Thursday, June 26, 2003

Lawrence v. Texas

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law. As I understand the decision, the Court declared that the state has no right regulating the private conduct of individuals.

It so happens, that I have been reading Russell Kirk's book, The Conservative Mind, which deals with the history of conservative political thought since the time of Edmund Burke. I would like to provide a quote from Burke cited in Kirk's book:

"'Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants', says Burke.’Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among those wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individual, the inclinations of men should be frequently thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can be done only by a power out of themselves; and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights.'"

C.S. Lewis wrote about "men without chests." What we have become is men without feet, we have lost track of the foundational ideas upon which our civilization and our culture are founded. We have nothing left to stand on but the stilt-like stumps of our cut off legs.

What we have forgotten is that government is a gift of God's loving providence to us, intended to elevate us above the level of mere animals. As Kirk puts it, its purpose is to govern those who cannot govern themselves. Our Christian civilization has always viewed Government as one of the implements of our salvation, protecting us from the moral collapse caused by the surrender of society to the uncontrolled passions of the individual. This Supreme Court decision is another step in the elevation of the passions of the individual over society; another nail in the coffin of Christian civilization as we know it.

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