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A thing’s relation to God, being a creature, makes no difference to its nature or intelligibility.
It establishes its peculiar absolutism, not as the exhaustive dictator of everything one can and cannot do—to the contrary, liberal order persists precisely by generating an ever expanding space for the exercise of private options—but as the all-encompassing totality within which atomic social facts are permitted to appear like so many Congregationalist polities, the horizon beyond which there is no outside.
Hobbes’s thought aspired to this kind of sovereignty, and Locke’s thought more effectively achieved it, but it was Rousseau who really understood it.
Liberalism’s articles of peace thus mask tacit articles of faith in a particular eighteenth-century conception of nature and nature’s God, which also entails an eighteenth-century view of the Church.
Moreover, liberalism refuses integration into any more comprehensive order over which it is not finally arbiter and judge.
We are beginning to feel the force of this transformation in civil society and the political order.
Court decisions invalidating traditional marriage law fall from the sky like rain.
ccording to Hans Jonas, the birth of modern science was bound up with the advent of a radical new view of reality, a “technological ontology” that conflates nature and artifice, knowing and making, truth and utility.
This metaphysical revolution has set in motion a perpetual historical revolution, whose interminable machinations continually threaten to overwhelm the revolutionaries themselves.
roadly speaking, we may characterize the civic project of American Christianity as the attempt to harmonize Christianity and liberal order and to anchor American public philosophy in the substance of Protestant morality, Catholic social teaching, or some version of natural law that might qualify as public reason.
George Weigel articulated one of the assumptions animating protagonists on all sides of this project when in he wrote that “there is no contradiction between the truth claims of Catholicism and the American democratic experiment.” This assertion rests on some form of Murray’s familiar distinction between articles of faith and articles of peace.