furthermore to denounce State functionaries as unfit without acknowledging that it is the critic’s status as a nominal citizen alone that could possibly give him the right to do so (for it is no business of a subject to weigh in on whether or not the King’s officers are derelict in their duty; that’s strictly between them and their employer).
In any case, dialing back the Liberal State to the traditional Republic it formally resembles, and indeed, as we have seen, continues to contain buried deep down within itself, seems both much more feasible and much more congenial to the sensibilities of its people as a Restorationist project than trying to install personal rule where it never existed before- with the likely unintended result of leaving the foundations of the Liberal/totalitarian State form unaltered as a hereditary President in Royal garb is grafted onto them, yielding, not a traditional Monarchy, but a hybrid Caesaro-Liberal monstrosity that, if the history of Fascism is any indication, would not be an improvement on the existing Liberal regime to say the very least, and in any case destined by its unsound structure to crash swiftly and very badly once the American Caesar, in the interest of wowing the masses whose support he would continue to have to earn, starts a fatal war he can’t win.
Populist opinion deserves to be respected for thinking that the United States of America ought to be a Republic- but it deserves to be despised for thinking that it actually is one, or ever was. And it deserves nothing less than withering scorn for confounding the traditional Republic with its utter antithesis and negation- namely, the Liberal democracy and the U.S. Constitution that institutionalizes it. The mere fact that Jefferson and such of the other founding Fathers who really were Republicans (at least, when they felt like it) felt the urgent need to qualify this document by attempting to incorporate some Republican-type qualifications and reservations against the totalitarian Federal beast this Constitution raised up- ultimately, without much if anything of real substance to show for it- tells you everything you need to know about this Constitution.
And yet the populists not only fail to add two and two together and demand that this pernicious document be torn up, they make a fetish-object of it, and unfailingly blame all of its toxic effects on an Executive branch imagined to be plotting to bring down the Constitution and the “rule of law”. All of this, in turn, derives from ancient Whig prejudices and superstitions originating in the mother country and the chronic squabbles between aristocracy and King there- squabbles which never had any relevance to North American conditions, and which were the direct consequence of a fatal structural defect of the historic Constitution of England’s “mixed monarchy”, namely what is known as the “separation of Legislative and Executive power”.
This gigantic error was not only not corrected by, but intentionally imported wholesale into, the U.S. Constitution- even though the doctrine of separation powers, in addition to being intrinsically pernicious, is manifestly redundant, pointless, and irrational where the Executive power isn’t hereditary to begin with and there is absolutely no danger of the State slipping into absolute Monarchy, as the aristocracy in the mother country feared their own State would. This fear was perfectly justified in their case- but exactly how an elected President with a four-year term limit could conspire to make himself absolute Monarch in opposition to the will of his own electors is anybody’s guess. The bitterly ironic effect of this tradition of unexamined and obsolete superstitions is that when, as in the case of President Trump, the populists actually succeed in sending one of their guys to office, he fails to make use even of those inherent Executive powers the Constitution itself recognizes where a Liberal in the same place wouldn’t hesitate for a second.
Worse, the populists, led by Liberal ideology to confound Natural and acquired rights, accordingly end up confounding the Republic with universal democracy based on equality of civic rights, since they end up, pace certain unfortunate pseudo-legalistic rhetoric in the Declaration of Independence (penned by Jefferson himself, who was in a position to know better), deriving the rights and privileges of citizenship from the proposition that “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”, etc.
By itself, this proposition is perfectly sound: every human being no matter how humble indeed has a baseline right to exist, to enjoy what is rightfully his, to expect that others will respect these rights and to appeal for help or defend himself if they don’t, and so on. But it does not follow that their species-being confers an a priori right to membership in a particular governing body or any other civic organization public or private- still less, the right to vote in elections, to speak freely on any political subject, to keep and bear arms, etc. etc. These sorts of rights are inherent rights of citizens, not human beings per se.
Every populist who neglects this crucial distinction and e.g. misconstrues his civic right to keep and bear arms, which accrues to him only as a citizen and member of the State, as a corollary of the Natural right of self-defense that accrues to every human being, implicitly agrees in spite of himself that everybody in the country including women and criminals have a right to vote and speak their minds in public on any subject, and for that matter that any human being anywhere on the planet is an a priori citizen and has a right to enter and stay in the country, and moreover once in to enjoy all the same perks and privileges as those who descend from the founders of the State.
I could continue, but the foregoing should suffice to cast some minimal light on the vast tangle of error that drags the populists down like the seaweed in which a hapless swimmer gets caught and subsequently drowns.
This happens because American political and intellectual traditions do not provide the populist with a language of his own to articulate the things he intuits in his heart. As a result, he ends up with no choice but to try to awkwardly express his intuition that something isn’t quite right with the existing order, and that things should be different and could be, in a language that was not made for him, but on the contrary, to negate his very existence. This language, of course, is that of Liberal ideology, which teaches that the Liberal State and its foundations (“all men are created equal”, etc.) comprise the fulfillment and final perfection of Republican government and the reference standard against which all Republics are to be measured and deemed defective and pathological anarcho-tyrannies (“failed States”) if they don’t measure up.
