Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Restauratio Legis Naturale

NATURE'S UNRAVELING IS WHAT the modern immoralists seek to attain. Whether it be the use of artificial contraception which severs the natural tie between sex and procreation, or whether it be the normalization of homosexual sex, which itself is sterile, and an ultimately vain, meaningless act. Whether it is the unnatural murder of a child in his or her mother's womb through some invasive procedure, or the unnatural, forced death of the elderly through drugs or through withholding of nutrition and hydration. Whether it be simple cloning to the more grotesque creation of hybrids between animal and man such as "admixed" embryos which force upon us new words such as "cybrids," or "chimeras."** These acts are acts against nature. They seek to declare an independence from, and a control over, nature.

Budziszewski makes an interesting comparison between man's efforts to obtain mastery over nature through technology without regard to any boundaries as a resurgence of black magic. The relationship between technology and magic has, of course, been noted before by, for example, Bernanos. In his Profiles of the Future (1961), Arthur C. Clarke stated what is commonly known as Clarke's "Third Law": "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Human-Dog Hybrid by Patricia Piccinini
The result of goeteia

Their [the immmoralists, those who reject the natural moral law] methods do not require the eye of newt, but they may as well. In essence, they are forms of goeteia,* of the ancient practice whose goal was to acquire power by "breaking" nature, unpatterning its patterns, uncreating creation. . . . There you have the essence of goeteia. There is no nature; there are not givens; reality is what we decide. Black magic. . . . The immoralist movements are not isolated phenomena, but branches of the goetic arts; they are united in their hatred of human design, and, by extension, of its Designer.

Budziszewski (2003), 198-99, 200.

To try to recovery the field will require confrontation with the enemy. We will have to become "cultural activists." In confronting the advocates of immorality as cultural activists, two things ought to be kept in mind. First, it is an imperative that the advocates of traditional morality, that is, the advocates of natural law, recognize the conflict that they face. "Right reason" is still achievable, though it does not come easily to fallen nature.
--J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know
One must know the enemy, and what he is about. As Polybius stated in his Histories (III.81): "For it is mere blind ignorance to believe that there can be anything of more vital importance to a general than the knowledge of his opponent's character and disposition." The immoralists seek to overthrow human nature, its design, and its Designer. Since the immoralists seek to sever the relationship between the way things are, they also are free with matching or paring concepts and words with realities. There is therefore a second requirement: "The second necessity is to abstain from the polluted languages of goetic incantation." Budziszewski (2003), 200. Abortion is not "choice." Sodomy is not "gay." Motherhood is not advanced by "feminism." Cloning or fetal stem cell research is not about "healing," but about playing God. Euthanasia is not "mercy killing," but simple intentional, premeditated murder.

In confronting the advocates of immorality, it is not unlikely that we will give offense, and we should not offend unnecessarily. But in confronting the modern purveyors of black magic, there will be unavoidable offense.
There is no virtue in giving offense, but there is a difference between avoidable and unavoidable offense. To fail to avoid the avoidable kind is the vice of scandal. To try to avoid the unavoidable kind is the vice of complicity in evil.
Budziszewski (2003), 200.

In appraising our enemy, we need also to appraise ourselves. We are not playing on a level playing field. Our enemy has some permanent advantages, and we have ours. Following Budziszewski's analysis, then, we can identify certain advantages (and weaknesses) of the immoralists, and certain advantages (and weaknesses) of the natural law advocate.

Evil's advantages
Evil's disadvantages
Good's advantages
Good's dis-
Evil can rationalize
The evil are open to the possibility of redemption
Their argument is based upon "ultimately inescapable human moral design," i.e., moral reality
Their recognition of the moral evil may drive them to despair
The good can succumb to temptation to do evil

The "deep conscience" in all men, though it may be squelched, witnesses in their favor

Divine aid, His providence, and recourse to His aid through prayer

The theological virtue of hope

There we have it: our advantages, our disadvantages, our enemies' advantages and disadvantages.
*Goeteia (or goetia) comes from the from Greek word γοητεία (goēteia) which means "sorcery."
**These terms are specialized: "admixed" embryos is a generic term, a neologism, used to describe any early-stage embryo combining human and nonhuman genes or tissue. It includes both cybrids and chimeras. A cybrid (a combination of cytoplasmic and hybrid) is an artificial hybrid cell produced by introducing
nuclear material from one organism into a cell (of the same or different species) from which the nucleus has been removed. A chimera, on the other hand, is an organism which is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells originating in different zygotes.

1 comment:

  1. Right on. Thank you for your passion. Keep the faith, stand up for what's right, even though it seems like nobody is listening. Keep being a light, friend. The most courageous fight the battles that are the hardest to win. They get no glory, but the honor is theirs.