It would be a very productive use of the Reactionaries’ time and talents to try to hose all the Liberal dross from the folksy but imprecise and incoherent Republicanism expressed in populist opinion, to purify it and elevate it from an irrational mass of heterogeneous, disorganized, and inarticulate bits and pieces of intuition and opinion to the level of a unified formal Republican philosophy of public right every bit as rigorous as that of Liberalism, but that would in no way be resolvable into the premises of Liberalism or possibly confounded with it in theory or practice. Such a theory could even conceivably challenge and defeat Liberalism on its own grounds to the extent that the Liberal State styles itself as a Republic; it could show up the Liberal State as a defective and degenerated Republic, as opposed to other way around. Populist critique, we have seen, does this already, albeit in a confused and thus ineffectual way.
Towards such a philosophy, some postulates:
- All human beings are equal before God and in the Natural rights endowed upon them by God- but not every human has an a priori claim to membership in every human association, nor the acquired rights that accrue with this membership. Republican equality, unlike Natural equality, applies only inter pares i.e. between the full members in good standing of the well-ordered Republic.
- The Republic is not a universal Church. It is an association created by and for its members, who in turn can decide to admit new members, or to decline to, as they see fit, and with no injustice whatsoever towards the non-members. It is important to underscore that non-members lose none of their God-given rights by virtue of being excluded from membership; they are not somehow non-human for being non-citizens, nor can they legitimately be relegated to such status. Mutatis mutandis, the well-ordered Republic, unlike the Liberal State, claims no a priori universal jurisdiction over the whole human race, and nor does it impose the obligations of citizenship on non-citizens.
- The well-ordered Republic is not some sort of Communist sex/death cult; its members do not forfeit their liberty or wholly give themselves over in body, mind, and goods to the collective. It is an association created for the strict purpose of administering some set of interests, goals, or property the members share in common. The members unquestionably retain all personal liberties and private rights with respect to domestic or other private affairs, which are no concern of the association. Nor, as Aristotle pointed out, can the Republic ever possibly stand in loco parentis over its members as though a household over women, minor children, and servants, since the members are freemen and heads of household themselves.
- As with human associations of all sorts, individuals are expected to contribute something to the common stock if they want to become and remain members in good standing. This generally means paying membership dues (tax) and being ready and willing to physically fight and bear arms in person on behalf of the Republic when called to. These obligations, in turn, exclude women, children, and dependents from full membership as a rule (although the Republic, as a body that makes its own laws, can make exceptions to the rule here and there at discretion).
- There is no “separation of powers” in a Republic, which is not a “mixed monarchy”, and is supervened by a President and not a King. The President and Executive committee therefore do not comprise a separate extra-Republican estate, but comprise so many internal organs of one and the same unitary Republican body.
- The territory of the Republic is public with respect to its members, but private property with respect to non-citizen residents and everybody else. The Republic is not a democracy, and its goods and lands not National domains that every inhabitant has an inherent right to use or stay upon.
- Full members in good standing acquire certain rights that inhere in their position, and cannot be questioned without questioning the member’s standing (e.g. in case of criminal or other dereliction). These include: the right to vote in general elections and run for public office, to speak freely on all subjects that concern public policy and administration, and to keep and bear arms for defense of themselves and the State.
- Non-members have absolutely no right to be informed about, or any business whatsoever weighing in on, the internal affairs of the Republic, which once again are public only with respect to the members, but absolutely privileged with respect to everybody else. Encroaching on this privileged business without invitation is every bit as serious an insult to the Republic as telling somebody how to raise his kids or do his job, and liable to being answered accordingly.
- Faction is to the Republic as multiple amputation to the human body. The well-ordered Republic as a condition of its survival must do whatever it can to thwart factions and cliques from forming and censure those involved when preventative efforts fail, and at the very least deny official recognition to political parties of whatever stripe.
- To the ends of securing this civic unity, the Republic has an inherent right to establish an official religion and bar dissenters from membership; any “separation of Church and State” is a mere matter of discretionary policy choice, not any obligatory principle of right.
- The well-ordered Republic that chooses to pursue a policy of religious neutrality is nonetheless bound by Natural and Divine law as these are understood by the wise men of every race, age, and civilization of Man. It is not free to subvert religion or religious authority, nor the Natural hierarchies that obtain between men, and between men, women, and children, above all in the family; and nor may it legitimately undertake to alienate the Natural feelings of affection that bind human beings together in these Natural hierarchies. The Republic, as an association created to administer only the common affairs of its members, is not the custodian or curator of all social relations; this task is assigned by the Nature of things to religion alone.